Valletta is the capital of Malta and the southern most capital of Europe. This walled city was established by the Knights of St. John back in the 1500s and is full of historic sites and beautiful churches. It is also known for museums, palaces and stunning harbor views. This post covers all the best things to do in Valletta.
Walk Through the City Gate and Triton Fountain
Start exploring Valletta by walking through the city gate. You will also see a beautiful fountain called Triton fountain just before the gate.
Explore Republic Street and Merchant Street
Republic street and Merchant street are two of the most famous streets in all of Valletta. These 2 long streets are filled with colorful gallariji, which are iconic Maltese balconies as well as shops and restaurants.
Visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral
This Cathedral was first built in the 1500s, while the baroque style interior was a later addition. The Cathedral also houses several painting, notably a painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio. There are also several important Knights buried here and you can see their tombstones’ in the nave of the church. The exterior of the church does not give you any indication of the grandeur of its interior. Trust me and don’t miss out on visiting St. John’s. In fact, St. John’s is one of my favorite churches in the world.
Visit Siege Bell War Monument
The Siege Bell is a monument dedicated to the people who fought and died for Malta in WWII. It also is a great place to see stunning vistas of the harbor below.
Stroll Through the Lower Barrakka Gardens
These gardens offer amazing views of the Grand Harbor, especially at sunset.
Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens
The highest point of the walled city. The upper gardens offer panoramic views of the Three Cities and surrounding harbor area! There is a cannon firing ceremony daily at noon.
Ride the Barrakka Lift
The Barrakka Lift connects the Upper Barrakka gardens to the harbor. It’s a time saver but also a fun ride!
Visit the Grandmaster’s Palace
Built as the palace of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John who ruled Malta back in the day. Today, it houses the Office of the President of Malta. The Palace State Rooms and the Palace Armory are open to the public.
Step Inside St Paul Shipwreck Church
One of Valletta’s oldest Churches that originated in the 1500’s.
Walk Down St. Lucia’s Street
St. Lucia’s street is a tiny street with steps going down to the Santa Lucija church. There are a few restaurants along the street. It’s one of the most instagrammed streets of Valletta.
Explore all the other little Streets and Corners
Walk around and explore all the houses and buildings with colorful balconies, windows and doors. Some of the narrow streets reminded me of Dubrovnik.
Explore the Three Cities from Valletta
The Three Cities of Vittoriosa (Il-Birgu) , Senglea (L-Isla), and Cospicua (Bormla) are some of Malta’s oldest cities. Vittoriosa goes all the way back to the middle ages! It is easy to get to the Three Cities from Valletta via boat and is a must do things when visiting Valletta.
Below you will find specific things to do in the Three Cities.
Walk around the Three Cities and explore its narrow streets and harbor front views.
Walk along the Waterfront of Senglea
You will find luzzu boats (traditional Maltese fishing boats) bobbing up and down in the water with the Vittoriosa waterfront in the background when you walk along the waterfront in Senglea.
Located right at the edge of Senglea these gardens offer panoramic views of the Grand Harbor of Valletta and Fort St. Angelo in Vittoriosa.
Visit Fort St. Angelo
Originally built in the medieval period as a castle, it was rebuilt by the Order of St. John as a fort in the 1500’s. It is best knows for being the Order’s headquarters during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.
Catch a Break at a Water Front Cafe in Vittoriosa
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Yacht Marina.
Visit the Inquisitor’s Palace
The seat of the Maltese Inquisition from 1574 to 1798, today it’s open to the public and is one of the only Inquisitors Palaces of its kind in the world.
How to Get to Valletta
The best way to get to Valletta if you are staying in either Sliema or the Three Cities is by ferry. Below are some important notes on the ferry.
- The holiday and winter schedule differs from the regular schedule
- It is cheaper to get a round trip ticket than a single ticket
- The ferry is very punctual so arrive a few minutes before the scheduled time
- HERE is the ferry schedule
How to get to the Three Cities
One of the best ways to get to the Three Cities is by boat. You can either catch the ferry from the Grand Harbor or do a private crossing in a tiny boat like I did! It’s only a euro or so more but a lot more fun!! You will see these boats and tours as you cross the road from the Barrakka lift and walk towards the Ferry station. Don’t forget to look back from the boat towards Valletta for some awesome views.
Check out these walking tours in Valletta if you prefer to see the city with a guide.
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Your photographs are superb.
Thank you so much!!!