Greek Islands & Malta
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Capital of the stunning island of Malta, the harbour city of Valletta is a marvel of historical and architectural heritage, with much of its landmark buildings having been built as far back as the 16th century. Amongst this cultural splendour however, is a bustling township which offers a huge array of shops, dining establishments and entertainment.
Situated on a peninsula, Valletta is surrounded on three sides by the sea, meaning the panoramic views from the city centre are utterly fantastic. Designed originally as a stronghold by its European rulers, the city is filled with such amazing architecture as bastion walls fitted with battlements, archer towers, and wrought iron gates. Once a barren site developed by Crusader Knights, the city of Valletta is both a beachfront paradise and an intriguing cultural hub. It is at once a modern seaside resort replete with gorgeous food, extensive amenities, and friendly local townspeople, and a host to historical districts that can take days to explore fully.
Sightseeing in Valletta
St. John’s Cathedral
The most towering, impressive church in all of Malta sits at the heart of Valletta, and is an iconic symbol of the rich culture that dominates both the city, and the island as a whole. Designed by architect Gerolamo Cassar, this striking landmark was built between 1573 and 1578, intended to rival St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina. The exterior may be relatively unadorned compared to other famous cathedrals, but it contains an interior which is truly a sight to behold. Rich stonemasonry and carvings populated every nave and pillar, and the vault of the church is covered in paintings of John the Baptist. Six huge bays, each with chapels dedicated to the Order of St. John give the church hall and an atmosphere of expansive grandeur, despite the relatively small space. A true highlight of the Maltese coast.
Armoury (Grand Master’s Palace)
From the entrance to the Grand Master’s Palace on Triq Il-Merkanti, visitors can take a trip to the intriguing attraction of the Maltese Armoury. An astonishingly well preserved collection of antiques and weapons belonging to the Knights of St. John, including 5,000 suits of armour which is all that remains of over 25,000, stolen during the Napoleonic wars, British occupation, and decades of turmoil. A truly unique exhibit which is far removed from you typical tourist trap, this is more than worth your time.
Fort St. Elmo
Towering over the entrance to the Marsamxett and Grand Harbours, Fort St Elmo is an ancient stronghold which has survived countless conflicts. Today, visitors to Valletta have the wonderful privilege of getting to see this architectural marvel up close. Built by the Knights of St. John to guard the harbours in 1552, this amazing structure is home to underground granaries, as well as Valletta’s modern day police academy and is home to colourful military re-enactments that are sure to delight cruisers.
Shopping in Valletta
An intriguing place to browse is Gio Batta Delta, which sells everything from fine chinaware and glass art pieces, to tapestries, lace and watercolour prints. For a cult treat, head to Blush & Panic, which offers beautiful vintage clothing and jewellery far removed for the typical fashion boutique fare.
Eating Out in Valletta
For a culinary experience befitting the unique culture of the island, a stop at Rubino is a must. A timeless restaurant serving Maltese cuisine, this famous establishment is well known for, strangely enough, not offering a menu. Instead, chefs will personally cook seasonal delicacies to suit your tastes, making this a dining experience which is flavoursome and different every day of the week.