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Valletta Travel Wiki
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Travel to Valletta
If you ever just want to take a stroll outside on a beautiful day to soak up history, then Valletta might just be the perfect place to take that stroll. This capital city is both a World Heritage City and a European Capital of Culture and is often utilized as a base point for the exploration of Malta. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, this country is one of the smallest in the world, but it is also one of the most densely populated countries worldwide as well.
This island nation has always been a critical strategic point for naval excursions throughout human history. It became a republic in 1974, just a decade after gaining independence from the United Kingdom. It’s history of occupation, however, dates back to the Phoenicians and Romans. Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and Valletta is Europe’s smallest capital city. Now hopefully your visit to Valletta won’t be because you were shipwrecked, as it occurred to Paul as written in the Bible in the Book of Acts. If you do have time for an extended visit to this historical city, however, you’re in for a real treat!
The Landmarks Of Valletta Are Simply Stunning
Even though Valletta is the smallest European capital, it might be the largest in regards to historical impact. Even though the population of this tiny nation endured consistent bombings during World War II, many of the landmarks here either survived or have been rebuilt. Here’s a look at some of the top landmarks to see:
- The Palace of the Grand Masters: Now the home of the President’s office and Parliament, the staterooms in this palace are known worldwide for their impressiveness. The Knight’s armory is housed here, where an audio guide will help to give you a glimpse of the different eras of what knights used to protect themselves throughout history. Much of the Palace is typically off-limits to the public, however.
- The Upper Barrakka Gardens: The Grand Harbor is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see. Valletta is built on a small peninsula, which means the Harbor itself allows for a sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea. The Gardens provide a majestic look at the Harbor itself. On a sunny day, you’ll typically find some champagne being enjoyed, along with the view.
- John’s Cathedral: At first glimpse, you wouldn’t think to give this cathedral a second look. To say that the outside of it is unimpressive would be to give it a compliment! The inside, however, is incredibly ornate and impressive. Each order of knights has their own chapel within the cathedral’s walls. The floor is inlaid with various colors of marble, the final resting place of the knights. The ceiling itself is an immense fresco by Mattia Preti. It might not be the most popular cathedral in Europe, but it certainly ranks as one of the most impressive.
- The Cathedral Museum: Featuring two works by Caravaggio, who was briefly a knight, most people come here to view his masterpiece: The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
While In Valletta, Bring Out Your Walking Shoes
Because the city is so compact and small, it is possible to walk virtually anywhere within the city in a couple hours or less. Walking along the shore is always a pleasant experience and can be a leisurely 30 minutes of enjoying the waves. Many will stop simply to admire the view. If you are walking along the shore, be sure to give yourself time to explore Fort St. Angelo.
The date of the fort’s construction is unknown, but there is evidence that even the most ancient civilizations that lived on Malta had chosen to fortify this tiny peninsula that borders the Grand Harbor. Pink marble has also been found on the site, which would match up with Roman texts that were found describing a nearby temple to Astarte.
The first real usage of this fort from a modern point of view occurred in the middle 16thcentury when the Knights of Malta first arrived. A fortification was needed and from a strategic standpoint, Fort St. Angelo was the best location of them all. Today, the Knights Hospitallers and Malta share custody of this fort and the Order of Knights has some limited independence, although Maltan law does apply by treaty.
It is undergoing a major renovation, so public access can be limited at times. Even so, coming close to this piece of human history and to think of all the feet that have once walked the shore your feet are currently walking is an incredibly humbling, yet enlightening experience.
Take a Dive To Explore a Shipwreck
If you love to dive, then taking an afternoon to explore the waters off of Valletta will definitely be worth your while. The wreckage of the HMS Maori sits just off shore, a World War II era ship that was sunk by German aircraft in her moorings in the Grand Harbor. Three years later, the ship was raised and then scuttled off-shore.
As a diving site, the Maori is unique in that nature has started to reclaim the ship as a partial reef, yet many of the gun mounts and the hull of the ship remain largely intact. This gives divers the chance to explore a WWII-era vessel underwater with a tremendous variety of sea life.
The Maori isn’t the only shipwreck dive site available in Malta either. There are about a dozen good sites that will allow you to get an up-close inspection of vintage ships in various states of reclamation. If you get tired of exploring history on land, then why not explore it some more by sea?
Valletta is one of the most breathtaking cities in the world and it truly cannot be described adequately in words. If you make one trip this year, consider a trip to Malta so that you can experience the history and wonder of this capital city for yourself.
Travel and vacation in Valletta, Malta
Here you can find information about travel and holiday trips to Malta. You will find travel deals as well as general travel information, guides, “good to know” and facts about Malta. We try to find the best travel video about the city and its surroundings and we write about the best sights, shopping and things to do. You will also find updated current weather and forecasts. The current exchange rates are also updated many times a day.
Best of Valletta
What to see and do in Valletta ?
Travel and stay
If you are looking for places to stay there are some possibilities where you can search for the cheapest options.
Hostelworld where you can search for budget accommodation
Hotellook where you can search hotels and apartments
Airbnb where you can search accommodation in private apartments and rooms
Rent your transport
A way to get around the city is looking for offers on renting the transport.
Discover Cars is a website offering price comparison on car rentals all over the world
Rent bikes and motorbikes
BikesBooking is a website where you can search bikes, scooter and motorcycle rental.
City tours and transfers
When you are ready to discover the city you can find information about city tours and tranfers in the city on different websites offering search engines with all in one search.
Kiwitaxi is a website where you can search the best offers for city and airport transfers
City Tours and attractions
Find city tours and attractions with local guides and discover the city with the locals. Check ticket prices and book in advance for the biggest and most popular attractions.
Where is the city, maps
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Online weather and forecast
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Online currency exchange rates
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Closest terminals to the city
Here you can see which is the closest terminals to the city