St. George's Square is the heart of Valletta, both geographically, and in terms of the institutions you can see here. It is right in the centre of the city, in an area that has been recently pedestrianised, and is surrounded by numerous buildings, old and modern. There's free wifi, and plenty of benches where you can sit down. On the right is the presidential palace (the entrance to the public is on the opposite side), and on the opposite side of the square are the Main Guard and the Chancellery.
In Balluta Bay, this church was built by the brotherhood of Carmen in 1858. Years later, the chapel was entrusted to the Carmelites, who built a convent. A new church, the present one, began to be built in 1958 in pseudo Gothic style while the previous church was still in use. It was completed in 1978. The statue of the Virgin was brought from Naples. It's very nice, especially the dome from the outside.
Here you can see the view from my apartment in Sliema (Malta) where I studied English for 20 days. I used to love resting here at night after dinner, looking at the lights reflected in the sea, the port ... It breathed tranquility.
The Three Cities pier is another of the small ports you'll find around Malta. It is, however, exquisitely beautiful with the aroma of history as strong as the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. It's seriously like traveling back in time. You'll see small fishing boats, the city wall, and an imposing church with piles of decorative flags all about. Make sure to try one of the restaurant around the port as they all have great fresh fish.
Legend has it that the Maltese, who are an extremely Catholic people, were often confused by the devil and never knew what time mass was at, put two clocks on the front of the church. One with the real time and the other with a fictional time meaning that whenever people passed they never know which time was correct. Normally this superstition was more in villages rather than in cities, but the truth is that there really are two clocks on almost all religious temples.
Portomaso Business Tower, is the tallest skyscraper in Malta and next to the Hilton. At the bottom is the Caffe 'Portomaso, a contemporary place which is open from 08:30 to 23:00 and has a steady stream of locals and tourists throughout the day. The cafe has a contemporary design and is perfect for having a morning coffee reading the newspaper and to eat a sandwich, or pizza, pasta and ice cream, and there is free Wi-Fi for visitors as well. There is a nice terrace in the warm weather that is so common in Malta.
The Triton Fountain of Malta is the first prominent monument that welcomes visitors at the entrance of the city of Valletta. It stands in the square where you'll find the island's bus terminal, and was sculpted by Vincent Apap in the first half of the 20th century. In the evening, it's busy with young people who meet here.
Come to see the world's only front-loading cannon. The only copies left are in Malta and in Gibraltar. Enjoy a full day with recreations of soldiers marching, shooting, doing exercises like in Victorian times and get a chance to shoot the original rifle of the Victorian soldiers, the famous Martini Henry. Enjoy different recreations throughout the day, and spend a different day in Malta, completing your visit with a complete tour of the inside of the fort, and an audio-visual construction. The soldiers will guide you through their facilities. They let you see the equipment, the ammunition storage rooms and loading, and the gun itself. Browse one of the most advanced buildings of its time that provided the first cannon in history with hydropower. This is the largest cannon to ever be front-loaded, and the now it's the last one too. You've got to check it out!
The Three Cities refers to the three fortified cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea (Maltese: Cospicua, Birgu and L-Isla) on the island of Malta. They are connected by a line of forts built by the Knights of St. John . Also known as "Cottonera". It's fascinating to go from one city to another and see the buildings, fortifications and more. And YES, you can travel very easily from one to another. 1) Cospicua (Cospicua), is a fortified city with two ports. It is the largest. It sits between the other two cities and has a population is just under 6000, inhabited since Neolithic times. 2) Vittoriosa (Birgu), is the oldest city. The Fort St Angelo, is on the end of the peninsula and the city was used to house the headquarters, housing, arsenal and other facilities of the Knights of St. John when they arrived in Malta in 1530. 3) Senglea (L-Isla) is a fortified city in the east of Malta, mainly in the Grand Harbour. It has a population of less than 3,000 people. Its name comes from the builder, Claude De La Sengle. The island that contains Senglea is connected by a bridge to Cospicua. This created the peninsula.
Fort Saint Elmo keeps watch over the entrance to Valletta's Grand Harbour. You can explore it in a single morning, but I'd recommend bringing a sandwich with you as there aren't many options to eat in the area. You can always ask a local people about the history of the fort and, in our case at least, they were more than willing to tell us
Like Venice, Malta has its own unique gondolas which have become something of a national symbol. They are called Luzzu, and are brightly colored in red, yellow, green and blue. The eye of Osiris is usually painted on the bow and is said to bring good luck. Interestingly, they are originally of Phoenician origin. They're most common in the port of Marsaxlokk, but you can find then basically anywhere on the island.
The buses in Malta will take you back in time 50 years! They're covered with pictures of saints and are usually in pretty rough shape, though they do have their own special charm. Sometimes you even have to pull a rope to ring a bell! The buses go all over the island, making it easy to get around the country.
There are signposts indicating where you can hire these horse-drawn carriages - towards Marsamxett Harbour, for example. They are not as brightly coloured as the ones you'll see in Seville or Marrakech, but the horses are charming.
As the name suggests, these are located lower than the Upper Baracca Gardens, and offer a splendid view of the three cities of Malta. The gardens can be reached by following the walk east of Valletta along the city walls. It's not long, but it can be a bit of a challenge due to the ups and downs of the walk. It's best to go early in the morning or at dusk, when you're assured great views.
Everywhere we go, we try to visit the courts, and if we get the chance, we like to see justice in action. So in Malta we headed to the courthouse, where we passed the security check and asked if it would be possible to watch something. The girl said that most trials ended at 12, but we did get to see a couple of judges and prosecutors, kitted out in traditional gear!
St Paul's Pro-Cathedral is situated in Valletta, in the old town. It lies at the end of Archbishop street and is on the corner of West Street. The church dedicated many artistic treasures to St. Paul, including some excellent paintings, especially paintings from the 16th Century. The statue in the procession is considered to be one of the best you can see in Malta. This is the building that most stands out in Valletta, as its dome can be seen from anywhere. The tour is free, and the guide is very friendly.
We didn't have a lot of time, and the weather conditions weren't the best, but I still took the opportunity to take a seaplane to fly over Malta and Gozo. You can catch them in the port of Valletta or in Sliema Bus Station. These small seaplanes seat up to 14 people, and have great windows designed for taking photos of the coast and the ancient domes of Malta. The price for a 30-minute tour is about 70 euros, depending on the season.
Oh last day of our stay in Malta, and after visiting Valletta, we took a walk around town above the capital. We found our way to the church of St. Publius. In front of the church there's a large square full of circles similar to the bases of the columns and equidistant between them. Walking Floriana we make the obligatory visit to the Gate of the Bombs. It's a cool visit. You should check it out if you have time.