Discover Valletta, one of the World Heritage sites

The City of Valletta, the capital city of Malta and one of the World Heritage sites by UNESCO is indeed beautiful and magnificent, full of Baroque architectures, squares, monuments, gardens, museums, and many more than you can name. It is a small capital city that you can discover within walking distance. Valletta has become Malta's main tourist attraction with cultural and historical attractions, yet full of entertainment with places like restaurants, cafe, bars, and many of souvenir shops that are worth buying. Now, let's have a look at the main attractions in Valletta of which are the best to visit. 


Where to visit in Valletta? Triton Fountain



From the bus hub, before entering the City of Valletta, you will encounter the Triton Fountain. This landmark is comprised of three Tritons and a plate that they are holding. Triton is one of the ancient Greek mythology characters and is a true symbol of the sea. It is located right in the centre of the square in front of the City Gate, constructed in 1959 and designed by Vincent Apap, an outstanding Maltese sculptor. After 4 years of hard work, it has been completed and becomes one of the landmarks of Valletta. Every tourist will have to walk past the fountain to enter into the city, and you will be stunned by its beauty and the spectacular size. At night, the light will be lit up and it gives a different atmosphere. The foutain is accessible all day and night so we recommend you to visit the Triton Fountain both during the day and night to enjoy the different atmosphere. 


Address: Vjal Nelson, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: 24 hours daily 

Price : Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Valletta City Gate



Right beside the Triton Fountain is Valletta City Gate where every visitor to the city has to pass through it. Back in the days after losing the battle with the Ottoman army in 1551, Malta decided to build the fort around Valletta and allow it to become the fortified city. It is essential to create the entrance to the city, that is how the city gate started. The gate has been reconstructed a total of 5 times. Originally it was under the responsibility of Francesco Laparelli, a famous Italian engineer and architect, the designer of the Valletta city plan. But after it is completion, the gate was demolished and rebuilt again and again under different responsibility throughout the years. In 21st century, the gate has been reconstructed again in 2011 by Renzo Piano and completed in 2014. 


Address: Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: 24 hours daily 

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Parliament of Malta



After entering the city gate, you will be seeing the modern-style squared building which could stun you for a second. This is the Parliament of Malta sitting beside the Royal Opera House or the Royal Theatre. The Parliament looks impressive with its modern Maltese style but it is not opened to the public. However, taking photos in front of this modernized building is now becoming one of the favourite activities for the tourists. On the left-hand side is the Royal Theatre which used to be the opera house and performance venue in Valletta as well as being one of the most beautiful buildings in Valletta. Unfortunately, it suffered the damage from the aerial bombing in 1942 during World War II. In 2013, the ruins of the opera house have been redesigned and finally became the performance venue once again under the name Pjazza Teatru Rjal. 


Address: i-, Ordinance, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: Outdoor visit 24 hours daily/ Inside not opened to public 

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Auberge de Castille



The Auberge de Castille is considered to be one of the most beautiful Baroque-style buildings in Valletta. Originally, the Auberge de Castille was built in the Mannerist style; later in 1740, it was completely redesigned in Baroque style by Domenico Cachia. During the French occupation in 1798, the Auberge de Castille was a headquarter of the French military forces. Then in 1805, when the British came, it was transformed to become the headquartes of the British military forces, as well as the residence for the British officers. It has also housed the headquarters of the military forces of Malta, Libya, and Cyprus too. Finally, in 1972, it was chosen to be the place to serve the office of the Prime Minister of Malta until recently. Auberge de Castille is located at the highest spot of Valletta and close to the Upper Barrakka Garden, therefore, offering the greatest view of Grand Harbour. Only the outside the building can be visited as it is not opened for public.


Address: Merchants St, Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: Outdoor visit 24 hours daily/ Inside not opened for public 

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Upper Barrakka Gardens



Upper Barrakka Gardens is the favourite spot for the tourists and locals to sit back and relax. The garden located beside the Auberge de Castille, surrounded by fountains, trees, flowers, sculptures, and monuments connected to the terrace or the observation deck where it offers the most beautiful view of Grand Harbour and the Three Cities which is stunned and known to be the most beautiful view in the Mediterranean. Originally, the arched terrace was built by the Italian knights, Flaminio Balbiano in 1661, as the private gardens and exercise grounds for the knight of Italy. Then, in 1824 it was transformed into the charming garden opened to the public. During World War II, the garden suffered from major damages and received the restoration back to its full form once again. Here at Upper Barrakka Gardens, it is considered to be one of the best sunset viewpoints in Malta.


Address: 292 Triq Sant' Orsla, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: Daily 7:00-22:00

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? St. John's Co-Cathedral



St. John's Co-Cathedral is located in the City of Valletta. If you are the one who loves to visit the religious buildings and so into the art and painting, you cannot miss this one. It is a Roman Catholic co-cathedral, built by the Order of St. John between 1572 and 1577 as a conventual church for the Knights of St. John. Girolamo Cassar, the Maltese architect who designed several outstanding buildings in Valletta, also designed this co-cathedral. After that in the 17th century, the interior was redecorated by Mattia Preti and other artists in Baroque style, making this co-cathedral to be one of the excellent examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe.


Address: Triq San Gwann, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: Monday to Friday between 09:30 and 16:30 (last admission at 16:00) / Saturday between 09:30 and 12:30 (last admission at 12:00)/ Closed on Sunday and public holidays

Price: €10 for adults/ €7.50 for students or senior citizens/ free for children under the age of 12


Where to visit in Valletta? St. George's Square



St. George's Square is right at the heart of Valletta surrounded by beautiful streets, restaurants, bars, and cafes. St. George's Square is the place where you can sit down to rest and relax a little bit while watching the pedestrians strolling around the city. On the opposite side of the square stands the Palace of Armoury, one of the world's largest collections of historic weapons and armours that are still housed in its original building. 


Address: Republic St, Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: 24 hours daily

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Republic Square



Right next to St. George's Square is the Republic Square with the statue of Queen Victoria and the National Library of Malta as a background. The square was originally called Piazza Tesoreria or Piazza dei Cavallieri, after the installation of the Queen Victoria statue in the 19th century, it has been commonly called Queen's Square or Piazza Regina although the official name is Republic Square. At the background is the National Library of Malta which commonly known as Bibliotheca. It was completely constructed in 1796 by Polish-Italian architect, Stefano Ittar. From here, it is only a 2 minute walk away to St. John's Co-Cathedral and a few steps away from the shopping arcade.


Address: Republic Square, Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: 24 hours daily

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Lower Barrakka Gardens



Located not very far away from the Upper Barrakka Gardens, offering different views from its sister garden, located on the top part of St. Christopher's Bastion. From here you will see the panoramic view of Fort Ricasoli, Bighi Palace, Fort St. Angelo, and sea creeks of Vittoriosa and Kalkara. In the middle stands the monument building of Sir Alexander Ball, built in 1810, who was the politician, diplomat, military officer, and the first British governor of Malta who led the Maltese insurrection against France in 1798. From the archway and the terrace, you can see the Siege Bell War Memorial.


Address: Quarry Wharf, Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: Daily 8:00-21:00

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Siege Bell War Memorial



On the lower part of the St. Christopher's Bastion stands the Siege Bell War Memorial that has been built in commemoration of Maltese people who died during the World War II. Malta suffered the second siege of the island with the attempts of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to capture the city and naval base controlled by the British Empire. After that, Italy declared war with France and Britain leading to the Italian Air Force attacking Malta. Although British and Maltese are successfully defending the island, but they have suffered from destruction and being one of the most heavily bombed areas during World War II. More than 7,000 soldiers and civilians were killed.


Address: 32 Lvant, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: 24 hours daily

Price: Free


Where to visit in Valletta? Victoria Gate



Victoria Gate is the oldest gate in Valletta, it has survived both World War II bombings and the infrastructure changes associated with the city development. It has been said that Victoria Gate is the most beautiful gate of Valletta dedicated to Victoria. The original Victoria Gate was constructed at the end of the 16th century and after 300 years, the gate could no longer fit the rapid development of the capital city, therefore, it has been demolished and reconstructed to make it larger and more comfortable for the passerby and the carriages to pass. It was built with mainly Maltese limestone with the Maltese coat-of-arms and the symbol of the British Empire on top of the gate. The gate is located between the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens along the coastline.


Address: Victoria Gate, Valletta, Malta

Opening hours: 24 hours daily

Price: Free


Words and Photographs by Aphinya Kasemsukphaisan