From my own experiences of Valletta I know just what an incredible city it is. Now you do not only have to take my word for it – Valletta has been named Capital of Culture for 2018.
There are so many great things to say about Valletta so it’s hard to know where to start. Did you know Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the whole city!
Valletta is a fortress city, lined with impressive bastions and forts and within its walls is a maze of streets full of treasures influenced throughout its eventful history. There are no shortage of historical buildings to visit, however, one of the most impressive buildings is the St Johns Co Cathedral, home to famous masterpieces by Caravaggio and Mattia Preti. A visit here is a must when in Valletta.
Flanked by two harbours, Marsamxett Harbour and The Grand Harbour, there are more great views to be admired. The Grand Harbour has played a vital role in the history of Valletta and the Maltese Islands. The Grand Harbour has been a place of refuge since ancient times but is most well known for two events; The heroic defence of Malta during the great siege of 1565, one of the bloodiest and most celebrated events of sixteenth-century Europe when the Knights of St John and the Maltese fought and beat the invading Ottoman Empire and its pivotal role in the second world war as a military base. You can find multiple museums to learn all about the fascinating Maltese history.
The gardens in Valletta are another beautiful sight. There are a number of hidden gardens but the main being Hastings Gardens, Lower Barrakka Gardens and the Upper Barrakka Gardens where you can view the Saluting Battery.
Take the lift down to sea level and soak up more of the scenic surroundings, stop and watch the world go by and be sure to sample some of the local cuisine.
As you walk through the gridded streets, it’s hard to take everything in in one go. Every time I go back I find something new.
There are little shops and bars hidden around corners and tucked into little holes in the wall. Valletta has its share of international brand shops but this is mixed with an abundance of local businesses and shops making this a top destination for those who like to do a little shopping on their travels.
Valletta is host to a number of events throughout the year with the highlights being the Malta Carnival, various arts and music festivals, and constant ongoing parades and street performances. This amazing city is only going to get better whilst it celebrates its new status – European Capital of Culture 2018, Valletta should be a must on any travellers wish list for 2018.
Author: Stephen Hearn