Boat in Valletta

Valletta, with its 6,000 inhabitants, is the smallest capital city in Europe and is situated on a small peninsula in a rugged part of the Maltese coastline. Although small in size, Valletta is literally brimming with historical monuments, museums and restaurants.

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The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and most of the buildings date back to the 16th century. The vast majority of Valletta in its current form was built after 1565 by the Knights of Malta. The houses, churches and cathedral are built in a lavish Baroque style. The whole of Valletta is surrounded by massive walls.

Sights and attractions

Valletta is often referred to as the "City of Palaces" and it is amazing how many palaces there are in such a small area. As you wander the narrow streets, you'll come across numerous tucked-away squares, churches, and fountains, all with the Baroque backdrop of ordinary residential houses. Let's take a look at Valletta's most important monuments.

  • St. John' sCathedral - From the outside, the cathedral, completed in 1577, looks rather austere and uninteresting, but don't be fooled. The interior, with its breathtaking paintings by Caravaggio, is without exaggeration one of the world's most beautiful treasures. See our mini-guide for details.
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Malta's most famous and one of its greatest monuments, not to be missed in any photo. This Roman Catholic church boasts a large dome from afar, and although it was originally built in 1570, its current appearance only comes from an extension in 1981. Admission is free.
  • TheGrand Master's Palace - The largest and oldest of Valletta's palaces, dating from 1571, is again a little deceptive from the outside with its austere façade hiding a magnificent courtyard, interiors and armoury. Part of the palace serves as the residence of the current President of Malta. Entrance is 4,70 eur, the armoury another 4,70 eur.
  • Casa Rocca Piccola - This unique palace of the bourgeois upper class will show you how the Maltese elite have lived for the past 400 years. Admission is 9 eur, students 5 eur.
  • Fort St. Elmo - At the very end of the peninsula you'll come across a massive 1530 fortress that watches over the entrance to Valletta's harbour. Apart from the amazing genius loci hidden in the thick stone walls, there are beautiful views of the bay and Valletta. You have to pay to enter 10 eur.
  • Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens - Although Valletta doesn't provide much space for sprawling parks, you can relax in the beautiful baroque surroundings of Upper Barrakka Gardens and Lower Barrakka Gardens on the Grand Harbour waterfront. Admission is free.


Valletta is also an ideal place for museum lovers. At the very least, the institutions listed below should be a must-visit:

  • TheNational War Museum summarizes Malta's strategic role in both world wars,
  • TheMuseum of Fine Arts has collections of artists such as Tintoretto, Carpaccio and others,
  • TheMaritime Museum highlights the importance of the sea and shipping to Malta as an island,
  • TheNational Archaeological Museum gives an insight into Malta's prehistory, both cultural, natural and geographical.

Information on admission fees and opening times can be found on the single official website

Accommodation Valletta

Valletta will be a strategic place to stay if you want to go on tours of Malta by bus and if you like to spend time in historic city centres.

Prices here are on the Maltese average, i.e. standard 3* hotels from 120 eur per night for 2.


In the south of Valletta is one of the country's main bus stations, where buses leave for all corners of the island (location on

Valletta itself is ideally walkable within two hours, including breaks for sightseeing.

Expect Valletta to be a very hilly city.

For detailed information on public transport or ferries from Valletta to Sliema or the Tri-Cities, see the Transport chapter.

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