Things to do in Valletta, Malta + Original Photos

Valletta is the capital city of Malta, the smallest country in the EU.  As a matter of fact, Valletta is the smallest capital city in the EU.  Things to do in Valletta include;

  • Saint John’s Co-Cathedral
  • Casa Rocca Piccola
  • Palace Armoury
  • Saluting Battery
  • Lascaris War Rooms
  • Siege Bell War Memorial
  • Fortification Interpretation Centre
  • St. Augustine Church

I stayed at the Valletta Hotels – Saint John which is within walking distance of all the things to do in Valletta.  However, as Valletta is the smallest capital in the EU, you could choose whichever Valletta hotel suits your budget.

Saint John’s Co-Cathedral

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - Saint John's Co-Cathedral

From the exterior St John’s Co-Cathedral is an impressive example of Baroque architecture.  In fact, the interior of St John’s Co-Cathedral reminded me of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.  However, there was one huge difference to my experience in the St John’s which was that there were very few people.  I recommend visiting at around 9 am as it’s quiet at this time.  Moreover, the entrance fee is 10 Euros.  The reason you must pay to enter this cathedral is to contribute to the maintenance of it and it’s in pristine condition.

Make sure you don’t miss the most famous piece of artwork in the cathedral which is ‘The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’ by Caravaggio.

Casa Rocca Piccola – Things to do in Valletta

The Casa Rocca Piccola is a well maintained 16th century palace.  Originally, it was the home of the noble De Piro family.  Today, you can take a tour of their house and it’s open from Monday to Saturday.  In 1918 and again in the second world war huge air raid shelters were added under the building.  For this reason, you can visit these huge underground bunkers as part of your tour of the palace.

Palace Armoury

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - Palace Armoury

Located in the Grandmasters Palace is the Palace Armoury which was built in the 17th century.  The collection of arms and armoury is one of the largest collections in the world which is still located in its original location.  If you do not wish to go inside you can appreciate the building from the huge St George’s Square in front of it.  I recommend you relax in one of the restaurants in this square and enjoy a coffee or a cold beer.  Periodically, the guards march in front of the building.


Saluting Battery

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - Saluting Battery

The Saluting Battery was mainly used for gun salutes but during the second world war it was used for military purposes.  These days, the guns are fired daily both at midday and at 4 pm.  A short walk from the saluting battery is the cruise ship terminal of Valletta Malta.  In fact, the cruise ship docks virtually in front of it therefore the Saluting Battery is one of the first things to do in Valletta for cruise ship passengers.

Lascaris War Rooms

Located below the saluting battery and the upper Barrakka gardens are the Lascaris war rooms.  In the 1940’s the British made a secret underground in Valletta.  During the second world war over 1000 people worked in the secret underground.  Strategic operations were planned here such as the invasion of Sicily.  The rooms were used during the Suez crisis and cold war.  Today however, the Lascaris war rooms are no longer used for military purposes.

Auberge De Castille

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - National Museum of Archaeology

The office of the Prime Minister of Malta is located in the Auberge de Castille.  For this reason, Auberge de Castille is to Valletta what 10 Downing St is to the London Landmarks.  An interesting fact is that this Baroque style building is located at the highest point of Valletta.  Furthermore, adjacent to the Auberge is the Stock Exchange of Malta.  Around the corner you’ll find the Valletta city gates which were undergoing a huge makeover when I visited.  However, they should be completed when you visit.

Museums of Valletta

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - National War Museum

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to museums in Valletta.  The most important museum you must visit in Valletta is the national war museum (above).  In the war museum you’ll learn how important the strategically placed Malta was during the world wars.  Without Malta, could the allies have won World War II?  You decide during your visit.  The war museum is located in Fort St Elmo at the end of the peninsula.  Additionally, the following are also notable museums in Valletta;

Finally, the Toy Museum might be of interest if you’re traveling to Valletta with kids.

St. Augustine Church – Must See Valletta

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - St. Augustine Church

As you walk from the Sliema ferry terminal to the center of Valletta you may pass St. Augustine Church.  If you pass on a Sunday you could be in for a treat.  There are fireworks and the scene looks like it could be part of a movie.


Siege Bell War Memorial

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - Single Bell War Memorial

The Siege Bell war memorial was built in 1992 to commemorate the allied forces victory during World War II.  In actual fact, it commemorates the victory of the second siege of Malta from 1940-43.  The largest single bell in Malta is located inside the belfry.  Adjacent to the Siege Bell are the lower barrakka gardens which offer an incredible view of the Grand Harbor.

Grand Harbor

Things to do in Valletta - Malta - Grand Harbor View from Valletta, Malta

The views over the Grand Harbor from Valletta are stunning.  I found the best place to view the harbor from was the upper barrakka gardens.  Moreover, if you’re arriving on a cruise ship you’ll get a good view from there too.  Many movies have been filmed at the Grand Harbor.  Movies including Troy, Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Black Eagle, Munich, The Da Vinci Code, Captain Phillips and World War Z.  As a result, this is an iconic filming location.

How to travel to the rest of Malta and Gozo from Valletta

Local bus to get around Malta, Valletta bus station

Independent travel around Malta is very easy.  Outside of the city gates is the Valletta bus station.  From Valletta bus station, you can take the local bus service to anywhere on the Island as far as the Gozo ferry port.  As a matter of fact there are over 2000 bus stops throughout the Islands of Malta and Gozo.  The cost of a ticket is €2 and the tickets can be used on any bus within 2 hours.  Furthermore, if you plan on using the service often then you can buy a 7 day pass for €21.  If the local bus sounds too complicated then there is also a Hop On Hop Off bus service around Malta and Gozo as well as organised tours.

Check out the Valletta Hotels – Saint Johns.   Things to do in Malta and Things to do in Gozo.

2019-01-01T10:54:26+00:00October 8th, 2017|Malta, Western Europe|24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Dominic October 9, 2017 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Malta is one of the places in Europe I would like to visit. Didn’t realise there was so much to see and do there either. Nice use of the fish eye lens – is that a GoPro or a separate DSLR lens?

    • James Smith October 9, 2017 at 7:17 am - Reply

      Hi Dominic, I used a separate DSLR lens, the Canon Fish Eye.

  2. Barry October 9, 2017 at 8:11 am - Reply

    There is so much to do in Valletta! I’ve been thinking of going to Malta for a while now and it seems that I need to allocate quite a few days. Just to see the capital must take 2-3 days. The prime ministers building is beautiful, I’d love to photograph it at night.

  3. Lynne Sarao October 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I am pretty unfamiliar with Malta but I’m surprised to see there is so much history there. I’d absolutely want to see Saint Johns’ Co-Cathedral but I’d probably spend most of my time down at the Grand Harbor. It looks incredible. Did you get to visit any beaches while you were there?

  4. Heraa Farooq October 9, 2017 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    It’s the first time I am hearing about Valletta. Looks like a historical place with a good museum and culture. I would love to visit gran harbor the view is looking really amazing.

  5. Harry October 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    We are not so far from Malta but we have to confess you that we haven’t visited it yet… We always wanted… This place has lots to offer and now we’d like to plan a trip for the next year! Love the Saint John’s Co-Cathedral!!

  6. Abigail Sinsona October 9, 2017 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    What a great roundup of sights to see! Valletta is a UNESCO WHS so I would love to visit it. I heard it has the distinction for having the most dense concentration of historical sites in one area given how small this city is! So, that means more sites to explore!

  7. Faith Coates October 10, 2017 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I visited Malta many years ago and fell in love with the place, I managed to see a few of the areas you pointed out and am looking forward to my next trip. I found the food, the people and the sites really impressive. What I particularly loved about the place was the cat hotels down the hills. I found it really cool that the islanders take care of the feral cats by feeding and housing them. We were on a cruise ship and we took a lovely walk from the ship up to the city and I really enjoyed the market that was on that day.

    • James Smith October 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      I didn’t notice the cats, I’ll keep an eye out next time!

  8. Swati Jain October 10, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Amazing pictures. IMalta has been on my list but I didn’t know that it has so much to offer. I will bookmark your blog for I want to visit it the soonest 🙂

  9. Suzanne October 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Malta looks like my kind of European getaway. The weather looks awesome. I would love to check out the cathedral/churches and walk around the city streets.

  10. Thomas October 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Valletta looks like such a picturesque city! With the stat that it’s the smallest capital city in the EU gives me a little more reason to visit. I love little details like this. I would love to see the inside of St Johns Co-Cathedral for myself and see the artwork of Caravaggio, he’s one of my favorite artists.

  11. Bhusha October 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    That would be not including Vatican as a country, right?!
    I wanted to visit Malta last time when I was in Europe, but the flight costs were so high, so I just gave up.
    The frescoes in the cathedral are just stunning. The Fort is interesting.

    • James Smith October 10, 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Vatican City isn’t an EU country so doesn’t qualify. You would love the frescoes in the cathedral, I’d imagine you’d write a huge blog about it!

  12. Doreen October 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    I had no idea the war history here would be so strong – shows you how much I know about Malta. I love your photo of St. Augustine Church with the fireworks outside. I can’t believe they do that every Sunday – it just seems like so much would go into it that it’d be difficult to pull off every week. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to visit Malta one day!

  13. Abhinav Singh October 12, 2017 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Malta sure is offbeat. My interest grew in Malta ever since I met a witty lady from the country few months ago. It would be great to see it. I prefer offbeat destinations like Malta. Casa Rocca Piccola will definitely be on my list when I do plan to visit.

  14. Manjulika Pramod October 13, 2017 at 7:07 am - Reply

    I can already see that I will love Valleta for its Musuems and the St. Augustine Church. National War Musuem looks interesting and those celebrations in the Church. The Grand harbor view is nice.

  15. Sandy N Vyjay October 14, 2017 at 4:01 am - Reply

    Valletta is such a charming city with so much of history and heritage. I too had a sense of deja vu, looking at the pictures of St. John’s Cathedral. I have not visited the place but have been to the Sistine Chapel and this looks so similar. The city of Valetta has all the old world charm that I assocoate with European towns and cities.

  16. Jordan October 15, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    I’ve never been in Valletta, and I didn’t know there’re so many things to do and see! It’s amazing there’s all this to see and do in the EU’s smallest capital, all the world war history is interesting too. I would love to photograph the narrow streets and traditional Maltese houses / Baroque buildings.

  17. Joel October 16, 2017 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Wow! Valletta is indeed a beautiful place. I like the way they were able to preserve the historical and cultural treasures of the city. In many other modern cities, these are already destroyed or defaced. It looks super easy to get around on foot being the smallest capital in the EU.

  18. Chiera October 16, 2017 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I absolutely love your style of photography James!! Malta seems like such a beautiful place. I would love to visit there one day!

  19. Benjoe VIdal October 18, 2017 at 8:01 am - Reply

    I really love your shot at Saint John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta looks really impressive and historical. It seems like an ancient preserved city. Thanks for your post James! 😀 your photos are great!

  20. Agness October 19, 2017 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Valletta seems like an awesome travel destination and its architecture is breathtaking. How many days would be enough to explore the whole island of Malta?

    • James Smith October 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Hi Agness. I was there for 5 days but could have easily stayed 5 more!

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