Forty eight hours in… Valletta, an insider handbook to Malta’s grasp of reinvention

Forty eight hours in… Valletta, an insider handbook to Malta’s grasp of reinvention

Valletta could be Europe’s smallest capital, but it completely’s undoubtedly no longer short on attraction

Credit ranking:
Anton Zelenov/Ansud

Historical past, artwork and culinary clout in a fortified nutshell  

Europe’s tiniest capital, surrounded by sea and 16th-century bastion walls, has a protracted lasting attraction all of its have. A Unesco World Heritage place steeped in historic past, Valletta is in the course of a twenty first-century revitalisation. It has emerged from its twelve months as 2018 European Capital of Tradition with extra accommodations, eating locations and historic treasures than ever earlier than – and there are serene extra to reach.

Valletta has an unheard of density of sights and activities too: from 5,000-twelve months-musty ‘Beefy Lady’ statues, to the ornate Baroque legacy of the Knights of St John; from Bastion-prime gardens to boat trips on the Vast Harbour. And it isn’t all oldschool. There’s moreover the City Gate redevelopment, designed by star architect Renzo Piano of London’s Shard standing.

Buzzing bars spill out onto the metropolis’s limestone alleys, concert occasions all as soon as more and all as soon as more grace its copious churches, and the restaurant scene serves the most gripping bites in Malta. And naturally, it’s handiest a short breeze to the coastline…

Juliet Rix, our resident knowledgeable, gives her prime tips on the freshest things to consume and stop this season.

Indulge in

Rise above the metropolis for Dinner in the Sky (00 356 9998 8835): this summer the dinner crane is parked in Floriana, simply outdoors the walls of Valletta. Suspended on a 22-seat platform 40m above the bottom, that likelihood is you’ll well presumably ride free-flowing wine and an ever-changing five-route menu created by award-winning restaurant Tarragon (lemony ceviche with chilli and feta foam to commence up, presumably?) – alongside with unbeatable views over the capital.   

Skills impossible views and a restaurant-quality supper at Dinner in the Sky


Discover Malta’s artwork – from Baroque masters to Victor Pasmore’s closing works – at the original nationwide gallery, MUZA (Auberge D’Italie, Retailers St; 00 356 7941 0052). It be positioned inside of the restored Auberge d’Italie, historic dwelling of the Italian Knights of Malta. That that likelihood is you’ll well presumably ride a meal here too, or place a espresso in the courtyard beneath the Knights’ triumphal arch.

• Essentially the most gripping things to stop in Malta

Behold Malta’s most gripping artworks at the original nationwide artwork museum, MUZA


Notte Bianca (5 October 2019) sees Valletta’s streets taken over by stalls and performances, its museums open unless heart of the night (for free), and historic buildings no longer in general accessible to the public throwing open their doors. 1/2 of Malta is here, in a factual-natured throng spread from flood-lit City Gate to St Elmo.

Valletta celebrates its cultural heritage at Notte Bianca, in October

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Day one


The most gripping manner to envision out Valletta is on a stroll around its fortifications and honeyed limestone streets. Delivery up at City Gate, the capital’s gateway since its constructing in 1570. Soak up the original Parliament Home and open-air theatre designed by architect Renzo Piano, creator of The Shard, earlier than having a look into the buildings of the Knights of Malta and out over the sea.

Finish at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in time for the midday salute from the battery of cannons beneath this bastion-prime pleasure backyard. That that likelihood is you’ll possibly moreover desire to salvage the monuments and sculptures, cool off by the fountain and settle in the spectacular panorama of the Vast Harbour.

Essentially the most gripping free things to stop in Malta

Head to the Upper Barrakka Gardens in time for a watch of the midday salute

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Grab a espresso and pastry at the Upper Barrakka kiosk (you can desire to circulate away heaps of room for supper) earlier than taking the Barrakka Grab all the manner down to Customs Home and hopping true into a historic Maltese dghajsa – a six-seater brightly painted picket boat – for a tour of the Vast Harbour. That that likelihood is you’ll possibly putter beneath the towering bastions of Valletta, past the shipyards, and alongside the Three Cities flee – earlier than rounding the nook beneath the freshly cleaned face of Malta’s oldest fortress, Citadel St Angelo, to disembark in Birgu/Vittoriosa.

The Knights’ first homely in Malta, this Medieval mini-metropolis is a constructive place for a spot of loafing. Halt in the sq. for a espresso at St Lawrence Band Membership (00 356 2180 7526) – where, as in every Maltese parish, the native band meets in preparation for the annual festa. From here high-tail thru the Collachio, the Knights’ have space, which changed into as soon as as soon as out of bounds for ladies and is serene a in truth historic district. Support on the waterfront, hotfoot to Citadel St Angelo (00 356 2540 1800) – whose shows bring Malta’s historic past to existence – earlier than motoring aid in the route of the harbour (this time without the tour) in one more dghajsa.

Hop on a historic Maltese dghajsa, for a tour of the Vast Harbour

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BPS/Paul Biris


Watch the solar derive 22 situation over the Vast Harbour from the terrace of Panorama (267 St Ursula St; 00 356 7987 7980), with a cocktail or aperol in hand, earlier than strolling just a few hundred metres in the route of town for the most gripping introduction to Maltese food at Legligin (119 St Lucy St; 00 356 2122 1699).

In this abnormal Valletta cellar, owner Chris serves up a delicious ‘Maltese Meze’ feast of as a minimum 9 dishes – from carpaccio to Maltese sausage, dips to sizzling-pots – and there would possibly be a mountainous winelist, which choices Maltese and global vintages.

Legligin is the most gripping place to envision out Maltese food, alongside with severely factual wines

Day two


Let’s bag in the aid of the walls of some of these Valletta buildings – starting with the historic dwelling of the Provencal Knights of Malta, now the National Museum of Archaeology (Republic St; 00 356 2122 1623). Here you can salvage the unheard of 5,000-years-musty ‘Beefy Females of Malta’, and other statues, reliefs and stone furniture from the recurring Maltese Temple tradition. Upstairs are accessible galleries covering the Bronze Age and Phoenician eras.

Rather extra alongside Republic Aspect street is the Knights’ church, St John’s Co-Cathedral (00 356 2122 0536). Conclude no longer be fooled by its undeniable exterior. Internal is without doubt one of the most stunning Baroque interiors anyplace in Europe. Let the audio handbook make a choice you around this symphony of gold and marble, ending in the Oratory for a world-neatly-known artistic ride: or no longer it’s dwelling to Caravaggio’s most gripping work, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (1608).  

In the capital’s necessary sq., simply just a few metres away, pay a hotfoot to to the Vast Grasp’s Palace (00 356 2124 9349): its reveal rooms had been conventional by the princely leader of the supposedly monastic Knights, as well to varied governments of Malta ever since.  

Pay a hotfoot to to the Vast Grasp’s Palace, which finds grand of the nation’s historic past

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Pick up a pastizz (a historic pasty crammed with native cheese or peas) at the mountainous dame of Valletta assembly locations, Caffe Cordina (244 Republic St; 00 356 2065 0400). It be one of the most metropolis’s most gripping locations to appear at the realm hotfoot by.

If it’s a sunny day (and in summer it normally is in Malta) that likelihood is you’ll well presumably desire to circulate to the coastline.

Essentially the most gripping seashores in Malta

Malta’s prime swimming place, the Blue Lagoon, lies between the diminutive island of Comino and the even tinier island of Cominotto

Credit ranking:
Andrey Danilovich/danilovi

Otherwise, some unheard of time inch awaits. Support in the 1/three and fourth millennia BC, Malta changed into as soon as host to a convention no longer like some other identified at the current time, that began constructing advanced stone temples earlier than even Stonehenge changed into as soon as standing. No longer removed from Valletta is the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum (00 356 2180 5019; pre-book here), a Unesco World Heritage triple-layered subterranean tomb advanced. It is carved, in system beautifully, from the residing rock: here the Temple folks buried their ineffective in the fourth and 1/three millennium BC.

There is moreover an above-ground temple simply 10 minutes’ stroll away at Tarxien (00 356 2169 5578), but for the most evocative temples it’s worth quite of extra travelling time to hotfoot to Mnajdra and Hagar Qim (00 356 2142 4231) on Malta’s south flee. Here are two successfully-preserved temple complexes – total with enormous doorways, twisted rooms, steps and carved stones, derive 22 situation in a panorama dinky changed for the rationale that temples had been constructed.

Hagar Qim is a successfully-preserved temple advanced, on Malta’s south flee

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Back in Valletta, contend with your self to antipasti followed by recent fish or succulent steak: the food at family-bustle Guzé (22 Mature Bakery St; 00 356 21239686) is in particular factual, and the sizzling chocolate pudding is unbeatable. The restaurant is tucked away in a 4 hundred-twelve months-musty Valletta dwelling, it appears to be like as soon as owned by the most most well-known architect of the metropolis. 

If it’s a Friday, your subsequent name must be Bridge Bar (258 St Ursula St; 00 356 7947 4227). Grab a beer or a cocktail from the unremarkable inside of and settle it outdoors, to lounge on the limestone steps where half of of Valletta is taking half in live jazz by the band on the dinky bridge. If it isn’t Friday, just a few steps away is Café Society (Thirteen St Johns St; 00 356 2713 7491), a diminutive shabby-perfect bar with heaps of outdoors space – apt for a transient nightcap or lingering ’til the early hours.

The food at family-bustle Guzé is unbelievable – in particular the sizzling chocolate pudding

Luxury Living 

Malta’s most historic resort flanks the most most well-known gates of Valletta. Built by the British in the Thirties, The Phoenicia changed into as soon as a approved of Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2017 it underwent a necessary luxurious refurbishment. The circular Palm Court docket lounge and bar is the resort’s heart, with graceful white-and-glass doors that lead into the most most well-known restaurant and on to the terrace overlooking the metropolis walls.

Doubles from €200 (£174). The Mall, Floriana; 00 356 21 225 241

The legendary Phoenicia has hosted Queen Elizabeth II

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Boutique Elegance 

Palazzo Consiglia is determined in a 4 hundred-twelve months-musty townhouse, with simply Thirteen boutique rooms. It is prosperous in personality and long-established choices, while moreover that contains recent comforts much like a roof terrace with heated fall pool – boasting views of the neighbouring chapel, the Upper Barracca Gardens, and the Vast Harbour. In the period in-between, the recent vaulted limestone cellar has been converted true into a warm, atmospheric spa. 

Doubles from €a hundred and eighty (£157). 102 St. Ursula Aspect street; 00 356 2124 4222

Palazzo Consiglia is determined in a 4 hundred-twelve months-musty townhouse, which has constructive long-established choices

Charge range Elegance 

Asti Guesthouse is determined in a 350-twelve months-musty townhouse, with long-established stone walls and staircases. It is the most gripping-price budget accommodation in Valletta while you are travelling by myself – and serene rather factual while you are no longer. The place is the declare draw, derive 22 situation on a in general steep street simply inland from the fortifications of the Vast Harbour and near the Upper Barracca Gardens.

Doubles from €88 (£seventy 9). 18 St Ursula Aspect street; 00 356 212 39506

Asti Guesthouse gives mountainous-price accommodation in a central space

Silver filigree is a Maltese speciality, and there’s a row of dinky jewellers alongside St Lucy Aspect street. The stores are diminutive, with a combination of historic and recent designs, although the most general motif is the Maltese Infamous – a charming memento.

Maltese delicacies construct mountainous gifts to bring dwelling: recent native capers, fig or prickly pear jam, honey rings (in truth made with molasses) and halva (a sugary candy made with tahini) – to title but just a few. Strive Caffe Cordina (244 Republic St; 00 356 2065 0400) or The Wembley Retailer (305 Republic St; 00 356 2122 5147). 

As a memento, purchase up some Maltese delicacies from Caffe Cordina

Summer is luscious, with nearly-guaranteed sunshine, blue skies and apt Mediterranean Sea. That is the most gripping time for sunbathing, swimming, diving and boat trips – as well to for native festivals and parish festas.

Spring and autumn are ideal for sightseeing and exploring, when the climate is in general constructive and the temperature tickled. Iciness brings better threat of circulate climate (although even in January the frequent sunlight hours high is 15C), but is a factual time for the budget-conscious, as flights are more affordable and accommodation normally dramatically so.

Very most well-known Data

Flight time: three hours from the UK 

Time difference: GMT +1 hr

Foreign money: Euro (EUR; €)

Vacationer Set up of job: There would possibly be a vacationer recordsdata place of business in the arrivals hall of Malta Global Airport, and one more unbelievable one in Valletta at 28 Melita Aspect street. Tel: 00 356 21220193 / 21220264; open Mon-Fri eight.30am-6.30pm, Sat 9am-5.30pm, Sun 9am–1pm. For an inventory of all the vacationer offices in Malta watch

Telephone code: 00 356 from the UK, followed by the Maltese number (there are no longer any zeros to place in Maltese mobile phone numbers)

International Set up of job advice: Malta is mostly thought to be as protected or safer than the UK, except on the roads where requirements of driving are described as ‘melancholy’.

Extra reading: There would possibly be a host of precious recordsdata on A factual holiday read which covers most of Malta’s historic past inside of a fictional epic is Nicholas Monsarrat’s original, The Kappillan of Malta.

Malta is most gripping identified in Britain as a solar and sea destination. There is definitely no shortage of either.

Emergency providers: 112

British consulate: British Excessive Commission, Whitehall Mansions, Ta’ Xbiex Seafront, Ta’ Xbiex XBX 1026; 00 356 2323 0000;

Native legal pointers and etiquette

Malta is a southern Mediterranean Catholic country; socially conservative (although less so than even just a few years ago) but otherwise reasonably relaxed.

Time is also ‘versatile’. Strive and be quite laid aid about this when anticipating taxis or tour guides, for instance.

Malta drives on the left admire the UK – in thought. In notice, native folks mostly power where the avenue is smoothest, so withhold an sight in all directions. Using legal pointers are normally flouted, but flee limits are enforced by police.

Creator bio

Juliet Rix, Telegraph Commute’s Malta knowledgeable, is an award-winning journalist. She tours the sunny streets of Valletta at every different – normally main teams of cultural vacationers.

Telegraph Commute’s most gripping accommodations and holidays in Valletta, tried, examined and urged by our Valletta consultants.

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July 18, 2019

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