Valletta is officially one of my favourite capital cities in the world. The capital of Malta may be small, (which is why I like it), but it’s authentic with no skyscrapers in sight and it’s absolutely bursting with beauty and history.
This is a capital city that offers something unique on every winding street and I could spend hours wandering around this beautiful city. To help you plan your Valletta city break, I’ve put together a list of 15 awesome things to do in Valletta, including extra information to help.
Getting to Valletta is pretty easy and transport links are very easy! Based on our experiences, here’s how you can get to Valletta from some of the most popular locations …
Chances are that if you’re visiting Valletta, you’ll either be staying there or somewhere nearby, but you’ll be entering via Malta International Airport. The great news is that Valletta city is only 15 minutes from the airport!
If you’re visiting Valletta from other areas around Malta, then it’s super easy to get there via the local bus network, or using the ride sharing app “Cool” or taxi app, “Bolt”. Buses run regularly and are a set fare regardless of distance. In the winter the fare is 1.50 Euro per trip and in the summer, 2 Euro per journey.
Getting around Valletta is super easy and you’ve got a couple of options.
When we visited Valletta we entered via transport and didn't stay in the city. We stayed about a 25 minute journey outside the city in St Paul's Bay. However, there are lots of great hotels in Valletta for you to choose from. Since it's a small city, accommodation within the city walls is quite pricey, but I've done my best to round-up the best options for you below.
Okay now it’s time to delve into the most awesome things to do in Valletta! We did all these activities, and I honestly thought they were all fantastic. Valletta is seriously an awesome city.
The National War Museum is located in Fort Elmo, which itself is pretty darn cool. You can buy a joint entrance ticket that gives you access to Fort St Elmo, the National War Museum and The Malta Experience (which we will discuss below) for 14 euro, and this is very good value and far cheaper than buying them separately!
When you enter, you can first walk around Fort Elmo and check out beautiful views and learn more about the history of the fort, then it’s time to enter the War Museum. It’s laid out in different buildings that take you on a journey of Malta from the beginning (when it first had people on it) right through the various wars, and then onto today.
Malta has a fascinating history, and it was the most bombed country in the world in WW2, so this is definitely well worth a visit and it’s super interesting.
A visit here will take around 1.5 hours, but should definitely make it on your Valletta itinerary.
The Malta Experience is probably one of the most important things to do in Valletta. Simply because it’s going to give you a complete overview of the history of this wonderful country in one 45 minute sitting. It’s basically a movie experience, that comes in over 30 languages, and it takes you through Malta’s History. It’s super interesting and you can take a tour of the underground hospital that once stood here afterwards if you so wish.
There’s also a little cafe too which serves up refreshing drinks and snacks before you go in!
I think if you’ve only got time for a couple of Valletta sights, then make this one of your top places to visit in Valletta! Buy your tickets online on their website here.
The Lascaris war rooms were probably one of the most surprising Valletta attractions we visited. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it exceeded my expectations. The war rooms are fascinating and original, and the history here is alive.
You can take a tour with a guide (for free) and I highly recommend this as it gives you so much more insight into how these rooms worked, and it gives you a chance to ask questions. The tours run hourly, so ask when buying your tickets when the next tour is so you can plan your day to match.
The entrance price is 12 Euro per person and the war rooms are open from 10 am to 5pm.
If you’re interested in the war and Malta’s role in it, then this is a great Valletta attraction to visit.
The Lower Barrakka Gardens are another great place to visit in Valletta and again it’s a perfect place to catch some sunshine. There is a restaurant on site to grab a bite to eat, or a drink, and there is a really cool “temple” style building that reminds me of Rome which is beautiful. From here you can also see the Siege Bell War Memorial, and if you wish you can walk to that too as it’s free to enter.
Valletta is full of beautiful churches, but the most popular and most famous of them all is the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This church is free to enter (a pet peeve of mine is churches charging an entrance price) and it’s very beautiful inside. You can wander, read a little bit of information on the church as flyers are provided, or even light a candle if you wish. Just be respectful and quiet!
Tritons Fountain is pretty epic. It’s located just before the entrance to Valletta City, so it’s a bit of an iconic fountain. I’ve seen pictures of it lit up in the evening and it looks really cool, but it’s just as majestic in the daytime! This is a popular place to get a picture, and there’s quite a few little stalls nearby selling ice cream, so a good place to grab one.
Top Tip: Ice cream is half the price here than what they charge once you enter the city, so buy it here and bring it in with you.
Republic Street is probably the most “famous” street in Valletta. It’s basically the tourist high street that’s packed with cool restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, general shops and more. If you want to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a cocktail, or get your shop on, then head down here! You’ll also see some street performers and people selling unique items on stalls.
St Georges Square is kind of known as the “centre” of Valletta and it’s where the Grandmasters Palace is located. This was actually closed for construction when we visited, but you can go inside during normal operation and check out the The Palace Armoury.
Regardless, St Georges square is a really nice place to just sit and sample a local delicacy,such as pastizzi or some ice cream and enjoy the atmosphere and surroundings. Brad and I sat here for lunch and I will warn you that the pigeons are ruthless!
The 3 cities have a lot of history to them and they’re actually three different forts. Nowadays they’re just filled with housing, shops etc, but you can learn more about the history of them in the war museum I mentioned earlier, or the Malta Experience. But you can also catch some pretty cool views of them. If you’re at Fort Elmo, this will offer an awesome view of the 3 cities, or you can see them from the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
It’s also possible to take a 3 cities tour that will drive you around the 3 cities and inform you of their history.
The Gardens in Valletta were all made to introduce relaxing greens areas for the locals many many years ago and they still stand today. They are extremely tranquil, relaxing and there are a couple of small restaurants in the gardens that allow you to grab a bite to eat, or a glass of wine.
The Upper Barrakka Gardens also give you a view of the Saluting Battery (which you can visit separately and learn more about), but everyday at 4 o'clock, the cannons are fired! Brad and I missed this on two occasions, but I’m sure it’s very cool.
Entrance to the gardens are free, so this is one of the perfect things to do in Valletta if you’re on a budget.
If you’re looking for a lunch with choice, then check out the really cool food market dining experience in Valletta. You go inside and there are many different food outlets serving up all styles of food including, Italian, Chinese, Indian, BBQ, American, Mexican...everything! You place your order then you can sit outside and they’ll give you a little buzzer and when it goes off, you can collect your food!
Since Brad and I are now vegetarian, it is a little limited in the veggie options (Pizza & Pasta are available, but we had enough of that!), but if you’re a meat eater, then you’ll be spoilt for choice. Everything smelt AMAZING!
Valletta waterfront is quite beautiful and it’s actually the area where all the ships dock for the day from cruises. Brad visited Malta when he was a child and couldn’t remember much, but when we headed to the waterfront, suddenly the memories came flooding back!
The waterfront now has a strip of bars, cafes and restaurants and they’re currently building a new Hard Rock Cafe. But it’s a lovely, quiet area that’s perfect for grabbing a romantic meal, or a relaxing coffee. We did some work in the Starbucks, which even has a co-working table which is pretty cool.
St John's Co Cathedral is one of the most popular places to visit in Valletta, and we had every intention of visiting. We learnt about the cathedral in the Malta experience, and it does have a unique history in Valletta. I’ve seen the pictures inside and it’s very grand and stunning.
However, my issue is that they charge 10 Euro each for entrance, and I just think it’s wrong to charge into places of worship (this is coming from a Christian!). But it’s a highly rated tourist attraction in Valletta, and if you don’t mind paying, then it’s worth visiting!
Opening hours are from 9.30 am to 4 pm and you can't visit on Sundays.
The Valletta City Gate is the grand entrance to Valletta and it’s seriously cool. You know a city is going to be awesome when it’s got walls surrounding it and a fabulous gate to gain entrance! This is an iconic picture spot in Valletta, and you can stand and appreciate the magnitude of the area before heading into the historic city.
The reason this makes the list of things to do in Valletta is because of just how beautiful every street of Valletta is. The roads are small, hilly, with beautiful structures, and traditional Maletese Balconies, and I think you should just wander and discover some beautiful locations. As you’re wandering you’ll also find unique cafes and restaurants and more churches to discover.
This is very time specific but if you are in Malta for Carnival (which runs in February), then you should 100% go to Valletta to experience Carnival! It's typically a 5 day fiesta and there are awesome parades, floats and performances to see. We had never been to a carnival celebration before and we thought this one was awesome. It's free to go as well! Check out the website for updates on dates.
Here are some of the most popular tours:
Valletta is truly an all-year round destination since Malta gets awesome weather pretty much every month of the year. Bradley and I visited in the Maltese winter in February/March and the weather on the days we visited Valletta was beautiful. Highs of 23 degrees with no wind. Of course winter brings less crowds too, and if you do visit in summer, prices of tourist attractions may rise so just be aware.
Read Also: How To Plan An Unforgettable Trip
Valletta is a perfect city break destination, and in order to see all the best sights and really experience all the best things to do in Valletta, you’ll need at least 2 nights, but I recommend 3 nights so you can sample the culture and nightlife too.
Being a capital city, you’d expect Valletta to be a lot more expensive than it is. You can get a decent meal with wine for 10 Euro, local snacks for 1-2 euro, drinks for a couple of euro and souvenirs likewise. Valletta can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
I would suggest a budget of around 80 Euro per day as this will include all your sightseeing too! This is based on you staying in cheaper accommodation.
If you are on a budget, then check out these tips:
After Valletta you could explore the rest of Malta and it’s beauty by heading to the north of the island, to St Paul's Bay, Bugibba, Sliema, St Julian's, or the old capital of Mdina. Or you can head over to the island of Gozo and check out it’s unique history and stunning landscapes.
Other guides to read: