10 brilliant things to do in Valletta before you die
Valletta is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – everyone knows that, from the residents of our beautiful little island to those who talk with pride of their Maltese heritage.
This list suits both of those groups – so whether you live in Malta and need to do more exploring, or are planning a holiday to come see what the place has to offer, here’s the ultimate checklist.
Valletta is crammed with tourist attractions and historic buildings, plus some of the best dining you’ll find anywhere.
If you’re looking for things to do in Malta’s capital city, check our top 10 list:
1. Visit the Upper Barakka Gardens
The public gardens are free to enter and stroll around. They also offer a perfect place to see Malta’s Grand Harbour in all its glory, with incredible views of Vittoriosa, Senglea, Floriana and Kalkara.
With benches to relax, and a nice kiosk in case you get peckish, this is definitely a must see if you’re visiting Valletta.
2. Visit the Manoel Theatre
For the history and theatre lovers out there, we suggest you pay a visit to the Manoel Theatre. It was built in the early 18th century.
Check their website for concerts, operas, dance shows and more.
3. Visit the Lower Barakka Gardens
Situated next to the Mediterranean Conference Centre, the landmark that shows you you’ve arrived in Malta is The Great Seige Bell.
A lesser known garden to its upper counterpart but definitely gorgeous and worth the visit.
4. Watch the cannons fire
Every day at noon and 4pm, the canons are fired from the Saluting Battery in Valletta. We recommend being at the Upper Barakka Gardens at least half an hour before to find the perfect spot to watch the spectacle.
If you want to get a bit more up-close and personal and take a tour around the Saluting Battery, there are guided tours in English at 11 am, 12.10pm and 3pm. There are also get audio guides in different languages for €3.
5. Visit St John’s Co-Cathedral
With paintings from Caravaggio and Mattia Preti, together with tombstones that cover the whole floor, this Co-Cathedral should definitely be on your Valletta to-do list if you’re into history and art.
St John’s Co-Cathedral is open from Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. On Saturday, it opens from 9.30am to 12pm. The entrance fee includes an audio guide.
6. Visit the former Royal Opera House
You’ll find this gem right as you enter Valletta, just past the new Parliament building at City Gate.
The Royal Opera House was devastated in a fire in 1873 before being restored four years later. During the Second World War, more than half of the building was destroyed during a German bombing raid.
Today, it is an open air venue where you can watch plays and concerts.
7. Have a coffee in Queen’s Square
With various café options to pick from, the highlight of sitting down for a coffee is probably knowing that you’re sitting right in front of the National Library.
Sit down in the open air and relax as you watch people strolling past you while sipping on your coffee, some hustling and bustling to their next destination, and some enjoying the beautiful architecture surrounding them.
8. Take a stroll down 200 years of history
Valletta is brimming with historical landmarks waiting to be explored, from the grid formed streets that are so easy to get lost in, to the historical buildings waiting for their photo to be shared on Instagram.
If you read a bit about Valletta’s history before you visit, you’ll appreciate every corner, from the street names, to the reasoning behind the city’s architecture and so much more!
9. Hit the shops
Your options are endless here, simply take a stroll down Republic Street and do some window shopping, or some actual shopping depending on what your budget is like at the time.
You’ll find shops of every type, from clothes, to accessories, to tech, sunglasses, you name it! You’ll definitely find a little souvenir of Malta to take with you back home.
10. Have lunch at Valletta Waterfront
If you feel like a bit of a change of scenery, and a nice walk along the sea front, you can head down to Valletta Waterfront for lunch. When it comes to picking a restaurant, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Valletta Waterfront is known for having eating establishments all lined up next to each other, offering different cuisine from Asian food, Italian, burger places, anything you’re in the mood for.