Malta Grand Harbour panoramic aerial view

Things to do in  Valletta

The Med’s baroque island jewel

Malta’s UNESCO-listed capital may be small, but it’s packed with things to do. Built “by gentlemen for gentlemen” by the Knights of St. John, Valletta is a compact gem of a city that still exudes its 16th-century elegance. Wandering through the city’s honey-colored limestone streets—tucked behind towering fortification walls on a rocky peninsula on the edge of the Mediterranean—is a delightful way to spend a day in Valletta. And then there are the restored baroque palaces, world-class museums, cutting-edge contemporary architecture and art galleries, and panoramic views of the dazzling Grand Harbour to check out.

Top 15 attractions in Valletta

Blue Grotto

The most famous of Malta’s cave complexes, the Blue Grotto is a series of nine caves whose rocky sides glow green, purple, and orange according to their mineral content. Surrounding the caves are some of the clearest, brightest cobalt-blue waters imaginable. The natural wonder got its name from British soldiers stationed in Malta in the 1950s who thought the caves were reminiscent of the Blue Grotto off the Italian island of Capri.More

Mosta Dome

Malta is famous for the lavish scale of its many churches (there are 25 in Valletta alone, but few live up to the grandeur of the neo-classical Mosta Dome. Its self-supporting dome measures 121 ft (37 m in diameter and is 220 ft (67 m high, with every inch of the interior covered in gilt, frescoes, and marble flooring.More

Hagar Qim

A megalithic temple complex on the island of Malta’s southern coast, Hagar Qim is one of the earliest freestanding stone buildings on Earth. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes six other Maltese megalithic temples, the complex dates back to the 4th millennium BC, and is among the best-preserved of those landmarks.More

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Perched on eastern Valletta’s harbor walls, Upper Barrakka Gardens is one of the city’s top attractions. Created in 1661, the shaded gardens center on a fountain, statues, and colonnaded terraces that command views over Malta’s Grand Harbour.More

Ta’ Qali Crafts Village

Situated on an abandoned WW2 airfield, Ta’ Qali Crafts Village occupies a series of seemingly ramshackle Nissan huts that offer some of the best selection of authentic Maltese crafts found on Malta. It’s the place to find delicate filigree silverware, handmade lace, hand-blown glass, leather, linen and cheery painted ceramics, all created by local artisans.More


The former capital of Malta, this historic hilltop settlement—known as the Silent City—features honey-hued palazzos and centuries-old buildings. The town center, a knot of shady and quiet streets, is shielded from the hubbub and traffic of the outside world by thick walls that date back to between the 16th and 18th centuries.More

St. John's Co-Cathedral (Kon-Katidral ta' San Gwann)

Behind the misleadingly plain baroque facade of St. John's Co-Cathedral (Kon-Katidral ta' San Gwann) hides one of Europe's most spectacular churches, built by the Knights of St. John following their defeat of the Ottoman Turks in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Today, this important religious site is one of Malta’s most visited attractions.More

Valletta Waterfront (Pinto Wharf)

Stretching along Grand Harbour, below the fortified city and opposite the Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua, the beautifully restored Valletta Waterfront (Pinto Wharf) is the grand frontage of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Right next to the cruise port, it’s the gateway to Valletta and the rest of Malta.More

Grandmaster's Palace

The Knights of St. John became the toast of a grateful Europe after their triumph in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, in which they repelled Ottoman invaders. Valletta’s magnificent Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta reflects the knights’ heroic standing and the wealth lavished upon them. Construction began in 1571 on the palace to house the supreme head of the Knights of St. John.More

Three Cities

This grouping of three historic cities—Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua—look out to Valletta across the Grand Harbour. Originally enclosed by a line of fortification constructed by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century, the dockside neighborhoods were the knights’ base from 1530 until the Valletta’s founding in 1570. Today, the cities provide a scenic backdrop to the Grand Harbour.More


Of the three villages of Cottonera — Senglea, Birgu, and Cospicua — Senglea is a true gem that should not be missed. From walks along the promenade to climbing the famous steps in this hilly town, it's a beautiful visit that makes visitors feel as though they're the first to discover this haven.Don't miss the gardens out on the peninsula; the Church of our Lady of Victories, which took 200 years to complete construction; the imposing walls of this formerly fortified town, which looks straight out of Game of Thrones; and the massive Church of St. Paola, whose silver domes can be seen from a distance.More

Birgu (Vittoriosa)

Across the Grand Harbour from the capital of Valletta, Birgu (Vittoriosa) is, alongside neighboring Senglea and Cospicua, one of Malta’s Three Cities: inhabited since Phoenician times, and considered the foundation of Maltese history. Birgu is celebrated for its waterfront views and for its top landmark, the 16th-century Fort St. Angelo.More

Fort St. Elmo & the National War Museum

Set at the tip of Valletta’s old town, where it guards Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour, the star-shaped Fort St. Elmo earned its place in history during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 when the Knights of St. John repelled Ottoman invaders. It withstood further attacks, notably during World War II, and now holds the National War Museum.More

Lower Barrakka Gardens

Sitting prettily on the edge of Valletta’s ramparts, the landscaped Lower Barrakka Gardens offer incredible views east to the entrance of the Grand Harbor and south to Fort St. Angelo and Vittorioso, Senglea, and Cospicua, known as the three cities of Malta. The garden’s flowers, fountains, and palm trees provide shade and a relaxing respite in the heart of Malta.More


Located around a bay on Malta’s south coast, Marsaxlokk has starred in thousands of postcards and many a film. Check out the colorful traditional boats in this photogenic little town, and be sure to sample some fresh seafood.More

Top activities in Valletta

Private Customizable Full-Day Tour in Malta

Private Customizable Full-Day Tour in Malta

per group
Valletta Private Walking Tour

Valletta Private Walking Tour

per group
Gozo Self Drive Quad Tour - All Inclusive
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
The Original Valletta Walking Tour

The Original Valletta Walking Tour

A Private Driver For 6 Hours

A Private Driver For 6 Hours

per group
Valletta City Walking Tour

Valletta City Walking Tour

4-hr day tour around Malta

4-hr day tour around Malta

per group
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Valletta

When to visit

Its Mediterranean climate makes Valletta an attractive place to visit almost all year round: expect hot, dry summers and cool winters. Sun seekers should visit in June, July, or August and avoid the cool, wet months of January and February. The summer months bring crowds, however. Consider a late spring or early fall trip if that's a concern.

Getting around

Valletta is small enough to get around its main attractions on foot—it takes around 10 minutes to walk from one side of the city to the other. Much of Valletta is pedestrianized, so there’s not much use for a vehicle in the city, but if you need a ride, you can hop on bus number 133, which serves some of the main streets and the outskirts of Valletta.

Traveler tips

Some of Valletta’s best views are to be had from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Perched on eastern Valletta’s harbor walls, high above the sea, this little shaded park and its colonnaded terraces afford spectacular views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities beyond. Get there at 12 or 4pm to hear the twice-daily gun salute fired from the Saluting Battery.

Local Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
Country Code

People Also Ask

Is Valletta worth a visit?

Yes. Even if you plan to make a beeline for Malta’s beaches, it’s worth exploring the capital. Valletta is a beautiful city with historic landmarks and contemporary attractions, including the Renzo Piano-designed City Gate, Parliament Building, and Opera House. It’s well worth discovering why it was named the European Capital of Culture in 2018.

Is one day in Valletta enough?

Yes. Valletta is a tiny city (in fact, it’s the European Union's smallest capital city), making it easy to cover all the most essential attractions in just one day. Home to 320 monuments, the city is one of the densest historic areas in the world, so you may prefer to give yourself two days to take it all in.

How should you spend a day in Valletta?

A one-day itinerary for Valletta should include visiting the baroque St. John’s Co-Cathedral (don’t miss the two Caravaggio paintings in the oratory), the National Museum of Archaeology (home to artifacts dating back to the Neolithic era), and the Grand Masters’ Palace and Armoury. Afterward, watch the sunset from the Upper Barakka Gardens or a rooftop bar.

What is Valletta famous for?

Valletta is famous for its rich, multi-layered history. The city was built by the Knights of St. John, who ruled Malta from 1530 to 1798. It’s also recognized as a masterpiece of baroque architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Valletta is also one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.

Do they speak English in Valletta?

Yes. Most people in Valletta speak both English and Maltese—and many also speak Italian. Visitors to Malta are doubtful to encounter any problems communicating in only English. Still, it’s worth trying to learn a few words and phrases in Maltese, the European Union’s only Semitic language.

Is it better to stay in Valletta or Sliema?

Both Valletta and Sliema are great places to stay in Malta. Deciding which to choose depends on how you want to spend your time in Malta. Staying in Valletta has the advantage of being surrounded by the beauty of Malta's stunning capital. Sliema is less attractive than Valletta but is better placed for nightlife and shopping.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Valletta?
What are the top activities in Valletta?
What are the top things to do near Valletta?
Check out things to do near Valletta: