Romance in the capital: A guide to Valletta for lovers
Impress your loved one with a memorable day in one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

Adriana Bishop

Bustling by day, buzzing by night, Valletta is magical at any time, but with Valentine’s Day coming up, it's sure to take on a special aura. Its baroque beauty is the perfect backdrop for a romantic day. Follow our guide for the best places for romance in the city.

Get there in style

There’s nothing more romantic than sailing into the sunset, even if the journey takes just 10 minutes. If you’re staying in the Sliema or St Julian's area, hop on a ferry to Valletta. The crossing gives you the best view of the majestic bastions. No pre-booking necessary. Ferry departs Sliema Creek every 30 minutes. Check the timetable here

If you’re in no rush (and who is when they’re on holiday) hail a traditional horse-drawn karozzin and clippity-clop the old way to the city. 

Spa in the city

Indulge in some couple time with a luxurious spa package. Grand Hotel Excelsior offers a Couple’s Dream, which includes a couple’s massage and jacuzzi session for two. The 75-minute treatment costs €100 per couple. Or pamper yourselves with the 90-minute Couples Caress, featuring a full body exfoliation, candle oil caress massage and jacuzzi session, all for €110 per couple. 

Kiss with a view

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I love all of Valletta, but if I had to choose a single place for that romantic moment, it would have to be Upper Barrakka Gardens. Always a popular attraction with tourists and locals alike, you’ll still find a quiet spot just for the two of you no matter what time you visit. The breathtaking view of Grand Harbour will make a sensational backdrop for your holiday snaps. Best time to visit: sunset, when the bastions of the Three Cities across the harbour glow golden, or late in the evening, when the garden is much quieter and you can gaze at the view (or into each other’s eyes) in peace. Free entry. Open daily 7am-10pm.

Cocktail hour

Valletta is a haven of trendy wine and cocktail bars so you’ll be spoilt for choice here. The good news is that they’re all great and have their own particular style, so you can’t go wrong. For quiet elegance, pop into the Club Bar at the newly refurbished Phoenicia Hotel and order one of the locally inspired cocktails. Or mix with the in-crowd at Charles Grech Cafe or Kingsway on Republic Street. 

Dinner time

Ask any local for their favourite restaurant in Valletta and they will come up with countless options. Valletta restaurants are renowned for their discerning menus featuring local produce. Booking is always advisable especially on a popular night like Valentine’s Day. My personal favourites are Palazzo Preca, tucked away in the former red light district of Strait Street (now newly gentrified and a popular hangout for the hip and cool) for hearty local dishes in a relaxed but chic townhouse; Michael’s at the former Civil Service Sports Club housed in the historic L’Hostel De Verdelin for sumptuous fine dining with a unique Mediterranean flair; and Guze Bistro located in a 16th-century building dripping with cosy, rustic charm. Bon apetit!

Hold hands in the dark

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Watch a live-on-screen performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night at the historic St James Cavalier. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, this is often hailed as the Bard’s greatest comedy. The screening is showing tomorrow, and starts at 8pm. Tickets €15.  

Put a ring on it

Valletta is also the jewellery capital of Malta, with more shops selling all things gold and sparkly than anywhere else on the island. Republic Street and St Lucy’s Street are the two main areas to head for if you wish you seal the day with a special memento. Or go local and treat your loved one to some exquisite handmade filigree jewellery to remind you of that romantic day spent in Malta.

Say it with ink

Stamp your love for each other and for Malta with a couple’s tattoo at Ink City Tattoo Studio in Melita Street.

Adriana Bishop
Written by
Adriana Bishop
A former journalist and travel PR executive, Adriana divides her time between her adopted home Switzerland and her forever home Malta where she enjoys playing the ‘local tourist’ re-discovering favourite haunts and new attractions on every visit.

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