Fun things to do in Valletta

  • Walls, gateways & gardens
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    Manoel island
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    The north entrance
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Valletta

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    Valletta Waterfront

    by starship Updated Feb 21, 2009

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    If you arrive in Malta by cruise ship, you most likely will sail into the deep natural harbor named Grand Harbor and dock at Pinto Wharf at the beautifully restored "Valletta Waterfront."

    The area now known as the "Valletta Waterfront" was originally built by Knights of St. John's Grand Master Manoel Pinto de Fonseca. In 1752, Pinto financed the building of warehouses where merchants would unload ships and store goods, but also muntions. The "Pinto Stores" curved along the waterfront and against the Quay Wall. The Baroque architectural style of the warehouses is quite beautifully revealed through the ornamental relief sculpture above colorful street-level doors, symmetrical 2nd-story loading doors with graceful balconies just above. Look for the large bronze bust of Grand Master Pinto which was placed on one of the middle warehouses.

    These beautifully restored, historic structures are now home to shops, local restaurants and even a Hard Rock Cafe, in addition to a welcome center/check-point through which the many cruiseship visitors pass. Restaurants have added shaded pavillions waterside where you can stop for refreshing drinks, snacks during the day and take a break from the sun...guests may dine nightly or enjoy cocktails, beer or wine---day or night, the views are marvelous!!

    For the those wishing to dip their toes into the Mediterranean, find the spot where long, wide steps lead right down to that incredibly blue/green sea water!

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    The Triton Fountain

    by starship Updated Apr 6, 2011

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    Near the Malta's main bus terminus and just outside Valletta's main "City Gate" is the "Triton Fountain." A relatively new attraction, the fountain was designed by Maltese sculptor, Vincent Apap, in 1959. This piece of local art features the mythological Greek god, Triton, known as the messenger of the sea. Triton had the upper body of a man, but the tail of a fish--like a male mermaid. In mythology, Triton was the son of the Poseidon, god of the sea, and his wife Amphitrite, goddess and Queen of the sea. "Triton's special attribute was a twisted conch shell which he blew like a trumpet to calm or raise the waves."

    This large fountain is the centerpiece of a roundabout for traffic and the iconic Maltese red and yellow buses. The Triton Fountain is certainly one of the more distinguishable landmarks of Malta and a great place for photos.

    Triton Fountain & Maltese Buses

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    ~ The Seige Bell ~

    by starship Updated Apr 7, 2011

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    You may not realize how many movies have been filmed in Malta, but the number is more than you might think--"Troy" (2004); "Alexander" (2004); "Gladiator"; "Midnight Express" (1978); "U-571" (2000) and many more. But it was seeing "The Siege Bell" as a scenic backdrop in "The Count of Monte Cristo"* (2002) which made me want to find out more about this graceful structure. When we cruised into Malta's Grand Harbor, I realized the Seige Bell, rising high above stone embankment, was a stunning addition to what already was the most amazing harbor I have ever seen.

    Contrary to my initial belief that the the Seige Bell was just a beautiful rotunda, I learned that it is a solemn War Memorial commemorating the victory of the Allied forces during the Second Siege of Malta from 1940-1943. This tiny country withstood constant bombardment and bravely resisted the Axis powers of Germany and Fascist Italy.

    In 1942 Malta was awarded the George Cross by England's King George VI who said "...to honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history." A plaque states the Bell "commemorates the award of the George Cross to Malta and honours over 7000 personnel and civilians who gave their lives during the siege of Malta."

    For an even more moving experience, plan to be there when the bell is rung daily at noon.

    Bus no 98 will take you to the nearest bus stop which is at the Mediterranean Conference Centre where you can also attend "The Malta Experience."

    *The Siege Bell of Malta can be seen in the film, "Count of Monte Cristo," where the scene takes place in Monsieur Villeforte's office and the camera angle faces his desk and the large open windows behind him. The Siege Bell can be clearly seen behind Monsieur Villeforte.

    Seige Bell - Memorial to WWII Soldiers, Civilians
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    St John's Museum and Oratory

    by dowdow Updated Mar 27, 2005

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    In the St John's Museum and Oratory you can see two of Europe's most impressive and famous works of art by Caravaggio, The Beheading of St John the Baptist and St Jerome In The Act Of Writing. For display are also a collection of magnificent Flemish tapestries, silver objects, and church vestments, which I'm sure you will find really impressive.

    Entrance fees are only Lm1.00 (Euros 2.50) and it is open Mon-Fri 9.30 to 16.30 and on Saturday it is open till 12.30 only.

    Museum & Oratory
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    Casa Rocca Piccola.

    by Maurizioago Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Casa Rocca Piccola was originally built by a Knight of Malta.

    This mansion is inhabited, but some rooms are open to visitors.

    Here you will see the family chapel; the two dining rooms; the library, some other rooms and two World War underground shelters.

    Casa Rocca Piccola can only be visited on a guided tour.

    From a leaflet.
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    Manoel Theatre

    by Balam Written Jul 28, 2009

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    Valletta's Manoel Theatre is one of the oldest Theatre's in Europe (if not the world) and if you are lucky enough to find it open it is well worth going in to have a look around or better still watch a performance
    Valletta's Manoel Theatre is one of the oldest Theatre's in Europe (if not the world) and if you are lucky enough to find it open it is well worth going in to have a look around or better still watch a performance

    In 1731, António Manoel de Vilhena, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, commissioned and personally funded the construction of the building to serve as a Public Theatre.
    It was constructed in just ten months at a cost of 2,184 scudi. The first performance was on the 19th January 1732 and was a classic Italian tragedy (Scipione Maffei’s Merope). The players in that production were the Knights themselves, and the set was designed by the Knights` chief architect, Francois Mondion.

    The Portuguese Grand Master built the theatre to keep the young knights of the Order of St. John out of mischief but also to provide the general public with "honest entertainment." This motto was inscribed above the main entrance to the theatre, which still reads today: "ad honestam populi oblectationem".

    During World War II it escaped serious damage and served as a shelter for the homeless, Providing shelter for the victims of the same carpet bombings that sealed the fate of the Opera House that originally stood near the City gate and was totally destroyed in 1944.
    After the war the building needed a refurbishment and underwent some restoration. The once lovely decoration of the atrium was restored with a lot of grime and paint being removed which had for so long hidden the theatre’s beauty. The great ceiling with its 22 carat gilding was restored and dozens of panels and paintings which decorated the tiers of boxes were brought to life again. making the theatre extremely beautiful.

    Daily Guided Tours of the Theatre and Museum which exhibits costumes and three centuries of Theatrical History in the Maltese Islands.
    Take place at the following times:

    Mondays to Fridays
    10.15, 11.00, 11.45, 12.30, 13.15, 14.00, 14.45, 15.30.

    Saturdays
    10.15, 11.00, 11.45, 12.30.

    Price: €4.00 per person.

    Manoel Theatre
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    Valletta Waterfront

    by SanguiniA Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is still an ongoing project to revive the waterfront near the harbour, in the Pinto Wharf area. So far there is only a new promenade and some cafes and shops. More is in the pipeline for the future.

    Take the tme to explore the surroundings, especially the walk to the St Elmo Fort.

    Valletta Waterfront Valletta Waterfront
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    Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens

    by Elly01 Written Sep 30, 2004

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    The Upper and Lower Barraka are beautiful gardens with different views. From the Upper one you can see a view of the Grand Harbour and all the surrounding fortifications and towns that were developed during the period of the Order. On the other hand, from the lower Barrakka which is smaller one can see a different view of the Grand Harbour.

    These gardens were used by British administrators to put up monuments to various personalities. This trend continued and infact there is amongst the monuments a monument of Lord Strickland one of the Prime Ministers of Malta and of Giuseppe Cali one of the best local 19th and early 20th century painters.

    On the lower level there is the Siege bell Memorial which commemorates all the dead of the Second World War. The monument was inaugurarted by Queen Elizabeth II during the last vist to the islands, in 1995.

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    St.John's Co-Cathedral !

    by Elly01 Written Sep 24, 2004

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    You cannot leave Malta and not see St.John's co-cathedral. If you look well at my must see activites you will see some photos of the interior of the cathedral especially the way its decorated and the paintings.

    St.John's co-Cathedral
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    Manoel Theatre Museum

    by dowdow Written Apr 5, 2005

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    At this museum there are items for display which describe three centuries of theatrical history in the Maltese Islands. If you would like to go the museum is open for visits daily from 9:00 till 13:00.

    Manoel Theatre
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    Roaming around Valletta

    by Alice-Kees Updated Sep 2, 2003

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    The Top 5 sights in Valletta are:

    1. St John's Co-Cathedral
    2. Grand Master's Palace
    3. Fort St. Elmo
    4. The Manoel Theatre
    5. Grand Harbour

    Of these sights there are already sufficient descriptions from other VT travellers, so I just only mention them here. Apart from that, we were surprised by the beauty of Valletta. The city is easily one of the most important sights of the Mediterranean. During our stay on Malta we vistited the city three times and made various walks over its bastions and through its medieval streets.

    For more photos you may want to go here and here.

    Street in Valletta, Malta
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    Sacra Infermeria

    by steventilly Updated Feb 13, 2005

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    Next up, just along from The Siege Bell is The Sacra Infermeria. This was the hospital of the Knights and dates from the 1570's, though much of what you see now is a faithful recreation of the original which was destroyed by bombing in WWII. Luckily the Great Ward did survive intact - at the time it was built it was the longest single room in the world, at 153m. Unluckily, you cannot visit this room these days, as it is used for private functions.
    The Sacra Infermeria is nowadays the home of The Mediterranean Conference Centre.

    Sacra Infermeria

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    Triq Ir-Repubblika/Republic street

    by Redang Written Nov 1, 2008

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    This is the main street of Valletta that goes from the very beginning of the city (City Gate), to the very end (Fot S. Elmo). However, the first part, from the City Gate to the Grandmasters' Palace, sparks every day with restaurants, shops, and of course, many tourists.

    Republic street (Valletta, Malta)

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    The Barrakka Lift

    by antistar Updated Dec 10, 2013

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    Malta is tough going at times with its forty degree inclines straining your hardening calves. But there is now at least some relief. In 2012 a new elevator was opened: the Barrakka Lift. And it's quite something. It looks like a lift without a building, like some great metal monolith stretching up over 50 meters to the streets above.

    It connects the newly redeveloped waterfront with the beautiful Barrakka Gardens in Valletta. It's currently free, but I saw what looked like ticket machines standing nearby but not operational. I'm guessing at some point they will sell tickets for it. At least then the enormous queues for the damn thing might reduce!

    The Barrakka Lift, Valletta The Barrakka Lift, Valletta The Barrakka Lift, Valletta

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    The Manoel Theatre

    by Elly01 Written Oct 3, 2004

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    This theatre is Old Theatre Street in Valletta and it is a real jewel beacuse of its cultural history as well as its architectural deisgn. It was built in 1731 in the time of Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, whose name it bears, it was intended to provide "decent leisure time activities of the knights." During the 19th Century the theatre passed through difficult times. After the building of the Royal Opera House the government even sold it to private entrepreneurs, and it was only in the 1950s that the Maltese government bought it back, restored it to its orginal decor and opened it up as the National Theatre.

    Today the theatre is used for musicals. pantomimes, dances and many other activities. Infact, in December when the yearly pantomime is held many Maltese go to the Manoel Theatre and take their kids. However, going to the Manoel has become a popular activity amongst young in Winter especially.

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    • Theater Travel
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