Do you intend to visit capital of Malta, Valletta? You’ll adore it! Here are the 7 top things to do in Valletta, one of the smallest European cities. In addition to must-see sights, we’ll provide you 1, 2, or 3-day itineraries and a list of budget-friendly hotels.
Valletta’s Top 7 Attractions
- St. John’s Cathedral
St. John’s Co-Cathedral is a Baroque masterpiece.
The simple exterior conceals a stunning inside. So much to view it’s confusing at first. I didn’t know where to look as I stepped in.
Knights of the Order graves are on a coat-of-arms-covered marble floor. The vault is adorned with paintings of St. John the Baptist.
Discover the eight chapels, each dedicated to one of the Order’s languages. The pillars and walls are also decorated with gold. You’ll also see Caravaggio’s works.
Dress code: Arms and legs must be covered with shawls. High heels might harm the floor, therefore they’re banned. High heels aren’t a smart idea in Valletta’s cobblestone streets.
2. Grandmaster’s Palace
Valletta’s second significant attraction is the Grand Master’s Palace.
As its name suggests, it was once the Grand Masters’ house. The palace houses the Maltese president’s office. Despite hosting one of the country’s top authorities, the palace is free to visit.
Beautiful courtyards with fountains and statues provide shade on hot days.
The State Rooms, including the Council Chamber, have Gobelins draperies.
You may also tour the grand master’s dining room, the Supreme Council Hall, and the Page’s Waiting Room. The ambassador’s room was the Grand Master’s audience chamber. Maltese presidents still host foreign visitors.
In the palace’s former stables, you may explore the spectacular armory. All were used by Knights and Grand Masters of the Order of Malta. Knights’ armor became the order when they died. So many to adore!
3. Barrakka Gardens
Valletta cannons fire daily at noon. This may surprise you, but there’s no need to equip yourself—the situation is under control!
Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta is one of the capital’s key attractions.
Upper Barrakka Gardens, with its arches, chairs, and flower beds, overlooks Grand Harbour.
It’s a nice spot for a midday break. During the scorching Maltese summer, flora and shade are welcome.
A saluting Battery is underneath the gardens. Once used to greet foreign ships, the guns have been rebuilt for visitors. At noon, persons in period costumes fire a volley.
If there are Upper Gardens, you may expect Lower Gardens. True.
Lower Barrakka Gardens is near Fort Saint Elmo along the beach.
It’s worth a look for 2 reasons:
• Alexander Ball’s neoclassical temple, dedicated to the Maltese leader who fought the French.
• The Siege Bell War Memorial, dubbed “The Bell,” is attractive with the sea and the Three Cities in the background.
4. Republic And Merchant
Visit Valletta’s 2 major retail streets.
Republic and Merchant streets have souvenir stores selling magnets, postcards, “I love Malta” t-shirts and the Order of Malta figure. Yes, I have one in my living room.
Maltese artisans are known for their gold and silver filigree. Some pieces are remarkable.
Republic Street has several cafes and restaurants with patios for lunch. You’ll also visit St. Francis of Assisi Church, Saint Barbara Church, and the Parliament (The Grand Master Palace I told you about earlier).
On Republic Street, there’s a Sunday morning market. Early arrival avoids crowds.
5. Casa Rocca
Casa Rocca Piccola is Valletta’s only inhabited palace. Marquis de Piro has lived here since the XVIth century.
The owner offered the part of his house to the public to showcase the aristocratic family’s history and culture. You may explore 12 rooms of the palace and see the Marquis’ private collections and everyday artifacts.
The tour ends in Second World War air raid bunkers.
Only 1-hour guided tours (no free admission) are available in English. Marquis offers private tours (obviously more expensive).
Visit the website to arrange your trip.
6. Manoel Theatre
The Maltese national theater, “Teatru Manoel,” was built in 1731 to amuse knights and the populace.
This little yet gorgeous theater’s baroque hall and golden chandelier are worth seeing. There’s a theater history display.
You can visit; watch a concert or a play (with an audio guide).
The theater’s website has further info. You may book performance tickets there.
7. Archaeology Museum
Auberge de Provence houses the National Archaeology Museum. Built-in 1571, it housed Provençal-speaking knights.
The tiny, well-done museum is complete. It covers Malta’s history from 5000 BC to Tarxien (2500 BC). It displays ceramics and statuettes from ancient and megalithic temples on the island.
“Sleeping Lady” and “Venus of Malta” are must-sees.