In Valletta for the very first time and unsure of where to begin? This is not unusual since there is so much to see and experience. Here are some highlights to consider:
St John's Co-Cathedral
Credit: Malta Info Guide
The gem of Valletta’s Baroque architecture might be disputed on various fronts, but the grandiose splendour of St John’s Co-Cathedral wins it a top spot. Built in the Mannerist style of Baroque, the co-cathedral looks rather unassuming if imposing to look at from outside, but inside, you’ll realise why this is such an important building to Maltese heritage.
No expense was spared to decorate it, with a superbly rich interior of marbles, gold leaf and high-baroque painting largely done by Mattia Preti. The marble floors are made of tombstones, commemorating the dead in the church’s crypt which includes some notable names.
The most prized possessions here, however, are undoubtedly paintings by Caravaggio, notably the Beheading of St John the Baptist, which attracts thousands of tourists to the cathedral every year.
Originally built for the recreation of Italian knights, these gardens are named after their relative location to one another. The Upper Barrakka Gardens stand on a higher ground to the Lower Barrakka Gardens, both offering unparalleled views of the Grand Harbour and the three Cities.
armoury and Grandmaster's Palace
Credit: My Guide Malta
Up until recently the Grandmaster’s Palace was home to the Maltese Parliament before it relocated. It is a sprawling building sporting the natural grandeur of early baroque architecture, whilst also borrowing the Arab elements of the large courtyard, of which the palace has two.
Inside, one can walk through the palatial rooms, visit the Throne Room, State Dining Hall, Tapestry Room and Page Waiting Room, amongst many others, and get a glimpse of what life would have been like during the Knights’ time.
Another important part of the Grandmaster’s Palace is the Armoury, a fascinating place to see the arms and armour, tools and machinations of warfare at the time of the Knights’ rule, with special focus on the Great Siege of 1565, during which the Ottomans attempted, and failed, to take over the island.
Credit: Lonely Planet
Valletta boasts a huge fortification system that is hard to miss given that it is surrounded by huge walls to start with. However it is easy to miss some of its more notable features.
Predating Valletta, the fort of St Elmo, located at the tip of the city, is a must-visit. Apart from its beautiful architectural features, it also houses the National War Museum. Also of note is the walk beneath its walls, where sea caves, metal bridges and old docking spots, as well as the biggest breakwater, are located.
One can visit the Lascaris War Rooms, an underground complex of tunnels and chambers that housed the War Headquarters during WW2, as well as the Fortress Builders – Fortification Interpretation Centre, an educational centre about the history, construction and engineering of the fortifications of Valletta.
Also of note, are the many special spots found along Valletta’s walls, like Hastings Garden, the Memorial Bell and St Barbara Bastions, amongst others.
Leisure, eating and nightlife
Credit: The Telegraph UK
All through the day Valletta boasts a huge diversity of restaurants, bars and cultural events around the city. There is something to be found for everyone at any time of the day, whether seeking adventure or relaxation.
One can also visit our rooftop terrace, where you can enjoy a stupendous view of the Grand Harbour, whilst sipping the Ursulino landmark aperitif, complimentary to all our guests - the trademark Ursulino Sunset Aperitivo.
With a lively nightlife, Valletta promises good times with a packed cultural calendar, bars located in quaint areas of town, live music and great award-winning eateries. The perfect little city? Perhaps!
Ursulino Valletta Boutique Hotel is an elegant townhouse promising luxury B&B accommodation to 5-star hotel standards, yet also offering the warmth and the personalised service of a family-run boutique B&B. Feel free to Contact Us or Book your ideal room now!!