In the middle of the Mediterranean sea lies Malta, and its historic capital Valletta.
Where and what is Valetta?
Valletta is the financial hub, administrative center and cultural heart of Malta, an archipelago situated 93 kilometres south of Sicily. Founded in 1566 by the Order of the Knights of St. John, the Maltese capital is a unique creation of the Late Renaissance, built on Mount Sceberras between two natural harbours in the Mediterranean.
Often referred to as the Fortress City, or Citta' Umilissima, Valletta's bastioned walls are a reminder of the city's rich military history. Once an area of massive strategic importance, from the time of crusades to World War II, Valletta is now the perfect place for a relaxed holiday. Despite being the smallest capital in the European Union, Valletta has myriad wonders to offer. From historical landmarks to breathtaking sights, the town-sized capital never disappoints.
Saint John's Co-Cathedral
Built by the Order of the Knights of St. John between 1572 and 1577, the Roman Catholic co-cathedral is a Baroque masterpiece. Abundantly decorated by magnificent works of art, the Cathedral is notably home to the famous Beheading of St. John the Baptist painting by Caravaggio, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest works in Western art. Beyond its role as a place of worship, the cathedral's peaceful atmosphere will be appreciated by all, Catholic or not.
The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are an absolute treasure. Among luscious greenery and the relaxing sound of fountains, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the marina and stare at the endless horizon. Their lower twin's main feature is a grand terrace overlooking the Grand Harbour, also known as the Port of Valletta.
Churches and Museums
Valletta is not just a seaside destination. Its rich and complex culture deserves to be explored, and the best places for that are its splendid churches and fascinating museums.
Malta's church density is unprecedented, with Valletta alone counting twenty-five of them. The Carmelite Church, the Church of Our Lady of Victory, the Church of St Catherine, and Saint Paul's Shipwreck Church are the most popular.
When you eventually get tired of religious monuments, Valletta also offers a plethora of museums. The National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Archeology and the National War Museum cover a variety of different interests for knowledge-hungry tourists.
Take a boat to the Three Cities
Malta is a very small country, which has its advantages. It's possible to go from one place to the next in record time. Only a quick boat ride separates you from the Three Cities, also known as Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, which are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Delightfully authentic, the Three Cities embody the carefree and spontaneous Mediterranean way of life. The ubiquitous ocher which colours every house contrasting with the deep blue of the sea also makes for perfect Instagram pictures.