Tourist Attractions and places to visit in Valletta, Malta's capital city

Valletta's attractions, Malta

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Valletta's attractions for tourists. Malta's sightseeing attractions and worthwhile places to visit within Valletta the capital of Malta


Map of Valletta showing attractions & hotels

Auberge de Castille    Bus station    Casa Rocca Piccola    City Gate   Fort St. Elmo War Museum     Fort St. Elmo - Alarme! & In Guardia    Great siege of Malta      Grand Master's Palace      Great Siege Square     Gun Saluting Battery      Hastings Gardens    Knights Hospitallers    Lascaris War Rooms    Lower Barrakka Gardens    Malta Experience   Street Market    Manoel Theatre    Museum of Archaeology    Museum of Fine art     Noon Day Gun    Our Lady Mount Carmel   Palace Square   Queens Square    Republic Street    Siege Bell     St. James Bastion      St. John's Co-Cathedral      Sunday Morning Market      Tourist Office        Triton Fountain       Upper Barrakka Gardens    Views of Grand Harbour    War Museum    Wartime Experience   

 

 

Valletta's bus station  B

Valletta's bus station is the hub for bus transport on Malta. Although called Valletta's bus station, the bus station is located just out side City gate in Valletta's City walls and actually located in Floriana. The bus station is a very wide roundabout with the Triton Fountain in it's centre

There are about 4 bus information kiosks in the bus station along with more kiosks selling food & drinks

Click on a thumbnail photograph to see a larger photograph

 

Valletta Bus Station
Valletta Bus Station

Triton Fountain  1

The triton fountain is located in Floriana just outside of  Valletta's massive city walls in front of  Valletta's City Gate . The fountain is surrounded by Valletta's bus station.  About 100 metres from the bus station to the north is the Le Meridien Phonenicia hotel

 

Triton Fountain


Triton Fountain

Sunday Morning Market - flea market  2

The is held outside Valletta's city walls, in front of St. James Bastion & St. James Counter Guard at the side of the bus station.  This is the largest market in Malta and and interesting to have a look around. Some people may find the caged birds a bit objectionable especially as the gages tend to be small.

During the week there is a daily open air market in Market Street near the Palace

Both outdoor markets sell the usual merchandise sold in markets world wide, seconds, fake designer labels. If looking for a bargain amongst the brick a brac get there early. Don't forget to polish up your bargaining skills

There are additional Sunday Morning Markets in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk in the south west of Malta and the It-Tokk market in Victoria in the centre of Gozo 

 

City Gate 3

City gate is the main entrance through the city walls to the City of Valletta. On the outside of the walls, is the town of Floriana, the Triton fountain & Valletta's bus station

 

A good view of the great ditch can be seen from the bridge leading up to the City gate, also good views can be enjoyed from the ramparts above the City Gate

 

The current Gate, the fourth to be built was erected in 1964, but generally was not liked by the Maltese public. The previous gate (Black & white photo) built in 1853 by the British looked far more impressive and called the Porta Reale (Kingsway)

 

The original gateway was completed in 1569 with a draw bridge over the very deep dry moat now called a ditch. This was replaced by a 1632 by a more ornate structure

 

Republic Street with City Gate showing at the top of the street
Republic Street with City Gate showing at the top of the street

 

Old City Gate 1853
Old City Gate built 1853

Malta Tourist Office - freedom Square  4

The main tourist office for Valletta and the Maltese Islands is just inside the City Gate to the right facing freedom square. The office backs onto the city walls.

 

Republic Street  5

Republic Street is the main shopping street in Valletta and runs from City Gate downhill to near Fort St Elmo on the tip of the peninsular. Sections of Republic Street are often closed to cars to accommodate the mass of tourists and shoppers. The squares just off Republic Street are extremely popular venues for outside cafes, restaurants and bars.

 

Also located in Repulic Street are attractions;

 

Republic Street
Republic Street

National Museum of Archaeology  6

The National Museum of Archaeology is located on the left side as you walk down Republic Street in the the Auberge de Provence building. Malta is steeped in history with many prehistoric monuments from3200 years BC, the copper age, bronze age and roman eras. Finds from digs on these sites can be viewed in the National Museum of Archaeology

 

Great Siege Square - infront of 7

Great Siege Square is located on the right of Republic Street.  A great place to have a meal, drink or snack at one of the open air restaurants, and to watch the world go by.

A great place to have a meal, drink or snack at one of the open air restaurants, and to watch the world go by.

 

St Johns Co Cathedral  7

The view from Republic Street the location of the main entrance is rather unimposing, walk down St Johns Street for an impressive view of the twin towers and the main high baroque frontage of the cathedral.

 

Photographers: Inside the Cathedral you can take photographs but flash is banned, so make sure you know how to turn the flash off, and how to take photos in low light .

 

Ensure that you see Caravaggio’s extremely famous painting of the 'Beheading of St John the Baptist'.

 

Dress Visitors must be decently dressed, shawls and or wraps are available at the entrance pay desk. Stiletto heels or narrow heals are not allowed to prevent damage to the marble floor decorated with intricate designs

 

Location:

St John's Co-Cathedral is set back behind the small Victory square on the right hand side of as you walk down Republic Street.

St Johns Co Cathedral
St Johns Co Cathedral

 

St Johns Co Cathedral Entrance
St Johns Co Cathedral Entrance

The Wartime Experience 8

The Wartime Experience is a multimedia show that lasts 45 minutes showing the heroism of the Maltese during World War II which won the island and it's people the George Cross.

The Embassy Shopping Centre, St. Lucia Street crosses Republic Street immediately after St. John's Cathedral on the other side of Republic Street

 

Queens Square, in front of 9

A great place to have a meal, drink or snack at one of the open air restaurants, and to watch the world go by. Arcaded shops and restaurants are on 2 sides of the square, providing shade from the summer sun.

 

The Great Siege of Malta 9

45 minutes of high tech 3D walk through adventure taking you back to the days of the Knights of St John & the great siege by the Turkish Saracen invaders

 

Grand Master's Palace and Armouries 11

The Grand Master's Palace was as the name suggests the palace of the Grand Master of the order of St John's.  A section of the palace is now used as an Armoury museum you require 2 tickets to view both the Palace & the Palace Armouries.

All the rooms are magnificent and the armoury museum has weapons, suits of armour from periods both before and after the great siege by the Turks in 1565

Grand Master's Palace and Armouries
Grand Master's Palace & Armouries

Merchants Street Market 11, & Indoor Market M

Merchant Street has both an indoor market with mainly butchers & greengrocers, and an open air street market every day except Sunday when the bigger Sunday Morning Market is held outside the city walls.

In the area of the Merchant Street 'street market' are quiet a few jewellery shops, some in St. Lucia Street, good for gold or the famous Maltese silver filigree jewellery at reasonable prices, but antique jewellery tends to be expensive.

 

Street market in Merchants Street
Street market in Merchants Street

Palace Square / St. George Square (Misrah San Gorg)

Palace Square is the first square on the left as you go down Republic Street on the right is the Grand Master's Palace

Palace Square is one of the locations where you can obtain a Karozzin ride. The Karozzin is the traditional Maltese horse drawn carriage

The Karozzin, the traditional Maltese horse drawn carriage
The Karozzin, the traditional Maltese horse drawn carriage

Manoel Theatre  12

The 600 seater Manoel Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Europe and a baroque masterpiece. Built by Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena in 1731.

Besides being used as a theatre there are guided tours around the building

 

Our Lady Mount Carmel  13

This is the domed church that dominates Valletta skyline and many tourists wrongly assume it is the cathedral it is so imposing from a distance.  The street around the church are very narrow and it is difficult to obtain a close photograph.  Like most Maltese churches absolutly stunning inside.

 

Our Lady Mount Carmel
Our Lady Mount Carmel

Casa Rocca Piccola   CR

A 16th Century 50 room Palace still in use as a private residence. The majority of rooms are open to the public, and tours are on the hour

 

Also open are the cellars with 3 World War II air raid shelter in cut out of solid rock.

 

The largest could hold 100 people but usually 30 slept in this shelter.

 

The shelters were connected to Vallettas maze of underground tunnels built in zig-zag dirrections to reduce bomb blast.

 

A souvenier shop and cafe are also in the building

 

Located at  74 Republic Street, Valletta, VLT 05, Malta

 

Website

 


Casa Rocca Piccola

 

Fort St Elmo - War Museum 14

The War Museum is located within the fortifications of Fort St Elmo. Through the entrance near to Marsamxett harbour, i.e. slightly to your left when you reach the bottom of Republic Street.  The War Museum concentrates on the second world war.

The star exhibit is probably the 'Faith' Gloster Gladiator bi plane, which with it's sister planes 'Hope' and 'Charity' played such a big part in the air defence of Malta. Although Malta only had the 3 bi-planes they were kept airborne almost constantly for 17 days and they fooled the Italian air force into thinking that the RAF had a far larger fighter force. Unfortunately the wings have been removed probably to fit the plane into the museum.  Malta had 3,000 air raids in 2 years at the height of it's starvation siege, and was the most bombed area during the war

 

Photograph on immediate left: Fort St. Elmo outer walls

Address: The National War Museum, Fort St Elmo, Valletta VLT 02, Malta

Also at Fort St. Elmo but through a separate entrance are the Fort St. Elmo - Alarme! & In Guardia displays

Bus no 98   stops at War Museum Fort St Elmo

Fort St Elmo
Fort St Elmo

 

War Museum Field Guns
War Museum Field Guns

Views of Marsamxett Harbour , Manoel Island & Sliema  15

Great views of Marsamxett Harbour , Manoel Island & fort, Tige Point & fort and Sliema.

 

Fort St Elmo - Alarme! & In Guardia  16

Two different parades and display of cannon and musket firing at the Police Academy on only around 35 dates during the year.  Please note that this display is in a separate entrance to the War Museum which is further to the east.

Alarme! is a show portraying a series of military encounters between French and Maltese troops during the blockade of 1798 - 1800. The show is staged at Fort St. Elmo in Valletta by the Historical Re-enactment Group of Malta and is organised by the Malta Tourism Authority.

In Guardia. Throughout the year, the Malta Tourism Authority stages the re-enactment of historical military parades at Fort St. Elmo in Valletta, titled In Guardia and dating back to the times of the Knights of St. John. During these parades, around 90 officers and men-at-arms in period costume will perform a series of military drills in the fort's "Place-of-Arms".

At the bottom of Republic Street turn right for the entrance to the Police Academy

www.maltafestivals.com

Also at Fort St. Elmo but through a separate entrance is the Fort St. Elmo War Museum

Bus no 98   stops at War Museum Fort St Elmo

In Guardia re-enactment
In Guardia re-enactment

The Malta Experience 17

The Malta Experience is an Audio Visual Spectacular of the complete Malta's history that lasts 45 - 50 minutes and covers 7000 years of the history of Malta from the Neolithic era then through Roman , Arab and Spanish conquests. This is followed with the arrival of the Knights of St. John's , the turkish siege.  The British occupation years including the second World War, ending with the post war era, independence from the British and modern day tourism.

The Malta Experience show is presented by an array of 44 projectors all computer controlled and shown on a 33 foot screen.  Spectacular audio sound effects are fed to digital loud speakers and commentary via headphones with a choice of 12 languages

Formally this building was the Hospital of the Knights of St. John's

There is a souvenir & bookshop, and a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking Grand Harbour

Location

The Malta Experience is located in the Mediterranean Conference centre, Mediterranean Street (Triq Il Mediterran) , near the junction of Hospital Street, roughly half way between Fort St. Elmo and the Siege Bell Memorial

 

Bus no 98   stop at Mediterranean Conference centre

 

The Knights Hospitallers  17

Go back in time through sights, sounds and smells from the Crusades to the Great Siege, the building of the hospital and the great medical work of the knights, the battle against the Plague via a walk through experience attraction.

Location

The Knights Hospitallers is located in the Mediterranean Conference centre, in the same building as the above attraction.

 

Bus no 98   stops at Mediterranean Conference centre

 

Siege Bell - World War II Memorial  18

The Siege Bell is a Memorial to the people who died during World War II.  Malta was severely bombed by the Axis powers during the war.

The bell is rung daily at noon.

The Siege Bell is located in Mediterranean Street (Triq Il Mediterran) situated between Fort St Elmo and the Lower Barrakka Gardens

Bus no 98  Nearest Bus stop Mediterranean Conference centre

Siege Bell
Siege Bell

Lower Barrakka Gardens  19

Brilliant Views of Grand Harbour

Toilet inside the gardens

Cafe kiosk just outside the gates

Bus no 98  Nearest Bus stop Mediterranean Conference centre

 

Upper Barrakka Gardens  20

The gardens provide the best Views of Grand Harbour

 

The gardens are located behind the arch colonade top left of photograph.  The guns are located 1 level below on top of the solid ramparts.

 

You can watch the Noon-day Gun fired from the Gun Saluting Battery which is located one level below the Upper Barrakka Gardens for free at the Upper Barrakka Gardens level.

 

 

Toilets & Cafe kiosk are located inside the gardens, restaurantsare located in the streets outside of the gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens & Gun Saluting Battery
Upper Barrakka Gardens & Gun Saluting Battery


View over Grand Harbour
View over Grand Harbour

 

Noon-day Gun & the Gun Saluting Battery 21

Noon-day Gun fired from the Gun Saluting Battery which is locate one level below and slightly in front of the Upper Barrakka Gardens where you can obtain a free brilliant view of this daily ceremony.  For a closer view then descend to the Gun Saluting Battery

Visiting the Gun Saluting Battery

For a small fee you can descend to the Gun Saluting Battery at around 11:00 am. The steps are set back from a central location of  the Grand Harbour viewing area at the garden side of the colonnade of arches. The volunteers who fire the cannon will explain how the cannons work, the charge that they use, how the cannons are first checked then loaded and fired.

 

You can remain on the Gun Saluting Battery for the firing of the Noon-day Gun thus getting a much closer view of this excellent spectacular.

 

A small amount of sawdust is added to the gunpowder, this makes for a more spectacular fireing, adding more flame and more smoke.

 

 

Noon Day Gun

 

Auberge de Castille  22

The Auberge de Castille is situated in South Street near the top end of Merchant Street.

The Auberge's were the ins or halls of residence for the Knights of St. Johns. The Auberge de Castille was the largest and after the later improvements to the facade by Grand Master Emanuel Pinto de Fonseca whose coat of arms can be seen over a central window

Now this very imposing and impressive building is the office of the Prime Minister. During World War II it was the British Military headquarters.

 

 

St. James Cavalier  23

Various exhibitions are held inside this fortification

 

Top of City Gate 3

A good view looking down republic Street can be obtained as you cross over the top of City Gate. There are steps down to Repulic Street on either side of the bridge.

 

Hastings Gardens 24

Hastings Gardens are located on St. John's Bastion, St. Michael's Bastion and curtain wall between the two bastions in Valletta. The gardens themselves are not particularly interesting but the views from the ramparts over Marsamxett harbour, Msida Creek and inland looking over Floriana and beyond are fabulous.  It is also an interesting place to see the might of Valletta's fortifications, the thickness of the walls protecting the cannon on the ramparts, on this the landward side, the side from which attacking forces would normally attack from.

The gardens contain a sarcophagus, made of marble, of Francis the Marquis of Hastings near to the entrance to the gardens. Lord Hastings was Governor of Malta from 1824 until his death in 1827.

A memorial to Frederick Cavendish Ponsomby another Malta Governor can be seen at the far end of the gardens.

 


View of Msida Creek from the fortifications at Hastings Gardens

National Museum of Fine art 25

The National Museum of Fine art is located in Admiralty House, South Street, between St. John's Cavalier and St. Michael's Bastion.

A must for lovers of fine paintings and art

The Fine arts Museum is located in one of Valletta's oldest buildings, in it's early life it was a knights mansion, the British navy took it over as in 1821 as there headquarters for the chief British naval commander of the Mediterranean fleet, hence the name Admiralty House. It became the National Museum of Fine art in 1974.

 

The Lascaris War Rooms   WR

The allied forces underground nerve centre for the defence of Malta in the second World War & Malta's Second Great Siege. See Montgomery's and Eisenhower's offices the allied invasion of sicily.

 

The War Rooms were where the Invasion of Sicily was planned. See the room where a giant map of the invasion covers the entire wall.

 

Follow signs near the bus station. The path takes you down through the old fortifications to almost the ground level of the lower main road that circles Valletta