Old Bakery Street has a much more authentic, old time feel than the more popular Republic Street or Merchant's street. There aren't many shops here, but plenty of stuff to admire; such as balconies, churches, old buildings, statues etc.
The centre of Valletta main street is Republic Square with its surrounding cafes and bars and grand buildings such as the National Library - a grand venetian style late 18th century building. Amongst its collections are all archived material covering the history of the Knights from 1113 - 1798.
Leaving the Upper Barakka Gardens we headed down St Ursula Street, a "typical" Valletta street, with steep steps heading downhill and then back up the other side.
On the right towards the bottom of here is The British Hotel, which has magnificent views (from the other side) of the Grand Harbour. It has quite a good reputation and other VT tipsters have stayed there.
The northern corner of Valletta is know as the Manderaggio district (on our map it was the only district that was actually named). It is described as being "an old, semi-abandoned slum district", and yet for all that it contains the Auberge D'Angleterre Et Bavarie, The Auberge D'Aragon, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Our Lady Of Mount Carmel ("The Carmelite Church"), Independance Square, The Archbishop's Palace and The Manoel Theatre. Not bad for a slum district! And the "slum" buildings have their own character anyway.
Don't miss this area! (I won't let you).
This is the square beside the Anglican Cathedral, Archbishop's Palace and Auberge D'Aragon. The statue in the square is of Dun Mikiel Xerri, a Maltese patriot executed by the French in 1799. Behind this, in the picture, is the Auberge D'Aragon, now used by the Ministry Of Finance.
This is a lovely square, surrounded as it is by architectural beauties on every side.
Running almost right through the centre for the entire length of Valletta (from South West to North East) is Strait Street. This has been the most "infamous" street in Valletta almost for as long as it has existed. It was once the place where the knights came to duel and later became the red light district. It still looks rather more squalid then the other streets of Valletta - in fact it is a street that looks very much like a "back street", despite its great length. It is filled with very dubious looking bars, cafes etc.
After looking around the Co-Cathedral we wandered back to Freedom Square. We walked down Republic Street, which on any day other than Sunday would be a bustling shopping street, but today was quiet and almost deserted. It's a nice thoroughfare, wide and lined with nice looking shops.
The Royal Opera House was once a magnificently over-exuberent neoclassical structure. It was destroyed by bombing in WWII and has never been rebuilt. Nor has the site been totally cleared - the foundations and remains of support pillars are left there looking like some excavated ruin from the Roman era. There have always been plans to rebuild in some way, but these have never materialised.
The area is surrounded by some other quite lovely buildings, but by this time of the afternoon I was a bit tired and jaded and I didn't really take note of what they all were.
This lovely arcade is on Old Treasury Street - cafe's spill out onto the street under the arch, and the Great Siege Of Malta "experience" is entered from here too. On a hot day this is one of the most shaded spots you can find for a refreshing & relaxing drink.
Explore the other streets of Valletta too. Merchant Street was the street where the city's people carried out their daily errands. A flea market is held here every morning - similar to the one held on Sundays by the bus terminal. Many fine buildings here too - such as this one Palazzo Parisio, where Napeloen lived for seven days in June 1798 . Today it houses the ministry of foreign affairs
Looking down from above Victoria Gate is St Barbara's Bastion. This is apparently one of Valletta's swankiest residential streets with some lovely apartments, having spectacular views over the harbour. It certainly looked nice, and probably out of my price bracket.
Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Its enclosed balconies, seen on almost every building in innumerable forms and varieties, are one reason its architecture is so special.
So make sure you allow yourself time to wander the streets, away from the main tourist routes, and just enjoy looking at all the possible ways on can construct, support and decorate and enclosed balcony!
I've even made a travelogue of Valletta balconies. :-)
Republic Street is Valletta's main thoroughfare, and it is the islands principal shopping street and axis for a walking tour of the main sights. Before it became Republic Street in 1974 the prior names reflected the city's history - as Strada San Giorgio, Rue de la Republique, Strade Reale and Kingsway.
Watched over by the guards of the Presidential Offices in the old Grandmaster's Palace on one side, and flanked by a low, wide portico on the other, St. George's Square lies bang in the middle of Valletta and celebrates one of the little country's greatest achievements: the awarding of the St. George's Cross for bravery during World War 2.
Once one walks through the City Gate one gets a bit of an "untidy" impression of Valletta at the Palazzo Ferreria. Behind this square one can find the Old Opera House, the design was unpopular as it reflected the imperial bearing of the British Empire. It was gutted by fire in 1873 and reopened four years later. The contenious structure was destroyed by the German Luftwaffe in 1942 and has languished as an eyesore ever since.