Valletta, the capital city of the Republic of Malta, is a nation spread across a string of 7 islands located south of Sicily in the Mediterranean. The city's fascinating history dates back 7,000 years to the dawn of civilization. After many years of struggle for independence, Malta finally gained status as an independent republic in 1974.
Today, visitors can enjoy modern luxuries while also planning an escape into the past, touring temples that predate even the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge of England. Discover unique gifts on the main shopping streets of Republic and Merchant-lined with art galleries, souvenir shops, courtyards, gardens and cafes. Valletta is renowned for glass-blown lamps, Maltese lace, silver filigree, muslin fabrics and carved wooden figurines. Malta is also a popular film location, noted for its gorgeous geography. Films made here include Gladiator, U-571, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy and Munich.
Places to Explore
- St. John's Cathedral
This historic cathedral was completed in 1577 and serves as a resting place for knights. Step lightly over the engraved marble tombstones that cover the cathedral floor and marvel at the museum's works by master painter Caravaggio.
- Grand Master's Palace
Completed in 1574, this site serves as the office of the President and seat of the Maltese Parliament. See period furnishings, portraits of the Grand Masters, a history of the armory and an enormous fresco by Perez d'Aleccio.
- Upper Barracca Gardens
This mid-17th century garden was a peaceful place for the Italian Knights of the Langue. Get a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour and other historic cities.
- Auberge De Castile
Situated in Castille Place, this castle is one of the finest architectural works in Malta, which today houses the office of the Prime Minister.
- Republic and Merchant Streets
Valletta's 2 main shopping streets are lined with art galleries, souvenir shops, fountains, courtyards, gardens and cafes. Look for handmade crafts throughout the city.
- Blue Grotto
The largest and most impressive of six caves carved by years of relentless pounding by the sea. The water seems an impossible cobalt color as the sky reflects off the white sand bottom.
- Valletta Waterfront
Originally a district of 250-year-old warehouses built by Grand Master Pinto at the height of Malta's baroque period, it's since been transformed into restaurants, bars and stores along the water's edge.
Both Maltese and English are the official languages and many people speak both.
The Euro is the official currency. However, major credit cards and U.S. currency are accepted in most restaurants and larger shops. Banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and exchange bureaus can be found all over the Islands.
- How to Get Around
- Taxis are located at the exit area of the terminal and can be pre-paid on the pier in exchange for a voucher given to the driver.
- Bus Route 198 operates throughout the week from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on a half-hour basis.
- There is regular ferry service between Malta and the 2 other inhabited islands, Gozo and Comino.