We were as ecstatic as anyone on the flight. The party had begun. Giggles, jokes, selfies, spoofs and banters; a jovial attitude had spewed positive vibes in the aura.
Delighted to be part of gaiety we peered out of the window to be astonished by the vistas. We swept past a pocket of land peppered with forests and red-roofed buildings amidst the perpetual cobalt blue seas.
An archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea packed with history and gorgeous sandy beaches were beckoning us. Malta here we come!
We reached Malta at dusk and hopped into a taxi arranged by our host. The driver pulled the car right below the apartment in Valletta and our host scurried down to receive us. She helped us into the apartment and acquainted us with all the in-house amenities.
We planned to rent a car to drive around Malta and our host arranged for one with her acquaintances. We talked to the rental owner and arranged a pick up the next morning.
We devoured on some delicious pizzas from a restaurant, which was open late night and snuggled up into our beds.
St Elmo Bay
We started our day with the St Elmo Bay about 5 minutes walk from our apartment.
We ambled through the calm streets past the parked cars; yawning cats in sun flooded windows (one can find plenty of these fur balls) and an only shop, a bakery with a half-open shutter.
The main road along the waterfront had awe-inspiring vistas of the blue seas. The waves swashed against the shore rocks and tumbled back into the infinity pool.
An underpass led us to the rocky shore. We clicked pictures of the glinting seas and spent time watching the waves crashing against the rocks, bespatter in the air with chilling cool splash over us.
Fort St Elmo
A promenade ran along the shore punctuated by the street lamps and overlooked by the high walls of the castle.
Walk along the promenade rewards one with the stunning picture postcard view of the beige city of Valletta rising above the gleaming perpetual deep blue seas.
The Fort St Elmo dating back to 16th-century houses a National War Museum depicting the history of times of siege and the WWII period.
Before heading back to the downtown we stopped by the bakery for some delicious patisserie.
The Maltese capital Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site resplendent with a multitude of historic buildings and over 300 monuments. Valetta is on a hill with the streets rolling down to the harbor. We strolled through the sloping streets lined with building facades bathed in pastel hues, intricate architectural work around vibrantly colored windows and doors which wafted a magical aura, which would walk one back into the bygone era.
We reached St George’s Square which had a prismatic flower carpet arranged for the week-long Valetta Green festival happening around.
St George’s Square is dominated by the Grandmaster’s Palace, which houses the Office of the President of Malta.
The ornate arched entrance will take one through the courtyard gardens into the corridors decorated with remarkable frescoes.
Visit the State Rooms with remarkable wall paintings and exotic tapestries, which are open for public admiration when not used for state functions. The armory will not fail to amaze you with its outstanding collection from Great Siege of Malta.
Few steps ahead of the palace around the corner of an outdoor restaurant stood the iconic red telephone box reminiscent of the British Rule.
Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The basilica with its oval dome and the imposing spire dominates the city skyline. The interior with exquisite architecture flanked by red marble pillars and a 17th-century painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is worth a visit. It is close to the Manoel Theatre a prominent venue for art and cultural performances.
Saint John’s Co-Cathedral
We sauntered through the bustling streets that had taken over the slow rhythm of the laid-back atmosphere to St John’s Co-Cathedral. The austere facade of the 16th-century magnificent Baroque co-cathedral with two imposing bell towers may seem plain and uninteresting but wait till you enter the church.
The gilded paintings on the vaulted ceiling of the nave and the side altars will leave you in sheer bliss. Take time to walk around to admire the intricate carvings on the stone walls, the marble floor with a series of 400 tombs, ornate chapels and the Flemish tapestries in the Museum. We could not take pictures as we visited during a service.
Pjazza Teatru Rjal
Close to the cathedral is an open theater Pjazza Teatru Rjal on the ruins of the former Opera House, which you would not miss for the striking Corinth columns. The iconic building bombed during WWII has been restored and hosts a series of cultural activities.
Auberge de Castille in Castille Square is a baroque style building housing the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta.
Not to miss in the vicinity are ‘Our Lady of Victory Chapel’ and the ‘St. Catherine of Italy’.
Upper Barrakka Gardens
On the other side of the street of Castille Square is the 16th-century garden. Several monuments and memorials stand amidst the colorful bed of the flower plants.
Perched high above Grand Harbour the garden terrace offers a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour and the three cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea & Cospicua.
A Barrakka Lift connects the gardens to the Lascaris ditch, which is a short walk from Valletta Waterfront and ferries to the three cities. Lift is free if you have a ferry ticket else you need to pay for the way up.
We met the car rental owner and collected the keys after some formalities. We had walked enough; exhausted we jumped into the car and headed to explore the old capital of Malta – Mdina.
Here is a map of Valletta covering the main landmarks.
Have you explored the Maltese capital brimming with history? How had been your experience? Share with us in comments.
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