Wandering in the Walled City of Valetta, Malta


Our time in Malta led us to the capital city of Valetta. Valetta is a terrific walled city that is a UNESCO world heritage and a popular cruise ship stopover destination. We’d get to experience a unique day of exploring through the walled city with history around every corner.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Malta, Italy and Germany. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and credited to Alaska Mileage Plan and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Wandering in the Walled City of Malta.

Getting to Valetta, Malta:

On our third day, we organized a day trip to Valletta. We had hoped to stay near Valletta proper, but didn’t find any hotel accommodation that met our needs. After the long indirect hop on hop off bus day on Gozo, we decided to bypass the slower Malta hop on hop off bus for 17€ and went with a hotel taxi direct from the Westin Dragonara Resort for 20€. A nice BMW 520d took us from the hotel down to Malta with a minimum of fuss.

As most may know, Valletta, Malta was built in 1595 after an attack by the Ottoman Turks. The Knights of St John wanted to prepare the city for future defence and built a walled city in 5 years. The result is a great location for a day visit, with many awesome squares and hidden discoveries to find.

A Walking Tour of Valetta:

We spent our time in the walled city of Valetta doing the Lonely Planet Walking tour. It was self guided and was supposed to only take an hour, but instead it took about 3 hours. Thankfully, despite the 27 degree heat, the streets of Malta provided quite a bit of shade from the blazing sun.

Entering into the Walled City of Valetta
Buildings under the Heat of the Blue Sky
Street Scenes in Valetta
Stairway Cafés
Patios under Shade

The St John’s Catherdral:

We viewed St Johns Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Co Catherdral which was wonderfully intricate in its interior details. It was built by the Order of St John in 1572 to 1577.

Simply Impressive Interiors
Gold Altars
Painted Ceilings

We continued the walk down through the historic red light district and over toward the wall of the city.

Alleyways filled with history

We saw the Fort St John at the entrance to the harbour and walked the wall all along the southern wall to the WWII memorial at the gardens. There were great picturesque views of the Valletta inner harbour along the walkway. You could even see the cannon rail turrets of years past.

Walled Fortresses
Walled Adventures
Small Sun Tanning Spaces
A Walled Fortress

There were memorial plaques honouring the Maltese and Commonwealth soldiers that defended the island in WWII. There were also commemorative plaques showing the signing of the end of the Cold War when George W Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the end of the cold war and the start of the nuclear arms decommissioning.

Nicely Designed Gardens
Walled City Views
Views Towards the Ocean
Impressive Panoramic Views
Colorful Windows
Historic Cannons Protecting the Walled City
Walled City Views
Malta Summit of 1989 between George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gobachev

After the walking tour, we took in a leisurely lunch at the Katina Wine Bar near the St John’s Catherdal. Since it was a beautiful day, we enjoyed a bottle of Bolla Pinot Grigio and a Malta sandwich while enjoying the terrace views.

Valetta Outdoor Cafés
Buildings of the State
Bruschetta as a Snack
Tasty Sandwiches and Crisps

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Libyan Airlines ticket office storefront. It appears closed and reportedly hasn’t flown to Malta since 2014.

Libyan Airlines Ticket Office

My Thoughts on Valetta, Malta as a Place to Visit:

We spent the afternoon doing a little shopping amid Malta’s shops. Although there were no real great finds there, although we ended up getting MrsWT73 a silver Maltese Cross necklace which looks nice and sharp.

On the way home, we attempted to get a taxi at the taxi rank outside the main gates. As can be expected, the taxi mafia was in full effect, demanding 30€ for a ride back to St Julian’s in a beat up compact car with probably 200,000 km on it. You wonder why Uber is so popular?!? As we started to walk away, the price dropped to 25€ and eventually to 20€ which was more than reasonable for a 7 km trip. Instead of a nice BMW this time, we had an older european model car with no air conditioning.

Malta was a great surprise and we could have easily spent 5 days there between exploring the beaches and sightseeing around. It was a really pleasant place to visit and we were sad to have to leave.

If you’ve travelled to Valetta, Malta did you find it an engaging city visit ?

5 Comments on “Wandering in the Walled City of Valetta, Malta

  1. Oh wow, what lovely pictures. You can see so many influences in the streets and architecture. I really love the windows though, there seems to a distinctive Maltese style there! I visited Malta for a beach holiday many many years ago as child. I’m inspired to look at the island in a new light by your post. Really enjoyed reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you ThingsHelenLoves.

      Malta is a great destination and it seems it’s not always on the top of the European Travel lists as a place to visit. I’d love to get back there someday for a longer trip to more fully explore the place.

      Liked by 1 person

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