My trip to Malta was very spontaneous. Not that the rest of my travels are prepared well in advance. Or much careful planning. But this one was totally extemporaneous.
I came back from Spain and the weather in Poland was more than dreadful. Rainy, clouded and cold as hell. I was not in the mood for spending time in our house in the countryside! When the weather is bad, the only thing you can do here is to watch TV and bake! And we all know what a terrible cook I am.
After a short Internet search I had tickets to Malta. A boat booked for excursions and my sun screen packed! I was ready to go! I couldn’t have chosen a better time to visit. The middle of June was already amazing. Hot. Sunny and not too touristy.
Malta is an archipelago of the Malta. Gozo and Camino Islands. Its cultural and historical heritage is overwhelming.
The islands are one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. Every little village is a relict of the past. There are few places which you shouldn’t miss!
Even if your priority is to relax in the sun with a good book and the mobile phone switched off. The capital city Valletta. With the outstanding Grand Harbour and truly spectacular sea views, is one of them.
Valletta is a World Heritage Site, but even for UNESCO it is a pretty spectacular city. 320 monuments over 60 ha. The city seems to host a museum in almost every building.
Seeing everything in one day is simply impossible. Luckily, I’m not one of those must-see-all-the-sites tourist! I prefer to stroll around. Get lost. Find a spectacular mural or some arabesque tile on a backstreet building.
When you open up any travel book or a guide about Valletta the list of things to see seems endless. The myriad of sights starts from the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Through the Siege Bell Monument. The City Gate. The Auberge Castle. The Anglican Cathedral. The Fort St Elmo. The Hasting Gardens and the Manoel Theater.
The Valletta sights list continues with the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. The St Paul’s Shipwreck Church. To St John’s Co-Cathedral. The City Ramparts. The Upper Barrakka Gardens. The National Museum of Archeology. The Grand Master’s Palace, and the Armoury. And those are just a few, believe me.
Valletta is a truly fascinating city with amazing baroque architecture. Ancient fortresses. Palaces. Fountains and awe-inspiring churches. A truly unique Mediterranean town. It is one of the best preserved fortified cities in the world. It was built on the promontory by the Knights of St John just after the Great Siege of 1565.
The honey-coloured streets and alleys of the city are a sight themselves. Lined with glorious baroque Palazzi. Decorated with thousands of steps and picturesque cafes. Ideal for wandering around. I let myself stroll around without a strict plan.
I admired ‘The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’ by Caravaggio in St John’s Co-Cathedral. Some other great examples of art in the National Museum of Fine Arts.
My favourite site was Casa Rocca Piccola. Still owned by the de Piro family. It serves as a museum and provides a unique chance to learn about the traditions and customs of the Maltese nobility. It is a highlight of all the sights.
Have a coffee at the Cafe Cordina. Admire uncountable latticed wooden balconies and decorated corners. Rest in the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Explore the harbour, the most impressive one in the entire Mediterranean.
Take a water taxi to Sliema to admire and photograph the sun setting down on Valletta cityh. Walk back along the quiet streets in the dim light before having an amazing dinner at Fumia Restaurant to indulge yourself in Maltese cuisine. Mniam.