With its long history and unique culture, Malta’s capital Valletta is far more than a city to visit and do shopping. It gives an insight into the small islands rich cultural heritage and long history beginning in the 16th century. Named by the Grand Master of the catholic Order of Malta, Jean Parisot de Valette, the walls of Valletta saw many changes go by. By walking the narrow streets, the “savour of old times” can still be felt.
After getting up late this morning, we treated ourselves with a delicious breakfast of Maltese olives and freshly baked bread from the small local Borg Bakery around the corner. Here, the baker prepared the dough late in the evening when we visited the bakery first and made delicate bread the next morning when we came back again. This place is said to have the best fresh bread of the town. Prices here are so unusually small compared to the modern big bakeries in the big cities that we sometimes forget that bread and corn was once staple food that was affordable to everyone (for a loaf depending on the size we paid only 60 cents).
After breakfast and check-out we left our big luggage in the storage room and started the day tour at the northernmost point of town at St. Elmo Bay. The bay and underwater wrack HMS Maori is a popular spot for divers. But also from above the water it opens up panoramic views on the city’s walls, the spacious promenade and a overview over the rooftops of the city centre.
If you are lazy walking around Valletta, try out the Fun Train Sightseeing Tour through the city, which starts daily at the St. John’s Cathedral. The train will take you around the town in 30 minutes.
Further down the main road you will find the National War Museum as well as Chapel of Sant Anne. The next cafe St. Elmo’s Bistro where you can sit down and rest will be found at the Malta Experience, an audio-visual show on the islands’ 7.000 year old history. Rather than spending much time here, we went up to the Siege Bell War Memorial near the Lower Barrakka Gardens, where you have a nice breeze in the warm sun and spectacular view on the bay and the opposite side headlands. The Siege Bell War Memorial was erected in 1992 in memories of the Second World War occupation of Malta. Around noon time its bell rings loudly to remember those soldiers fallen in the war for the Maltese people.
Only 15 minutes walk from the War Memorial, by passing narrow picturesque lanes and cute souvenirs shops one will reach the Upper Barrakka Gardens Park. Ice cream carts sell cold refreshments and ice cream here and it is a nice place to linger and reflect on the day. Since it was noon and lunch time by the time we reached the park, we felt really hungry and in search for something yummy and local to eat made our way into the busy city centre of Valletta.
There are plenty of restaurants and cozy cafes around the place and it is not easy to recommend anything particular. We had tried out some ice cream and coffee nearby the Grandmaster Palace Courtyard and the library. Indeed, coffee was very tasty wherever we had it in Malta. So there is nothing wrong you can do by trying out some local cafes and bars rather than ogling the popular coffee chains.
Restaurants are also all over the city. If you have enough time (and money), head into a restaurant that is specialized in local dishes and specialities. Cheapest food we had in Malta was pizza, with prices around 8 € and upwards.
With regards to my beloved boyfriend and gifted photographer with whom I had spent that day in Valletta. Check out his profile on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MCM.visuals/
What we probably enjoyed most about Valletta, were the breathtaking views over the city and the sea, myriad of narrow streets and hidden places as well as the capital’s very own atmosphere of modern and antique, old- and new-styled architecture, people and food.