Valletta is a gorgeous city. We might be a teeny bit biased, but we’re pretty sure our capital city, famously cited as being “built for gentlemen by gentlemen” is up there with the fairest of them all.
After being the host destination of the European Capital of Culture in 2018, Valletta stepped up its game with a plethora of new funky cafes, galleries, bars and restaurants dotted around the grid map that makes up the pretty peninsula. Whilst we enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life during the week, where lawyers power walk whilst talking on their phones and tourists wander the streets in throngs taking photos of old Malta doors, there’s something to be said about visiting Valletta on a Sunday.
The absolute best way to do so is by taking the ferry from either the Sliema side or from the Three Cities. Experience magical views from both Marsamxett Harbour and the Grand Harbour from the open top-deck and you're bound to question why you don't do so more often! The views pulling up to the ports are magnificent, and for €3 for a return ticket, it's an absolute steal! Parking can be tricky in Valletta and you'll also be doing your bit for the planet whilst you glide on the open sea towards this jewel of a Capital City.
So, if you haven’t made the pilgrimage to the Valletta in a while, here’s a few spots to hit up if you fancy making a day of it, which you really should. So put on your comfiest espadrilles and a floppy wide brimmed hat and prepare to tourist in your own country!
1. Kingsway, Republic Street
After all that exercise walking up the steep hill from the ferry port, you'll be craving a bite to eat, and no-one does brunch quite like the chefs over at Kingsway! A lazy brunch is perfect for a day trip out in the capital, as it will set you up for your great day out, and Kingsway's posh selection of brunch bites is fit for a queen! Think buttery croissants with in-house cured salmon, avo-toast on thick-cut Maltese bread and even a brisket eggs Benedict, all available as part of their bottomless brunch deals with free-flowing prosecco!
2. National Museum of Archeology, Republic Street
Not just for school trips, the National Museum of Archeology on Republic Street is perfect for a hip and arty day out. Hosting mostly displays of ancient stonework, here’s where you’ll find a huge, iconic carving of the fertility goddess and prehistoric decorative pottery. The imposing baroque building is impressive in itself, and actually dates back to 1571, when it was built as the Auberge de Provence. The Grand Salon on the first floor is the most ornate room in the building - the Knights used it as a banqueting hall - and the stunning gilded ceiling will take your breath away.
3. MUŻA, Merchants Street
Hosted in the newly refurbished Auberge d'Italie on Merchant's Street, which were the quarters of the Italian Knights back in the late 16th Century, the building, now MUŻA, has taken on a new lease of life as the National Museum of Art. Take your time wandering around the gallery floor and stop for a slice of cake on your way out- their museum restaurant and cafeteria are absolutely raved about. They even host live jazz every Sunday evening in their grand courtyard. We couldn't think of a better venue for it!
4. Caffe Cordina, Republic Street
Caffe Cordina is more than just a cafe, it's a bona fide Valletta institution! It's the perfect place to take a break from sight-seeing with a milkshake and a pastizz whilst people watching. Caffe Cordina dates all the way back to 1837, starting out as a confectionery in Bormla. Their Valletta premises spills out into Pjazza Reġina, but you must check out their tea rooms, hosted in an exquisite palazzo, which is just crying out to be snapped for the 'Gram!
5. Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, St Lucy Street
Continuing on with your cultured day out, you must visit the Church of St Paul's Shipwreck in St Lucy Street, where you'll find exquisite fine artwork by the likes of Giuseppe Calì. The church is one of the oldest in Valletta and was finished in 1582. It was designed by Girolamo Cassar, who was the top architect in Malta at the time of the Knights, the same name behind many a landmark, including what is now MUŻA (Auberge d'Italie) and the National Museum of Archeology (Auberge de Provence). So far you've been taken on a whistlestop architecture tour!
6. City Lights, St John's Street
By now, you'll be ready to head back home to catch up on your latest Netflix series. Before you do, pop in to City Lights, a retro cinema which used to show blue movies back in the '70s and '80s, and is now possibly Valletta's quirkiest bar, still playing movies which are mostly free to watch! You're not obliged to stay for the whole screening, but it's definitely worth visiting if you haven't already for a craft beer, and to take in all the interesting movie memorabilia and vintage film posters! It's set to be turned into a boutique hotel in the near future so this is your chance to experience a fun side of Valletta's rich history.