Very Fine Valletta – the European Capital of Culture in 2018! Why to Go and What to Do?

Travels — 26.3.2018

I have written about my second home Malta in many posts – but now you actually have a well marketed reason to go on the island. Valletta is the European Capital of Culture this year, and Valletta is lovely. The capital of Malta is surrounded by the middle-aged walls and its main colour is ochre. This place is unique! Read here my personal favourites and suggestions how to enjoy the knightly city which was founded already in 1566! Here you can also check the festive program that Valletta and the whole island has to offer.

Take the sidewalks – wander on the narrow streets of Valletta

The streets of Valletta are charming, peaceful and adventurous. When you get inside the historic city walls just go with your own flow. I think the loveliest thing in Valletta is to stroll without direction – the city is tiny anyway. When you’re walking there admire the many details you see in the corners and alleys. There are very interesting religious statues, cool old-school ad signs, funny door knockers, colourful balconies and attractive entrances. Some of the spots might look very shady and run-down but romantic in an ugly way. You can randomly step in some tiny cafes and read the local newspaper and check the funny style of writing news. You can also let your imagination fly; how was it back in the days when the knights still inhabited the city.

Valletta patsas, catholic statue
A religious statue in the street corner – it’s very interesting to walk around and explore these
Valletta street sign
It’s also nice to see the old advertising signs and wonder how it used to be in old times

Do some light shopping and chill out with the orange drink

It’s cosy to do small shopping in Valletta – you might find something nice or then not! I think Valletta is very sympathetic capital – because it doesn’t really seem like a typical capital, it’s different. One special souvenir is the silver lace jewellery. There are many styles, they are beautiful and cheap. The best thing though, is to go and sit in the half shadow and order an Aperol Spritz – the famous drink from the big brother Italy – and watch the people of the Republic Street passing by.

Aperol Spritz & Solaris shopping bag in Valletta
It’s a match! My favourites: orange drink and sunglasses shopping bag – I’m a sunglasses freak, and the best boutique you can find on the main Republic Street in Valletta
Lintu kadulla, Valletta bird
Birdie on Republic Street

Get blinded by the Caravaggio paintings!

They shock you in a positive way with extremely wonderful colours! Caravaggio’s “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” and ”St. Jerome writing” are located in the St. John’s Co-Cathedral which is a fabulous church. It looks nothing special from the main street but inside it’s so filled with gold that you feel like stealing. Instead return a human and grab a Cisk on the street after leaving the wonders behind.

St John's Co Cathedral in Valletta is golden, kultainen kirkko
Gold everywhere

Experience the movie anti-climax – the Maltese intermission!

I really enjoy going to Valletta to the movies. It’s much nicer and silent experience there than in busy Paceville. Well maybe this isn’t a thing to do when you are on a one week holiday – but the movie is a ridiculous experience because of the intermission! The intermission starts right in the middle of the movie and it might happen exact when somebody is shooting someone – or whatever crucial scene is going on! So funny. But you can go and get more nachos with the industrial cheddar sauce! Try also Kinnie, it tastes so bad (to me at least) that it’s an experience too.

A more touristic option would be to go and see the Malta 5D experience, which gives you a great insight about the country and its history. It’s not open that late though, Google the hours. Maybe take a ferry from Sliema when you go to Valletta!

Sausage Party movie in Malta, popcorn
Three movie buddies looking the same

Get wasted on the ex-hooker-street – I mean get happy in the sailor’s red light district!

Aye, aye! Back in the days the sailors crawled up to the Strait Street and got laid. Today you will enjoy some atmospheric pub evenings there. There are those red lights or some mood lightning on the street, you get cheap drinks, good music – sometimes live – and there can be also some small food like in the Yard 32 gin&tapas bar.

If you like jazz music maybe switch to the Bridge Bar on the other side of the city (close still, walking distance!) at some point. There is a live jazz band during the summer season.

Maybe you wanted to have a great dinner before the drinks? In Valletta there are many creditable restaurants. Rampila, Adesso, Sciacca, Taproom, Legligin Wine Bar… Always make reservations.

Strait Street pub Valletta
This was the farewell fun on Strait Street last summer just before moving away from Malta! Oh good times!
Valletta Bridge Bar plays jazz
You can sit on the stairs and listen to jazz music at the Bridge Bar
Valletta Malta Street, Legligin Wine Bar
Once we had so much fun at Legligin Wine Bar. Maltese streets are atmospheric!

Say your farewell to Valletta and sail to the Three Cities in the sunset

If you are like me and love flowers and gardens – enjoy not only the flowering on the streets but also the parks. In Valletta, you can go and see the Upper Barrakka Garden where is also a big view to the grand harbour. Then take a lift downstairs and take a little private boat and sail to the three cities – Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua. Enjoy a dinner in Birgu (also known as Vittoriosa) and peace out!

valletta-to-birgu-boat-vene-malta
It’s nice to slide from Valletta to the Three Cities

Enjoy Valletta!

Valletta Republic Street
Behind me opens Valletta! Welcome!
Valkoinen asu, all white in Valletta
All white in Valletta
Door knocker Malta, maltalainen ovenkolkutin
House details: the doors are colourful and there are beautiful knockers
Reading Times of Malta in cafe in Valletta
Reading the paper in a cafe, relaxing!

Valletta street, Bridge Bar

Valletta Cafe Cordina
Last sun rays over Valletta. Cafe Cordina waiter still working. (There are a lot of cakes in historical Cafe Cordina, level is OK)
Valletta Malta street fest
During the many fests Malta decorates the cities and there’s magic in the air
Valletta Christmas shopping, jouluvalot
You wouldn’t believe it: Malta is lovely Christmas island! I will write about this. They decorate all the places, this is from Valletta.

Valletta fountain, suihkulähde Maltalla

Valletta library night
A secret: this place is like a “The Beauty and The Beast library”: there are the nostalgic wooden ladder and wooden bookshelves inside
Valletta sunset, fountain and bus terminal
Sun is setting behind Malta. From Valletta’s walls you see the old bus terminal and the huge fountain.
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