Valletta – Small town, big history #places

5 min read

Places can affect us, create a certain atmosphere that remains for a long time, and give us new impressions. What is a city like? Where does this feeling come from, the effect that you feel in the city? In our #places section, we take you to the European capitals – to introduce you to places, personalities, buildings that reflect the city in all its facets. Let’s go to … Valletta!

Panorama Valletta

#places: Valletta

Country: Republic of Malta
Inhabitants: ca. 433.300
Area: 316 km2

The Maltese archipelago, consisting of the islands of Malta and Gozo, brings a wealth of history, culture, natural beauty and culinary highlights. Cultural center is the capital Valletta, with nearly 6,000 inhabitants one of the smallest capitals in the world. But you should not be deceived by size: In the walled old town, founded in the 16th century by the Knights of St. John, visitors will find a variety of museums, palaces and churches. One of the many wonderful baroque buildings is the St. John's Co-Cathedral, in whose sumptuous interior you can find Caravaggio's masterpiece "The Beheading of John the Baptist", the painter's only signed work. By the Way: Many Maltese churches have two clocks that show different times. One clock indicates the correct time, the other is a dummy that should confuse the devil so that he does not disturb the service ...

View over the capital Valletta
The maltese capital Valletta
Painting by Caravaggio
The famous painting by Caravaggio in the cathedral of Valletta

On Malta …

Another cultural treasure in the capital is the Casa Rocca Piccola, a city palazzo full of works of art and treasures, best explored through an entertaining guided tour that not only gives you an interesting insight into the works exhibited, but also the family history of the ninth Marquis de Piro.

Address: 74 Republic Street, Valletta, Malta

Upper Barrakka Gardens
Upper Barrakka Gardens
View on the harbour of Valletta
Grand Harbour in Valletta

Interesting Places

The best view of the city is certainly from the Upper Barrakka Gardens (in maltese: Il-Barrakka ta 'Fuq), located at the highest point of the fortification on St. Peter & St. Paul Bastion. From here you have a fantastic view of the Grand Harbor and the three classic Knight cities Vittorosia, Senglea and Cospicua. A bit more to the northeast are located the Lower Barrakka Gardens. By the way: With the traditional water taxi Dghajsa you can reach the three cities of the Knights from their most beautiful side.

Address: 292 Triq Sant' Orsla, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

For dining, we advise the restaurant "Rubino" - here, Maltese cuisine is prepared following a more than 100 year-tradition. Typical treats include the Aljotta fish soup, the fenek moqli (rabbit roast) and the goat cream cheese with fig jam.

Address: 53 Old Bakery Street, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

Culinary delight

Those who visit Malta, of course, do not stay in the capital Valletta, but make at least a trip to the old capital Mdina, where the cats loll in the narrow streets and you enjoy a lush chocolate cake - on the terrace of the "Fontanella Tea Garden", with a magnificent view until the coast. If you do not like coffee or tea, you can drink the typical bitter lemonade "Kinnie" with the cake.

Address: 1 Bastion Street, Mdina, Malta


The best chocolate cakes at „Fontanella Tea Garden“, © Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Those looking for a typical souvenir will surely find what they are looking for at Ta 'Qali Crafts Village. On the craft market the glassblowers from Mdina, who are selling top-class colorful creations, are especially impressive.

Address: Attard, Malta

On Gozo …

A visit to Malta should always include a visit to the smaller sister island of Gozo too. Although one of the main attractions, the rock formation "Azure Window" in 2007 irretrievably plunged into the sea, Gozo has more to offer. Especially the temple of Ggantija, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the oldest freestanding buildings in the world and about 5,600 years old. The legend says that the complex was built in a single night by a giantess carrying her child in her arms.

Address: Triq John Otto Bayer, Ix-Xagħra, Malta


The Temple of Ggantija, © BoneA, Ggantija Temples, Xaghra, Gozo, CC BY-SA 4.0
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, a bay, formed by the small islands Comino, Cominotto and a couple of rocks – laying between the main island of Malta and the neighboring island of Gozo.© Erik1980, Blue Lagoon and Cominotto, CC BY-SA 3.0

Historic Architecture

The story of Odysseus, who acoording to the legend has been imprisoned in a cave on Gozo island by the nymph Calypso, also dates back to ancient times. At every step you will encounter the past, like in Gozo's capital Victoria, whose citadel, in addition to the 17th century cathedral, museums and small shops, also houses the regional restaurant "Ta 'Rikardu". Here you can enjoy excellent local specialties, wines, cheeses, olives, capers, rustic bread and more, in an authentic atmosphere.

Address: 4 Fosos Street, Ir-Rabat Għawdex, Malta

Impressive Landscape

Numerous other picturesque restaurants overlooking the sea and activities in and on the water are waiting. Especially for divers, the archipelago is a true paradise. From the inland lake Dwejra the bright blue sea with small caves, pale purple coral and countless species of fish can be reached through a crevice. Also sailors, surfers, and boat guests benefit from the natural beauty.

View over Gozo from the citadelle, © 自由馴鹿 (ZiYouXunLu), Panorama of Gozo, CC BY-SA 4.0

And where does the salt come from that the guests get to eat in the nice restaurants in the evening? At best, from the salt pans of the Cini family. They have been producing salt from the north coast of Gozo for many generations. The salt pans of Xwejni Bay have do exist since Roman times and are not only useful, they are also very nice photogenic. The white gold is cleaned and packed by hand. An ideal gift ...

Address: Xwejni Street, Żebbuġ (Gozo), Malta

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