Valletta Travel Guide

Introduction to Valletta

A stunning fortified city occupying a small promontory on the island of Malta, Valletta was founded in the 16th century by the Knights of St John as a means of defending the island following a lengthy siege by Ottoman forces. Much of the fine Baroque architecture survives from that time, meaning that Valletta is steeped in history and deserving of its place on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list. With easy access via the international airport at Luqa, Valletta is an unmissable stop on any trip to Malta and the ideal destination for a quiet and enlightening city break. Hotels in Valletta are lovely and perfect for family breaks and romantic getaways.

Grand Master’s Palace

Grand Master’s Palace

Seat of the Maltese parliament; impressive staterooms and armoury.

St John’s Co-Cathedral

St John’s Co-Cathedral

16th century tour de force with incredible frescoes and tombstones.

The Malta Experience

The Malta Experience

Get the most out of your trip with an audio-visual history of Malta.

Other things to do in Luqa

Given its small size – less than one square kilometre – Valletta is easy to explore on foot, and there are some wonderful walks to be had through its picturesque streets and along the seafront by the city walls. Valletta is rich in historical sites which provide a fascinating look at its past, from its prehistoric temples right up to its experiences of the Second World War.

The Hypogeum (literally, ‘underground chamber’) is a staggeringly well-preserved prehistoric temple, which has earned it an individual listing on the UNESCO World Heritage list. An insight into Malta’s 16th century history can be gained by taking a guided tour round Fort St Elmo, the scene of the most major battle of the Great Siege of Malta, where there are weekly historical re-enactments outside the peak summer season. A great way of getting a more general overview of Valletta’s history is to take a guided boat trip around the Grand Harbour, one of the biggest in the Mediterranean, to discover the setting of several key moments in the city’s past.

Malta’s small size makes it easy to take day trips from Valletta to other parts of the island, or even to take the ferry to the neighbouring island of Gozo, which is quieter and less touristy. The medieval walled city of Mdina, the island’s original capital, is close to Valletta and particularly worthy of a visit.

Eating and drinking in Luqa

Valletta is not known for its nightlife, but nevertheless a range of cuisine is on offer. Traditional Maltese cooking derives from Italian influences, though can be difficult to find owing to the presence of eateries aimed at tourists’ palettes. A Maltese speciality is ‘fenek’ or rabbit, while in general dishes are largely centred on fish and vegetables. A Maltese platter, increasingly available at many tourist restaurants, is a good introduction. There are also some wonderful bakeries in Valletta – great for trying the Maltese pastizzi (small savoury pastries). The Valletta Waterfront area is a good place to find a variety of restaurants and bars, offering live music and an energetic atmosphere.

Luqa climate

Valletta enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summer weather and cooler winters. Though temperatures from June to September can be as high as 30 degrees, the sea breezes keep things comfortable. Spring and autumn can sometimes see high heat and humidity thanks to effects of the hot Xlokk wind blowing in from the Sahara.

When to go to Luqa

Valletta’s Mediterranean climate makes it a year-round destination. A number of festivals take place throughout the summer, with fireworks and street parties celebrating occasions such as the feast day of St Paul, while Carnival week in the spring is a good time to visit for those in search of more colourful nightlife.

Flying to Luqa

Flights to Valletta arrive at Malta International Airport, situated in Luqa, just 7km to the southwest of Valletta. A bus runs every 20 minutes connecting it to Valletta’s bus station, while you can also opt for a taxi at a regulated fare.

 Luqa Malta International Deals

Hotels in Luqa

Car hire in Luqa Malta International

Images by Flickr/pizzo76/fabiogis50/a.lampe