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Top 5 Things to do in Valletta
Valletta is the stunning capital city of Malta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to narrow down the top things to do in Valletta, but with our help you will cover all the main sights and more! Whether you are looking for historical sights, unforgettable views or delicious cuisine, Valletta has you covered. Below we will give you some top Valetta travel tips and make it simple for you to plan your trip whether for a few days or more.
1. Walking tour
To get a real feel for beautiful and bustling Valletta, it is best to explore the city on foot. The city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is much to explore. Its many grand honey-stoned buildings and wonderful harbour views ensure there is something to discover around every corner!
If you want more insight into the history and culture of the city, make sure to book a spot with a knowledgeable local guide who can show you all Valletta’s hidden corners. Hello Malta’s walking tours are a great choice as their fun and informative guides will show you many of the city’s main attractions and more, such as St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Barrakka Gardens and the Grand Harbour. The tour even includes tickets to the cathedral and the immersive, audio-visual Malta Experience Show!
2. Harbour cruise
Valletta is blessed with not one, but two natural harbours, that are lined with impressive historic buildings and offer some spectacular views. The Grand Harbour has been in use since prehistoric times and for centuries has meant that Malta has had an important strategic naval position fought over by various powers. Today it is a much quieter commercial harbour that is best explored by boat together with its sister harbour, Marsamxett.
For unforgettable views of the city join Hello Malta on a traditional boat tour of the two harbours that includes an informative English commentary on the main sights and events that took place here. This relaxed tour ensures that you see the city’s historic sights from the best vantage points and can even join a night tour for beautiful views of Valletta lit up in the darkness.
3. Visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral
A visit to Valletta would not be complete without spending some time it the spectacular Co-Cathedral of St. John. It is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and art, that its plain fortress-like exterior only enhances. Step through the main door and you will be blown away by the elaborate interior that is covered in gold, silver and colourful works of art.
The cathedral was built by the city’s founders, the Knights of St. John after the defeat of the Ottomans in 1565. It has 9 chapels dedicated to each of the ‘langues’ or national origins of the knights and the floor is a patchwork of gorgeous marble tomb stones, each with a famous knight’s coat of arms. You can spend hours here exploring this marvellous building, but make sure not to miss one of Caravaggio’s most famous works, ‘The Beheading of St. John the Baptist’. It is the only painting that he actually signed and can be found in the Oratory Room.
4. Upper Barrakka Gardens
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are the ideal place to spend some time relaxing after a busy day exploring Valletta. They are located on the highest point of the city walls on top of the St Peter and Paul Bastion. From here you can enjoy wonderful views over the Grand Harbour, the Three Cities and much of Valletta below.
They were built for the Italian Knight’s of St. John with terraced arches added in 1661, which today frame the views of the city beautifully. In the gardens you will find a number of statues dedicated to famous figures in the island’s history, including Gerald Strikland and Winston Churchill. On the lower tier of the garden, you will find the Saluting Battery with guns that fire every day at 12pm and 4pm.
5. National Museum of Archaeology
Located in the former Auberge de Provence, built in the 16th century, you will find Malta’s National Museum of Archaeology. It contains an impressive collection of archaeological finds from across the islands and tells the story of the islands from their prehistory.
It is a fascinating museum which gives a great insight into the ancient peoples that inhabited the islands millennia ago and left behind mysterious and impressive stone temples that you can still visit. Some of the highlights include many the curvaceous statues, which have been discovered all across the islands. They are often called Fat Ladies, but are now thought to be asexual representations of humans. There are also fascinating Phoenician artefacts including jewellery, sarcophagi important stele inscriptions. The museum is also home to the National Numismatic Collection that includes over 16,000 coins, medals and dies.
These are just 5 things you can do in Valletta during your stay, but there are many more in this fascinating city! With these 5 you get a fantastic overview of the city’s history and what it has to offer. There is much more to discover in Valletta and we hope you get the chance to explore it!
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