Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

15 Fun Things to Do in Valletta (Including Free Activities & Day Trip Ideas)

Last Updated on March 7, 2024

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

15 Fun Things to Do in Valletta (Including Free Activities & Day Trip Ideas)

Last Updated on March 7, 2024

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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Valletta, you shouldn’t have any problems filling your travel itinerary!

Despite being the smallest capital city in the European Union, Valletta has a lot to offer, whether you’re a history buff, foodie, architecture enthusiast, or any combination thereof!

While the city isn’t particularly known for its beaches, there are a number of fabulous pool hotels in Valletta. So if you’re looking to cool off and enjoy some added luxury with your stay, you’ll have plenty of options.

Alternatively, if you’re hoping to cut costs in Malta’s capital, there are also plenty of free things to do in Valletta as well.

Regardless of your travel style and preferences, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in this fascinating city. Here are some of the top Valletta attractions to consider – plus some awesome day trip ideas to enhance your Maltese adventures!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Is Valletta Worth Seeing?

Don’t be fooled by Valletta’s modest size – the city is still 100 percent worth visiting! From its ancient fortifications and military history to its impressive Grand Harbour, this postcard-worthy city has so much to offer visitors. That’s why I love to promote it as one of the best European babymoon destinations (along with the rest of Malta).

Whether you’re spending the day museum-hopping, wandering the historic streets, or taking a boat excursion to a neighboring location, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Valletta and its surrounding areas.

What Is Valletta, Malta Known For?

As a renowned World Heritage City, Valletta offers a number of famous monuments and landmarks. Overall, the city is most well-known for its historic fortifications, the Grand Harbour, and its many colorful (and steep!) streets.

Is One Day in Valletta Enough?

While one day in Valletta is enough to cross off a number of activities in this guide, ideally you’ll want to spend at least two or three nights in Valletta (or in a neighboring town like Sliema, St. Julian’s, or Birgu).

Having three full days in/around the city will also be more conducive to doing day trips, whether you’re visiting the former capital of Mdina or island-hopping around Gozo and/or Comino.

Fun & Free Things to Do in Valletta

One of the best things about Valletta is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy the city. There are plenty of (surprisingly) free things to do in Valletta, whether you wish to spend time outdoors or wander around indoors.

While hotels in Valletta are admittedly pricey, if you’re on a budget, you can opt to stay in one of the neighboring towns instead. Towns like Sliema or St. Julian’s offer a range of hotels to suit every budget and are still relatively close to Valletta.

If you decide to go this route, you can easily commute to Valletta via public transportation and take advantage of some of the awesome activities that won’t cost you a dime.

1. Explore the Ancient Fortifications

Similar to Dubrovnik, Valletta is a beautiful fortified city with loads of military history. Given its prime location and reputably safe harbors, Malta has been highly sought after over the centuries.

A fun fact about Malta is that it’s often referred to as the “Fortress Island,” due to its many defensive walls, citadels, towers, and forts.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

They were built by a combination of significant military super powers, including the UK, Italy, Spain, and France. Some of the most well-known fortifications include the St. Elmo Heritage building, Fort Saint Michael, Fort Saint Rocco, and the St. Christopher Bastion.

One of the best ways to start your viewing of the fortifications is with a walk along the city’s bastions. You can also get more information about Valletta’s fortifications and their history here.

2. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens & Lower Barrakka Gardens

I’m always the happiest person when I see that a beautiful garden offers free entry – let alone two! The Upper and Lower Barraka Gardens are both a must-visit when in Valletta, and you won’t have to do any damage to your wallet to do so.

Despite assumptions, these gardens are not located above/below each other – they’re actually nearly a half mile from each other. We only managed to visit the Lower Barrakka Gardens during this trip, but the Upper ones are actually the more popular of the two.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

True to its name, the Upper Barrakka Gardens sit at the highest point of Valletta’s city walls and overlook the Grand Harbour. The gardens are punctuated by flowers and Romanesque-style statues.

FUN FACT: The Upper Barrakka Gardens once served as the private garden to the Knights of the Saint John.

Underneath the top section of the main garden is the Saluting Battery, another popular Valletta attraction. Here, you can watch a salute by cannon fire each day.

Given the privileged position of the Upper Barrakka Gardens, there’s a 58-meter-tall lift available for 1EUR to make the journey from garden-level to harbor-level much more manageable.

The Lower Barrakka Gardens, on the other hand, are situated at the bottom of Valletta, as the name implies. You’ll find them near the Siege Bell. They offer beautiful greenery as well as interesting statues and monuments.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

While the greenery and peacefulness here are certainly lovely, the big selling point of the Lower Gardens is the gorgeous sweeping view over the Grand Harbour.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

The views from here are absolutely stunning!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

There are also a number of benches located throughout the park if you wish to read a book, people-watch, or simply take in the spectacular views.

How to Get Here:

The Upper Barrakka Gardens are located at 292 Triq Sant’ Orsla, Il-Belt in Valletta.

The Lower Barrakka Gardens are located at VGW8+XVG, Quarry Wharf in Valletta.

3. Admire the Auberge de Castille

Considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Valletta, the Auberge de Castille is a beloved city landmark that functions as the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Given its prestigious status, tourists aren’t permitted to enter independently. Instead, you can admire the beautiful façade from the outside, which is why I’ve listed it under the best free things to do in Valletta.

However, tourists will have a chance to admire the inside on Notte Bianca, Malta’s annual art and culture festival that takes place each October.

Otherwise, there’s a slim chance you can get a sneak peek if you’re lucky enough to find a private walking tour that includes an interior viewing.

How to Get Here:

Auberge de Castille is located at Office of the Prime Minister, Auberge de Castille, Merchants Street in Valletta.

4. Enjoy a Refreshing Spritz at Triton Fountain

A significant Modernist landmark and one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city, the Triton Fountain is a Valletta hotspot.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Located just outside of Valletta’s City Gate, Triton Fountain tends to draw a crowd, so be prepared. It features three giant bronze Triton statues supporting the basin and is the perfect place to sit and enjoy some refreshing mist in the summer!

FUN FACT: The fountain first started spouting in all of its glory in May of 1959.

While it’s a crowd-favorite year-round, Triton Fountain is an especially significant part of the festivities that take place on Malta’s National Republic Day each year on December 13.

How to Get Here:

Triton Fountain is located at VGW5+783, Vjal Nelson, Il-Belt in Valletta.

5. Wander Valletta’s Maze of Streets

Valletta’s compact nature makes it conducive to exploring on foot. Just be aware that many of the main streets are quite narrow for pedestrians, so be extra cognizant of cars whizzing past.

Fortunately, many of the photogenic steep streets you see captured on Instagram are pedestrian-only and provide interesting viewpoints. Two of my favorites are St. Lucia Street and Triq San Gwann (both pictured below).

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Other beautiful streets in Valletta include: 

  • Strait Street
  • Republic Street
  • Archbishop Street
  • Ursula Street
  • Old Bakery Street
  • Old Mint Street
  • South Street

6. Snap Some Instagram-Worthy Photos

Speaking of photogenic streets, one of my favorite free things to do Valletta – and in each new city I visit – is to scope out the most Instagram-worthy spots. Fortunately, Valletta is an ideal city to do this!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

There are numerous picture-perfect locations located throughout the city and you could easily spend an entire day photographing and doing nothing else!

For starters, I highly recommend visiting the Bridge Bar Corner (pictured top left) and Herbert Ganado Gardens (pictured top right) in addition to the streets I mentioned in the previous point.

Plus, you’ll find so many others as you wander!

7. Stroll the Waterfront

Also referred to as the Grand Harbour, Valletta’s waterfront is an absolute can’t-miss while in the city. Besides, it’ll be pretty hard to pass over it – Valletta is an island city, after all!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

FUN FACT: Valletta is actually surrounded by two of the largest natural harbors in Malta: the Grand Harbour (to the east) and Marsamxett Harbor (to the west).

The Grand Harbour, which is located on the eastern side of Valletta, is also across from the three cities (Vittoriosa/Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua).

Personally, I believe one of the best places to admire the waterfront is from the Lower Barrakka Gardens. This is the view you’ll be greeted with from there!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

The waterfront is also an area of much activity. It’s where you can charter a boat in Malta as well as catch boat tours to neighboring towns and islands.

Fun Paid Things to Do in Valletta

If you’re able to shell out some cash while in Valletta, the city really is your oyster! Here are some of the best activities to enjoy with your wallet in tow, ranging from super affordable walking tours to magnificent luxury hotel stays!

8. Familiarize Yourself with the City on a Walking Tour

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the city is by joining a walking tour. Tours tend to run around three hours and are an affordable way to get to know Valletta on a more intimate level. You can opt for a private or group tour depending on your preferences and budget.

While each tour has its own perks, the majority will introduce you to Valletta’s most significant sites (such as St. John’s Co Cathedral, the Barrakka Gardens, and famous palaces). In addition, you’ll also discover lesser-known destinations that only locals tend to frequent.

9. Get a Taste of Valletta on a Food Tour

If you’re a foodie – or you’re otherwise curious to learn more about the gastronomy of Valletta – why not try a food tour? As one of the tastiest things to do in Valletta, a food tour will give you a literal taste of the city and its best cuisine.

From street food, to traditional Maltese pastries, to authentic and savory regional dishes, you’ll enjoy the city from a new perspective.

Plus, several of these options are walking/food tour combos, so you can burn off some of those delicious calories as you go!

10. Visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral

One of the most notable landmarks in the city, St. John’s Co-Cathedral is lovingly referred to as the “Crown Jewel of Valletta.” With just one peek inside, you’ll soon understand why!

This ornate Baroque church was built between 1572 and 1577 by the Knights of Malta.

Impressively, St. John’s Co-Cathedral is home to everything from the Beheading of St. John (considered an artistic masterpiece), to nine chapels, to famous tombstones and monuments, to precious artifacts.

If you wish to explore the cathedral for yourself, you’ll find visiting hours and admission fees here.

How to Get Here:

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is located at Triq San Gwann, Il Belt in Valletta.

11. Dine at Rampila Restaurant

To be honest, I hadn’t heard the best things about restaurants in Valletta before our trip. Fortunately, our dining experience at Rampila Restaurant greatly restored our confidence in Maltese cuisine!

In addition to delicious food, Rampila Restaurant is about the atmosphere. Located between the historic bastions of the city, the restaurant offers a charming indoor “tunnel” dining room as well as an outdoor terrace overlooking Valletta’s fortified walls.

We opted for the terrace and were not disappointed!

The romantic ambiance of this restaurant leaves no doubt as to why Valletta is considered one of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

If you’re concerned about chilliness at night, not to worry. The restaurant provides outdoor heaters as well as blankets to keep diners comfy and cozy. I really appreciated this touch, especially as we were here in April and experienced cooler temperatures at night.

As for the dinner, it was absolutely superb. Without exaggeration, I enjoyed the best tagliatelle pasta of my life here!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

I highly recommend making a reservation for Rampila, particularly in the high season.

How to Get Here:

Rampila Restaurant is located at St. Johns Cavalier Il-Belt in Valletta.

12. Treat Yourself to a Memorable Stay at a Pool Hotel

If you think staying in the heart of a busy city like Valletta means you’ll have to sacrifice relaxation, think again! Valletta is home to a number of fantastic properties – many of which have rooftop pools for the ultimate in luxury!

We spent a fabulous three nights at The Gomerino, a wonderful 4-star boutique hotel. In addition to luxury amenities and a generous breakfast, this hotel has a heated rooftop pool.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

While soaking, you’ll also soak in unbelievable panoramic views over Valletta. Trust me, you won’t want to leave!

Fortunately, even if The Gomerino is out of budget for you, there are still plenty of other hotel options to consider. Be sure to check out my dedicated guide to the best Valletta pool hotels for the comprehensive list!

13. Go Museum-Hopping

As a historic city, it should come as no surprise that Valletta is chock-full of museums for the history buffs and art lovers!

While my husband and I opted to spend our time outside, this list would simply not be complete without a mention of the top-rated museums in the city.

Some of Valletta’s most popular museums include:

Fun Day Trips to Take from Valletta

14. Visit the “Silent City” of Mdina

Malta has plenty to offer beyond popular Valletta, so I highly recommend branching out when you’re in the capital. One of the best options is to do a day trip from Valletta to Mdina, the former capital city of Malta.

Known as the “Silent City,” Mdina was believed to be a ghost town when it lost its status as the capital.

FUN FACT: Mdina is over 4,000 years old, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city on Malta!

Today, Mdina is a welcome respite from vibrant Valletta. That’s not to say that Mdina is void of crowds, but it offers a more laidback and peaceful experience than Valletta overall, especially if you’re traveling in the shoulder/off season.

Just like Valletta, Mdina is also a fortified city and you’ll need to pass over a historic gate to get into it.

Mdina’s large and protective walls also create a beautiful “maze” that’s perfect for wandering and discovering charming corners!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

How to Get Here:

If you’re traveling by bus, take Bus 51 from the Valletta C2 stop to Mdina. The journey takes about 35 minutes.

I’ve provided the specific directions and travel details in my Mdina day trip guide, so be sure to check that out before your visit!

15. Explore the Neighboring Island of Gozo

Malta is the largest of the three main islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. The second largest is Gozo, which is my top recommendation for a day trip from Valletta. A Gozo day trip is super easy to arrange, as it’s only a short ferry ride away.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Gozo is truly unique to any other island I’ve visited (including Malta)! It’s also less developed than Malta, so there are endless hidden gems to discover.

Between its rugged landscapes, fascinating architecture, and beautiful beaches, you’ll never run out of fun things to do in Gozo. Plus, while you can easily explore Gozo independently, there are also a number of tours available to enlighten you on the island’s interesting history.

How to Get Here:

The only way to reach Gozo is by boat, as there are no airports on the island.

Fortunately, despite being a separate island, Gozo is actually quite convenient to get to from Valletta. In fact, the Gozo Fast Ferry will take you from Valletta, Malta to Mgarr, Gozo in just 45 minutes.

I hope this list of activities has provided you with some initial inspiration for things to do in Valletta. This compact city definitely packs a lot of punch, so be prepared to conquer a significant amount in a relatively short time!

Have you been to Valletta yet? If so, do you have anything to add to the list?

If not, which of these activities would you try first? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for additional Malta inspiration? Check out my other guides:

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Valletta, you shouldn’t have any problems filling your travel itinerary!

Despite being the smallest capital city in the European Union, Valletta has a lot to offer, whether you’re a history buff, foodie, architecture enthusiast, or any combination thereof!

While the city isn’t particularly known for its beaches, there are a number of fabulous pool hotels in Valletta. So if you’re looking to cool off and enjoy some added luxury with your stay, you’ll have plenty of options.

Alternatively, if you’re hoping to cut costs in Malta’s capital, there are also plenty of free things to do in Valletta as well.

Regardless of your travel style and preferences, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in this fascinating city. Here are some of the top Valletta attractions to consider – plus some awesome day trip ideas to enhance your Maltese adventures!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Is Valletta Worth Seeing?

Don’t be fooled by Valletta’s modest size – the city is still 100 percent worth visiting! From its ancient fortifications and military history to its impressive Grand Harbour, this postcard-worthy city has so much to offer visitors. That’s why I love to promote it as one of the best European babymoon destinations (along with the rest of Malta).

Whether you’re spending the day museum-hopping, wandering the historic streets, or taking a boat excursion to a neighboring location, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Valletta and its surrounding areas.

What Is Valletta, Malta Known For?

As a renowned World Heritage City, Valletta offers a number of famous monuments and landmarks. Overall, the city is most well-known for its historic fortifications, the Grand Harbour, and its many colorful (and steep!) streets.

Is One Day in Valletta Enough?

While one day in Valletta is enough to cross off a number of activities in this guide, ideally you’ll want to spend at least two or three nights in Valletta (or in a neighboring town like Sliema, St. Julian’s, or Birgu).

Having three full days in/around the city will also be more conducive to doing day trips, whether you’re visiting the former capital of Mdina or island-hopping around Gozo and/or Comino.

Fun & Free Things to Do in Valletta

One of the best things about Valletta is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy the city. There are plenty of (surprisingly) free things to do in Valletta, whether you wish to spend time outdoors or wander around indoors.

While hotels in Valletta are admittedly pricey, if you’re on a budget, you can opt to stay in one of the neighboring towns instead. Towns like Sliema or St. Julian’s offer a range of hotels to suit every budget and are still relatively close to Valletta.

If you decide to go this route, you can easily commute to Valletta via public transportation and take advantage of some of the awesome activities that won’t cost you a dime.

1. Explore the Ancient Fortifications

Similar to Dubrovnik, Valletta is a beautiful fortified city with loads of military history. Given its prime location and reputably safe harbors, Malta has been highly sought after over the centuries.

A fun fact about Malta is that it’s often referred to as the “Fortress Island,” due to its many defensive walls, citadels, towers, and forts.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

They were built by a combination of significant military super powers, including the UK, Italy, Spain, and France. Some of the most well-known fortifications include the St. Elmo Heritage building, Fort Saint Michael, Fort Saint Rocco, and the St. Christopher Bastion.

One of the best ways to start your viewing of the fortifications is with a walk along the city’s bastions. You can also get more information about Valletta’s fortifications and their history here.

2. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens & Lower Barrakka Gardens

I’m always the happiest person when I see that a beautiful garden offers free entry – let alone two! The Upper and Lower Barraka Gardens are both a must-visit when in Valletta, and you won’t have to do any damage to your wallet to do so.

Despite assumptions, these gardens are not located above/below each other – they’re actually nearly a half mile from each other. We only managed to visit the Lower Barrakka Gardens during this trip, but the Upper ones are actually the more popular of the two.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

True to its name, the Upper Barrakka Gardens sit at the highest point of Valletta’s city walls and overlook the Grand Harbour. The gardens are punctuated by flowers and Romanesque-style statues.

FUN FACT: The Upper Barrakka Gardens once served as the private garden to the Knights of the Saint John.

Underneath the top section of the main garden is the Saluting Battery, another popular Valletta attraction. Here, you can watch a salute by cannon fire each day.

Given the privileged position of the Upper Barrakka Gardens, there’s a 58-meter-tall lift available for 1EUR to make the journey from garden-level to harbor-level much more manageable.

The Lower Barrakka Gardens, on the other hand, are situated at the bottom of Valletta, as the name implies. You’ll find them near the Siege Bell. They offer beautiful greenery as well as interesting statues and monuments.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

While the greenery and peacefulness here are certainly lovely, the big selling point of the Lower Gardens is the gorgeous sweeping view over the Grand Harbour.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

The views from here are absolutely stunning!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

There are also a number of benches located throughout the park if you wish to read a book, people-watch, or simply take in the spectacular views.

How to Get Here:

The Upper Barrakka Gardens are located at 292 Triq Sant’ Orsla, Il-Belt in Valletta.

The Lower Barrakka Gardens are located at VGW8+XVG, Quarry Wharf in Valletta.

3. Admire the Auberge de Castille

Considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Valletta, the Auberge de Castille is a beloved city landmark that functions as the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Given its prestigious status, tourists aren’t permitted to enter independently. Instead, you can admire the beautiful façade from the outside, which is why I’ve listed it under the best free things to do in Valletta.

However, tourists will have a chance to admire the inside on Notte Bianca, Malta’s annual art and culture festival that takes place each October.

Otherwise, there’s a slim chance you can get a sneak peek if you’re lucky enough to find a private walking tour that includes an interior viewing.

How to Get Here:

Auberge de Castille is located at Office of the Prime Minister, Auberge de Castille, Merchants Street in Valletta.

4. Enjoy a Refreshing Spritz at Triton Fountain

A significant Modernist landmark and one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city, the Triton Fountain is a Valletta hotspot.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Located just outside of Valletta’s City Gate, Triton Fountain tends to draw a crowd, so be prepared. It features three giant bronze Triton statues supporting the basin and is the perfect place to sit and enjoy some refreshing mist in the summer!

FUN FACT: The fountain first started spouting in all of its glory in May of 1959.

While it’s a crowd-favorite year-round, Triton Fountain is an especially significant part of the festivities that take place on Malta’s National Republic Day each year on December 13.

How to Get Here:

Triton Fountain is located at VGW5+783, Vjal Nelson, Il-Belt in Valletta.

5. Wander Valletta’s Maze of Streets

Valletta’s compact nature makes it conducive to exploring on foot. Just be aware that many of the main streets are quite narrow for pedestrians, so be extra cognizant of cars whizzing past.

Fortunately, many of the photogenic steep streets you see captured on Instagram are pedestrian-only and provide interesting viewpoints. Two of my favorites are St. Lucia Street and Triq San Gwann (both pictured below).

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Other beautiful streets in Valletta include: 

  • Strait Street
  • Republic Street
  • Archbishop Street
  • Ursula Street
  • Old Bakery Street
  • Old Mint Street
  • South Street

6. Snap Some Instagram-Worthy Photos

Speaking of photogenic streets, one of my favorite free things to do Valletta – and in each new city I visit – is to scope out the most Instagram-worthy spots. Fortunately, Valletta is an ideal city to do this!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

There are numerous picture-perfect locations located throughout the city and you could easily spend an entire day photographing and doing nothing else!

For starters, I highly recommend visiting the Bridge Bar Corner (pictured top left) and Herbert Ganado Gardens (pictured top right) in addition to the streets I mentioned in the previous point.

Plus, you’ll find so many others as you wander!

7. Stroll the Waterfront

Also referred to as the Grand Harbour, Valletta’s waterfront is an absolute can’t-miss while in the city. Besides, it’ll be pretty hard to pass over it – Valletta is an island city, after all!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

FUN FACT: Valletta is actually surrounded by two of the largest natural harbors in Malta: the Grand Harbour (to the east) and Marsamxett Harbor (to the west).

The Grand Harbour, which is located on the eastern side of Valletta, is also across from the three cities (Vittoriosa/Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua).

Personally, I believe one of the best places to admire the waterfront is from the Lower Barrakka Gardens. This is the view you’ll be greeted with from there!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

The waterfront is also an area of much activity. It’s where you can charter a boat in Malta as well as catch boat tours to neighboring towns and islands.

Fun Paid Things to Do in Valletta

If you’re able to shell out some cash while in Valletta, the city really is your oyster! Here are some of the best activities to enjoy with your wallet in tow, ranging from super affordable walking tours to magnificent luxury hotel stays!

8. Familiarize Yourself with the City on a Walking Tour

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the city is by joining a walking tour. Tours tend to run around three hours and are an affordable way to get to know Valletta on a more intimate level. You can opt for a private or group tour depending on your preferences and budget.

While each tour has its own perks, the majority will introduce you to Valletta’s most significant sites (such as St. John’s Co Cathedral, the Barrakka Gardens, and famous palaces). In addition, you’ll also discover lesser-known destinations that only locals tend to frequent.

9. Get a Taste of Valletta on a Food Tour

If you’re a foodie – or you’re otherwise curious to learn more about the gastronomy of Valletta – why not try a food tour? As one of the tastiest things to do in Valletta, a food tour will give you a literal taste of the city and its best cuisine.

From street food, to traditional Maltese pastries, to authentic and savory regional dishes, you’ll enjoy the city from a new perspective.

Plus, several of these options are walking/food tour combos, so you can burn off some of those delicious calories as you go!

10. Visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral

One of the most notable landmarks in the city, St. John’s Co-Cathedral is lovingly referred to as the “Crown Jewel of Valletta.” With just one peek inside, you’ll soon understand why!

This ornate Baroque church was built between 1572 and 1577 by the Knights of Malta.

Impressively, St. John’s Co-Cathedral is home to everything from the Beheading of St. John (considered an artistic masterpiece), to nine chapels, to famous tombstones and monuments, to precious artifacts.

If you wish to explore the cathedral for yourself, you’ll find visiting hours and admission fees here.

How to Get Here:

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is located at Triq San Gwann, Il Belt in Valletta.

11. Dine at Rampila Restaurant

To be honest, I hadn’t heard the best things about restaurants in Valletta before our trip. Fortunately, our dining experience at Rampila Restaurant greatly restored our confidence in Maltese cuisine!

In addition to delicious food, Rampila Restaurant is about the atmosphere. Located between the historic bastions of the city, the restaurant offers a charming indoor “tunnel” dining room as well as an outdoor terrace overlooking Valletta’s fortified walls.

We opted for the terrace and were not disappointed!

The romantic ambiance of this restaurant leaves no doubt as to why Valletta is considered one of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

If you’re concerned about chilliness at night, not to worry. The restaurant provides outdoor heaters as well as blankets to keep diners comfy and cozy. I really appreciated this touch, especially as we were here in April and experienced cooler temperatures at night.

As for the dinner, it was absolutely superb. Without exaggeration, I enjoyed the best tagliatelle pasta of my life here!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

I highly recommend making a reservation for Rampila, particularly in the high season.

How to Get Here:

Rampila Restaurant is located at St. Johns Cavalier Il-Belt in Valletta.

12. Treat Yourself to a Memorable Stay at a Pool Hotel

If you think staying in the heart of a busy city like Valletta means you’ll have to sacrifice relaxation, think again! Valletta is home to a number of fantastic properties – many of which have rooftop pools for the ultimate in luxury!

We spent a fabulous three nights at The Gomerino, a wonderful 4-star boutique hotel. In addition to luxury amenities and a generous breakfast, this hotel has a heated rooftop pool.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

While soaking, you’ll also soak in unbelievable panoramic views over Valletta. Trust me, you won’t want to leave!

Fortunately, even if The Gomerino is out of budget for you, there are still plenty of other hotel options to consider. Be sure to check out my dedicated guide to the best Valletta pool hotels for the comprehensive list!

13. Go Museum-Hopping

As a historic city, it should come as no surprise that Valletta is chock-full of museums for the history buffs and art lovers!

While my husband and I opted to spend our time outside, this list would simply not be complete without a mention of the top-rated museums in the city.

Some of Valletta’s most popular museums include:

Fun Day Trips to Take from Valletta

14. Visit the “Silent City” of Mdina

Malta has plenty to offer beyond popular Valletta, so I highly recommend branching out when you’re in the capital. One of the best options is to do a day trip from Valletta to Mdina, the former capital city of Malta.

Known as the “Silent City,” Mdina was believed to be a ghost town when it lost its status as the capital.

FUN FACT: Mdina is over 4,000 years old, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city on Malta!

Today, Mdina is a welcome respite from vibrant Valletta. That’s not to say that Mdina is void of crowds, but it offers a more laidback and peaceful experience than Valletta overall, especially if you’re traveling in the shoulder/off season.

Just like Valletta, Mdina is also a fortified city and you’ll need to pass over a historic gate to get into it.

Mdina’s large and protective walls also create a beautiful “maze” that’s perfect for wandering and discovering charming corners!

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

How to Get Here:

If you’re traveling by bus, take Bus 51 from the Valletta C2 stop to Mdina. The journey takes about 35 minutes.

I’ve provided the specific directions and travel details in my Mdina day trip guide, so be sure to check that out before your visit!

15. Explore the Neighboring Island of Gozo

Malta is the largest of the three main islands that make up the Maltese archipelago. The second largest is Gozo, which is my top recommendation for a day trip from Valletta. A Gozo day trip is super easy to arrange, as it’s only a short ferry ride away.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants

Gozo is truly unique to any other island I’ve visited (including Malta)! It’s also less developed than Malta, so there are endless hidden gems to discover.

Between its rugged landscapes, fascinating architecture, and beautiful beaches, you’ll never run out of fun things to do in Gozo. Plus, while you can easily explore Gozo independently, there are also a number of tours available to enlighten you on the island’s interesting history.

How to Get Here:

The only way to reach Gozo is by boat, as there are no airports on the island.

Fortunately, despite being a separate island, Gozo is actually quite convenient to get to from Valletta. In fact, the Gozo Fast Ferry will take you from Valletta, Malta to Mgarr, Gozo in just 45 minutes.

I hope this list of activities has provided you with some initial inspiration for things to do in Valletta. This compact city definitely packs a lot of punch, so be prepared to conquer a significant amount in a relatively short time!

Have you been to Valletta yet? If so, do you have anything to add to the list?

If not, which of these activities would you try first? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for additional Malta inspiration? Check out my other guides:

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants
Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta? Malta’s historic capital has so much to offer every type of traveler, from art lovers, to history buffs, to foodies, and more. Here are some of the top paid activities as well as the best free things to do in Valletta for a memorable stay in Malta’s capital. #thingstodoinvallettamalta #vallettamaltathingstodo #vallettarestaurants