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Vibrant Valletta: 9 reasons to choose Malta for your next city break

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Hopping on a plane and discovering a brand new city definitely beats weekends wandering around the DIY shops, and we reckon Valletta in Malta should be next on your hit-list. Valletta is a wonderfully atmospheric city, with a rich history and an exciting array of things to see and do. It was the 2018 European Capital of Culture, and it’s not difficult to see why! Here are a few of the reasons we think Valletta is perfect for your next city getaway.

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It’s wonderfully walkable

The walled city of Valletta is a warren of narrow, winding streets that are easy to get ‘lost’ in. It is possible to stroll from Fort St Elmo on one side of town to the Valletta City Gate on the other in about 30 minutes, but with quaint shops, cafés, beautiful fountains and historical buildings waiting to be discovered around every corner, it is likely to take you much longer than that. In fact, a long weekend is the ideal amount of time to get to know Valletta; you can spend many relaxing hours wandering the romantic alleyways and exploring the city, but it is small enough that you don’t need to worry about missing out on anything.

City Breakers exploring the streets of Valletta. Image credit: Visit Malta
Image credit: Visit Malta

The architecture is stunning

You don’t need to be an architecture geek to be awestruck by Valletta’s buildings, which made the UNESCO list for their harmonious representation of the baroque style. Look up as you walk past the towering townhouses – their colourful and highly decorated enclosed balconies are an iconic sight of the city. Decorative palazzos, domed cathedrals and domineering fortresses round out Valletta’s highly Instagrammable cityscape.

The Cathedral is a Baroque masterpiece

Step inside the 16th Century St John’s Co-Cathedral and prepare to be dazzled. The walls sparkle with gold and Baroque paintings, while the floor is pure marble – and doubles up as a tomb for at least 400 Knights of St John. Stroll around and take in the intricately carved statues and frescoes showing scenes from the life of John the Baptist. It also features two Caravaggio paintings – including the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. One of the most important paintings of the 17th Century, it was commissioned as an altarpiece for this church.

Image credit: Visit Malta

It has incredible weather

East of Tunisia and south of Sicily, the Maltese archipelago is always a good bet for great weather. From December to March temperatures in Valletta sit at a very mild 13–14°C, while you can expect an average temperature of 21°C in October and 17°C in November. During the height of summer temperatures tend to sit around the mid-20’s. If you’re feeling the heat, just duck into one of many cute air conditioned cafés or bars and cool down with a refreshing drink.

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It’s right on the Med

Remember that gloriously hot weather we just mentioned? You don’t have to go far to enjoy it, as Valletta sits right on the Mediterranean waterfront. While Valletta itself doesn’t have any sandy beaches, it’s easy to reach them on a short day trip. The sea around Valletta is also clean and safe enough for swimming – follow the footpath around the tip of the peninsula and you’ll find plenty of swimming holes and places to splash in. If in doubt, follow the locals!

Valletta waterfront. image credit: Visit Malta
Image Credit: Visit Malta

You don’t have to pack your phrasebook

English is one of Malta’s official languages, so although it’s fun to learn a few key Maltese phrases on Duolingo it’s definitely not essential.

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It has a rich and interesting history

The Knights of St John laid the first stone of Valletta in 1566, and grew their incredible Baroque city from there – with the help of Italian architect Francesco Laparelli, who once worked with Michelangelo. The legends of the knights are inextricably intertwined with Valletta, and you’ll feel it wherever you wander. Ponder the true meaning behind Caravaggio’s oil paintings, climb the fortifications and admire the view from the Upper Barrakka Gardens before learning about the ancient settlements in the National Museum Of Archaeology.

Image credit: Visit Malta

It’s packed with Instagram-worthy dining spots

Valletta’s waterfront is lined with restaurants serving up delicious Mediterranean food and wine, all with a view over the sea. Head to Bistro 516 for pasta and wine. Set inside the vaults of the fortifications, it also has outdoor terrace with an amazing view: perfect for snapping that sunset shot for your Insta. Rampila, inside the city walls, has an open-air terrace nestled between the fortifications. In the evening you get a great view of the city gate, all lit up once the sun goes down.

It’s only a three hour flight away

Image credit: Visit Malta

Hop on a plane from the rainy UK on Friday morning, and by afternoon you’ll be settled in a sunny café terrace with a cuppa and plate of the archipelago’s famous kwarezimal biscuits – delicately spiced, sweetened with honey and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and almonds.

Convinced? These short breaks have great prices for flights to Malta, check them out!

Fly from London Gatwick

From £65 return – Fri 29th March to Tues 2nd April

From £56 return – Thu 4th to Sun 7th April

Fly from Manchester

From £69 return – Fri 26th April to Mon 29th April From £60 return – Fri 17th May to Mon 20th May

Fly from Edinburgh

From £107 return – Thu 16th to Mon 19th May

From £90 return – Wed 5th to Sun 9th June

Fly from Belfast

From £75 return – Sat 6th April to Tue 9th April From £80 return – Sat 18th May to Tue 21st May

Fly from Cardiff

From £50 return – Wed 3rd April to Sun 7th April From £34 return – Wed 22nd May to Sunday 26th May

None of these dates work for you? Not to worry – you can find cheap flights to Malta from your nearest airport with our handy flight search tools

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Flight prices are based on the lowest estimates using Skyscanner’s search tools. They are subject to change based on availability, and were correct at the time of writing on 14th March 2019.