Malta’s capital city, Valletta is a beautiful walled city which was established in the 1500s. Valletta means ‘sail’ and is reflective of its geographical make-up – resembling a ship’s sail! The city is known for its fortress-like harbours, museums, palaces and grand churches. Its quaint side streets boast many shops and cafes whilst the main streets are home to bigger brand names. The best way to explore Valletta is on foot so take your time, wander in wonder and enjoy the timeless magic that is Valletta. Our Eat Do Sleep Guide will help you on your way.
The Harbour Club
Set right on the Grand Harbour and providing diners with stunning ocean views, the Harbour Club combines a classic nautical theme with plenty of elegant touches to create a truly enchanting atmosphere. In addition to a mouth-watering menu that utilises fresh local produce, diners are treated to first rate service from the very attentive and dedicated team. The atmosphere and culinary creations make this the perfect place to linger over a very memorable meal. Some of the delicious dishes that are just waiting to be enjoyed here include heirloom tomatoes stuffed with goat’s cheese mousse and served with black olives and the celebrated salt baked celeriac and smoked celeriac purée served with Romaine lettuce sauce and the fisherman’s catch of the day.
This multi award-winning restaurant is located just steps away from the historical Grandmasters Palace Square in the centre of Valletta. This establishment is a hit with both local people and visitors to the city who are interested in fine dining. Executive Chef Maria Sammut has been creating memorable and inspiring dishes here for more than fifteen years and infuses fresh seasonal produce with innovative flavours to provide a unique dining experience. One of the great things about this restaurant is that there is always something new for diners to discover. However, there are certain inventive signature dishes that diners always return for, which includes homemade wild boar ravioli that is tossed with thyme and wild mushrooms, the salmon Wellington, pistachio crusted seabass served with saffron and clam volute and risotto carbonara, which combines the best elements of two classic Italian dishes. People who have a sweet tooth will also want to make sure that they save room for dessert as the homemade pistachio parfait should not be missed.
This family run establishment serves a large selection of classic Mediterranean dishes that are created using fresh local produce. For the optimum dining experience, it is a good idea to book one of the tables on the terrace that look out across the water at the enchanting Manoel Island. Some of the delicious dishes that are just waiting to be enjoyed here include pan seared quail served with raisins and pancetta, chargrilled baby calamari served with the signature sweet chilli sauce and a seasonal seafood soup that boasts a medley of freshly caught delicacies from the sea.
Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens
Nature lovers will want to make sure that they pay a visit to these large and lovely gardens, where they will be treated to stunning views of Grand Harbour as well as the Cottonera. These gardens can be found at the south side of the peninsula and provide the perfect place to pause to enjoy a picnic while soaking up the scenery. The gardens were originally created to serve as a place of recreation for the knights of the Italian langue of the Order of Saint John. They were opened to the public in 1800 after the end of the French occupation of Malta.
Visit the National Museum of Archaeology
Boasting a large number of climate controlled exhibits, this impressive museum was fully renovated and refurbished in 1998. However, the full majesty of the baroque Auberge de Provence building has been preserved. This stunning structure was built in 1571 for the Order of Saint John and was designed by Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar. One of the museum’s main highlights is the Grand Salon, which can be found on the ground floor. This extremely ornate room was originally used for the business discussions that were conducted by the knights and also served as a banqueting hall. Some of the most famous Neolithic artefacts that can be found here include the Sleeping Lady artefact, the Red Skorba figurine and several corpulent figures from Ħaġar Qim.
Check out St John’s Co-Cathedral
With its austere façade, this structure cuts an impressive figure and dominates the surrounding landscape. Lovers of baroque architecture will want to allow plenty of time to explore the interior of the cathedral, which is set with a barrel-shaped ceiling bearing a huge and elaborate fresco. The entrance fee includes an audio guide that includes 24 stops where the history of the corresponding area is explained in detail. It is also worth taking the time to explore the attached museum, which contains a large number of historical and religious artefacts. There are two works by Caravaggio for art lovers to admire here as well as a number of other striking works of art.
Rosselli AX Privilege
Located in the very heart of Valetta, the luxurious AX Rosselli Privilege was formerly a palazzo which has been transformed into a stunning 5 star boutique hotel. The property has six room categories ranging from comfort, superior and executive all of which have their own private well spas and terraces. The duplex junior suites feature double height ceilings and have their own private lounge area and internal spiral staircases. Rosselli’s restaurant Grain guarantees the best quality produce, infused with that unique Mediterranean flavour which makes your palate sing. A stay at the AX Rosselli Privilege also includes extras like an evening turndown service and in room spa treatments and make sure you visit the outdoor pool up on the roof while you enjoy looking out over the Valletta city skyline.
This historic hideaway in Valletta, has been in the Ellul family for generations and is close to the Manoel Theatre and only moments away from the best bars and restaurants in the city. Originally a Victorian-period Palazzo, this small luxury boutique hotel in Valletta expresses a classical yet stylish design, inspired by a combination of past Baroque influence and present chic elegance. There are just nine rooms in the hotel, all described as suites offering large open plan spaces and duplexes. The hotel combines old with new so expect to see original stone windows and Maltese wooden balconies sitting next to ultra modern design features like their contemporary private terraces and jacuzzis. Their restaurant Risette offers laid back fine dining, the menu changes weekly with a focus on fresh Med flavours.
The Phoenicia is one of Malta’s iconic hotels, located at the gates of Valletta, built by the British in the 1930’s the Phoenicia was a firm favourite with the Queen and is also a “Leading Hotels of The World” hotel. Its location at the city gate means it has enough space for a garden and outdoor pool and it is still just a short walk to all the main sites, restaurants and bars within the city wall. The hotel oozes 1930’s charm and its main Palm Court in the centre whisks you back to a bygone era. Rooms are fresh, with white cream and blue tones offset by plant patterned furniture. For casual dining head to The Bastion Pool Bar, while the stunning main dining room The Phoenix takes fine dining to the next level.