Malta Island (La Valetta) Tourism Information
La Valletta, the Capital of Malta, is located in Malta Island, a group of islands in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. It has had many different rulers over it's history, including the Romans, Moors, French and British. It has numerous historical and cultural buildings, as a fortresses, and city walls which surround most of the old town. It's very popular as a holiday destination for it's culture, history, deep blue-coloured waters and warm temperatures year round.
The Mediterranean climate of Valletta (and its island) guarantees the weather is hot and dry during the summer (June to September) and slightly cooler in winter (December to March). Summer temperatures often exceed 32ºC, but the heat tends to be tempered by refreshing sea breezes.
In spring and autumn, the hot Xlokk wind (these are also known as Sirocco winds, warm, humid wind occurring over the northern Mediterranean Sea and southern Europe) sometimes brings high temperatures and humidity but the weather is generally pleasant, hot, and sunny. Winters are mild, with temperatures averaging between about 12°C) and 20°C. Valletta experiences little rainfall, with it generally occurring only in winter. The city never gets any snow.
Valletta is a year-round holiday destination, as even the mild winter is warm enough to be pleasant for a sightseeing vacation. In fact, many tourists prefer to avoid a terrible sweating hot summer in favour of the milder shoulder seasons, when it is also less crowded.
The best time to visit Valletta is March, April, May, or September and October, but the peak tourist season is still the summer, between June to August.
When arriving to Malta's main airport there are several ways in getting to the city centre. The cheapest way is by bus. There are several routes which depart the airport to different areas of the Island, X1, X2, X3 and X4. However, X2 is best for Silema area whilst X4 for Valletta and city centre.
The bus costs €2.00 one way and is valid for 2 hour ticket where you can exchange for another service if needed. There are also shuttle vans which can take you direct to your accommodation or desired location, costing around €5-8 per person. Check Maltatransfer for more info.
Once on the island, the public transportation consists of Busses which are integrated into a unique system payment, called Tallinja Card. For visitors there are 12 ride cards, 7 day unlimited travel cards (€21), or 7 day tourist passes for attractions and public transport for €39. (Explore or Explore plus). If you buy single tickets they cost €1.50 ( €2 from mid June to mid October), and €3 for night services. Find more information at Publictransport.com.mt.
Below you will find the transport map for Malta and Gozo Island.
The historical city of Valletta, has plenty of things to keep you occupied, from the ancient history waiting to be explored to the Islands' scenery and architecture which provide a spectacular backdrop to any picture! The colours are striking, honey-coloured stone against the deepest of Mediterranean blues. The Maltese Islands have been described as one big open-air museum.
There are plenty of museums showcasing the history of the islands, from the many rulers which took over Malta untill 1798 when, Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta from the Knights on his way to Egypt. The French presence on the islands was short lived, as the English, who were requested by the Maltese to help them against the French, blockaded the islands in 1800. British rule in Malta lasted until 1964 when Malta became independent. The Maltese adapted the British system of administration, education and legislation. Malta became a Republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in May 2004.
But if you rather relax and enjoy the outdoors, Malta offers year round sun in which to do so. There are plenty of sports, some rock climbing and water sailing around the islands. Also don't forget to visit the sister islands of Gozo and Comino. Here, you'll find the most relaxed of Mediterranean paces.
The most important highlights to do are listed below:
- La Valletta: It's Malta's capital, however it's one of the smallest cities in Europe. Covering an area of less than one square kilometre. The old town is full history, splendid Baroque architecture, squares and alleys, traditional wooden balconies, monuments, museums, palaces, forts, bastions and churches . There are also plenty of restaurants, cafés and shops around where to relax and admire the surroundings. Some of the must see in Valletta are:
- St. John's Co-Cathedral (Built in the 16th century), it's considered to be the first complete example of high Baroque anywhere.
- National Museum of Archaeology, the National Museum of Fine Arts and the National War Museum, (also known as St Elmo Fort) the museums themselves are housed in the finest examples of historic and architectural buildings the capital has to offer.
- Grand Master's Palace with its State Apartments and Palace Armoury (it is today the seat of the Maltese parliament and the official residence of the Maltese president).
- Manoel Theatre, built in the 1700's it is one of the oldest in Europe and another baroque jewel.
- St Paul's Shipwreck Church is one of the oldest churches in Malta, built in the Baroque style.
- St. James Cavalier, a 16th century fortification renovated into a beautiful modern arts centre that also hosts regular exhibitions and performances.
- Grand Harbour, a great place for a relaxed walk along the historical site which has played a central role in Maltese history. On its shoreline just beneath the capital's fortifications, is the redeveloped Pinto Wharf, now renamed to the Valletta Waterfront. This is the docking place for an ever growing cruise ship industry and is lined with quality restaurants, cafés and shops.
- The main street of Valletta, Republic Street, runs down the whole length of the capital and is the main commercial street on the island.
- Nearby, is Casa Rocca Piccola, a 'lived in' ornate palace that gives an insight into the unique customs and traditions of Maltese nobility.
✔️Tip: If you wish to take a tourist train, they depart next to St Paul Cathedral and costs €5 per adult. They offer a better choice if you don't want to walk in the hot Summer sunshine or don't have much time. They pass most highlights of the capital.
- Sliema: is the best option when looking for accommodation. The area is the modern side of Malta and offers a full range of tour services, shops, restaurants, bars and clubs to go out at night. It has also some fortification walls and towers, but not as many as in La Valletta. Transportation is very accessible from Sliema to La Valletta, the airport or other areas on the island.
- Mdina, is one of the prettiest ancient walled cities you will find anywhere in the world. It’s distinctive narrow winding streets sheltered by imposing walls of nobles houses are beautiful and easy to walk around. Hardly there are any signs of modern development are noticeable and the lamp-lit evenings are also pretty. A number of attractions related to its history are well worth visiting and you also get the best views of Malta from here.
- Town & Countryside walks, during the Spring, Autumn and most of Winter it's ideal climate to walk the contrasting and rich Maltese countryside. Gentle hillsides, dramatic cliffs, isolated seaside inlets and secluded pathways are all worth exploring. You will find many coastal towers, wayside chapels, indigenous wild fauna along typical rubble walls and great coastal views. The Maltese towns are also interesting to walk around, discover squares, churches and local narrow streets which are hidden away and hold the true spirit of the Maltese community.
- Comino and the Blue Lagoon, Comino is a minuscule island half way between Malta and Gozo. It's just over a square mile. it appeals to those seeking pleasurable walks, complete with a charming little chapel, picturesque castle and dramatic cliffs. There is also a four star hotel with self catering apartments if you want to stay overnight. The incredible Blue Lagoon, with it's turquoise waters must be the best spot for swimming and snorkelling anywhere in the Mediterranean. To get there you can take a ferry from Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal.
- Popeye's Village, was the original film set of the musical production "Popeye" from 1980. Situated in Anchor Bay, the film set was built with over 20 rustic wooden houses, to create the fictional village of Sweethaven. Today it is open to the public as an entertainment complex, ideal for families and children. In the village you can swim, use the sun beds, umbrellas, showers, splash pools and there are small kids areas. There is plenty of entertainment in the park, with actors and shows. Prices are approximately €15 per adult. For more information visit Popeyemalta. To get there you can take bus 101.
✔️Tip: The best views of Popeye VIllage are located from the cliffs opposite the bay, as you arrive to Anchor's Bay, take a left turn up the road and you will be able to view all the village below.
- Blue Grotto: not only it's an excellent photo opportunity, with another incredible rock formation looking like a perfect arch into the sea, but it's an ideal place to watch the sunset. Follow the road down the hill and you will reach a snack area with restaurants and toilet facilities. To get there take bus 74 or 201.
Malta's nightlife is centred around St Julian's, particularly Paceville and St Paul's Bay. There you will find many clubs and bars to suit every taste.
Those who love to gamble, can try their luck in one of the casinos in St Julian's and St Paul's Bay.
If you are looking for a bit more culture, the Manoel Theatre in Valletta is a delightful architectural gem and is reputed to be one of the oldest theatres in Europe.
Concerts, opera and drama are regularly held.
Malta offers many handmade goods that make wonderful souvenirs. Mdina Glass has a long established history as a leading glass-blower and it is worthwhile paying a visit to the factory. Maltese gold and silver jewellery are of high quality as is the local ligree work. Pottery, handmade lace and embroidery are also worth looking out for.
Leading fashion stores and boutiques are located in Sliema, for the more typical shopping.
Malta is a high demanded destination and prices tend to be expensive for Hotels and resorts, specially in popular areas and close to the coast line. Expect to pay around €50 per night in Hotels close to Valletta. Other Hotels out in the island offer cheaper nights, but you will need to take public transportation or drive every time you move around. There are hostels and budget accommodation available, but not as many due to the type of destination which Malta is associated with, so always is advised to book in advance. However if you coming with a group or family there are plenty of private homes and flats out for rent on a vacation basis.
The Island of Malta is very accessible to travel around it, whether you are driving or going by bus it's easy to see the most important sights within a few days. A comfortable stay would take you 3 nights to see everything with time. However if you plan to visit museums and absorb even deeper the culture of the Island, then you might want to stay here up to a week, including some visits to areas outside of La Valletta or even to Gozo, the sister Island.
Malta Island Photo Slide 📷