Valletta Travel Guide
Narrow streets and colorful balconies, the scenery of Valletta. Wandering through the streets, it’s easy to take the wrong turn, but nevertheless, the view will always amaze you.
Valletta also known as the Fortress City, is the capital of Malta. The name originates from its founders, Knights of St. John. The city is rich with baroque architecture, culture and history, in 1980 was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Let’s start your day by getting some good coffee and breakfast. Walking down the street, you will come across a lot of small restaurants and cafes. Perfect spots to enjoy the breakfast and just observe the city vibes. We decided to visit Cafe Cordina. Even though the breakfast o’clock was over, that didn't stop us from getting the salmon-avocado bagel and coffee. You can sit outside under the trees, but be prepared for a company of pigeons. Inside you will see the old counter, a small shop, where you can buy traditional sweets and pastries.
If you are into Museums don’t miss this ones:
- National War Museum - Fort St Elmo
- National Museum Of Archaeology
- Esplora Interactive Science Centre
If not, go for a walk through the city. Start at the gate and have a look at the Triton fountain. The fountain was constructed in 1959 and designed by Vincent Apap, who won the national competition. His inspiration was the fountain in Rome. The three half-humans, half mermen, representing strength, originate from the Greek tradition.
As you continue your way into the city passing the city gate. Approaching the gate, you can notice the new dialog between the existing city wall and the gate. The intervention that was made, also included new parliament building, piazza, and the performing stage. The first city gate was built in 1569 and over the past years, it has changed its appearance. In 2015 the fifth city gate was built, designed by Renzo Piano. The new image of the gate has triggered different opinions among locals.
Entering the city you can have a look at the new parliament building. On the stairs that are leading on the wall, it offers the opportunity to take a picture of an interesting facade.
Proceed your way toward Our Lady of Victory Church, the first church that had been built in Valletta. The King had it built-in 1565 to mark the victory over the Turks.
One of the must-see places in Valletta is Upper Barrakka Gardens. The perfect escape from the city within the city. Beautiful gardens, benches, trees that are offering perfect shade during hot summer and panoramic views over the Grand Harbour and Three Cities, these are just a few things that will make you want to visit this place even more. At noon, under the gardens where the Saluting Battery is located, members of Malta Heritage Society fire the cannons. In the past, these cannons had been used for greeting foreign ships. The place was built in 1661. Before it became a public garden in 1824, it had belonged to the Knights, who were using it for practice.
You can also take the Barrakka lift and observe the view over the harbor.
Take a walk down the Strait Street, known also as Strada Stretta in Maltese. In the 19th and mid-20th century, it was the center of nightlife for British and American military men, who were docked in the harbor. The influence of different cultures helped develop the jazz scene. During the day it was an intersection of people of different nationalities and social classes. Nowadays boutique hotels, bars, and restaurants can be found here.
For the perfect sunset spot, I would recommend visiting the Lower Barrakka Gardens or on the wall at the City gate.
Lower Barrakka Gardens are a little less crowded than the Upper Barrakka Gardens, offering a more peaceful and relaxing ambiance. From here you will have a look over the entrance of Grand Harbour and Siege Bell Memorial. The bell tower was constructed in 1992 to honor the lives that were lost in the Siege of Malta.
Where to eat?
Cafe spot with a true Italian style, located in an old plaza. You can stop here for breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break and enjoy the city vibes.
A small restaurant with outside sitting and modern interior. The menu is diverse, from coffees to fresh juices, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and homemade cakes. Perfect spot for brunch, breakfast, or lunch.
The indoor market was built in the 1860s under British rule. During World war II one-third of the building had been destroyed. Because the building was not rebuilt to the original plan, the symmetry of the roof was lost. In the 1970s, they tried to rebrand the arcade, but it had not turned out as expected. The market was reconstructed in 2016/17.
On the ground floor, restaurants and a bar are located. The upper level serves as an open area for cultural events and activities.
In the basement is the indoor market, where you can find a grocery store with products both from Malta and foreign.