The most beautiful sights in Valletta

Valletta, the capital of Malta is the southernmost capital of Europe

Valletta is a small town that you can easily discover on foot and where there is a lot to see and experience. The old part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a rich history and culture, as well as a lot of contemporary architecture.

Curious about what you can expect from your visit to this city? Feel free to read on and discover the most beautiful sights in Valletta.

Shooting the cannon
Shooting the cannon
Upper Barrakka Gardens
Upper Barrakka Gardens

The best view of Valletta from the Barrakka Gardens

The Barrakka Gardens (Upper Barrakka Gardens and Lower Barrakka Gardens) offer fine views over Valletta Harbor and Malta's Three Cities. They are a pleasant place to stroll around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. For those looking for shade and tranquility in the city, this is the ideal place to visit in Valletta.

The garden with arches, all of which were built in 1661 by the Italian knight Fra Flaminio Balbiani. These also originally had a roof, but this was removed after the Rebellion of the Priests in 1775. The Upper Barrakka Gardens is also where cannon shots are fired from the ramparts daily at 12 noon and 4 pm.

Casa Rocca Piccola, the palace with the garden

Casa Rocca Piccola was built at the time of the Knights of St. John in 1580. These palaces served as prestige objects and helped Valletta to compete with cities such as Paris or Venice. Casa Rocca Piccola is one of two palaces in Valletta built for Admiral Don Pietro la Rocca. During its construction it was known as "the palace with the garden" because houses in Valletta at that time were not normally allowed to have gardens.

Casa Rocca Piccola is a large palace and part of the house is open to visitors

  • The owner wants to introduce you to the history and culture of an aristocratic Maltese family.
  • You will have access to ten rooms in which you can admire, among other things, the private collection of the Marquis and objects from daily life.
  • You will also pass a few libraries, two dining rooms, many salons and its own chapel.
  • You will end your visit in the air-raid shelters that were dug during the Second World War to protect themselves against the bombings

Valletta
Valletta

The bustle of Valletta Waterfront

The Valletta Waterfront area was developed under the reign of Grand Master Manuel Pinto de Fonseca in 1752. Many buildings are built in Baroque style, the most notable of which is the central church, the Pinto shops and Pinto wharf on the left and the Forni shops on the right.

These shops and warehouses were designed by Andrea Belli. In addition to its historical value, the Valletta Waterfront is also a busy cruise terminal and there are many cozy restaurants, bars and shops to discover.

National Museum of Archaeology

The National Museum of Archeology is often skipped, but if you have the time it is definitely worth a visit. It holds a wealth of archaeological finds dating back to prehistoric times.

A visit to the museum is a good warm-up if you also want to visit the other historic buildings in Valletta. Among other things, you can learn about how the people here in Valletta lived during the Neolithic period.

The Grandmaster Palace
The Grandmaster Palace
The Grandmaster Palace
The Grandmaster Palace

The Grandmaster Palace, the heart of Valletta

Ever since Valletta's inauguration as the capital, the Grand Master's Palace has been home to the Maltese government. When the French were expelled from the island, it first became the British Governor's Palace and later the Presidential Palace of Malta. In 1571, Grand Master Pietro del Monte commissioned the construction of the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta.

Subsequent grand masters have had the palace renovated, embellished and expanded so that the majestic and imposing building with an equally imposing courtyard garden is still a major attraction in Valletta after all these years.

During your visit to the Palace of the Grand Masters you will pass by

  • Lovely courtyards with fountains and statues.
  • The state apartments, including in particular the council chamber with beautiful curtains woven by the Gobelins factory, the official dining room, that of the Great Council, ..
  • The armory with an impressive collection of armor and weapons, all of which were worn by the Knights and Grand Masters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
  • You can also visit the ambassador's lounge that was used to receive the Grand Master's chic guests and where the Maltese president still welcomes his foreign guests.

St. John's Co-Cathedral, the must-see of Valletta

The St. John's Co-Cathedral was built by the Order of Malta between 1572 and 1577 and commissioned by the Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the monastery church of St. John. The cathedral was designed by the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, whose other structures can also be seen in Valletta. In the chapel of St. John's Co-Cathedral you will find one of Caravaggio's most famous paintings, "The Beheading of John the Baptist".

St. John's Co-Cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe and one of the best examples of High Baroque architecture. It is the most popular attraction in Valletta, so don't miss it!

St. John's Co-Cathedral
St. John's Co-Cathedral

When you want to visit the cathedral, appropriate clothing is required. Scarves are divided inside to cover your arms and legs. Heels are prohibited so that they cannot damage the precious floors.

Teatru Manoel
Teatru Manoel

Tip: The roads in the center of Valletta often go up steeply, so we recommend that you bring good walking shoes when you go out.

Get to know the beautiful Teatru Manoel

Teatru Manoel is one of the oldest theaters still in use in Europe and is certainly one of Valletta's most important venues for the dramatic arts. This makes it a real attraction for theater lovers. Teatru Manoel was named after the Grand Master of the Maltese Order, Fra António Manoel de Vilhena, who ordered its construction in 1731.

Teatru Manoel Place is considered Malta's National Theater and is home to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. The exterior of the building is in late renaissance style, while the interior is rococo and still retains many original features. The two water reservoirs under the floor create breathtaking and crystal-clear acoustics.

Go back in time in the Lascaris War Rooms

Are you a lover of war history? Then you should definitely not miss this attraction in Valletta. The impressive Lascaris War Rooms consist of an underground complex of tunnels and rooms that housed the headquarters of the defense of Malta during the Second World War. The works had begun secretly in 1940 on behalf of the British and were completed in early 1943. For the works, a number of tunnels that were used as housing for slaves at the time of the hospital brothers were expanded.

After the war, the Lascaris War Rooms became the headquarters of the Royal Navy's Mediterranean fleet, which took an active part in conflicts such as the Suez Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis. NATO has used this complex as headquarters for 10 years from 1967 to intercept submarines.

Lascaris War Rooms
Lascaris War Rooms

National Museum of Fine Arts

The National Museum of Fine Arts is located on South Street, within walking distance of Valletta's main entrance. This museum houses art from the Middle Ages to the present day and features works of art by local and international artists. During your tour, you will pass impressive paintings, sculptures, fine silverware and objects related to the Knights of the Order.

It is well worth a visit, if only for the building itself. The beautiful rococo building, known as 'Admiralty House' will certainly charm you. The building once served as the home of the British admiral and as temporary accommodation during the visits of Winston Churchill.

Make a wish at the Fountain of Triton

Just before the city gate of Valletta you will find the romantic Triton fountain. The fountain is actually officially in Floriana, but Valletta's city gate is exactly opposite. You can't miss this somewhat theatrical fountain when you walk into Valletta. You might not think it, but it is one of Malta's most important modern monuments. Before you continue walking, you can throw in a coin and make a wish.

Fountain of Triton
Fountain of Triton
Parliament of Malta Valletta
Parliament of Malta Valletta

Admire the extraordinary architecture of the Parliament of Malta

Valletta is a succession of historic buildings, you will have noticed that already. The beautiful baroque buildings and sand-colored houses built from limestone with colored bay windows in the streets will certainly not escape your attention. But not everything is historic in the Maltese capital. Within the city walls you will find one of the few modern buildings: the parliament building of Malta.

The government used to be located in The Palace of the Grand Masters, but this location is now only used for festive purposes. The Maltese president and the rest of the government are currently housed in the new parliament building that you can visit here in Valletta. In terms of architecture, it may look a bit strange at first sight, but thanks to the same proportions and color of stone, it still fits between the historic buildings. A nice addition to the streetscape of Valletta!

Visit The Three Cities of Malta with a Dgħajsa

The Three Cities or "The Three Cities" is the collective name for the three fortified settlements of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. Vittoriosa, also known as Birgu, originated in the Middle Ages. The other two towns were founded by the Order of St. John in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Located on the other side of the Grand Harbor from Valletta, they are much less visited than Valletta itself. Fortunately, because then you can escape from all the hustle and bustle! They offer a fascinating glimpse into authentic Maltese life.

See the three cities with the Rolling Geeks cart

Rolling Geeks
Rolling Geeks
Fort St. Elmo
Fort St. Elmo

The extreme point of Valletta, Fort St. Elmo

Fort St. Elmo sits at the very tip of the Sciberras Peninsula and watches over the two harbors on either side of this headland. This strategic position has been fully exploited since the Middle Ages: even before the construction of the fortress in the middle of the 16th century, there were already defenses here. The victory of the Maltese Order over the Ottoman army, who attacked the fortress in 1565, led to an expansion of the fortress and the construction of a fortified city - Valletta.

Fort St. Elmo was expanded and improved several times over the centuries and played an important role in many conflicts up to and including the Second World War. Since then it has been transformed into one of the must-sees in Valletta. Now in the fortress you can find the National War Museum of Malta.

Dive into the nightlife in Valletta, nice addresses

Strait Street

Would you like to get to know the local nightlife? Then you must be in Strait Street. Once the neighborhood of the ladies of easy virtue, now the hot spot of Valletta. Here it overflows with trendy cafes, cozy terraces and restaurants where both locals and tourists come to eat in the evening. This long narrow street is the place to be these days.

Bridge Bar

Not far from Strait Street you can also find Bridge Bar. The name says it all, bar on the bridge. Here you will find a nice and cozy setting, between Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens.

Bridge Bar
Bridge Bar