Valletta Travel Guide

Why visit Valletta?

As Malta’s capital, built by the Knights of St John in the 16th century, Valletta is a thriving city with lots of history and Baroque architecture.

There is plenty to explore in Valletta, from grand historic buildings to humble apartment fronts and boutique hotels, each with unique window designs that make up Malta’s iconic look.

Consider joining a walking tour to appreciate the history of the city.

valletta street 2

Go because The capital of Malta with beautiful harbour views, quaint side streets and a bustling feel

Must see the iconic waterfront views from the Barrakka Gardens

Stay at 66 Saint Paul’s for its central location and roof terrace with a pool

Get around by foot; Valletta is one of Europe’s smallest capital cities but beware of the steep hills

From the airport take a taxi. Ride-sharing apps and private transfers offer reasonable rates

Spend little; Malta is one of the Med’s cheapest travel destinations

Eat Pastizzi - curried pea or ricotta-filled pastries

Visit between April-June for warm weather that isn’t too hot

Go because

Reasons to love Valletta

  • Sunny and warm year-round weather
  • Living history of the narrow side streets
  • Scenic views
  • A busy city with plenty to see
  • Endless food options including fresh seafood
  • Grand architecture within city walls
  • Low prices
  • Specialist local intricate jewellery

Good to know

Valletta travel tips

  • It may feel too hot to explore the city in July and August, so visiting in surrounding months may be more comfortable
  • The city has steep hills, so wear comfortable shoes
  • The traditional horse and cart rides can be overpriced, so we don't recommend these
  • Driving is busy, stressful and agressive, so we recommend to get a taxi instead
  • English and Maltese are the official languages here, with almost everyone fluent in English
  • Malta uses the Euro as a currency

Culture of Valletta

A UNESCO world heritage site, Valletta is full of history and architecture, with plenty to see and do.

Whilst tourism and visitors are generally welcomed and essential to the Maltese economy, first impressions of service and Maltese culture may not seem as hospitable as in other Mediterranean cultures.

Hiring a local tour guide is a great way to build an understanding of life and culture in the Maltese capital.

A view of the city of malta from the water.

Best things to do in Valletta

View the Grand Harbour from the Barrakka Gardens

The upper Barrakka Gardens are the highest point in Valletta, offering beautiful views of a spectacular panorama below: the Grand Harbour.

The gardens date back to 1661 and were previously the private gardens of the Knights. Visit at noon to see the cannon salute.

argostoli harbour

Learn about Malta's war history in the Lascaris War Rooms

A guided tour of the World War II underground war rooms will bring history to life.

Learn about the strategic defence of Malta and Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily.

The wars and defenders of Malta make up a large part of its history, culture and architecture, making it an important topic to explore during your trip. 

Lascaris War Rooms

Tour the palace of Casa Rocca Piccola

For something a little different, try exploring the Casa Rocca Piccola. This privately owned palace was built 4 centuries ago for a Knight of Malta.

Today it's historically dressed rooms are filled with interesting and unique curiosities.

Casa Rocca Piccola

Browse the Republic Street jewellery shops

Stretching approximately one kilometre from the City Gate, marked by the iconic Triton Fountain, to the sea line at Fort St. Elmo, Republic Street is one of the widest and busiest streets in the city.

It's a pedestrian-friendly zone, making it perfect for leisurely strolls while soaking in the vibrant Mediterranean atmosphere.

Malta is known for intricate specialist jewellery hand-crafted from thin strands of silver.

Local students still study this craft today, and endless designs can be found at great prices in the Jewellery shops along Republic Street. 

republic street

Best beaches in Valletta

Ghadira Bay

Mellieha Bay

Known as Malta's largest sandy beach, Mellieha Bay is located to the north of the island.

It's a popular destination, especially for families, due to its shallow surf.

The beach is well-equipped with amenities and lifeguards, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for visitors.

Balluta Bay

Situated in St. Julian's Bay, just north of the Valletta peninsula, Balluta Bay is one of the easiest beaches to reach from the capital.

While the specific amenities were not mentioned in the search results, the beach's convenient location makes it a great choice for those staying in Valletta.

Best food & drink in Valletta

The food and drink in Malta, particularly in Valletta, offer a delightful exploration of the island's rich culinary heritage, deeply influenced by its history and position in the Mediterranean.

Maltese cuisine reflects a fusion of flavours, borrowing from the traditions of Sicilian, British, French, and Arabic cooking.

Make sure to try local dishes such as;
Pastizzi:
Perhaps the most iconic Maltese snacks are flaky pastries filled with ricotta or mushy peas.
Fenkata:
A traditional rabbit stew, often considered Malta's national dish, which is a testament to the importance of rabbit in Maltese cuisine.
Ġbejniet:
Small, round cheeses made from goat's or sheep's milk, often served as part of a platter or used in cooking.
Timpana:
A baked pasta dish rich with Bolognese sauce and eggs and encased in a pastry shell, showcasing the Italian influence on Maltese cooking.
Hobz biz-zejt:
A popular snack or light meal consisting of Maltese bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and topped with olive oil, capers, onions, and anchovies or tuna.

fried white bait scaled

Best Restaurants in Valletta

Paul's Bistro

We were thoroughly impressed by the atmosphere, service and incredible food at Paul’s, and we can’t recommend it enough.
Local food, incredibly fresh ingredients, skilled artisan chefs, and all with you seated in a converted stone well from the 16th century for a truly unique dining experience.
https://paulsbistro.com/

pauls bistro

Legligin

A hidden gem in Valletta, Legligin offers a unique 7-course tasting menu that showcases the best of Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine.

With a rustic and bohemian atmosphere, exceptional service, and a wine list that takes you on a journey around Malta, Legligin provides a memorable dining experience that is both intimate and charming.

https://legliginmalta.com/ 

legligin restaurant

Cafe Jubilee Valletta

A charming spot in Valletta, Café Jubilee offers a diverse menu of local cuisine and exceptional cocktails. 

With its cosy, vintage-modern decor, friendly staff, and homely food, Café Jubilee provides a welcoming and delightful dining experience that is both enjoyable and memorable

https://cafejubilee.com/

Cafe Cordina

We visited Cafe Cordina on a food tour, gazed up at the awe inspiring ceiling artwork of this historic cafe, and then later returned for a pastizzi.

We sat in the square outside the national library, and relaxed in the Maltese sun while being served by our waiter. If you're looking for somewhere to enjoy a drink and a snack in peace in a historic location, this is it.

https://caffecordina.com/

Flights to Valletta

Browse Hotels

Best hotels in Valletta

Cheapest

A bed in a small room.

NSTS Campus

This hostel accommodation located just outside Valletta offers private rooms at half the price of the more central Valletta hotels. This hostel has a pool, gym, WiFi, AC and is well served by bus links. Situated close to the university and language school, this hostel is popular with students and school trips great for younger travellers.


Budget

A bed in a room with a stone wall at Casa Asti

Casa Asti

This hotel offers a comfortable stay with excellent service and unique rooms in central Valletta. All of Valletta’s attractions are within walking distance. All rooms at this hotel are unique and come with a Nespresso machine, TV, AC and WiFi. There is even a roof terrace with pool and Spa treatments.

Best

Two lounge chairs on a balcony overlooking a city.

66 Saint Paul’s Malta

This hotel offers a comfortable stay with excellent service and unique rooms in central Valletta. All of Valletta’s attractions are within walking distance. All rooms at this hotel are unique and come with a Nespresso machine, TV, AC and WiFi. There is even a roof terrace with pool and Spa treatments.

Luxury

A bedroom with a large bed and a desk in Palais Le Brun in Malta

Palais Le Brun Malta

Stay in a seventeenth-century Baroque Palace with your own private hot tub. This hotel offers beautiful luxury duplex suites in the centre of Valletta. Palais Le Brun offers an authentic stay with the additional comfort of WiFi, a gym, a rooftop terrace with a pool, a concierge, a complimentary breakfast, and even a babysitting service.

Is Valletta expensive?

No. Valletta is more expensive than other places in Malta but remains one of the cheaper destinations in the Med.

Attraction tickets, transport tickets, and basic food costs are all very low by European standards.

However, some hotel rates and restaurants may be more expensive in the centre of Valletta.

Consider staying in a smaller town to make significant savings on your hotel rate. Apps such as Uber, Bolt, and Ecabs make getting around the island convenient and affordable. 

Expense

Price Range

Meal at budget restaurant

€12.00-28.00

3 course mid-range meal for 2 

€50.00-100.00

Bottle of water

€1.00-2.00

Coffee

€1.80-4.00

Local beer

€1.80-5.00

Bottle of mid-range wine 

€5.00-8.00

One-way transport ticket 

€1.50-2.00

Taxi per 1km

€1.00-3.00

1 litre Petrol/Gas

€1.30-1.40

Nearby locations

Mdina

Mdina is a beautiful and historic walled and fortified city, a must-see when visiting Malta. Descendants of the noble families of Malta still live in Mdina today.

You can enter Mdina for free and wander the streets for an hour, taking in the atmosphere and admiring the unique architecture. You will also find some nice cafes and a few museums here if you want to make a day of it. It takes just 20 minutes from Valletta by car.

fontanella mdina

Rabat

The city of Rabat is adjacent to Mdina and is full of life. A great selection of bars and restaurants is perfect for low-key nightlife.

If you like history, there is a well-preserved Roman mosaic museum and dozens of catacombs to explore. You can reach Rabat by car in 20 minutes from Valletta or step out of Mdina into Rabat. 

st pauls cathedral rabat

Getting around

  • From the airport

  • Bus

  • Taxis

Getting to the city - how to get to Valletta city centre from the Airport

A taxi from Valletta Airport to the centre of Valletta will take around 20 minutes and starts at around 20 Euro.

You can also pre-book an airport transfer, which is slightly more expensive, but your driver will greet you at the terminal with no waiting time required. 

Map of Valletta

Valletta Weather

Valletta, Malta, is a sun-soaked destination with warm temperatures throughout the year. The sunniest months are June, July, and August, with the warmest sea temperatures perfect for swimming. Be mindful of the rainiest months, October to December.

JAN

15.6°C / 60°F

7 days rain

FEB

15.7°C / 60°F

6 days rain

MAR

17.2°C / 63°F

5 days rain

APR

19.6°C / 67°F

4 days rain

MAY

23.1°C / 74°F

2 days rain

JUN

28.1°C / 83°F

1 days rain

JUL

31.1°C / 88°F

0 days rain

AUG

31.6°C / 89°F

1 days rain

SEP

28.6°C / 83°F

3 days rain

OCT

24.6°C / 76°F

5 days rain

NOV

20.8°C / 69°F

6 days rain

DEC

17.1°C / 63°F

4 days rain

Best time to visit Valletta

The best time to visit Valletta is during the late spring and early autumn months, specifically May and September. During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm, and the sea temperatures are ideal for swimming. Plus, you'll avoid the peak summer crowds, making your trip more relaxed and enjoyable.

FAQ

See the most asked questions about Valletta

Is Valletta worth visiting?

Yes, Valletta is a vibrant city with plenty to do, excellent restaurants, incredible scenery over the harbour and interesting Baroque style architecture. Valletta also makes a great base for touring the whole island of Malta.

What is special about Valletta?

With rich cultural influences from Italy, France, Britain and various other countries, Valletta feels very reconisable to any seasoned traveller. It was one of the first cities to be planned from the ground up and so the layout is easy to navigate and remember.

Does Valletta have a beach?

Valletta does not have a sandy beach close by, so we often recommend to venture out of the city for a beach trip. Mellieha bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, towards the north.

Is Valletta a good city break?

Valletta offers everything you need from a city break with vibrant nightlife, great museums and some of the best food you'll find on the island. We'd recommend at least a couple of nights in the city, while there are a number of day trips just a short drive away.

James in Pisa scaled

About the author

James and the team at Turtle Trip are seasoned travelers with experience in the travel industry. We've worked for major holiday booking sites, and have explored the world on foot for our own travels.

Our goal is to make travel accessible to everyone, by providing you with the most comprehensive and easy-to-digest guides about the destinations you’re traveling to.
We believe that planning a trip should be fun and exciting, not overwhelming, so, whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned adventurer, we’ve got you covered.

We wrote this Turtle Trip guide to give you our best tips all in one place, so thanks for reading and have a great time!


James Turtle Trip's founder

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  1. I visited Valletta earlier this year and had a wonderful time with my wife. We went to Legligin and the tasting menu was to die for so I've been telling everyone to go there. Happy to see you recommended it, great guide!

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