Valletta is the picturesque capital city of the small island nation of Malta. Listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, the city is like a big open-air museum with the Baroque architecture that decorate the city, its fine palaces and churches, and heritage museums.
The city was built from the plans of Vatican architect Francisco Laperelli during the 16th century immediately after the Great Siege of 1565, and Valletta still retains it splendor and grandeur until today. Because of its unique and historic setting, the city plays hosts to various cultural events, from theater plays to operas.
The city occupies a peninsula that boasts stunning sea vies of the Mediterranean. Valletta also provides a great view of Malta’s Grand Harbour, one of the most beautiful harbors in the Mediterranean.
To truly explore and experience the beauty of Valletta’s honey colored streets, one needs to go around by foot. When you get into the City Gates, the main streets lead all the way to Fort. St. Elmo. There you will also see, amidst the small cafes and shopping boutiques, the bomb site where the Royal Opera House used to stand before the Second World War. Walking further down, you will see the Archaeological Museum that houses the prehistoric pottery, Roman and Punic period tomb furniture, and personal ornaments and sculptures from the megalithic temples.
Walking along the Republic Street, you will see St. John’s Square or the Piazza San Gwann with St. John’s Co-Cathedral. The cathedral, though plain from the outside, is a must-see because of its intricately designed interior. It is also the most important and spectacular monument on Valletta.
The Lower Barraca Gardens, a little bit further along Triq il-Meditteran, boasts fantastic sea views, the Siege Bell, and the Sir Alexander Bell Statue. The Collegiate Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck at St Paul Street is considered as the city’s hidden gems because of its ornate baroque interior. The church also said to have a wrist bone of St. Paul and half of the column on which the saint was beheaded.
Some of the other beautiful churches in Valleta are St. Francis of Assisi, Parish Church of St. Augustine, Sanctuary Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carmelite Church, Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul, Church of Christ Redeemer, Church of the Jesuits, Church of St. Mary of Jesus, Scots Church of St. Andrew, Church of Our Lady of the Pilar, Church and Monastery of St. Catherine, Parish Church of Our Lady of Fair Heavens and St. Dominic, Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Church and Chapel of St. Anne, Chapel of Sacra Infermeria, Church of St. Nicholas, Church of St. Roque, Church and Monastery of St. Ursula, Church of Our Lady of Damascus, Church of St. James, Church of St. Barbara, Church of St. Catherine of Italy, Church of Our Lady of Victories, Church of the Blessed Virgin of Notre Dame De Liesse, Church of the Holy Family’s Flight from Egypt, Church of St Lucy
Some of the festivals and special events in Valletta that tourists must see are the Carnival in February/March, the Mediterranean Food Festival in March, Jazz Festival in July, Malta International Airshow in September, Malta Historic Cities Festival and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October.