Valletta Mini Guide
What's good about Valletta?
Welcome to Valletta, a popular destination on the island of Malta. It was originally named "the most humble city of Valletta" after Jean Parisot de Valette, a Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. Whether you want to tour around and take in a wealth of historical sites, or simply chill out by the Mediterranean and enjoy some great food and hospitality, a visit to Malta's walled capital has something for everyone.
How do I get there?
Malta International Airport is just a few miles outside the city walls. Regular flights go to and from numerous pan-European destinations such as London Gatwick
, Belfast and Berlin
. Onward journeys are simple via bus routes or taxis, offering their services 24 hours a day; there are also hotel shuttles.
There is so much to see and do, making car hire a great option. If you have hired from Rhino, collect your car from the airport "Welcome Hall" and head off swiftly on your adventures. Road connections are good and well-signposted for getting around. It is worth being aware that parts of Valletta are pedestrianised but fear not!... the park and ride system is convenient.
What to see in Valletta?
Valletta is the island's principal culture centre and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. The sights are testament to a rich history, much of which relates back to the Knights of Malta. Those who wish to visit numerous unique churches, palaces and museums, take a wander around the streets and piazzas of the walled Citadel will be thoroughly entertained. You may become familiar with names such as St John's Co-Cathedral, Our Lady of Victories Church and the Auberge de Castille. A visit to the Magisterial Palace mixes history with newer traditions, as it’s now the home of the Maltese President and Parliament.
I'm not much into architecture, what else can I do?
From the city gates down to the Mediterranean coast, you can enjoy relaxing walks, shopping, dining and so much more! For a bit of evening culture, visit Manoel Theatre which has become Malta's National Theatre and is home to the National Orchestra, and one of the oldest working theatres in Europe.
Heading towards the water you'll find a lot to occupy your time. Attention shoppers!... head towards Republic and Merchant Streets in town to find shops and markets where old warehouse buildings stretch along the quay wall of Valletta waterfront in Floriana having been sympathetically restored to offer great retail, dining and leisure facilities. There is a cruise-liner terminal along the old sea wall of the waterfront and two natural harbours along the peninsula. A visit to the stunning Grand Harbour is a must; don’t forget your camera.
Annual events include the Maltese Carnival held every February, the annual Regatta on Victory Day in September and several feasts in honour of Maltese Saints. For sports fans, Valletta has a football and rugby union team.
What's to eat?
The city is dotted with cafes and restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines, influenced alongside the island's history as well as its position as an important trade route. Dishes are adaptations using Sicilian, Middle Eastern and Arabic ingredients, being further influenced by European origins of the Knights of Malta and later on by the British. Head for the Main Square to experience relaxed open air dining.
Valletta at a glance
There is a lot to do in Valletta because so much has happened there over the centuries. Begin your trip there with a visit to the ‘Malta Experience’ an audio-visual guide to the history of the island. There you’ll find out about the Knights Hospitaller, the origins of the Maltese Cross and learn about the bravery of the Maltese during World War II.
From there too you can choose to visit any of the sights mentioned in the tour such as St John’s Cathedral or the Fort St Elmo, both of which have amazing stories attached to them.
for a full list of car hire pick-up locations in and around Valletta.