If you ever get the chance to cruise into Malta the journey into Valletta Port is stunning and well worth the early rise.
Valletta is steeped in history, everywhere you turn there is something to see.
Our first stop was Barrakka Gardens overlooking the Grand Harbour; from the balcony terrace you get spectacular views of the The Three Cities (Birgu, Senglea, and Bormla), and harbour area. The gardens are very tranquil and it’s lovely to sit and watch the boats manoeuvre their way past each other. Try and time your visit to coincide with the canon salute which happens at 12 midday and 4pm every day.
A short walk away is St Johns Co-Cathedral, not very impressive from the outside but as they say ‘never judge the book
by its cover’.
Inside is magnificent and a blaze of colour. Marble slabs cover the floor, each one the tomb of a knight decorated with
his coat of arms. The walls and ceilings are covered art work, it’s hard to know where to look there is so much to take in simply stunning. Caravaggio’s two master pieces “The beheading of St John” and his “St Jerome Writing” are on display in the oratory.
The Cathedral can be busy in high season so its worth taking the Audio Guide (included in entrance fee €10) so you don’t miss anything. Exit the Cathedral onto Republic Street which is one of the main pedestrianised shopping streets in Valletta, full of shops bars and cafes.
Look up and take in the colourful of the beautiful balconies and when you’ve had enough shopping head for “Strait Street” a narrow straight up & down street with many colourful bars opening into the footpath a great vibe and the beers not bad either.
We stayed in the Grand Excelsior Hotel Valletta which is right on harbour with wonderful views across the bay and city. The outside bar and pool area lead down to the waters’ edge. Rooms were a good size and worth paying the supplement for sea view. 10 minutes slightly uphill to the centre of Valletta. Don’t forget the camera!
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