14 Amazing Things to do in Valletta, Malta in 2024

Boring stuff: I have visited each of the places I recommend and give you my honest opinion, warts and all. All photos are my own unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission. Affiliate links may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Quick Look at the top Valletta tours

1. City Walking Tour
2. Street Food and Culture Tour
3. Day Trip to the Blue Lagoon

Best places to stay in Valletta

1. Budget: Inhawi Boutique Hostel
2. Mid-range: Grand Harbour Hotel
3. Luxury: Hotel: The Phoenicia Malta

Malta’s charming capital Valletta is a historic destination with a wealth of activities to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s rich history, trying local cuisine, or simply relaxing in the Mediterranean sun, there are lots of wonderful things to do in Valletta.

I spent a week in the city in 2022 after travelling all the way from England by train, bus and boat while exploring all of Europe’s micronations. I was impressed by the beautiful architecture and picturesque harbour of which you can find photographs below.

The city is famed for its baroque and neoclassical architecture made out of the signature yellow Maltese limestone. The fortified city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top Valletta attractions.

Best Things to do in Valletta, Malta

There are so many excellent Valletta things to do from swimming at the city’s beaches to strolling along the waterfront and enjoying the local cuisine. Below you’ll find 15 of the top things to do in Valletta.

1. Take a Walking Tour of the City

Narrow Streets
Narrow Streets

One of the things to do in Valletta to get a feel for the place is to take a walking tour. This three-hour guided walk around the old town and harbour takes in all the top landmarks in the city and will give you an overview of Malta’s fascinating history.

Explore the medieval streets and ancient ruins and marvel at the neoclassical architecture, stroll through palm-lined parks and take in magnificent views of the harbour. The tour includes visits to Barrakka Gardens, Valletta Parliament and the Seige Bell Memorial.

Book today with Get Your Guide

2. Explore the Grand Harbour

Valletta Grand Harnour
Valletta Grand Harnour

Valletta’s Grand Harbour is a natural harbour that has played a significant role in the city’s history for centuries.

Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the harbor and see the city from a different perspective. You can also visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offer stunning views of the harbor and the Three Cities.

The harbor was my first view of Malta and this is definitely one of the Valletta must-see sights. There are many vantage points to view the harbour from and lots of nice streetside cafes overlooking the marina.

3. Explore the Waterfront and Promenade

The Seafront
The Seafront

The Valletta Waterfront is a popular tourist destination located in the Grand Harbor of Malta’s capital. It is a restored 18th-century wharf that has been transformed into a vibrant waterfront promenade lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops.

The area offers stunning views of the harbor, including the impressive Fort Saint Angelo and the iconic Three Cities across the water. The Valletta Waterfront is a great place to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere.

4. Relax on the beaches

Things to do in Valletta
Things to do in Valletta

Valletta has some small beaches such as Balluta Bay which are perfect for cooling off in summer (beware of jellyfish though). I swam every day at Balluta and the water was crystal clear and warm. Other city beaches include Fond Ghadir beach, and St George’s beach.

However, the best beaches are found outside of the city. You can also take a short ferry ride to the nearby island of Comino, which is home to the famous Blue Lagoon. Gozo also has some pretty spectacular beaches.

5. Try some local cuisine

Food in Valletta
Food in Valletta

Maltese cuisine is a fusion of Mediterranean and North African flavors, and Valletta is a great place to sample it. I enjoyed the Maltese food greatly and there is no shortage of excellent restaurants to sample the local fayre.

Some of the local specialties include pastizzi (flaky pastry filled with ricotta cheese or mushy peas), rabbit stew, and ftira (Maltese bread topped with tomatoes, olives, and tuna). You can find these dishes and more at the city’s many cafes and restaurants.

One of the best ways to experience Malta’s delicious cuisine is to take a tour like this street food and culture walking tour. You’ll get to see some of the famous landmarks from Castille Square, Uppere Barrakka Gardens and Republic Street and stopping to taste along the way.

Book the street food and walking tour with Get Your Guide

6. Visit the Casa Rocca Piccola

Maltese Architecture
Maltese Architecture

The grand Casa Rocca Piccola is a historic palace built in the 16th century. It has been home to the noble De Piro family for generations and is now open to the public as a museum. Visitors can explore the palazzo’s many rooms and gardens, which are filled with antique furniture, art, and artifacts.

The museum also provides a glimpse into the daily life of a noble family in Malta, with exhibits on everything from cooking and dining to fashion and grooming. One of the most unique features of Casa Rocca Piccola is its underground air-raid shelter, which was used during World War II.

7. Lower Barrakka Gardens

Lower Barrakka Gardens
Lower Barrakka Gardens

The Lower Barrakka Gardens is a small, but stunningly pleasant park with colorful flowerbeds, palm trees and the neoclassical Monument to Sir Alexander Ball which was built in 810 but looks like an ancient Greek or Roman temple.

There is a small cafe and pleasant walkways with views of the harbour. The paths lead to the adjoining Upper Barrakka Gardens.

8. Upper Barrakka Gardens

Barrakka Gardens
Barrakka Gardens

The Upper Barrakka Gardens is a beautiful public park connected to the Lower Barrakka Gardens. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities, making it a popular tourist attraction.

The gardens were originally built in the 16th century as a private garden for the Knights of St. John, but were opened to the public in the 19th century. The park is filled with colorful flowers, trees, and fountains, and has several monuments and statues scattered throughout, including a bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill. The Upper Barrakka Gardens is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Valletta.

9. Visit the St. John’s Co-Cathedral

St Paul's Pro Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

One of the most famous landmarks in Valletta is the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a stunning Baroque church that dates back to the 16th century.

Visitors can admire the ornate interior, which features intricate carvings, marble floors, and stunning frescoes by the famous artist Caravaggio. The cathedral also houses the museum of the Order of St. John, which showcases the history of the Knights Hospitaller.

10. Grand Master’s Palace

Ancient Architecture
Ancient Architecture

The Grand Master’s Palace is a magnificent palace located in the centre of Valletta It was built in the 16th century as the official residence of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John and now serves as the office of the President of Malta.

The palace is a fine example of Baroque architecture and is adorned with intricate decorations and beautiful works of art. Visitors can explore the palace’s grand halls, including the State Apartments and the Armoury, which houses an impressive collection of weapons and armor.

The palace also features beautiful gardens and courtyards, including the Neptune Courtyard, which is home to a stunning fountain. The Grand Master’s Palace is an essential stop for history buffs and anyone interested in the rich cultural heritage of Malta.

11. Fort St. Elmo

Fort St Elmo
Fort St Elmo

Fort St. Elmo is a historic fortress built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century and played a crucial role in Malta’s defense against invading forces.

The fort is known for its strategic location at the tip of the Valletta peninsula, offering stunning views of the Grand Harbour and the surrounding areas. Today, visitors can explore the fort’s extensive network of tunnels and rooms, which include a museum that showcases Malta’s military history.

One of the most significant events in the fort’s history was the Siege of Malta in 1565, during which the fort held out against a much larger invading Ottoman army for several weeks. Fort St. Elmo is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and military architecture, and its picturesque setting makes it a favorite spot for photographers and tourists alike.

12. Lascaris War Rooms

The Lascaris War Rooms is a complex of underground tunnels and chambers that served as the headquarters for the Allied forces during World War II.

The rooms were originally built in the 16th century as a series of interconnected tunnels and caves, but were converted into a war room complex during the war.

Visitors can now tour the rooms and see the original equipment and maps used by the Allied forces during the war, as well as the various rooms where important decisions were made.

The Lascaris War Rooms are a fascinating glimpse into Malta’s role in the war and the strategic importance of the Mediterranean during that time.

13. Visit the National Museum of Archaeology

Knisja Santa Katerina
Knisja Santa Katerina

The National Museum of Archaeology is located in Valletta’s Auberge de Provence, a historic building that once housed the Knights of St. John. As a lover of history this was one of the highlights of of my visit.

The museum showcases Malta’s prehistoric and ancient history, with exhibits featuring artifacts dating back to 5000 BC. Highlights include the famous “Sleeping Lady” statue, which is believed to be the earliest known representation of a human figure in Malta.

14. Swim in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon, Malta
The Blue Lagoon, Malta

The Blue Lagoon is a stunning natural pool of crystal clear blue water located in Comino, a small island between Malta and Gozo. The lagoon is known for its incredibly clear waters and picturesque surroundings, making it a popular tourist destination in Malta.

Visitors can swim, snorkel, or simply relax on the lagoon’s white sandy beaches and take in the beauty of the turquoise water. The Blue Lagoon is accessible by boat, and many tours and excursions are available for visitors to experience this natural wonder.

While it can get crowded during peak season, the Blue Lagoon is still a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience Malta’s natural beauty. Book your tour to the Blue Lagoon with Get Your Guide.

If you’re looking for more things to do across the islands, check out this 7-day Malta itinerary.

Getting to Malta

View Through the Valletta City Streets
View Through the Valletta City Streets

By Plane

Malta International Airport (MLA) is located just over five miles from the city and takes just 20 minutes to drive. Bus X4 leaves from outside arrivals and goes into the city centre.

By Boat

I took the boat from Sicily to Malta which was a wonderful way to arrive with stunning views of the city and harbour. There are daily sailings from Pozzallo which takes just under two hours and Catania around five. Check prices with Direct Ferries.

Best Time to Visit

Valletta Things to do
Valletta Things to do

I visited Valletta in August and in hindsight that was a mistake. Malta is the southernmost part of Europe close to North Africa and the summer temperatures combined with the humidity can be brutal (and this is coming from someone who used to live in the tropics).

The shoulder seasons of spring and April are the best times for visiting Valletta with warm, sunny days perfect for enjoying the Mediterranean climate, beaches, outdoor activities and al-fresco dining.

Check out this Malta 4 day itinerary for more ideas on things to do outside of Valletta.

Where to Stay

Leafy Malta
Leafy Malta

I stayed at the Inhawi Boutique Hostel which is one of the best I’ve been to anywhere. It was a few metres from many wonderful restaurants overlooking the ocean and a small beach. The hostel is in an old convent and even has its own swimming pool.

Book today on Hostelworld.com

For more places to stay check out this guide on where to stay in Malta.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Valletta is a city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in exploring its historic landmarks or simply relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Valletta that will appeal to visitors of all ages and interests.

So why not plan a trip to Valletta and discover all that this beautiful city has to offer?

You might like my other guides to Malta and beyond:

Dunhuang, Gobi Desert, China

About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲

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