It’s hard to believe that it has been two year since I moved to the small Mediterranean island of Malta! I have grown to love these three islands. When I moved here, it was a big shock… where to set up a bank account, how to get my ID, how long will it take to get my ID, where do I find cheap/local groceries and where can I start a fitness regime? I had to start from scratch like I did when I moved to the UK.. and thankfully english is a national language in Malta. Bryan, who has lived in Germany and France, now has some hilarious stories communicating in German or French in order to get his ducks in a row.
Over the past two years, I have been very fortunate to host many visiting friends and family! Each visitor is different and wanted to experience Malta in another way… which is how I compiled such a list: my Maltese list.
When I hear of someone coming to Malta it doesn’t take long for this list to land in their inbox. So far I haven’t heard any complaints, which is why I am deciding to share it with everyone… in pieces… because who doesn’t love some suspense, amiright?
First things first, the 2018 European Capital of Culture and Malta’s historical capital:
MUSEUMS & CHURCHES
- National History Museum: a definite recommendation, goes over the entire history of Malta and inside Fort St. Elmo (it’s the only way to access the fort) and has beautiful views between exhibits.
Cost – €10
- The Malta Experience: a 45 minute movie showing Malta’s history, very good. Comes with a free tour of the old hospital afterwards which I heard is interesting. Cost – €15
- John’s Co-Cathedral: MUST go in here, it’s amazing.. takes about an hour or so with the audio guide (included), or you can just walk around. Cost – €10
- Sunday morning Market – updated info here.
- Museum of Archaeology
- Casa Rocca Piccola – noble Maltese home (16th century palace with a bomb shelter; very cool and offers a different perspective of Valletta but not for the claustrophobic). Recommended!
- Upper Barakka Gardens – Nice gardens with a view of three cities. Take the elevators on the right and cross the street to the ferry. The ferry will take you to Birgu (Cospicua ferries), much better than the bus! Birgu is very nice as well, small street and good local places to eat with nice views of Valletta from the ferry. €1.80 round trip.
Tip: Grab a drink to go and enjoy it on the top of the ferry for a view of Valletta and Birgu and Senglea from the water! Make sure to save your ferry ticket for a free elevator ride up to Valletta on return.
- Lower Barakka Gardens – View of three cities, beautiful gardens and benches to rest and have a nice view. Cafes close by as well.
- Hastings Garden – View of Sliema and nice sunset views. Ferries to Sliema are down the street.
- No. 43 – Vegetarian and vegan options galore! Can’t go wrong with a €5 salad bowl. Tried and tested many many times.
- Café Jubilee – Maltese restaurant with good prices. Owners are from Gozo and Canadian!
- D’office Bistro
- Gugar Hangout & Bar – perfect spot to relax on the steps of the street and people watch. Try the falafel platter, perfect for two!
- Is-Suq tal-Belt (Valletta Food Market) – lots to choose from and beautiful building!
- Michael’s at the Civil Service Sports Club – bit fancier. Went here for a conference dinner and it was delicious.
- Amorino Gelato (Must go !!!!!!)
- Tico-Tico Bar
- Lots of restaurants along Strait Street (used to be the old red light district)
- The Submarine – Popular lunch spot for sandwiches
- Pastizzi – anywhere. €0.30.
- Yard 32 Gin & Tapas Bar
- Bridge Bar – Friday nights are outdoor jazz nights (summer only)
- Ordnance Pub
- Cafe: Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters
- Cinema Bar – Classic movies and cocktails/beer. More here!
- San Giovanni Valletta – enjoy happy hour here, sit outside to people watch and enjoy the view of St. John’s Co-Cathedral!
- The Beer Cave – over 130 beers to choose from! Cozy spot to watch live music as well.
- Notte Bianca – many buildings are open to public for free! Take advantage of this opportunity but beware of the crowds.
- Malta Short Film Festival – very interesting films, event goes for an entire week!
- Wine Festivals: winos unite!!
- Marsovin Summer Wine Festival – held in Hastings Gardens, highly recommend!
- Delicata Wine Festival – held in Upper Barakka Gardens. Just as good, but prices are cheaper and live music is more chill.
- Try to avoid eating on Republic Street. Although the views are nice and it’s fun to people watch, the prices are much lower in the local cafes on the small side streets.
- Please don’t ride the horses. It’s sad.
- Take ferries instead of the bus from Sliema or from Birgu. No traffic and little hassle, just make sure to double check the times so you aren’t stranded.
- Valletta during the day, especially in the summer months, will be packed! However, it is so quiet in the evenings. I suggest an evening meal or aperitivo and some drinks and then afterwards you can to enjoy the narrow streets of Valletta to yourself! But don’t stay at Tico Tico bar until 1:30 am on a work night… lesson learned.
- DO take advantage of happy hours. Even if that means arriving 1 minute before the end and ordering two drinks per person. No shame.
- Use Taxify to leave Valletta once buses have stopped. White taxis are very expensive.
I know there is plenty more to see and do in Valletta, but these are my personal favourites. If you have any favourite memories in Valletta: cafes, museums, churches etc… please leave a comment so others can enjoy this beautiful historical capital.
there you have it: Valletta, as seen by Rachel.
thanks for listening