If you’re planning to have an epic summer getaway, why not consider visiting Valletta. This tiny capital city of Malta definitely has a lot to offer, especially to travel enthusiasts out there. With its unique and lively vibe matched with a rich history and natural beauty, you’re sure to get a perfect balance of everything.
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WHY VISIT VALLETTA, MALTA
There are countless reasons why you should visit this small yet marvelous city. For one, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been hailed as the European Capital of Culture for 2018. In fact, it was even described as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
With its friendly locals, impressive historic sites, gastronomic restaurants and vibrant nightlife, more and more visitors are being drawn to the capital city and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Aside from that, its geographical location – surrounded by two large natural harbours, cheap transportation to and from the city, and inexpensive food available, gives it a perfect balance that sustainable travelers will surely love.
For beginners, here are the top points of interest in Valletta that will sure to convince you to put it in your bucket list.
BEST TIME TO VISIT VALLETTA
If you’re keen on visiting Valletta, there are certain things to consider first before booking that flight. Things like the weather, peak season, and holidays are important factors that can affect your travel experience if not taken seriously.
If you want to fully enjoy Malta’s tropical nature, you might want to consider visiting during the summer. While it could get pretty dry and warm, it’s still an ideal time to visit, especially if you’re going to stroll around town.
There is also a famous shut down in Malta during August, where some restaurants and businesses are closed for a week. However, most tourist spots and bigger establishments are open during this period, so you can still enjoy your stay.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN VALLETTA
From simple and fun activities to merely enjoying nature, your time will definitely be well-spent here. Check out some suggestions below:
VISIT ST. JOHN’S CO-CATHEDRAL
This place is one of the main tourist attractions in Valletta, Malta. It features an incredibly ornate cathedral, which was built in 1578 by the Order of the Knights of St. John. From traditional and lavish decorations to the famous Caravaggio paintings, it’s definitely a feast for eyes.
Another highlight of St. John’s Co-Cathedral is its floor, which serves as tombs of knights. Each cavalier was put to rest in inlaid marbles, making it even more historic.
If you’re a nature lover, you might want to check out Valletta’s famous public gardens. The Lower and Upper Barrakka Gardens, as well as the Hastings Gardens, offer guests panoramic views of the city and harbor.
The Hastings Gardens, in particular, is perfect for couples who want to spend a quiet and romantic time together.
The Lower Barrakka Gardens, on the other hand, features other iconic symbols such as the monument of Sir Alexander Ball and many commemorative plaques.
STROLL THE STREETS
One of the best and greenest ways to discover Valletta is to simply walk around the city. Spending a few hours strolling the town will show even the tiniest and simplest details firsthand.
From small art shops and museums of the open squares to small churches camouflaged into surrounding houses, you’ll be surprised with what you can discover along the way.
ENJOY THE NIGHTLIFE
Despite Valletta’s reputation as a historical city, you might be surprised to know that it actually has a vibrant nightlife. There are several bars and clubs around town that you can enjoy, especially at night.
One of the most famous ones is Gugar. This quirky bar features vegan food and recycled furniture for everyone to enjoy. It also emphasizes being more socially active through activities such as games. In fact, it even reminds guests that it’s better to enjoy each other’s company than spending time in front of your phone.
WHERE TO STAY IN VALLETTA
Nothing beats an excellent accommodation after long hours of traveling. While it’s true that wandering around a new place is a fun experience, it also takes up most of your energy.
Fortunately, there are tons of hotels in Valletta that offer a comfortable place to stay and recharge your energy. What’s more, these hotels are actually eco-friendly, making it ideal for nature lovers out there.
MAISON LA VALLETTE
This self-catering townhouse offers a perfect combination of history and elegance for an affordable price. Located in the old part of Valletta, the Maison La Vallete is known for its Maltese style baroque and designer furniture that are sure to give visitors an intimate and sophisticated ambiance.
What makes this place stand out among others is its “no-hotel philosophy”, which basically promotes eco-friendly accommodation. To do this, they avoid using unnecessary large spaces, single dose toiletries, and overlit hotel facilities.
GRAND HOTEL EXCELSOIR
Another green place you can stay in is the Grand Hotel Excelsior. Being eco-certified by the Malta Tourism Authority, this hotel promotes environmental awareness not only with their guests but staff as well.
Since it’s an eco-friendly hotel, guests are encouraged to get involved in their mission by doing simple tasks during the duration of their stay, such as conserving energy and water consumption.
Find and book these hotels on our favourite accommodation search website: Booking.com
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN VALLETTA
Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Valletta not only for its spectacular views and exciting culture but also for its mouthwatering delicacies. There are tons of fantastic restaurants and cafés in this tiny city that showcase Malta’s sizzling array of flavors.
From delectable local dishes to exotic fusions of foreign influences, there’s definitely something that will tickle your taste buds. Check out some of the must-try places to eat in Valletta and indulge yourself with their tasty foods.
First opened to the public in 1906, Rubino is considered one of the oldest establishments in Valletta. In fact, it is now a famous landmark in the city, attracting tons of customers all year round. This restaurant infuses good food with rich history, making it stand out among the others.
Some of its must-try meals include antipasto, aljotta (fish soup), fenek moqli (pan fried rabbit), haruf brazzato (slow cooked lamb shank), pecorino crusted veal chop, and gambli homor (red Mediterranean prawns).
THE GRASSY HOPPER
This small restaurant offers a lot of healthy food options perfect for those who are health conscious or trying to eat a plant-based diet.
The Grassy Hopper is famous for its vegetarian and vegan menu. Some of their best-sellers include burgers, salads, wraps, smoothies, and vegan cakes. It also promotes eco-friendly packaging and even sends organic wastes to organic farms, which in return will be turned into first-class compost.
This healthy eatery promises to serve meals with high-quality carbs and low GMI food. It also avoids any refined sugars and starches.
Giannini Restaurant is known not only for its delectable food but spectacular views of Manoel Island and Pretty Marsamxetto Harbor as well. This family-run restaurant is ideal for those who are looking for a splendid dining experience matched with nature’s beauty.
Giannini offers Mediterranean food, carefully prepared and cooked with fresh ingredients. Guests are also encouraged to try their daily specials, such as home-made egg pasta, salads, carpaccio, fresh meats, and fishes.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED IN VALLETTA
Valletta is a relatively small city (0.8 km2), however, there is a lot to see and do. Depending on your itinerary, you can easily spend 3 days exploring the capital city.
So, go ahead, book that flight to Malta and head over to Valletta. With tons of beautiful places to see and delicious meals to eat, you’re definitely going to have an amazing travel experience.
Author’s Bio: Ed Lansink is the founder and editor of Malta Uncovered, a travel guide for curious travelers looking to discover Malta. He’s a passionate tourist-turned-expat who wants to put Malta on the map as a top holiday destination for travelers all over the world.
What suggestions would you give on what to do in Valletta? Let us know in the comment section below!