Fishing Boat in Malta

Malta: The Hidden Gem of the Mediterranean Discover some of the best things to see and do in Valletta, Malta

Malta is an archipelago of three islands and is itself quite small.  Thousands of cruise ship passengers arrive in Malta annually and can see a lot in one day.  Also, they can often have enough time to visit the sister island of Gozo via a ferry ride – on the same day!

The official languages of Malta are both Maltese and English.  Furthermore, the islands are remarkably safe for tourists.  Also, Malta is a member of the European Union since 2003.  To be sure, the local currency is the Euro.

About Malta

The sunny islands of Malta can are in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  Indeed, the islands are home to the most remarkable concentration of intact UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Valletta is the capital city in Malta and built by the proud Knights of St. John.  Furthermore, Valetta is one of the UNESCO sites and has been named the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Malta’s stone ranges from the oldest freestanding rock architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most powerful defensive systems.  Also, it includes a vibrant mix of national, military, and religious architecture spanning the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods.

With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife, and 7,000 years of intriguing history. Indeed, there certainly lots to see and do in Malta.

A street in Malta

Valletta, Malta

Valletta is Malta’s Capital city situated on the Island of Malta and known as “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen.”  To be sure, Valletta is a living, working city, and the legislative and economic core of the Islands.  Indeed, Valletta is named after its founder, Jean Parisot de la Valette, who is the celebrated Grand Master, “Order of St. John.”

The incredible fortress city grew on the arid rock of it’s Mount Sceberras peninsula.  Magnificently, the peninsula climbs steeply from two deep harbors, Marsamxett and Grand Harbour.  Launched in 1566, Valletta got built, complete with impressive bastions, forts, and a Cathedral, in just 15 years.  Remarkably, mechanical tools did not exist at the time.  As a result, the entire city got built by hand.

Valletta Grand Harbor of Malta
The Grand Harbor

Valletta is known by many names, all recalling its rich historical past.  The”modern” city, built by the Knights of St John, is a masterpiece of the Baroque.  Further, it’s a European Art City and a World Heritage City.  Today, among the most concentrated historic areas in the world.  For example, it includes an abundance of sites to see and explore with intriguing landmark buildings on every corner.  Also, Valletta is the home of some of Europe’s most impressive artworks, churches, and palaces.

Small side streets offer many charming shops and cafés.  Also, Valletta’s main streets offer larger, global branded shops for fashion, music, jewelry, and more. Yes, the city is bustling during the day.  However, it retains both its charm and a timeless atmosphere at night.  To be sure, you get a feeling that you’re walking back in time.

Valletta, Malta City Things to See and Do
Valletta, Malta

The Best Things to See and Do In Malta

St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Museum

This amazing Cathedral features art by Caravaggio and Mattia Preti.  The Cathedral is considered the first complete example of high baroque style. The Cathedral is the resting place of the Knights of Malta from the 16th to the 18th century. Their marble tombstones are elaborate.

St. Johns Co-Cathedral Malta
St. Johns Co-Cathedral

Grandmaster Palace

This unbelievable Palace is in the heart of Valletta. Knights of St. John built the Grandmaster Palace after the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Today, the Office of the President of Malta uses the Palace.  Indeed, the State Rooms and the Armory are open to the public.

Grandmaster Palace
Malta the Grandmaster Palace

National War Museum

You will find the National War Museum in Fort St. Elmo adjacent to the old fortified walls of La Valletta.  At the museum, you can observe artifacts of Malta’s military history going back from the bronze age to modern times.

Notably, the National War Museum possesses a significant collection dedicated to its role in WWII.

Fortifications and Towers

Malta is also known as Fortress Island due to the many fortifications. The fortifications that can be visited today are the ones built by the Knights and the one build during the British era.

Fortifications
Fortifications

Valletta market

This market, located on Ordnance St. is the perfect place to shop for souvenirs and bargains while visiting the city.

A Market in Malta

Nativity Museum

In this museum, you can admire the beautiful events of the birth of Jesus. You can admire many reproductions of some masterpiece, including Caravaggio and Botticelli, representing the birth of Jesus.

Stroll in the Many Gardens of Valletta

Valletta has several beautiful gardens to explore like Hastings Garden located on top of the bastions of the west side of the city.  Also, other amazing gardens in the town are the upper and lower Barracca Garden.  Indeed, these gardens are located on the bastions overlooking the entrance of the Grand Harbour and offer superb views.

The Food Scene of Malta

Malta cuisine is the result of centuries of relations between the many populations of the Mediterranean sea.  Here, this combination of flavors give Maltese cuisine its particular flair in character.  In Valletta, you can find many restaurants that offer traditional or a more modern approach to Maltese food.

Food of Malta
Food of Malta

Dip in the Med

Malta is also famous for its crystal blue water and the many beaches on the Island.

The most famous beach is the Blue Lagoon on the tiny Island of Comino.  Famously, this crystal turquoise water lagoon has been the set of many movies and postcards. It can be reached by boat from either Gozo or Malta.

Blue Lagoon Comino Malta
Blue Lagoon

If you are interested in scuba diving, you can visit some of the many shipwrecks from WW II located around the Island.  To be sure, this is an expert-level scuba diving excursion.

Archeological Sites

Malta has a fantastic history dating back to around 5200 BC.  Indeed, traces from every civilization who lived on the Island left many traces.

One unique site is the Hypogeum, a vast labyrinth of underground chambers probably used as a temple and a burial site.  Incredibly, this site dates back to 3600 BC.  To be sure, if you are planning on visiting the Hypogeum, make a reservation!  Indeed, it’s mandatory to make a reservation in advance.

Hypogeum
The Hypogeum

The many megalithic monuments, dating back to the bronze age, are also an important site to visit and explore on the Island.

VisitMalta.com offers a comprehensive list of the many archeological sites. Feel free to take a look here.

I hope that these few notes made you want to visit Malta. If you’re going to add something, leave a reply below.

Andrea

 

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