A Local’s Guide to Valletta
and dive deeper
A local’s guide to Valletta.
In recent years, the Baroque city of Valletta, Malta has underwent a process of regeneration, attracting more visitors than ever before. Due to its rich history and cultural importance, Valletta was named as the European Capital of Culture 2018, a title that has introduced new Valletta restaurants, museums and public spaces.
The city is now a hot-spot for creatives, culinary enthusiasts and history aficionados, all at once! If you’re planning your trip to Malta, staying in Valletta is a great way to experience the best in art, culture and history that the islands have to offer.
Explore the Maltese history in Valletta
Start your day by taking a journey through time in the fortified city of Valletta, where history comes to life. A designated UNESCO world heritage site, the city has been described as ‘one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world’. Built by the religious Order of the Knights of St John in 1565, Valletta was named after the noble military commander, Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette. Make sure to check out the Grandmaster’s Palace State Rooms, within one of the very first buildings to be built in Valletta. Here, you’ll also find the Grandmaster’s Palace Armoury, which is home to one of the most impressive collection of arms in the world.
Did you know that Valletta’s underground consists of a complex network of tunnels and chambers? The Lascaris War Rooms were used as the British War Headquarters from 1940, and for Operation Husky – the planned invasion of Sicily – in 1943. The underground War Rooms later acted as the Headquarters for the British Royal Navy’s Mediterranean fleet, playing a crucial role during the Suez Crisis in 1956. The War Rooms served as NATO’s Communication Centre between 1967 and 1977, before being closed down and reopened as a museum.
To delve deep into Malta’s wartime history, visit the War Museum at Fort St Elmo. The star-shaped fort played a crucial role throughout Malta’s history, as it stands at the tip of the Grand Harbour in Valletta. The museum is home to a vast collection of artefacts and information dating back to the early Bronze Age in 2500 BC, all the way through to World War I and World War II.
At the Auberge de Provence in Republic Street, you will come across the National Museum of Archaeology, which was constructed in 1571 to house the Knights coming from Provence, France. The Museum showcases Maltese history through artefacts dating back all the way to 5000BC.
Take a stroll through Valletta
If you’re looking for the best views in Malta, head to the Upper Barrakka Gardens. The Upper Barrakka Gardens are the perfect place to enjoy a late morning coffee, while overlooking the stunning Grand Harbour of Valletta. Right below the Upper Barrakka Gardens lies the Saluting Battery, where a canon is fired daily at 12:00hrs and 16:00hrs.
Take a break at one of the Valletta restaurants dotted around the city. You can enjoy a casual lunch at the Cheeky Monkey Gastropub or try out the innovative menu at Grain, which is based on a relaxed sharing concept.
Immerse yourself in the local culture
The recently opened MUŻA museum is another item to add to your list of things to do in Valletta. Located in the Auberge d’Italie, which was home to the Italian Knights of St John, MUŻA is Malta’s first green-powered national community-art museum.
Spazju Kreattiv, Malta’s national centre for creativity, also hosts regular art exhibitions, theatre performances and arthouse cinema screenings at the St James Cavalier. The Valletta Contemporary is a recent addition to the culture and art scene in Valletta, Malta. The museum hosts regular exhibitions promoting emerging and established contemporary artists, coming from both international and local backgrounds.