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Lonely Planet Publications


Few places can lay claim to the title of Europes tiniest capital (well, maybe Liechtensteins
Vaduz, but lets not trifle with details here). Valletta is Maltas Lilliputian capital, measuring
all of 600m by 1000m you wont wear out too much shoe leather seeing the sights of the
city, but you will come to appreciate its sheer compactness and the ease of exploring. You
may also come to love its history-filled streets, squares and alleys, sometimes dilapidated
but always charming, and its idiosyncratic quirks a colourful row of overhanging first-floor
balconies, a hulking bastion as a reminder of a turbulent past, a collection of bright yellow
and orange buses, a shopfront that could be a relic of 1930s Britain.

When Valletta was built by the Knights of St John in the 16th and 17th centuries, its founder
decreed that it should be a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen, and it retains much of
its elegance to this day. But thats not the capitals only quote-worthy quote: when Unesco
has named Valletta a World Heritage site, it described it as one of the most concentrated
historic areas in the world, and who are we to disagree?

Still, when you tire of all the history in and around Valletta, there are the treats youd
expect of most European capitals, albeit on a teensy scale (this capital has a population
of only 7000). Good restaurants, bars and theatre can be enjoyed here, but dont expect
Valletta to be buzzing all night its far too small for that sort of action, but thats a large
part of its charm.


Exploring the nooks and crannies of National

Museum Valletta
Valletta, admiring the monuments and of Archaeology
St John's
soaking up the history Co-Cathedral
Checking out the view that puts the Barrakka
grand in Grand Harbour, from the Gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens (p66) Il Collachio

Treading lightly on the magnificent Harbour
marble floor of St Johns Co-Cathedral
Admiring the womanly curves of the
fat ladies at the National Museum
of Archaeology (p62)
Asking the unanswerable questions Hypogeum
(who? why? how?) at the remarkable
Hypogeum (p80) book ahead!
Exploring Vittoriosas charming Il Collachio (p78), followed by a cruise of Grand Harbour
(p77) in a dgajsa (traditional oar-powered boat)

VALLETTA 56 VA L L E T TA VA L L E T TA O r i e n t a t i o n 57

1 km
0.5 miles
The threat of a Turkish attack in 1634 sequence along one side of the street, and then
prompted Grand Master Antoine de Paule back in the opposite direction along the other
To Sliema
To Italy
(120km) to begin the construction of a second line of side, which means that No 20 can sometimes
Manoel St Elmo Point
Island St Elmo
landward defences, the Notre Dame Ditch, be across the street from No 200.
See Valletta Map (pp48-9) Fort St
L az z Elmo Breakwater Lighthouse about 1km southwest of Vallettas Great Ditch.
M arina
t to
MEDITERRANEAN These were designed by the Italian engineer Maps
27 k
tt VALLETTA Ricasoli SEA Pietro Paolo Floriani, who gave his name to Most maps of the Maltese Islands include an
Ta'Xbiex xe
m r
sa ou
the town (Floriana) that grew up within these inset street plan of Valletta. Half a dozen dif-
ar arb
M H Ricasoli
Fort walls in the 18th century. ferent tourist maps of Valletta can be bought
d a Creek
cheaply from the souvenir shops and book-
22 City Gate
Ri n
ORIENTATION shops on Triq ir-Repubblika. You can pick
reek el l Fort Valletta and its suburb, Floriana, occupy the up free street maps of Valletta and Floriana at
t aC a
Pie Cr Rinella
k long finger of the Sceberras Peninsula that the tourist information office, as well as free
Fort St Angelo
divides Grand Harbour to the south from brochures detailing walking tours of Valletta,
6 Pinto
Rinella Marsamxett Harbour to the north. City Gate Floriana and the Three Cities.
ck (Birgu)
Cr kar
ee a
bus terminus (Maltas main bus station) lies
Porte des
Bombes Sea SENGLEA
rd k
between the two towns. INFORMATION
(L-Isla) Cr Valletta is barely a kilometre long and Bookshops

See Floriana Map (p73)
600m wide, with a regular grid of narrow Most major attractions also have a shop selling
rina 23 streets confined within its massive medi- a range of Malta books, maps and souvenirs.


OU eval fortifications. The main street, Triq ir- Agenda (%2125 2117; Embassy Complex, Triq Santa

RB 8

HA Repubblika (Republic St), runs in a straight Luija)


II Kortin
AN (Bormla)
GR line northeast from City Gate (adjacent to Aquilina (%2123 3774;; 58 Triq
See Senglea
& Vittoriosa (p77) City Gate bus terminus) to Fort St Elmo, pass- ir-Repubblika) A very good selection of history books,
Kordin nes ing through Misra l-Assedju l-Kbir (Great travel guides, reference and fiction; most are available to
or t (Mars Li Siege Sq), Misra ir-Repubblika (Republic Sq) buy online.
wp a Cr abbar
Ne ee Gate
k) Margherita and Pjazza San or (St Georges Sq). Newsstand (Triq il-Merkanti) A wide range of British,
Two other major streets run parallel to German and Italian newspapers and magazines is
To Rabat & era
Mdina (9km)
ton To Marsaskala
Repubblika Triq il-Merkanti (Merchants St) available from this hole-in-the-wall place near the
two blocks to the southeast, and Triq l-Ifran Auberge dItalie.
Sports (Old Bakery St) two blocks to the northwest. Sapienzas (%2123 3621; 26 Triq ir-Repubblika)
23 Triq ir-Repubblika and Triq il-Merkanti Another excellent selection of history books, travel guides,
134 roughly follow the spine of the peninsula, reference and fiction.
Fgura and side streets fall steeply downhill on either
To Airport
1 Tarxien
Temples 26
side. The main sights, St Johns Co-Cathedral Cultural Centres
To Marsaxlokk (6km);
and the Grand Masters Palace, are on Triq ir- Valletta and the surrounding area house a
Birebbua (6km)
Repubblika within 500m of City Gate. number of cultural centres, which offer ex-
Street signs in Valletta are in both Malti and hibitions, lectures, language courses and cul-
HISTORY sun, and straight streets to allow cooling English. Note that houses are numbered in tural events.
Before the Great Siege of 1565, the Sceberras sea breezes to circulate. A great ditch 18m
Peninsula was uninhabited and unfortified, deep, 20m wide and nearly 1km long
except for Fort St Elmo at its furthest point. was cut across the peninsula to protect the THE FOUNDER OF VALLETTA
Fearing another attack on Malta by the Turks, landward approach, and massive curtain Jean Parisot de la Valette (14941568) was a French nobleman from Provence. He joined the
Grand Master la Valette (of the Knights of St walls and bastions were raised around the Order of St John at the age of 20 and served it faithfully for the rest of his life, holding the title
John) began the task of financing and building perimeter of the city. of Grand Master from 1557 until his death. He was a hardened fighter who had been captured
new fortifications and a new city on what was Spurred on by the fear of a Turkish assault, by Barbary pirates in 1541 and spent a year as a galley slave and was a natural leader whose
then just a barren limestone ridge. the Knights completed the fortifications in greatest achievement was the defence of Malta against the Turks in the Great Siege of 1565.
The foundation stone of Valletta was laid only five years. With the defences in place, In the aftermath of the Great Siege, la Valette immediately set about the fortification of the
on 28 March 1566. Around 8000 slaves and the new city was bestowed with churches, Sceberras Peninsula and the construction of a new city. Three years later, with the streets of
artisans toiled on the slopes of Sceberras, palaces, residential streets and, of course, Valletta already laid out, he suffered a stroke and died in August 1568 at the age of 73. His
levelling the summit, cutting a drainage sys- a hospital. tomb in the crypt of St Johns Co-Cathedral bears a Latin inscription which translates as: Here
tem into the bedrock and laying out a regular Valletta was considered a masterpiece of lies Valette, worthy of eternal honour. He who was once the scourge of Africa and Asia, and the
grid of streets Valletta was to be the first architecture and town planning and today shield of Europe, whence he expelled the barbarians by his holy arms, is the first to be buried
planned city in Europe, with buildings tall it remains one of Europes finest and most in this beloved city, whose founder he was.
enough to shade the streets from the hot distinctive cityscapes.
VALLETTA 58 VA L L E T TA I n f o r m a t i o n VA L L E T TA I n f o r m a t i o n 59

0 100 m
VALLETTA 0 0.1 miles
Agenda....................................... 1 B3
Misra il-elsien (Freedom
Square)................................. 34 A4
Caf Jubilee.............................. 62 B3
Caffe Cordina........................... 63 B3
A B C D Aquilina...................................... 2 C3 Misra ir-Repubblika (Republic Carmelo Azzopardi Pastizzerija..64 B4
Bank of Valletta...........................3 B3 Square)................................. 35 B3 Carriage.................................... 65 A3
Ball's British Council............................. 4 C2 Misra l-Assedju l-Kbir (Great Siege Dates Kiosk.............................(see 70)
St Gregory Bastion
Bastion Canadian Consulate.................... 5 B2 Square)................................. 36 B3 Fresh Produce Market............... 66 C3
Abercrombie's French Embassy.......................... 6 A3 Misra Mattia Preti (Mattia Preti Fusion Four............................... 67 A3
1 Bastion
German-Maltese Circle............... 7 C2 Square)................................. 37 A2 La Cave.....................................68 B4
Heritage Malta............................8 C3 Misra San wann (St John La Sicilia.................................... 69 B4
HSBC Bank..................................9 B3 Square)................................. 38 B3 Marks & Spencer....................(see 71)
HSBC Bank................................10 B3 National Museum of Millennium............................... 70 A4

To Sliema Fort
(1km) St Elmo Italian Cultural Institute.............11 B2 Archaeology..........................39 B3 Papannis................................... 71 B3
Main Post Office.......................12 B4 National Museum of Fine Arts.. 40 A3 Rubino...................................... 72 B2
Tri a Malta Tourism Authority.........(see 24) National War Museum..............41 C1 Trabuxu..................................(see 78)
qS tan
St Salvatore Misra an on National Student Travel Service Pjazza Kastilja (Castile Square).. 42 B4 Wembley Store......................... 73 A3
Marsamxett I-Indipendenza Ba l-F
Bastion stj qi
Harbour an Tri (NSTS).................................. 13 C3 Pjazza San or (St George's
Water nt
Polo ne Entrance Newsstand................................ 14 B4 Square)................................. 43 B3 DRINKING

Pool il- 56

iq Police Station............................ 15 B4 Sacra Infermeria....................... 44 D2 Castille Wine Vaults.................. 74 B4



2 Tr


Royal Pharmacy........................ 16 B3 St James' Cavalier Centre for Labyrinth...................................75 B3






Russian Centre for Science & Creativity.............................. 45 B4 Maestro e' Fresco..................... 76 A3

r l-





Culture..................................17 B3 St John's Co-Cathedral..............46 B3 The Pub.................................... 77 C3



Tri 79 ika 31 33
Sapienzas.................................. 18 B3 State Apartments....................(see 29) Trabuxu.................................... 78 A3

St Andrew's bl

Bastion 37 ek ub

z -Z 72 R ep 7 44 SMS Travel & Tourism.............. 19 A3 Toy Museum............................ 47 C2
St Michael's a i ir- 4

drij iq Tourist Information Office........ 20 A4 Wartime Experience.................(see 1) ENTERTAINMENT
Bastion An Tr 11





Travelex.................................... 21 B3 Embassy Cinemas (Embassy


Triq il-Med
Triq 43 2 61




51 77 57

Ziffa.......................................... 22 A3 SLEEPING Complex)..............................(see 1)




55 l 75






63 Asti Guesthouse........................ 48 B4 Manoel Theatre & Booking







53 6 SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES British Hotel.............................. 49 B4 Office................................... 79 B2



M 40 Law 28


T r a Courts 13
Armoury.................................(see 29) Castille Hotel............................ 50 B4 St James' Cavalier Centre for
Hastings l-I D 36 30
3 Gardens 65 riq id- 58 Auberge de Castille................... 23 B4 Coronation Guesthouse............ 51 A3 Creativity............................(see 45)
T iq
Tr 3 46 66 St Christopher Auberge d'Italie........................ 24 B4 Grand Harbour Hotel................ 52 B4
78 an
39 81 83 err Bastion Casa Rocca Piccola................... 25 C2 Le Bonheur Guesthouse............ 53 A3 SHOPPING
St 18 26
27 edit
John's 22 38 nt
i il -M Cathedral Museum................... 26 B3 Midland Guesthouse................ 54 C4 Gio Batta Delia......................... 80 A3

Cavalier 73 ka 17 59 Triq

21 j a e r
ari Church of St Paul's Shipwreck.. 27 C3 Osborne Hotel.......................... 55 A3 Malta Crafts Centre.................. 81 B3

St kk il-
M 10 rsl Lower

67 76 9 Za iq 'O Entry to State Apartments & Valletta G-House...................... 56 D2 Monti....................................... 82 A4

John's ant
nt Fish Barrakka


Di 19 Sa -Lv

tch Bastion 80 Market Gardens

ir q riq il Armoury............................... 28 C3 YMCA office............................. 57 C3 Street Market............................83 B3


r i ra
T 24 wl rba


Pa 64 Ba Grand Master's Palace.............. 29 C3

34 15 t a
n 54

20 14 Sa
Great Siege of Malta & the Knights of EATING TRANSPORT

City 84 r iq
T 48
69 Triq Grand

70 Gate 45 23 49 Harbour St John Exhibition..................30 B3 282 Coffee Garden................... 58 B3 Air Malta.................................. 84 A4

St James' 12 ja 52
50 eri Victoria Knights Hospitallers Exhibition.. 31 D2 Agius Confectionery & British Airways........................(see 21)


Triton Cavalier 42 il-B Gate

68 Lascaris War Rooms.................. 32 B4 Pastizzerija............................ 59 C3 City Gate Bus Terminus............ 85 A4

Fountain Tri

4 Malta Experience...................... 33 D2 Ambrosia.................................. 60 C3 Marsamxetto Ferry Service (to


St James 74
Triq Nelson

Manoel Theatre......................(see 79) Blue Room................................ 61 C3 Sliema)................................. 86 A2

at D

lamo C

32 G Barrakka
re Gardens
Triq Giro

82 Di
Commonwealth St James tch Lascaris Bastion
Bank of Valletta (cnr Triq ir-Repubblika & Triq San office distributes information on sites under their
Air Forces Memorial
wann; h8.30am-2pm Mon-Thu, 8.30am-3.30pm Fri, management and hosts occasional art exhibits.
8.30am-12.30pm Sat) Foreign exchange machine and Tourist Information Branch (%2369 6073; Malta
Alliance Franaise de Malte (Map p73; %2123 Police station (%2122 5495; Triq Nofs in-Nhar, ATMs. International Airport, arrivals hall; h10am-9pm)
8456;; 108 Triq San Tumas, Valletta) Opposite the site of the old Opera House. HSBC (15 Triq ir-Repubblika & 32 Triq il-Merkanti) Foreign Tourist Information Office (%2123 7747; Misra
Floriana) exchange machine and ATMs. il-elsien; h8.30am-6pm Mon-Sat, 8.30am-2pm
British Council (%2122 6377; www.britishcouncil Internet Access Travelex (20 Triq ir-Repubblika; h8.30am-1pm & Sun, closed public holidays) In the City Arcade,
.org/malta; Exchange Buildings, Triq ir- Repubblika, Ziffa (%2123 4007;; 194 Triq id-Dejqa; 2-5.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm Sat) Currency exchange immediately on the right as you enter Valletta through
Valletta) per hr Lm1; h9am-11pm Mon-Sat, 9am-10pm Sun) bureau. City Gate.
German-Maltese Circle (%2124 6967; www Plenty of computers, fast internet access and good rates for; Messina Palace; 141 Triq San overseas phone calls. Post Travel Agencies
Kristofru, Valletta) Main Post Office (Pjazza Kastilja; h8.15am-3.45pm National Student Travel Service (NSTS; %2558
Italian Cultural Institute (%2122 1462; www Medical Services Mon-Fri, 8.15am-12.30pm Sat) Found under the St James 8000;; 220 Triq San Pawl) Specialises in; Pjazza San or, Valletta) Royal Pharmacy (%2125 2396; 271 Triq ir-Repubblika) Cavalier, opposite the Auberge de Castille. student and youth travel; can arrange budget holiday
Russian Centre for Science & Culture (%2122 Central pharmacy open during shopping hours. packages, water-sports facilities and English-language
2030; 36 Triq il-Merkanti, Valletta) Tourist Information courses (for more information see p166).
Money Heritage Malta (%2295 4000; www.heritagemalta SMS Travel & Tourism (%2123 2211; www.sms
Emergency There are plenty of places to change money .org; Old University Buildings, Triq il-Merkanti) Head office; 311 Triq ir-Repubblika) A good general agency,
Malta Police headquarters (Map p73; %2294 2190; and cash travellers cheques on and near Triq of the organisation entrusted with managing the national offering excursions, guided tours, currency exchange and
Pjazza San Kalcidonju, Floriana) ir-Repubblika in Valletta. museums and heritage sites of the Maltese Islands. The plane and ferry tickets.
VALLETTA 60 VA L L E T TA S i g h t s VA L L E T TA S i g h t s 61

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine, hangs in Grand Masters Palace
VALLETTA STREET NAMES the Chapel of Italy, looking down on a bust of The 16th-century Grand Masters Palace (Pjazza
Its helpful to know the names of Vallettas main streets in both Malti and English, as many maps Grand Master Gregorio Carafa. San or, visitor entrance on Triq il-Merkanti), once the
feature only one language or the other, and many businesses advertise in English and use the Visitors to the cathedral should note that residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights
English street name. they are requested to dress appropriately for a of St John, is today the seat of Maltas parlia-
house of worship shawls can be provided at ment and the official residence of the Maltese
Triq id-Dejqa Strait St Triq Melita Melita St the ticket office. Stiletto heels are not permit- president.
Triq il-Merkanti Merchants St Triq Nofs in-Nhar South St ted, to protect the marble floor. Flash photog- There are two VIP entrances on Pjazza
Triq ir-Repubblika Republic St Triq San wann St Johns St raphy is also banned. San or, but these are not for general public
Triq it-Teatru l-Antik Old Theatre St Triq San Pawl St Pauls St admission. The right-hand arch leads to Prince
Triq iz-Zekka Old Mint St Triq San Zakkarija St Zacharys St CATHEDRAL MUSEUM Alfreds Courtyard, where two stone lions guard
Triq lArisqof Archbishop St Triq SantOrsla St Ursulas St The first bay in the south aisle of St Johns a doorway leading to the Great Hall (now
Triq l-Ifran Old Bakery St Triq Santa Luija St Lucijas St gives access to the Cathedral Museum (%2122 occupied by Maltas parliamentary House of
0536; admission included in cathedral ticket price; h9.30am- Representatives) and a clock tower built in
4.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-12.30pm Sat, last admission 30 min 1745 marks the hours with bronze figures of
SIGHTS dedicated to the patron saint of the particular before closing, closed Sun, public holidays & during services). Moorish slaves striking gongs. The left-hand
St Johns Co-Cathedral langue. The first bay youll encounter upon The first room is the Oratory, built in 1603 as arch leads into Neptunes Courtyard, named for
Maltas most impressive church, St Johns Co- entering and walking to your right is the a place of worship and for the instruction of the 17th-century bronze statue of the sea-god
Cathedral (%2122 0536; Triq ir-Repubblika; adult/child Chapel of Germany. novices. It is dominated by the altarpiece the that stands there.
Lm1.50/free; h9.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-12.30pm Opposite is the Chapel of Castille & Portugal, Beheading of St John the Baptist (c 1608) by From the public entry on Triq il-Merkanti
Sat, last admission 30 min before closing, closed Sun, public with monuments to Grand Masters Antonio Caravaggio, one of the artists most famous and it is possible to visit the Armoury (%2124 9349;
holidays & during services) was designed by the ar- Manoel de Vilhena and Manuel Pinto de Fon- accomplished paintings. The executioner adult/child Lm2/0.50; h9am-5pm) and the State Apart-
chitect Gerolamo Cassar and built between seca. This is followed by the Chapel of Aragon, reaching for a knife to finish off the job that ments (%2124 9349; adult/child Lm2/0.50; h10am-4pm
1573 and 1578 as the conventual church of the most splendid in the cathedral. The tombs his sword began and the horrified Salome Fri-Wed); note that the State Apartments are
the Knights of St John. It took over from the of the brothers and consecutive Grand with her platter are depicted with chilling real- closed from time to time when official state
Church of St Lawrence in Vittoriosa as the Masters Rafael and Nicolas Cotoner compete ism. On the east wall hangs St Jerome, another visits are taking place.
place where the Knights would gather for for the title of most extravagant sculpture. of Caravaggios masterpieces. Heritage Malta conducts guided tours
communal worship. It was raised to a sta- The last bay in this aisle, past the Chapel of The rest of the museum houses collections (included in the cost of admission) of the
tus equal to that of St Pauls Cathedral in Auvergne, contains the Chapel of the Blessed Sacra- of vestments, 16th-century choral books and Armoury and the apartments at 10.30am,
Mdina the official seat of the Archbishop ment (also known as the Chapel dedicated to a collection of Flemish tapestries depicting 12.30pm and 2.30pm daily; tours and times
of Malta by a papal decree of 1816, hence the Madonna of Carafa), closed off by a pair Bible scenes and religious allegories. The tap- are not set in stone, so it may be worth making
the term co-cathedral. of solid silver gates. It contains a 15th-century estries were based on drawings by Rubens, advance enquiries.
The faade is rather plain, and framed by crucifix from Rhodes and keys of captured and were commissioned by Grand Master The Armoury is now housed in what was
twin bell-towers a feature that has been Turkish fortresses. Ramon de Perellos, whose escutcheon appears once the Grand Masters stables. The armour
copied by almost every church in Malta but Opposite is the dark and moody Chapel on each panel. and weapons belonging to the Knights were
the interior is a colourful treasure house of of Provence, containing the tombs of Grand
Maltese baroque. The nave is long and low Masters Antoine de Paule and Jean Lascaris ST JOHN'S CO-CATHEDRAL 0 10 m
and every wall, pillar and rib is encrusted Castellar. The steps at the back lead down
with rich ornamentation, giving the effect to the cathedral crypt (usually closed to the Visitor Entry &
Ticket Office NORTH AISLE
of a dusty gold brocade the Maltese Cross public), where the first 12 Grand Masters
and the arms of the Order (a white cross on a of Malta from 1523 to 1623 are interred. To Chapel Chapel Chapel 1 Chapel
scarlet background) can be seen everywhere. The reclining effigies include Jean Parisot Sacristy of
The floor is a vast patchwork quilt of colour- de la Valette, hero of the Great Siege and the
ful marble tomb slabs in black, white, blue, founder of Valletta, and his English secretary
red, pink and yellow, and the vault is covered Sir Oliver Starkey, the only man below the
Triq San wann

in paintings by Mattia Preti (see the boxed rank of Grand Master to be honoured with NAVE Sanctuary Altar
Exit 5
text, p37) illustrating events from the life of a tomb in the crypt. Darker still is the Chapel
St John the Baptist. The altar is dominated of the Holy Relics (also known as the Chapel of 1
Tomb of GM Antoine de Paule
Tomb of GM Jean Lascaris Castellar
by a huge marble sculpture of the baptism of the Anglo-Bavarian Langue), which contains 3
Chapel of the Holy Relics
Stairs to Crypt
Christ, with a painting, St John in Heaven, by a wooden figure of St John that is said to have Chapel Chapel
Chapel of the
Baptism of Christ Sculpture
Tomb of GM Nicolas Cotoner
of 7 of of Blessed
Preti above it. come from the galley in which the Knights Castille & Aragon Auvergne Sacrament
7 Tomb of GM Rafael Cotoner
There are six bays on either side of the departed from Rhodes in 1523.
nave, eight of which contain chapels allocated The austere Chapel of France, with a Preti al-
Entrance to Oratory Exit from Museum
to the various langues (or divisions, based tarpiece of St Paul, was stripped of its baroque & Cathedral Museum & Bookshop

on nationality) of the Order of St John and decoration in the 1840s. Pretis painting,
VALLETTA 62 VA L L E T TA S i g h t s VA L L E T TA S i g h t s 63

Bronze Age, Phoenician and Roman culture which display works by Mattia Preti (see p37).
VALLETTA IN and the medieval period up to the modern Look out for the dramatic Martyrdom of St
Two Days period (c 2500 BC to AD 1800s). Catherine, doubting Thomas poking a finger
Get the day started with alfresco coffee and pastizzi at Caffe Cordina (p70) then educate your- In the downstairs galleries you can see the into Christs wound in The Incredulity of St
self on the country at the Malta Experience (p65). Spend the day wandering Vallettas history- beautiful and often mysterious objects that Thomas, and St John the Baptist dressed in
loaded streets be sure to pop in to major attractions such as St Johns Co-Cathedral (p60), have been found at Maltas prehistoric sites, the habit of the Knights of St John.
the Grand Masters Palace (p61) and the National Museum of Archaeology (below), then rest along with displays showing the technology Downstairs, room 14 contains portraits of
your legs at the view-enriched Upper Barrakka Gardens (p66). On the second day, take a tour used to build Maltas prehistoric temples, and several Grand Masters by the 18th-century
of the Hypogeum (p80) be sure to prebook then spend the afternoon exploring the nooks the evolution of temple design from simple French artist Antoine de Favray, including
and crannies of the intriguing Three Cities (p75) area. Take in an evening show in Valletta at stone huts to the elaborate layout of gantija. one of the imperious Manoel Pinto de Fon-
Manoel Theatre (p64) or St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity (p71). There is also a very good model of the Hypo- seca. Room 18 has scenes of Malta by 19th-
geum on display. century British artists, including poet Edward
Four Days The exhibits include female figurines found Lear, and a wonderful watercolour depicting
Shake and add water to the two-day itinerary, then stir in the following: see the Wartime Ex- at aar Qim, the so-called fat ladies (no a Grand Harbour scene, painted by Turner in
perience (p65) and visit the National War Museum (opposite) to learn of WWII heroism and offence, girls) perhaps representing a fer- 1830 the museums pride and joy. Interest-
hardships in Malta. For a change of scenery, stroll around Floriana (p73) and head down to tility goddess with massive rounded thighs ingly, Turner never visited Malta, and the
Pinto Wharf (p75) for a leisurely waterfront meal. The next day, explore further afield take a and arms, but tiny, doll-like hands and feet, work is based on scenes painted by another
bus to Mdina (p123), Marsaxlokk (p137) or the northern beaches (p114), or go by ferry across wearing a pleated skirt and sitting with legs artist. Room 19 has many 19th-century scenes
to bustling Sliema (p83). tucked neatly to one side. The so-called Venus of Valletta.
de Malta, also from aar Qim, is about 10cm Heritage Malta conducts guided tours (free
tall and displays more realistic modelling, with admission) of the museum at 11am and
once stored at the Palace Armoury (now the by a leopard; and a tableau with palm trees, a possibly of a pregnant woman. Best of all is 2pm Tuesday and Thursday; tours and times
Great Hall used by the parliament), and when tapir, a jaguar and an iguana. the Sleeping Lady, found at the Hypogeum can change, so it may be worth making ad-
a Knight died they became the property of the Beyond lie the State Dining Room and the and dating from around 3000 BC here the vance enquiries.
Order. The current collection of over 5000 Supreme Council Hall, where the Supreme well-endowed Venus is seen lying on her side
suits of 16th- to 18th-century armour is all Council of Order met. It is decorated with a with her head propped on one arm, appar- National War Museum
that remains of an original 25,000 suits frieze depicting events from the Great Siege ently deep in slumber. Commemorating the countrys ordeal during
Napoleons light-fingered activities, over-en- of 1565, while the minstrels gallery bears Heritage Malta conducts one-hour guided WWII, Maltas National War Museum (%2122
thusiastic housekeeping by the British and paintings showing scenes from the Book of tours of the museum at 10am and 2pm Tues- 2430; Triq il-Fontana; adult/child Lm1/0.25; h9am-5pm)
general neglect put paid to the rest. Genesis. At the far end of the hall a door day and Thursday, 10am and 11.30am Sun- is housed in the northwest corner of Fort St
Some of the most interesting pieces are gives access to the Hall of the Ambassadors, or day; the tours are free with admission and Elmo. The collection of relics, photographs
the breastplate worn by la Valette, the beau- Red State Room, where the Grand Master are a great way to learn about the prehistoric and equipment includes the Gloster Gladiator
tifully damascened (steel inlaid with gold) would receive important visitors, and where temple-building period, especially if you plan biplane called Faith (minus wings), the jeep
suit made for Alof de Wignacourt, and the the Maltese president still receives foreign to visit the Hypogeum or any of the megalithic Husky used by General Eisenhower, and the
captured Turkish sipahi armour. A second envoys. It contains portraits of the French temples scattered around Malta. Tours and wreckage of a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt
room contains displays of weapons, includ- kings Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, times are not set in stone, so it may be worth Me-109 fighter aircraft recovered from the sea
ing crossbows, muskets, swords and pistols. the Russian empress Catherine the Great, making advance enquiries. bed. The pictures of bomb damage in Valletta
To overcome the dearth of exhibit labelling, and several Grand Masters. The neighbouring give some idea of the amount of rebuilding
admission now includes a self-guided audio Pages Room, or Yellow State Room (despite the National Museum of Fine Arts that was needed after the war. Pride of place
tour (available in six languages). abundance of greenish tones), was used by the Occupying Admiralty House, Maltas National goes to the replica George Cross medal that
A staircase past the Armoury entrance pro- Grand Masters 16 attendants, and now serves Museum of Fine Arts (%2122 5769; Triq Nofs in-Nhar; was awarded to the entire population of Malta
vides access to the State Apartments. Only a as a conference room. adult/child Lm1/0.25; h9am-5pm) is a baroque pal- in 1942.
few rooms are open to the public, depending azzo that was used as the official residence of Heritage Malta conducts guided tours of
on what is currently being used. The long National Museum of Archaeology the admiral commander-in-chief of the Brit- the museum at 11am and 2pm daily; tours
Armoury Corridor, decorated with trompe loeil Housed in the Auberge de Provence, the Na- ish Mediterranean Fleet from the 1820s until are free with admission; tours and times are
painting, scenes of naval battles, blue colours tional Museum of Archaeology (%2122 1623; Triq 1961. Lord Louis Mountbatten also had his not fixed, so enquire in advance.
and the portraits and escutcheons of various ir-Repubblika; adult/child Lm1/0.25; h9am-5pm) is well headquarters here in the early 1950s.
Grand Masters, leads to the Council Chamber worth a visit, despite the fact that it is still un- The museums collection of paintings St James Cavalier
on the left. It is hung with 17th-century Go- dergoing renovation and expansion (long past mostly Italian and Maltese ranges from The St James Cavalier has undergone a re-
belins tapestries gifted to the Order in 1710 by its scheduled completion date). At the time the 15th to the 20th century, and there are markable transformation from a 16th-century
Grand Master Ramon Perellos. They feature of research only the galleries on the ground some fine examples of 17th- and 18th-century fortification into a bright, modern arts centre.
exotic scenes of Africa, India, the Caribbean floor (detailing the early Neolithic and Temple Maltese furniture. Inside the St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity
and Brazil, including an elephant beneath a periods, c 5200 to 2500 BC) were open, but Begin your explorations upstairs and to the (%2122 3200;; Triq Nofs in-Nhar; admission
cashew-nut tree; an ostrich, cassowary and new exhibitions should be opening upstairs left (note the church silver and sculptures en free; h10am-9.30pm) are a couple of exhibition
flamingo; a rhino and a zebra being attacked sometime in 2007, and these will explore the route). Highlights include rooms 12 and 13, spaces (with a bias towards the contemporary
VALLETTA 64 VA L L E T TA S i g h t s VA L L E T TA W a l k i n g T o u r 65

art scene), a theatre-in-the-round where live dazzling gilded statue of St Paul, carved in Audiovisual Shows & Exhibitions
music and theatre performances are held and Rome in 1650s and carried shoulder-high The Wartime Experience (%2122 2225; Triq Santa WALK FACTS
a cinema showing arthouse films. Its worth through the streets of Valletta on the saints Luija; adult/child Lm2.20/1.50) is a worthwhile 45- Start City Gate
stopping in to check out the interesting inte- feast day (10 February). Theres also a golden minute show made up of archive film from Finish Triq ir-Repubblika
rior and to grab a programme of whats on. reliquary containing some bones from the WWII, which movingly records the ordeal Distance approx 3.5km
saints wrist, and part of the column on which suffered by the Maltese during the siege of Duration 2 hours
Manoel Theatre he is said to have been beheaded in Rome (see 1940 to 1943. Its shown at the Embassy Cin-
The 600-seat Manoel Theatre (%2124 6389; www the boxed text, p38, for more information). emas (p71) inside the Embassy Complex daily; 115 Triq it-Teatru l-Antik), Mal- at 10am, 11am, noon and 1pm. 0 100 m

tas national theatre, was built in 1731 and Lascaris War Rooms The Malta Experience (%2124 3776; www.themal
St Gregory
is one of the oldest theatres in Europe. Take WWII history boffins should make time to; Triq il-Mediterran; adult/child Lm3.50/1.75) Harbour Bastion

an entertaining guided tour (conducted in visit the Lascaris War Rooms (%2123 4936; adult/child is a somewhat pricey 45-minute audiovisual 6

English, French, Italian and German) to see Lm1.75/0.85; h9.30am-4pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-12.30pm Sat presentation that provides a good introduc- St Salvatore
Bastion Tri a
qS tan
the restored baroque auditorium with its gilt & Sun). These chambers, hewn out of the solid tion to Malta, especially for first-time visi- an n


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boxes and huge chandelier. Tours begin at rock beneath Lascaris Bastion, housed the tors. The film is available in 13 languages; Polo St Pauls n Tri


St Andrew's Pool Anglican a

10.30am, 11.30am and 2.30pm Monday to headquarters of the Allied air and naval forces it showcases the countrys long history and Bastion

q Cathedral bb
Tri pu i
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Friday, and 1.30pm Saturday. Tickets cost during WWII, and were used as the control highlights many of its scenic attractions. San
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Lm1.70 and include admission to the theatres centre for Operation Husky, the Allied inva- Screenings begin on the hour from 11am to Triq Triq Nofs

Triq il-
Triq it- Tr

4 in-Nhar Teatru
small museum. See above for information on sion of Sicily in 1943. 4pm Monday to Friday, and from 11am to

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the theatres programme of performances. The rooms are a little tricky to find. Your 1pm on weekends and public holidays (with l-I rra
3 iq
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best option is to walk south from Pjazza an extra 2pm show from October till June). 2 Sa
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Fort St Elmo

Kastilja along Triq Girolamo Cassar and look The Malta Experience is screened in the Tr
At the furthest point of Valletta and guarding for the path on the right (signposted) that basement of the Mediterranean Conference 1 ta
15 14 San
the entrance to both Marsamxett and Grand leads down into the Great Ditch beneath St Centre, which is housed in the Sacra Infermeria, 13 Triq
Harbours is Fort St Elmo, named after the patron James Bastion and doubles back under the the 16th-century hospital of the Order of St Gate
saint of mariners. Although now much altered road to the entry. Once inside, you take a John. Here surgeons performed advanced Triq il-Papa Piju V
Grand Harbour
and extended, this was the fort that bore the self-guided audio tour through the operations operations as well as the more routine am-
brunt of Turkish arms during the Great Siege rooms. Youll need to use your imagination to putations and treatment of war wounds.
of 1565. It was built by the Knights in 1552 to fill these deserted control rooms and corridors See the boxed text, p22, for more details. A be completed in about 1 to two hours, but if
guard the entrances to the harbours on either with the clatter of typewriters, the crackle of pretty lacklustre Knights Hospitallers exhibition you spend some time at all the sights detailed
side of the Sceberras Peninsula. The courtyard radio transmissions and the hushed urgency (%2124 3840; Triq it-Tramuntana; adult/child Lm1.85/0.90; here, it could take a half-day or more.
outside the entrance to the fort is studded with that must have permeated the air during h9.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm Sat & Sun), with Begin at City Gate (1) hold your breath and
the lids of underground granaries. major operations. an entrance across the street from the Malta go up the (grotty, smelly) stairs on the left
Today Fort St Elmo is home to Maltas Experience, records the achievements of these immediately inside the gate. These lead to
police academy and is open to the public only Casa Rocca Piccola medieval medics. the bridge above City Gate, with a good view
for historical reenactments, held at 11am on The 16th-century palazzo Casa Rocca Piccola One heavily promoted exhibition is the along Triq ir-Repubblika in one direction, and
most Sunday mornings except during the (% 2122 1499;; 74 Triq ir- Great Siege of Malta & the Knights of St John (%2124 across the chaotic but colourful bus terminus
peak summer period from mid-July to late Repubblika; adult/child Lm2.50/free) is the elegant fam- 7300;; Misra ir-Repubblika; adult/ to Floriana in the other.
September. In Guardia (%2123 7747; adult/child ily home of the Marquis de Piro. The marquis child Lm3.50/2.75; h10am-last admission 4pm), beside Head northwest along Triq il-Papa Piju V,
Lm2/0.50) is a colourful and photogenic mili- has opened part of the palazzo to the public the entry to the Bibliotheca. It advertises a past St Johns Cavalier (2), which today houses
tary pageant in 16th-century costume, which and guided tours on the hour (10am to 4pm state-of-the-art 3D walk-through adventure the Embassy of the Order of St John. Continue
includes a cannon-firing demonstration that Monday to Saturday) give an unique insight but quite frankly doesnt live up to the hype. along Triq il-Mitna to St Michaels Bastion (3).
will clear the wax from your ears. Alarme! into the privileged lifestyle of the aristocracy. For the steep admission fee you get a 45- Nip into Hastings Gardens (4) here for a pano-
(%2123 7747; adult/child Lm2/0.50) is a reenactment minute, sometimes-tedious self-guided audio rama over Marsamxett Harbour to Sliema and
of a military encounter between French and Toy Museum tour through re-creations of battle scenes Manoel Island.
Maltese troops. Inquire about dates for these Opposite Casa Rocca Piccola is the small Toy from the 1565 siege. Descend steeply via Triq San Andrija and
shows at the tourist office. Museum (%2125 1652; 222 Triq ir-Repubblika; adult/child a flight of steps to Triq San Marku and con-
Lm1/free; h10.30am-3.30pm Mon-Fri, 10.30am-1pm Sat & WALKING TOUR tinue straight on to Triq Marsamxett, the
Church of St Pauls Shipwreck Sun), housing an impressive private collection The walk outlined here follows the outer for- main road that runs along the top of the
In AD 60 St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta of model planes and boats from the 1950s, tifications of Valletta and offers great views of city walls and affords views of the mammoth
and brought Christianity to the population. as well as Matchbox cars, farmyard animals, Marsamxett Harbour, Sliema, Grand Harbour Tign Point construction underway in Sliema.
The moody Church of St Pauls Shipwreck (Triq San train sets and dolls. The collection is generally and the Three Cities. Climbing the towns Head past the water polo pool on the shore
Pawl, enter from Triq Santa Luija; admission free, donations in glass display cabinets, so this place is better steep stairs is a good way of working up a below and look out for the steep staircase of
welcome; h9am-7pm) dates from the 16th cen- suited to nostalgic adults than hyperactive thirst before retiring to the shade of a caf for Triq it-Teatru l-Antik on the right, beneath
tury and houses many treasures, including a ankle-biters. a well-earned drink. The route described can the prominent spire of St Pauls Anglican
VALLETTA 66 VA L L E T TA Va l l e t t a F o r C h i l d re n Book accommodation online atat VA L L E T TA Fe s t i v a l s & E v e n t s 67

(12). The balcony here provides a magnificent FESTIVALS & EVENTS bathroom from Lm7) Youll get a taste of old-
DIY CAPITAL BUS TOUR panorama of Grand Harbour and the creeks and See p172 for details on some of the countrys school Valletta charm here plus the best-value
Fancy a cheap, quick, DIY bus tour of the dockyards of Vittoriosa and Senglea. Time your foremost festivals, most of which include accommodation in town. This classy, 350-
capital? Bus 98 is a circular route depart- visit to coincide with the firing of the noon-day events staged in and around the capital. year-old townhouse features huge, airy guest
ing City Gate on the hour from 7am to gun (a cannon fired at noon daily). rooms and gleaming shared bathrooms. The
6pm. It does a clockwise loop around the From the gardens continue to Pjazza Kastilja. SLEEPING bargain prices give little indication of its sim-
bastions of Valletta and through Floriana, On your left are the high walls of the St James Except for a couple of notable exceptions, ple elegance breakfast is served in a cheery
so you can take in harbour views, Fort St Cavalier (13; p63) which now houses interesting accommodation in Valletta is depressingly plant-filled room with vaulted ceiling and
Elmo and Pinto Wharf (encompassing the exhibition spaces, a theatre and cinema. Pause lacklustre. Despite this (and the fact that there chandelier. Up the stairs on various levels are
start of the new Valletta waterfront devel- to admire the faade of the Auberge de Castille (14) are only a handful of options here), the capital nine large rooms, each with two or three beds,
opment). Youll see the periphery of the on your right, designed by the architect Andrea still gets our vote for best place in Malta to be fuss-free wooden furniture and washbasin.
capital from the bus, but youll need to Belli in 1741. It adorns a 16th-century building based if youre more interested in history and Plants, wall hangings and ornaments adorn
fill in the gaps on foot. A complete bus that was once the home of the Spanish and culture than a beach holiday. The main muse- the halls, lending a warm and homely feel.
circuit takes around 15 to 20 minutes; the Portuguese langue of the Knights of St John, ums and attractions are within easy walking Other options, in a pinch:
fare is all of Lm0.15. but now houses the offices of the Maltese prime distance, and buses depart from the City Gate Le Bonheur Guesthouse (%2123 8433;
minister (not open to the public). terminus to all parts of the island.; 18 Triq l-Ininieri; B&B per
Head straight along Triq Nofs in-Nhar Many places offer discounts on stays of person Lm6) Aging place at the top of the town, where the
Cathedral. A stiff climb leads up to Manoel towards Triq ir-Repubblika, passing the seven days or longer its worth asking. Some buildings bones hint at a grander era. Rooms come with
Theatre (5; p64), built in 1731 and one of the cracked steps and shattered column stumps also offer half-board and full-board options: washbasin and, bizarrely, a shower in the corner of the
oldest theatres in Europe. of the ruined Royal Opera House (15) on your these are usually reasonable value, but youre room (youll need to know your travel companion well!).
Continue along Triq Marsamxett and left. This once imperious building was built better off with the freedom to visit the eateries Toilets are shared.
around the walls of the Poste DAngleterre in the 1860s, but was destroyed during a Ger- of your choice. YMCA (%2124 0680;; reception
and Poste de France. Drop in to the National man air raid in 1942. Its gutted shell has been Valletta guesthouses are from another era at 178 Triq il-Merkanti; dm Lm3) Only for open-minded
War Museum (6; p63) to learn of WWII heroism, left as a reminder of the war and is rather you wont find internet bookings or TV rooms budget travellers with a social conscience. The local YMCA
then continue past Fort St Elmo (7; p64), which unceremoniously used as a car park while here. In the midrange category there are two does a great job working with the homeless and disadvan-
bore the brunt of Turkish attacks during the controversy rages as to what should be done OK hotel options, and two shabby but well- taged who reside here; one floor of this temporary shelter,
Great Siege of 1565. with the site. The most recent proposal is to located hotels crying out for a facelift. Where known as Dar Niki Cassar, is given over to cramped dorm
A little further along Triq il-Mediterran lies transform the ruins into a permanent open-air prices are listed per person, these are based on accommodation for travellers. Kitchen and bathrooms are
the entrance to the Malta Experience (8; p65), performance space. two people sharing a room; guesthouses rarely communal. Reception is at the YMCA office drop-in centre;
an audiovisual presentation that provides a From here you can continue your explora- charge a single supplement, but hotels often the hostel itself is located elsewhere. To protect the privacy
potted history of Malta. The show screens in tions of the capital by turning right and head- do. Vallettas only top-end hotel is technically of residents, the YMCA prefers travellers to contact the
the basement of the 16th-century hospital of ing down the main street, Triq ir-Repubblika, in Floriana, just outside the city walls, but its a office first for exact details of the location.
the Order of St John, the Sacra Infermeria (9; home to the bulk of Vallettas major attractions. mere hop, step and jump from the capital.
p65), now a conference centre. Theres an Taking any side street off this main thorough- Midrange
exhibition here on the history of the medical fare can quickly take you away from crowds Budget British Hotel (%2122 4730;; 40
care given by the Knights. and into the heart of workaday Valletta. Coronation Guesthouse (%2123 7652, 9940 6080; Triq il-Batterija; s/d Lm14/20, with sea view Lm16/25;a)
About 200m past the Sacra Infermeria the 10E Triq M A Vassalli; B&B per person with shared bathroom Large parts of the 2005 movie Munich were
road forks, and on the left is a small park and VALLETTA FOR CHILDREN Lm5-6) The warmth of the welcome here and filmed in Malta, and when location scouts
a tall pillared cupola. This is the Siege Bell Me- Valletta is a treasure trove of history and ar- the bargain prices should help overcome any wanted a 1970s-styled hotel, they chose the
morial (10), which commemorates those who chitecture but, lets face it, there are not too concerns you may have with the occasionally British and barely needed to do a thing to it.
lost their lives in the convoys of 1940 to 1943. many kids who get excited over such grown-up problematic plumbing. Rooms (with washba- The dcor in the foyer, TV room and bar is so
Take the right hand fork in the road (still Triq subjects. Its likely that your young offspring sin; bathrooms are shared) are bright and airy dated it might now be considered retro-cool.
il-Mediterran) past the entrance to Lower Bar- will enjoy walking along the city walls and and simply furnished; try for one with Mar- The hotel has its fans and its detractors on
rakka Gardens (11), which contains a little Doric taking in the great views, scenically situated samxett views. We were assured by amiable the plus side its affordable and well located,
temple commemorating Sir Alexander Ball, gardens, caf-filled squares and vaulted cel- Charlie, the owner, that new plumbing and a and enjoys great views over the Three Cities.
the naval captain who took Malta from the lar restaurants of Valletta, but there are few guest kitchen were in the pipeline. The minuses: its looking quite shabby and
French in 1800. attractions in the capital designed specifically Midland Guesthouse (%2123 6024; 255 Triq is a real rabbit warren; the rooms are basic
Continue along Triq Santa Barbara, a charm- for children. Older kids should enjoy the Malta SantOrsla; B&B per person with shared bathroom Lm6) and lacking in charm; youll pay a deposit for
ing tree-lined street (rare in these parts) with Experience (p65) and historical reenactments Down the hill from the polished Asti Guest- everything (hairdryer, iron, electrical adaptor,
views over the harbour to the Three Cities. at Fort St Elmo (p64), and younger kids may house is another elegant old townhouse. The air-con remote air-con is Lm3 per day).
Cross the bridge above Victoria Gate and head delight in some of the gory scenes depicted in neat rooms here are very pleasant, spread over However, its worth paying extra for a view.
through a sun-trap of a square, usually home to exhibitions such as the Great Siege of Malta three floors, and have washbasin and homely, Castille Hotel (%2124 3677/8; www.hotelcastille
a handful of caf tables, beside the Grand Har- & the Knights of St John (p65) or the Knights older-style dcor.; Pjazza Kastilja; B&B per person Lm16.50-20;a)
bour Hotel. Turn left and climb up steep Triq Hospitallers (p65) but its unlikely that much oAsti Guesthouse (%2123 9506; http://mol Castille has a number of points in its favour
il-Batterija to reach the Upper Barrakka Gardens of the history lessons will sink in.; 18 Triq SantOrsla; B&B per person with shared not least its cheerful front-desk staff and
VALLETTA 68 VA L L E T TA E a t i n g Book accommodation online
l o nate VA L L E T TA E a t i n g 69

grand position, in an old palazzo next to apartments definite pice de rsistance the La Cave (%2124 3677; Pjazza Kastilja; meals Lm2-4; Ambrosia (%2122 5923; 137 Triq l-Arisqof; mains
the ornate 16th-century Auberge de Castille. large and luxe bedroom, which includes a sit- hlunch & dinner) In a 400-year-old cellar be- Lm3-7.50; hlunch & dinner Mon-Sat) A close con-
The hotels small lobby and lounge make ting area, traditional Maltese enclosed balcony neath Castille Hotel, this busy restaurant tender for our favourite Valletta restaurant.
a good first impression, while guest rooms and striking floor tiles. Books, CDs, artwork, churns out crunchy pizzas big enough for The standards here are high and the welcome
have a more faded charm and feature heavy tapestries, fresh flowers and fine linen round two the pizza Maltija is topped with goats is warm (the chef might just pop by to see
Italianate furnishings and some question- out the picture beautifully. Prices include cheese, olives and Maltese sausage. Theres how you enjoyed your meal). The blackboard
able colour combos. The dcor would cer- airport transfers and a welcome basket of also a good assortment of pasta dishes (and a menu changes daily; on it youll find Medi-
tainly benefit from an upgrade, but in-room local produce. few salad options best avoided), and you can terranean dishes making great use of fresh
facilities include air-con and satellite TV; If everywhere else is full, you might want to wash your food down with a selection of local local produce, produced according to the
decent-sized single rooms are available for consider the tired Grand Harbour Hotel (%2124 wine you might need more than one bottle Slow Food philosophy (eg spaghetti with sea
solo travellers (no supplement). Request a 6003;; 47 Triq il-Batterija; B&B though, as service can be slow. urchins, goats cheese souffl, a salad of grilled
room at the front of the building for better per person Lm10), with much the same pros and Blue Room (%2123 8014; 59 Triq ir-Repubblika; dishes Gozo asparagus).
light and views of the square below. One cons as the nearby British Hotel. Lm2-7; hlunch & dinner) A few readers think this Rubino (%2122 4656; 53 Triq l-Ifran; mains Lm4-6;
bonus of staying here is the fun cellar piz- place has gone downhill, but on our most hlunch Mon-Fri, dinner Tue & Fri) Rubino earns rave
zeria, La Cave (opposite), and the rooftop Top End recent visit we found the aromatic duck as reviews for reinventing Maltese cuisine while
restaurant for breakfast or dinner with a view Le Meridien Phoenicia Hotel (Map p73; %2122 5241; tasty as we did first time around. The pol- staying true to its roots. Theres no menu, just
over Grand Harbour.; The Mall, Floriana; r from ished service and attractive interior still score a selection of the days dishes depending on
Osborne Hotel (%2124 3656;; Lm90/120 low/high season;ais) This grand points, as does the menu this is one of very seasonal produce and local tradition. Leave
50 Triq Nofs in-Nhar; d Lm28-34;as) The Osborne old dame feels like a relic from another era. few places in the capital not offering pizza room for dessert the house speciality, cas-
deserves some credit for breathing much- Built in the late 1930s, it is one of Maltas and/or pasta. There are vegetable and rice/ sata siciliana, is particularly recommended.
needed life into the hotel scene, with newly classiest hotels and takes up some prime real noodle dishes at the lower end of the price Tuesday night is usually fenkata (a communal
renovated rooms on its lower floors. The plan estate, only a minutes walk from Vallettas scale, and seafood and sizzling hotplates if meal of rabbit) night, for which bookings are
is eventually to renovate each of the five floors, City Gate. Step away from the chaos of the you want to lash out. The Lm0.75 cover charge advised.
but this may be a slow process. Shame, really, bus terminus and up the garden path to be does sting, however. oFusion Four (%2122 5255; cnr Triq il-Papa
because as things stand the best views are ushered in to an oasis of calm. The summery Trabuxu (%2122 3036; cnr Triq Nofs in-Nhar & Triq Piju V & Triq San wann Kavalier; mains Lm5.50-7; hlunch
on the top floors, the best rooms on the lower dcor of the elegant guest rooms conjures id-Dejqa; dishes Lm2.50-4; hlunch Tue-Fri, dinner Tue-Sun) Mon-Fri, dinner Tue-Sat) For us, this stylish, well-
floors. The lower-level superior rooms fea- up a more tropical climate; a higher rate gets The name means corkscrew and this intimate hidden restaurant is the culinary highlight
ture pale streamlined furnishings and decent you views of Marsamxett Harbour or the city little cellar passes itself off as a wine bar, but of the capital. It houses a small bar, funky
storage space, plus flatscreen TVs as a mark walls of Valletta. First-class facilities include we like it equally for its superbly presented furnishings, a dining room under vaulted
of modernity. As you move up the building, 24-hour room service, free car parking (a meals. The short menu offers pt, dips and ceilings and perfect, private courtyard. Icing
the furniture grows darker and the fittings boon in this traffic-clogged neighbourhood), a other colourful platters perfect for wine-time on the cake is a small but innovative menu
more dated. Still, air-con and cable TV are business centre and a magnificent seven-acre grazing, but also all-to-yourself dishes such as of fusion dishes such as sweet chilli prawn
standard, views on request And despite the garden with minigolf course, kids play area a first-rate vegie lasagne. Local wines by the cakes, chicken breast in a red Thai curry, or
anonymity of the rooms (superior or not), and heated outdoor pool. Theres an old- glass are a pleasing Lm0.90. pancetta-wrapped pork fillet on a bed of red
theres some character in the ground level. world club bar, a fine-dining restaurant and Papannis (%2125 1960; 55 Triq id-Dejqa; mains Lm3-6; apples. Finish with a delectable white choco-
The small reception area is flanked by a res- a more casual brasserie on site. hlunch Mon-Sat, dinner Fri & Sat) This cosy bistro late and honeycomb mousse.
taurant and classy bar and lounge. On the 6th combines a good-looking menu of pasta, ri-
floor theres a roof terrace with city views and EATING sotto and seafood with cheerful, friendly serv- Cafs
a tiny splash pool. Valletta is essentially a business district, and ice. The traditional soup (Lm1.30) is a hearty, 282 Coffee Garden (%2122 2111; 282 Triq ir-Repubb-
oValletta G-House (%UK +44 (0)781 3988 there are many restaurants and cafs that are rustic delight, full of local sausage, beans and lika; snacks & meals Lm0.50-3; hbreakfast & lunch) This
827;; Triq it-Tramuntana; apt per open at lunchtime but closed in the evenings. vegies, so you can feel virtuous when you order place is right in the thick of things. Its a little
week UK380-410) Youll need to book early to Still, there are a growing number of quality another glass of local wine (Lm0.95) and move touristy but nicely done the upstairs area
snare time at this sumptuous, adults-only places in which to enjoy dinner and a relaxed on to the tiramisu. with comfy rattan chairs and greenery (fake)
apartment, and note that prices are in UK evening drink. Carriage (%2124 7828; 22/5 Valletta Bldgs, Triq Nofs offers respite from the bustling main street
pounds and rentals are generally only on a in-Nhar; mains Lm3-7; hlunch Mon-Fri, dinner Fri & Sat) below. Dont look for surprises in the classic
weekly basis. The artistic owner, a Maltese Restaurants A consistently polished performer, but con- hits menu: pasta, pizza, salads, sandwiches,
guy based in London, has restored a 16th- La Sicilia (%2124 0659; 1a Triq San wann; snacks & meals sidered expensive by local standards. Come cakes.
century, character-filled townhouse to offer Lm0.50-6; h8am-5pm Mon-Fri) Youre sure to find for the good-value lunch deal (Lm8 for three Caf Jubilee (%2125 2332; 125 Triq Santa Luija;
wonderfully romantic self-catering accom- something to fill a rumbling tum at this tiny, courses, including a glass of wine), when snacks & meals Lm1-3.50; h8am-1am Mon-Thur, Fri & Sat
modation within its limestone walls. Entry is unpretentious eatery, which spills out onto your fellow diners could include local power- 8am-3am) A feel-good place you can drop in to
at street level and the entrance area doubles a little sun-trap of a square. There are lots lunchers or a Japanese tour group. Entry is anytime, for bacon and eggs or breakfast the
as a small sitting room, with TV and DVD of hearty Italian pasta dishes (under Lm3), through a nondescript office building next Maltese way (coffee and a pastizza), a lunch-
(classic movies provided). Downstairs is a rus- grilled meats and fish, plus burgers, omelettes door to Cocopazzo, and the restaurant is on time baguette, or a simple dinner of salad,
tic, low-ceilinged cellar kitchen and a small, and salads. The setting is lovely and the prices the top floor enjoying a great Marsamxett pasta or risotto. Its a convivial continental-
modern bathroom. On the first level is the are easy on the wallet. view. style bistro, with low lighting, cosy nooks and
VALLETTA 70 VA L L E T TA D r i n k i n g VA L L E T TA E n t e r t a i n m e n t 71

poster-plastered walls. Its also a good option hero in this succinctly named watering hole. ENTERTAINMENT Cinemas
for a late-night drink. This is the homely little hostelry where the For years Valletta has seemed half-dead after Embassy Cinemas (%2122 2225; www.embassycomplex
Caffe Cordina (%2123 4385; 244 Triq ir-Repubblika; wild man of British film enjoyed his final 8pm, its streets hushed and empty after the; Triq Santa Luija; tickets adult/child, Lm2.35/1.50,
snacks & meals Lm1-4; hbreakfast & lunch) Theres drinking session before last orders were business folk and day-trippers have left, and adults before 5pm weekdays, Lm2), inside the Em-
some prime people-watching on Misra ir- called forever in 1999. Its a tiny, tucked- those seeking any form of nightlife automati- bassy Complex, shows the latest mainstream
Repubblika, where several cafs command away place, but worth visiting for the memo- cally headed to Paceville (p95). But theres been releases from Hollywood.
the ranks of tables around the statue of Queen rabilia on the walls and to read of Reeds something of a revival in recent years, and The St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity
Victoria. The oldest (and busiest) option is heavy drinking visits during the filming of Valletta is now home to a handful of caf-bars (%2122 3200;; Triq Nofs in-Nhar; tickets
Caffe Cordina, established in 1837 and now a Gladiator. where you can eat, drink and be merry among adult/child, Lm2/1; h10am-9.30pm) has a cinema
local institution. You have the choice of waiter Maestro e Fresco (%2123 3801; 8 Triq Nofs in-Nhar; in-the-know locals you just need to know screening alternative and arthouse films on
service at the tables in the square or inside, or hfrom 5.30pm Tue-Sun) A couple of inviting where to look. These places tend to draw an a nightly basis.
joining the locals at the zinc counter inside for bars lure after-work locals and visitors to older crowd, and closing times vary depend-
a quick caffeine hit. And be sure to look up; the southern end of town. The Maestro was ing on how busy the venue is. Only Labyrinth SHOPPING
the ceiling is exquisitely painted. Excellent a music shop from 1842 to 2001; these days passes for anything resembling a nightclub in There are small shopping centres, souvenir
for savoury pastries and decadent sweets, and it offers up snacks, brews and live music to Valletta, so the overseas students and early- shops and a range of UK high-street fashion
theres a gelati counter out front. help you celebrate the coming of the weekend 20-somethings usually head to Paceville, and labels all along or just off Triq ir-Repubb-
(usually acoustic stuff on Friday, old classics if thats more your scene you can take a night lika, but little of interest to visitors looking
Quick Eats on Saturday). bus. Bus 62 runs from Valletta to Paceville for a purchase thats uniquely Maltese. Triq
The major fast-food outlets are near the top Trabuxu (%2122 3036; cnr Triq Nofs in-Nhar & Triq id- (Lm0.50, every half-hour) until around 1am Santa Lucija, behind Misra ir-Repubblika, is
of the town, but cheaper and tastier fare can Dejqa; hfrom 7pm Tue-Sun) On the same street as on Friday and Saturday nights year-round, home to a number of jewellery stores offering
be found at the kiosks beside City Gate bus the Maestro is Trabuxu, whose name means and until 2.30am every night from mid-June to silver filigree the most popular souvenir
terminus. Millennium (the first kiosk on corkscrew. This cosy spot is decorated with mid-September (the last bus from Paceville to here is a silver eight-pointed Maltese Cross
your right after you exit City Gate) sells hot great B&W shots and musical instruments, Valletta in these summer months is at 3am). on a chain.
pastizzi (small parcels of flaky pastry filled and its menu includes perfect platters to ac- See Drinking, opposite, for reviews of bars. Malta Crafts Centre (%2122 4532; Misra San wann)
with either ricotta cheese or mushy peas) company much wine quaffing. Local and in- Maestro e Fresco hosts live music on Friday This place has a small range of locally pro-
for Lm0.10 each; next door, the Dates Kiosk ternational wines are on offer. and Saturday nights; Labyrinth parties into the duced crafts, including glassware, ceramics,
sells traditional mqaret for Lm0.07 these are Labyrinth (%2122 0499; 44 Triq id-Dejqa; hWed- wee hours with local DJs providing the sound- jewellery and lace.
delicious pastries stuffed with spiced dates Sun night) Nightowls will enjoy the dimly lit track. Another good venue for more formal Gio Batta Delia (%2123 3618; 307 Triq ir-Repubblika)
and deep-fried. hidey-holes of Labyrinth, a cool and cavern- musical performances is the St James Cavalier Behind a photogenic faade close to City Gate,
Follow your nose to a couple of friendly, ous bistro/wine bar/club, offering edibles and Centre for Creativity check the newspapers this browse-worthy store sells the big names
hole-in-the-wall places on Triq San Pawl DJ entertainment. Somewhat fittingly, its or pick up a programme at the centre. in fine chinaware and glass (eg Wedgewood,
where you can pick up a fresh hot pastizza for tucked away in a seedy-by-night alley a block See p75 for information about Tom Bar, a Meissen) alongside more Malta-specific treas-
loose change (Lm0.08) from around 7.30am north of Triq ir-Repubblika; there are plenty popular gay bar not far outside Valletta, and ures such as prints, pottery and old lace.
Monday to Saturday. Agius Confectionery of nooks and crannies at street level and below p79 for information about the closest casino A crowded street market (Triq il-Merkanti;
& Pastizzerija is opposite the Church of St in which to nurse a drink or whisper sweet to Valletta, on the Vittoriosa waterfront. haround 7am-1pm Mon-Sat) set up between Triq
Pauls Shipwreck at No 273, while Carmelo nothings into someones ear. San wann and Triq it-Teatru l-Antik sells
Azzopardi Pastizzerija is at No 310. Castille Wine Vaults (%2123 7707; Pjazza Kastilja; Theatre mainly clothes, shoes, watches and jewellery,
hfrom 7pm Thu-Sun) Its a shame about the lim- Manoel Theatre (%2124 6389; pirated CDs and computer games. The Monti
Self-Catering ited opening hours of this fabulously situated .mt; 115 Triq it-Teatru l-Antik) This beautiful place is (St James Ditch; hSun) is a much bigger market
Wembley Store (305 Triq ir-Repubblika; h7.15am-7pm caf-bar. Its underneath the stock exchange Maltas national theatre, and the islands prin- selling similar items, just south of the City
Mon-Fri, 7.45am-7pm Sat) This store has a limited se- building, accessed by walking down some cipal venue for drama, concerts, opera, ballet, Gate bus terminus.
lection of groceries (tinned and dried food). steps and a long low-lit passageway. In the and the much-loved Christmas pantomime.
Theres also a fresh produce market (Triq il- dining area you can snack on panini and The performance season runs from October GETTING THERE & AWAY
Merkanti; h7am-1pm Mon-Sat) behind the Grand platters of Maltese delicacies, cheese, seafood to May, and during these months there are Air
Masters Palace, where you can buy fruit, or dips, plus learn about and sample some popular lunchtime concerts every Wednesday See the Transport chapter (p180) for infor-
vegetables and deli items upstairs, and fish, very good local drops of wine (Lm2.75 for at 1pm (Lm2). Check the website for details of mation on flights into Malta International
meat and poultry on the ground level. Home- four wines). the programme, or pick one up at the booking Airport at Luqa, 8km south of Valletta.
sick Brits might want to visit the well-stocked Other good drinking dens include Caf Ju- office (%2124 6389; cnr Triq l-Ifran & Triq it-Teatru l-Antik; Most airline offices are found at the airport,
food section of Marks & Spencer (Triq id-Dejqa; bilee and Fusion Four. Theres also plenty of h9am-1pm & 5-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-noon Sat, plus 90min although some airlines also have offices in
h9am-7pm Mon-Sat). action (restaurants and bars) at the new Pinto before performances). Guided tours of the Manoel Valletta.
Wharf waterfront development (p75), where Theatre are also offered (see p64). Air Malta (%2124 0686; Misra il-elsien; h8.30am-
DRINKING cruise ships dock under Vallettas bastions The St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity 5pm Mon-Fri) Near the tourist office.
The Pub (% 7980 7042; 136 Triq l-Arisqof; h from in Floriana, or you might like to go further (%2122 3200;; Triq Nofs in-Nhar; h10am- British Airways (%2124 2233; 20/2 Triq ir-Repubblika;
11.30am) Fans of the late British actor Oliver afield and check out Vittoriosas terrific wine 9.30pm) also stages intimate performances in h8.30am-1pm & 2.30-5.30pm Mon-Fri) Above the
Reed might want to raise a glass to their bars (p79). its theatre-in-the-round. Travelex office.
VALLETTA 72 VA L L E T TA G e t t i n g A r o u n d A R O U N D VA L L E T TA F l o r i a n a 73

Boat If you decide to walk to Valletta, you face Waterfront), on the southeast side of Flori-
The Marsamxetto ferry service (%2346 3862) pro-
vides a quick, easy way to travel between Val-
a steep climb (not a great choice if youre
carrying luggage). There are two options:
AROUND VALLETTA ana, just beneath the capitals fortifications.
Its where a growing number of cruise ships
letta and Sliema. The crossing costs Lm0.40 follow the waterfront northeast, under the FLORIANA dock, and it sits alongside the Sea Passenger
each way and takes about five minutes. There Lascaris Bastion, then veer left and climb pop 2550 Terminal, where passenger ferries arrive and
are departures every hour (every half-hour the steps up at Victoria Gate. At the top of The suburb of Floriana, immediately south- depart. At the time of research transport links
from 10am to 4pm) daily in both directions, the stairs youll be greeted by La Sicilia res- west of the capital, grew up in the 18th century to the area were poor; see opposite for details
beginning at around 8am and finishing at taurant (p68). Alternatively, walk northeast within the landward defences of Valletta. The of walking routes between Valletta and the
around 6pm (slightly earlier on Sundays). To along the waterfront then take a sharp left up northern part is taken up with government wharf.
reach the ferry departure point in Valletta, fol- It-Telga Tal-Kurifiss (Crucifix Hill). Half- buildings and offices, while the south side is Street signs in Floriana are usually in Malti
low Triq San Marku all the way to the north, way up youll encounter Il Tara Tal-Kalkara mostly residential. only.
then under the overpass and down to the (Kalkara Steps) climb these to reach the war The broad avenue formed by Vjal ir-Re
water. memorial; from here its a few minutes walk Edwardu VII (King Edward VII Ave) and Walking Tour
Ferries depart from Sliema on the hour and north to Vallettas City Gate. Allow at least 15 Triq Sarria runs southwest from City Gate Begin at the City Gate bus terminus and walk
half-hour, and from Valletta at a quarter past minutes for either journey. bus terminus for 500m, dividing the govern- southwest along the central garden strip be-
and quarter to the hour. As at the airport, theres a taxi information ment buildings of Beltisseb to the northwest tween Vjal ir-Re Edwardu VII and Triq Sarria.
kiosk on Pinto Wharf where you organise from the long, open rectangle of Pjazza San The monument to Christ the King (1), opposite Le
Bus and pay the set rate for your taxi journey up- Publiju (St Publius Sq) to the south. The main Meridien Phoenicia Hotel, commemorates
All bus routes lead to Valletta. The City Gate bus front. The cheapest fare (to an address in Val- street of Floriana, Triq SantAnna (St Annes the International Eucharistic Congress held
terminus is the source of services to all parts of letta or Floriana) is a ridiculously overpriced St), lies two blocks south of the square. The in Malta in 1913.
the island its chaotic, to say the least, but Lm4. The karrozzin (traditional horse-drawn main traffic route from Valletta to the rest of Cross Triq l-Assedju l-Kbir and continue

seems to work. For information on routes, carriage) drivers loitering here will charge Malta exits from the southwest end of Triq along Il-Mall (2). Now occupied by tree-lined
fares and timetables, inquire at the Public considerably more (there are plenty of re- SantAnna. gardens, the 400m-long mall was laid out
Transport Authority kiosks dotted around ports of newly arrived tourists, unfamiliar The most exciting thing to happen to in the 17th century on the orders of Grand
the terminus, and see p186 for a map and with the local currency, paying extortionate Floriana in recent times is the Pinto Wharf Master Lascaris, so that the younger Knights
more details. prices). redevelopment (also known as the Valletta might play at pall-mall (an ancestor of
There is talk of reestablishing a vertical
GETTING AROUND connection to link the harbour area with FLORIANA 0 200 m

0 0.1 miles
To/From the Airport Vallettas Upper Barrakka Gardens, via a

Bus 8 runs between the airport and the City panoramic lift. This is a great idea but, this A B C To Fort

St Elmo 6
I City Gate Bus
Gate terminus in Valletta, passing through being Malta, the project could take years to VI

(1.3km) Terminus St James
du Bastion
Beltisseb ar
Floriana on the way the fare is Lm0.20, see the light of day. w

(Government Buildings)

Triq Nelson
and the journey takes about 40 minutes. The Re

1 Harbour ir-
airport bus stop is immediately outside the Car & Motorcycle Vj Entrance

St James
entrance to the departures hall. Ignore any A car is more of a hindrance than a help in Memorial
9 Tr
taxi drivers who tell you that the bus stop is a Valletta. The streets around City Gate are 4 za don
ju iq
V ria bl
iju Exit
D ar Pu
az lci

20-minute walk away, or that the bus wont be clogged with cars, buses and taxis most of Pieta Creek
Pj Ka
im al q S Ganado

ec M Tri Sa
n iju

n h Il a u Gardens
along for another hour theyre just touting the day, and cars without a residents permit Sa z P 5

az n

To Ta'Xbiex (2.3km); Pj Sa


for business. are not allowed to park in Valletta instead iq 2

Sliema (3.3km) Tr Il Tara

Tal-Kalkara iss

Youll find a taxi information desk in the you must use the big underground car park Argotti ue ja
Church of
Tr (Kalkara Steps)
al- To

Botanical l h
airport arrivals hall and you can organise in Floriana, which is just southwest of the St Publius sk ena elg Bus Stop

Notre Dame Ditch

Gardens a i It-T
Tr nn an (100m);
and pay for your taxi there. The set fare for bus station and charges Lm2 for 4 hours 2 Jubilee iq
'A Fr 8 Fort
Gardens n i
Sa S a
c i n 3
St Elmo
a taxi from the airport to Valletta or Floriana or more. T r iq il-M
ira T
r i q
a p u c (1.2km)

Pj To
George V

St Philip Tr 10 tur K

az ni
is Lm6.50. To Ta'Xbiex (2km); Gardens

za na
Gardens iq iq
Sliema (3km) Sa Tr
Public Transport nT


Pj ert
um e

az Sa
as a 1 o
To/From the Sea Passenger Terminal

za m
Bus 98 makes a clockwise circuit of Valletta Im nt

L- is

iq iq

Alliance Franaise de Malte.......... 1 D2 u Tr

Its not terribly straightforward to travel be- from City Gate to Fort St Elmo along the Tr Ag

Bank of Valletta & ATM............... 2 D2


tween Valletta and the Sea Passenger Terminal outer road that follows the top of the city walls Italian Embassy............................ 3 D2 Tr 7
Malta Police Headquarters............4 B1
next to the developing Pinto Wharf in Flo- (Lm0.15), but walking is generally the fastest US Embassy................................. 5 D2 DRINKING
L Preziosi
riana. If youre travelling with Virtu Ferries and easiest way to get about. SLEEPING
Heat Bar & Diner........................(see 7)
Tom Bar.......................................8 D2 Grand
from Sicily, its probably best to arrange a See p190 for information about the horse- 3 Le Meridien Phoenicia Hotel.........6 D1 Harbour
transfer with them when booking your pas- drawn karrozzin, which offer rides around EATING
Gozo Cargo Ferry.........................9 A1
sage. Otherwise, bus 98 (Lm0.15, hourly until town, and p190 for tips on local taxis for Nan Yuan.................................... 7 D3 Main Bus Stop........................... 10 C2 To Hamrun
Pegasus Bar & Brasserie..............(see 6) Sea Passenger Terminal (Ferries to (2km)
6pm) stops about 300m away, and you can horseless rides. There is a taxi rank just out- Re-store.....................................(see 7) Italy)...................................... 11 D3
take a sightseeing stroll. side City Gate.

VALLETTA 74 A R O U N D VA L L E T TA F l o r i a n a A R O U N D VA L L E T TA T h e T h re e C i t i e s 75

a great place for a wander and a drink at one displaying the various route numbers and
of the many restaurants. destinations.

0 200 m There are two ferry terminals in Floriana.

0 0.1 miles
Eating & Drinking

City Gate The daily Gozo cargo ferry (used primarily by

Bus Terminus
St James Le Meridien Phoenicia Hotel (p68), by City trucks) departs the Sa Maison wharf at Pieta

Beltisseb II Bastion
(Government u
V Gate, is home to a couple of restaurants. Creek in Marsamxett Harbour (p189), while

w 1
Pegasus Bar & Brasserie (%2291 1084; The Mall, passenger ferries to/from Sicily dock at the

Triq Nelson
i r- Le Meridien Phoenicia Hotel; mains Lm4-7; hlunch & din- Sea Passenger Terminal by Pinto Wharf (p184).
ner) This relaxed setting offers upmarket caf Pinto Wharf is also where cruise liners moor

St James
Ditch fare, with the menu including locally influ- when in town.
enced Med dishes like grilled swordfish or
za n
az do
Pj alci
ju V
a Herbert
limoncello panna cotta. Theres also a lounge THE THREE CITIES
ec Sa iju Ganado in the lobby serving all-day sandwiches and This trio of towns, Vittoriosa, Senglea and
K h iq bl
San Tr 3 Pu Gardens
snacks (right down to scones for a civilised Cospicua, are close-knit working commu-
az afternoon tea). nities largely dependent on their dockyards



Tom Bar (%2125 0780; 1 It-Telga Tal-Kurifiss; for employment. They are surprisingly off

Bu Tr
Argotti iq
ja 4 Vi
na Ku
iss hfrom 8.30pm Tue-Sun year-round) Its not the most the tourist radar and for now, at least they
Gardens Tal- likely location for one of Maltas prime gay offer a welcome escape from the commercial
Notre Dame Ditch

7 6 lg a
a It
nightspots, but this two-storey bar is very hustle of Valletta and Sliema.
5 isk
n t'A n popular, especially among older gays, who The controversial Cottonera waterfront
Pjazza Sa Fr i
iq n
ES Tonina
uc George V prefer it to Pacevilles offerings. Tom offers regeneration project (www.cottonerawater
Tr ap

St Philip
Gardens 8
iq Il-
K upstairs for chilling out and downstairs for has seen the opening of a chi-chi
Sa riq
T dance music. casino at Vittoriosa, as well as a marina for

so-called superyachts, plus the construction

Pj rt S

az am

za u

Getting There & Away of some very out-of-place modern residential

9 Floriana is just a five-minute walk from apartments. Plans for a new five-star hotel
Valletta. All buses to and from Valletta also seems to have stalled, so the land (by the
pass through Floriana. The main bus stop on casino) remains fenced and vacant. While its
Triq SantAnna has an information board hoped that projects such as these will bring
and decorated by Mattia Preti (undergoing
WALK FACTS restoration at the time of research). Across
Start City Gate bus terminus the street is the Wignacourt Water Tower (6), part PINTO WHARF
Finish Pinto Wharf of an aqueduct system that brought water Opened in mid-2005, Pinto Wharf (also known as the Valletta Waterfront; www.vallettawaterfront
Distance approx 2km to Valletta from the central hills. Beside the .com) is the much-heralded development of a formerly run-down dockside area. Developers trans-
Duration 1 hour tower is the entrance to the Argotti Botanical formed old warehouses into a fashionable area for dining, drinking, shopping and promenading,
Gardens (7). and an important new venue for festivals and concerts. Its a good-looking revamp too, with
Follow the street round to the left past the 250-year-old stone warehouses from the era of the Knights prettied up with doors and window
croquet), in the forlorn hope that this might Sarria Chapel and downhill to the Lion Foun- shutters painted in bright primary colours. The view is a bit mixed the fortresses of the Three
keep them from the temptations of wine, tain (8), and turn right on the main road out Cities combine with the cranes of the dockyards to provide a somewhat industrial panorama (if
women and gambling. of town. A five-minute walk along this busy its not blocked by a huge cruise ship).
The long open space on the south side of stretch of road leads to the Porte des Bombes Sure, the shops down here are geared toward the cashed-up passengers of the cruisers that
the mall is Pjazza San Publiju. The circular (9), an ornamental gateway dating from 1697 dock at the wharf (local craft outlets offering glass, ceramics and jewellery), but the restaurants
slabs that stud its paved surface are the lids to 1720 that once formed part of the Floriana and bars have been embraced by the locals, and youll find families and groups taking up plenty
of underground granaries (3). The square is Lines fortifications. of tables on the tree-lined promenade.
dominated by the Church of St Publius (4), dedi- Pass through it to admire its decorations As far as food goes, there are half-a-dozen venues competing for your custom its worth a
cated to the patron saint of Floriana. Publius reliefs of cannons and the coat of arms of stroll to peruse the menus and prices of each, and to see if there are outside tables available.
was the Roman governor of Malta in AD 60 Grand Master Perellos, under whose reign Heat Bar & Diner (%2124 2400; mains Lm2-8; hlunch & dinner) promotes itself as an American-
when St Paul was shipwrecked on the island. it was built. styled diner but the menu features all the usual Maltese suspects. Its more popular as a bar
He was converted to Christianity and became Return to the Lion Fountain and then con- and nightclub and stays open late. Nan Yuan (%2122 5310; dishes Lm2-6; hlunch & dinner Tue-Sun)
Maltas first bishop. The church was built tinue straight on along the grand, arcaded Triq is slightly incongruous given the setting, but offers a menu of Cantonese specialities. Re-store
in the 18th century, and badly damaged by SantAnna. This will lead you back towards (%2122 5000; snacks & meals Lm1-5; hlunch & dinner) offers decent caf fare such as sandwiches,
WWII bombs. Its rich red interior and ornate Valletta, but a side-trip right down Triq Vil- pasta and take-away ice creams.
ceiling are worth a look. hena and left along It-Telga Tal-Kurifiss Sadly, public transport links to the wharf are pretty dismal; see p72 for walking routes between
Continue along Triq Sarria to the circular (Crucifix Hill) will take you to Pinto Wharf (10), Valletta and the waterfront.
Sarria Chapel (5), built in 1678 and designed also know as the Valletta Waterfront, which is
VALLETTA 76 A R O U N D VA L L E T TA T h e T h re e C i t i e s A R O U N D VA L L E T TA T h e T h re e C i t i e s 77

200 m
0.1 miles
WHATS IN A NAME? pop 3035

The Three Cities were originally named Atmospheric Vittoriosa is only 800m long
Birgu, L-Isla and Bormla, but their names and 400m at its widest, so its hard to get 2
Kalkara Creek
Fort Del Borgo................................ 9 D3
were changed after the Great Siege of lost but aimlessly wandering its old, plant- St Angelo
Il-Forn................................... 10 D2
1565. Birgu became Vittoriosa (Victorious), filled alleys makes for a pleasant diversion. 1
L-Isla became Senglea (after Grand Master However, street signs are in Malti, while most St
An Casino di Venezia.................. 11 C2
Claude de la Sengle), and Bormla became tourist maps are in English only, which can Senglea lo
W 4
Cospicua (as in conspicuous courage). Local be confusing. From the Poste de France, Triq 6
Bus Stop (for Walking Tour)...12 C4
people and some road signs still use the il-Mina l-Kbira (Main Gate St) leads to the Bus Stop (from Valletta).........13 C4

Bus Stop (to Valletta)............. 14 C4

old names, and all three together are often towns main square, Misra ir-Reba (Vic-

Senglea Bus Terminus.............15 B3
referred to as The Cottonera, a reference tory Sq). From the square, the marina and
to the Cottonera Lines the landward for- Maritime Museum are downhill to the left, VITTORIOSA
tifications surrounding the Three Cities that while Triq San Filippu (St Philips St) leads

were built in the 1670s at the instigation of on towards Fort St Angelo at the tip of the 2 SENGLEA Triq Santa




Grand Master Nicolas Cotoner. peninsula.





Triq Lawre
Dockyard Creek

Theres good information on Vittoriosa at










Anto z
Triq Hilda Tabone



Triq il-Kw

employment and prosperity to a formerly 10




Misra a
neglected area, there is a danger of diluting the SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES ir-Reba 7 Triq it-

jjis t


Triq Biswiet
character and charm of the area in the rush Inquisitors Palace Docks 15 5 il-Kwartier

Tri zz
q alaqof
The Inquisitors Palace (%2182 7006; Triq il-Mina

to embrace development and attract wealthy P


T ri s



locals and tourists. l-Kbira; adult/child Lm2/0.50; h9am-5pm) was built

sa n

ina I-

The best place for tourist information on in the 1530s and served as law courts until 3

St Lo


the area is from the dgajsa boat information the 1570s, when it became the tribunal (and


kiosk on the Vittoriosa waterfront (opposite). prison) of the Inquisition, whose task it was INFORMATION 9

Information Kiosk..................(see 1) ren

There are no hotels or guesthouses in the to find and suppress heresy.


Triq San
San Misra

Porte de

The palace is now the home of the National

Three Cities, but the number of eating and SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES T r Papa Provence

A&S Water Taxis (Dgajsa Boat Benedittu Poste de

drinking venues is growing. Museum of Ethnography, which focuses on the Trips)................................... 1 C3 France
Chapel of St Anne....................2 B1
religious values in Maltese culture up to the Inquisitor's Palace.................... 3 D3
History present day. In addition to the display areas in Main Gate to Fort.....................4 B1 13
Triq Boffa

Maritime Museum................... 5 C3 Poste Triq 79

When the Knights of St John first arrived in the tribunal room and prison complex, there National Museum of d'Italie
Malta in 1530, they made their home in the is a permanent exhibition on the impact of 4 Ethnography......................(see 3)
Vedette (Watchtower).............6 A1 Dr
fishing village of Birgu, on a finger of land on the Inquisition on Maltese society. yD
the south side of Grand Harbour, overlooking EATING o3
Band Club of St Lawrence........7 D3
the inlet (now known as Dockyard Creek) that Maritime Museum Caf du Brazil.......................... 8 D2 COSPICUA (Bormla)
was called the Port of the Arab Galleys. Here The old naval bakery, built in the 1840s, now 12

they built their auberges and repaired and houses Maltas Maritime Museum (%2166 0052;
extended the ancient defences. By the 1550s, Vittoriosa Waterfront; adult/child Lm2/0.50; h9am-5pm). the medieval fort in 1530 and rebuilt and the modern Order of St John. The remainder
Birgu (Fort St Angelo) and the neighbouring Well-displayed exhibits include Roman strengthened it Fort St Angelo served as the of the fort is officially closed to visitors due to
point of L-Isla (Fort St Michael) had been anchors, traditional Maltese fishing boats, residence of the Grand Master of the Order its poor state of repair, but access through the
fortified, and Fort St Elmo had been built on models of the Knights galleys and British until 1571 and was the headquarters of la gate above St Angelo Wharf is usually pretty
the tip of the Sceberras Peninsula. Bormla, at naval vessels. There are also displays of old Valette during the Great Siege. straightforward and you can wander around
the head of Dockyard Creek, was not fortified navigational instruments, log books and sig- Further defences were added in the late parts of the site, an unusual mixture of me-
until the 17th century. nal books. 17th century by the talented engineer Don dieval fortress and abandoned 20th-century
From this base, the Knights withstood the Heritage Malta conducts guided tours of Carlos Grunenberg, whose florid coat-of- officers mess. The fort is in the early stages
Turkish onslaught during the Great Siege of the museum (included in the cost of admis- arms still sits above the gate overlooking St of what promises to be a long rehabilitation
1565 (see p21 for more on this battle), but in sion) at 11am daily. Their tour times can Angelo Wharf. project.
the years that followed, they moved to their change, so check ahead. The British took over the fort in the 19th
new city of Valletta across the harbour. During century, and from 1912 until 1979 it served as Harbour Cruises
WWII, the Three Cities and their surrounding Fort St Angelo the headquarters of the Mediterranean Fleet, At the waterfront, in front of the Freedom
docks were bombed almost daily throughout The tip of the Vittoriosa peninsula has been first as HMS Egmont and from 1933 as HMS Monument, is a kiosk belonging to A&S Water
1941 and 1942, and suffered terrible damage fortified since at least the 9th century, and St Angelo. The upper part of the fort, includ- Taxis (%2180 6921;; h9am-
and bloodshed. Today they offer an untouristy before that it was the site of Roman and ing the Grand Masters Palace and the 15th- 5pm, or until dark in summer). The friendly guys here
welcome escape from Valletta and Sliema. Phoenician temples. The Knights took over century Chapel of St Anne, is now occupied by dispense maps of the Three Cities and offer
VALLETTA 78 A R O U N D VA L L E T TA T h e T h re e C i t i e s A R O U N D VA L L E T TA T h e T h re e C i t i e s 79

helpful tourist information; they also organ- decoration, dates from the 13th century and is in a dgajsa cruise or taxi service (see above),
ise good-value 35-minute cruises of Grand WALK FACTS a style described as Siculo-Norman (similar win- head left up to the cafs of Misra ir-Reba,
Harbour in a restored dgajsa (traditional Start cnr Triq San Lawrenz & Triq 79 dows survive in Il-Kastell on Gozo). Also in this or continue walking south to make your way
rowing boat or water taxi; pronounced die- Finish base of Fort St Angelo area are the first auberges built by the Knights to Senglea (see below for a walking tour of
sa) for Lm3 per person. These boatmen can Distance approx 2km in the 16th century the Auberge dAngleterre the area).
also act as a water taxi to take you to either Duration 1 hours (10; Triq il-Majjistral), the auberge of the English
Senglea (Lm0.60) or Valletta (Lm1.50; depos- Knights, now serves as the local library. EATING & DRINKING
its you not far from the base of the Lascaris At the far end of Triq Hilda Tabone turn There are limited daytime eating options
Bastion). right along Triq il-Kwartier (Barrack St), and in Vittoriosa, but your choices increase in
bear right at the corner of the imposing Ar- number and quality of an evening. Time your
WALKING TOUR moury (11). Turn left and then right along Triq explorations for late afternoon, then head to
Begin at the bus stop at the corner of Triq 0 200 m Palazz Tal-Isqof (Bishops Palace St) past the one of the wine bars that have sprung up. Caf
San Lawrenz (St Lawrence St) and Triq 79. 0 0.1 miles
Bishops Palace (12), built in 1542. Return to Triq du Brazil and the Band Club of St Lawrence
Cross the road towards the Poste dAragon il-Mina l-Kbira and turn right to again reach provide opportunities for a casual drink and
and enter the bastion through the Advanced Fort VITTORIOSA
Misra ir-Reba. offer limited lunch selections on Misra ir-
Gate (1), inscribed with the date MDCCXXII St Angelo (Birgu) From the square, to explore the waterfront Reba.
(1722) and a relief of crossed cannons. Here area turn left into the nearby chapel where the Il-Forn (%2182 0379; 27 Triq it-Tramuntana; snacks &
youll find a caf, and next door is a large 20
little Oratory of St Joseph (13) contains relics of meals Lm2-5; h7.30pm-1am Tue-Sun) This alluring
WWII air-raid shelter open to the public as Kalkara Creek Grand Master la Valette, and continue down art gallery and wine bar in Il Collachio (almost
the Malta at War Museum (2; adult/child Lm1.50/0.75; past the Church of St Lawrence (14). Built on the opposite the Norman House) has plenty of

h10am-4pm Mon-Sat). Cross the bridge over the site of an 11th-century Norman church, St fabulously colourful art by the Austrian-born

St Angelo

moat, which has been planted with orange Lawrences served as the conventual church owner of the bar on display. Its well worth a
trees and is now the Coronation Gardens, and Triq Santa
of the Knights of St John from 1530 until the look, and you can enjoy traditional snacks and
pass through the Couvre Porte into the Poste 7 move to St Johns Co-Cathedral in Valletta local wines in one of the courtyards.
de France (theres a good view of Senglea from Tri (see the boxed text, p38, for more information Another excellent choice is Del Borgo

a Va
Triq an Law

the battlement up the ramp to the left). 6

on its history). (%2180 3710; 36 Triq it-Torri taSan wann; mains Lm3-7;



Go through Porte de Provence and head At the foot of the hill, pass to the left of hfrom 7.30pm daily, plus lunch Sun), a surprisingly

8 Triq Hilda Tabone


Anto nz


left along Triq il-Mina l-Kbira, past the Church the large building across the street. The palm sophisticated restaurant and wine bar in a

Triq il-Kwa
Triq it-

Misra Tramuntana 9

ir-Reba 10
of the Annunciation (3) on your left and the 5 and cactus garden on the left contains the side street not far from the main gates into
13 Triq
Inquisitors Palace (4; p76), now the National Dockyard 17 Majjistral alaz f
z 11 Freedom Monument (15), which commemorates Vittoriosa.

Creek Triq P -Isqo


Museum of Ethnography, on your right, until 15 14 4 Ta'

l the departure of the last British forces in Malta

you reach Misra ir-Reba (5; Victory Sq) with 16 12 in 1979. Bronze figures show a bugler play- ENTERTAINMENT

its two monuments: the Victory Monument, 3

Triq Allesandru ing the Last Post as his comrade lowers the Casino di Venezia (%2180 5580; Vittoriosa waterfront;
St Loharf

VII Triq Biswiet


erected in 1705 in memory of the Great Siege; Triq iI-Mina flag, and a British sailor saying goodbye to h2pm-4am Mon-Thu, 2pm-5am Fri-Sat, noon-4am Sun)

Triq San

and a statue of St Lawrence, patron saint of a Maltese girl while, rather unromantically, Vegas meets Venice: travellers looking for

Porte de
Vittoriosa, dating from 1880. Provence shaking her hand. a chance to make (or blow) some holiday


Poste de
Youll definitely notice the magnificent France
Poste Head to the waterfront, where youll en- dough should head to this ritzy casino beside
building dating from 1888 that stands on the 1
Triq 79
counter a kiosk (16; p77) dispensing tourist the marina and part of the (stalled) Cotton-
Triq Boffa
eastern side of the square and is home to the information and offering cruises of Grand era waterfront redevelopment. Visitors must
Band Club of St Lawrence. Note its striking Harbour. Continue along the waterfront past be aged at least 18 to enter (25 for Maltese
wooden balcony. the interesting Maritime Museum (17; p76), citizens), be smartly dressed and carry a pass-
From the square head east on Triq Hilda housed in the old naval bakery, and youll port or ID card. A shuttle service is offered
Tabone (Britannic St, by Caf du Brazil), then reach the marina (18), filled with flash boats, from some hotels call the casino to inquire.
take the first left (Triq Santa Skolastika, or and a casino (19; right) in 17th-century build- Casinos in Malta draw many gamblers from
St Scholastica St) towards the massive blank ings that were once the Knights Treasury, Sicily, which doesnt have any casinos of
walls of the Sacra Infermeria (6), the first hospital the Captain-Generals Palace, and a hostel its own.
to be built by the Knights on their arrival in After doing a circuit of the Sacra Infermeria for galley captains. At the far end of the quay
Malta. It now serves as a convent. After it, head back onto Triq Hilda Tabone. To your you can cross the bridge over the moat and GETTING THERE & AWAY
go down a stepped alley (signposted Triq il- right lies a small maze of charming alleys, col- follow a path beyond St Angelo Wharf to the Buses 1, 4 and 6 from Valletta will take you
Miratur) and walk along the walls perimeter. lectively known as Il Collachio (8), with some of the rocky point beneath the walls of Fort St Angelo to the bus stop on Triq 79 beneath the Poste
The ramp descending into a trench in front oldest surviving buildings in the city. Wander (20; p76), where old cannons serve as bollards dAragon; bus 2 goes all the way to Misra
of the Infermeria leads to the Bighi Sally Port up Triq it-Tramuntana (North St) to the so- and the remains of WWII gun installations ir-Reba. One of these four route options
(7), where the wounded were brought by boat called Norman House (9) at No 11 (on the left) and can be seen. departs Valletta for Vittoriosa at least every
to the infirmary under the cover of darkness look up at the 1st floor. The twin-arched win- From the wharf, you can retrace your steps 15 to 20 minutes; the fare on all services is
during the Great Siege. dow, with its slender central pillar and zigzag back along the waterfront. You can opt for Lm0.20.
VALLETTA 80 A R O U N D VA L L E T TA H y p o g e u m & Ta r x i e n Te m p l e s A R O U N D VA L L E T TA F o r t R i n e l l a 81

Bus 627 runs hourly until 3pm from 7000 bodies may have been interred here. of Archaeology in Valletta (p62), or online
Buibba via Sliema to the Three Cities WALK FACTS Excellent 50-minute tours of the complex (; info@heritagemalta

(Lm0.50) and on to Marsaxlokk. Start & Finish bus stop outside town are available daily at 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm, .org). If youre desperate, you might decide to
fortifications 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Note that the tours arent try your luck for cancellations youll need
Senglea Distance approx 2km suitable for children aged under six. to turn up before the first scheduled tour.
pop 3500 Duration 1 hour Tours start with a brief introductory ex- Some readers have reported success with this
Senglea is even more difficult to get lost in hibition and multilingual film focusing on method, but its far from guaranteed.
than Vittoriosa, as the streets form a grid the temple-building people and the Hypo- The Tarxien Temples (%2169 5578; Triq it-Templi
pattern. The town was pretty much razed to St Angelo geums relationship to Maltas overground Neolitii; adult/child Lm1/0.25; h9am-5pm), pro-
the ground during WWII, and little of historic VITTORIOSA temple sites. Touring the site is a fascinating nounced tar-sheen, are hidden up a back street
interest remains, but there are great views of Senglea A (Birgu)
experience, but leaves you with more ques- several blocks east of the Hypogeum keep
Valletta and Vittoriosa, and the little vedette Safe Haven W
ha tions than it does answers about the ancient your eyes peeled, as the entrance is incon-
Gardens rf
(watchtower) at the tip of the peninsula is one 3
civilisation responsible for the Hypogeums spicuous. These megalithic structures were
of the classic sights of Malta. (L-Isla) construction who were they, what exactly excavated in 1914 and are thought to date
did they do here, and where did they go? (See from between 3600 and 2500 BC. There are
WALKING TOUR p19 for more on Maltas temple builders.) four linked temples, built with massive stone

From the bus stop in the square outside the 2 Carbon dioxide exhaled by visiting tour- blocks up to 3m by 1m by 1m in size, deco-
fortifications, walk up the ramp and pass ists was doing serious to damage the delicate rated with spiral patterns and pitting, and


Dockyard Creek
through the gate at the Poste dItalie, and limestone walls of the burial chambers of the reliefs of animals including bulls, goats and



continue along Triq il-Vitorja (Victory St). Hypogeum, and it was closed to the public for pigs. The large statue of a broad-hipped fe-


At the first square is the Church of Our Lady of 10 years, reopening in mid-2000. It has now male figure was found in the right-hand niche

ja 'Om
Victory (1), which was completely rebuilt after been restored with Unesco funding and reo- of the first temple. Heritage Malta conducts

WWII. Follow Triq il-Vitorja all the way to D pened in 2000; its microclimate is now strictly guided tours of the Tarxien site (included in
the Church of St Philip (2), and follow the road sS
controlled to ensure its conservation. For this the cost of admission) at 9.30am, 11.30am
right and then left (Triq i-ew Mini, or reason, the maximum number of visitors to and 3.30pm daily. Their times are not fixed,

Two Gates St) to reach Safe Haven Gardens the site is 70 per day tickets are understand- so enquire in advance. This is another heritage


at the tip of the peninsula. The vedette (3) here San z ably in demand, and you cant just turn up site promising big things the construction


is decorated with carvings of eyes and ears to the site and expect to join the next tour of a sleek new visitors centre is scheduled for

La 1


symbolising watchfulness, and commands Misra 4

(although its astounding how many people completion by 2008.

a view to the west over the whole length of Benedittu roll up under this impression). Prebooking is
Grand Harbour and the southern flank of d'Italie essential (usually at least two weeks before you Getting There & Away
Valletta check out the view of the new Pinto Dr
wish to visit, or up to a month in advance for Dozens of buses pass through Paola, stopping
0 200 m
Wharf development too. 0 0.1 miles
busy periods such as summers peak, Easter at various points around the main square,
Immediately on your left as you leave Safe and Christmas). Tickets are available in per- Pjazza Paola. Buses 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 between

Haven Gardens is a staircase down to Triq son from the Hypogeum and the Museum Valletta and the Three Cities stop at the north-
is-Sirena. Follow this street as it descends ern end of the square (look for landmarks
to the quayside. Follow the waterfront, with HYPOGEUM & TARXIEN such as the police station out the front of the
its moored dgajsas and impressive views of Alternatively, catch bus 1, 2 4 or 6 to Vit- TEMPLES 0 100 m
prison). Buses 8, 11, 15 and 27 stop on the
Vittoriosa, back to the starting point. There toriosa and get off at Dry Dock No 1 (at the eastern side of the square, by the large Church
are a couple of reasonable restaurants along head of Dockyard Creek), walk back up the Il-Kordin
of Christ the King (to return to Valletta, catch

To Three
the quay. hill and turn right. Its a 15-minute walk from Prison
Cities (2km) a bus from the western side of the square).
To Valletta Bus Stop (from Valletta, z
Towards the end of the quay the road passes the main gate at Vittoriosa around to the main (4km) to the Three Cities)
a From the main square, the Hypogeum is
under the bastion, and a walkway goes around gate at Senglea. Triq il-Belt Valletta a five-minute walk, the Tarxien Temples are
the outside beneath the so-called Gantry House Bus Stop
10 minutes.
(4). This was where the galleys of the Knights HYPOGEUM & TARXIEN TEMPLES (to Valletta) Triq Tal-Borg
Bus Stop (from Valletta,
Triq Sant' Ubaldesca

of St John were moored while their masts were The suburb of Paola, about 2km southwest Pjazza
to the southeast)
Church of
Triq il-Knisja FORT RINELLA
removed using machinery mounted on the of Cospicua, conceals two of Maltas most Christ the King Built by the British in the late 19th century,

Triq it-Templi Neolitii

de Paule
Triq uze' Damato
wall above the walkway. important prehistoric sites. The Hal Saflieni Triq il-Foss
Fort Rinella (Map p56; %2180 9713; Triq Santu Rokku,
Triq San Guepp

Hypogeum (%2180 5019, 2182 5579; Triq i-imiterju; Kalkara; adult/child/family Lm3/1.50/6; h 10am-5pm),
Triq it-Tarzna

Triq Lampuka

Triq Santa Monika

Triq is-Sorijiet
Triq Sammat
GETTING THERE & AWAY adult/child Lm4/2) is an incredible underground Triq il-
1.5km northeast of Vittoriosa, was one of two
Bus 3 runs between Valletta and the central necropolis, discovered during building work coastal batteries designed to counter the threat
Hal Saflieni il-Karmnu
square in Senglea bus terminus every half- in 1902. It consists of halls, chambers and pas- Hypogeum
Temples of Italys new ironclad battleships. The batteries
Triq i-imiterju
hour or so (Lm0.20). (Get off at the bus stop sages hewn out of the living rock and covering (the second one was on Tign Point in Sliema)
Triq al Luqa

Entrance q Santa Terea
just outside the fortifications if you wish some 500 sq metres; it is thought to date from Triq in-Nazzarenu al
Church of
Santa Terea
were equipped with the latest Armstrong 100-
to do the walking tour outlined on above.) around 3600 to 3000 BC, and an estimated ton guns the biggest muzzle-loading guns
Lonely Planet Publications
VALLETTA 82 A R O U N D VA L L E T TA F o r t R i n e l l a 83

From the road to Fort Rinella visitors have a good view of the huge water tanks of the Mediter-
ranean Film Studios (not open to the public). Theres not a lot to see, but these are the biggest
film-production water facilities in Europe the two main water tanks have a clear horizon behind
them, allowing directors to create the illusion that on-screen characters are miles out to sea. Water
scenes from such films as The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Raise the Titanic (1980), White Squall (1996),
U-571 (2000) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) were shot here.
But its not just the water tanks that have drawn film crews to Malta. The countrys fortresses
have long been popular with location scouts the basement and casemates of Fort St Elmo
were used for the Turkish prison scenes in the 1978 film Midnight Express, and Fort St Elmo has
doubled as locations in Marseille and Beirut in more recent productions. Also out near Fort Rinella
is Ricasoli Fort (also closed to the public), where a large portion of the 2004 Trojan War epic Troy
was filmed on specially crafted sets. Scenes from another sandals-and-swords blockbuster, Gladi-
ator (2000), were also filmed here. More recently it was transformed into a Palestinian refugee
camp in the controversial 2005 film Munich.
Cominos St Marys Tower appears in The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), a film that features
various locations in the Maltese Islands (including Mdina and Vittoriosa), while the Blue Lagoon
provides a great backdrop to a dire film, Swept Away (2002), starring Madonna and produced
by her husband, Guy Ritchie.
In recent years Malta doubled for most of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern locales
(including Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece and Italy) in Steven Spielbergs 2005 movie Munich
(look out for Maltas distinctive yellow buses in a number of scenes), and Maltese locations were
chosen for a handful of flashback scenes involving the murderous albino monk in the 2006 film,
The Da Vinci Code.
There are some good websites to check out if youre interested in learning more: see Mediter-
ranean Film Studios (, the Malta Film Commission ( and the
website of the Malta Tourism Authority ( click on What to See, and then
the Malta Movie Map icon. Although much of the movie map hasnt been updated in years, the
latest news section is reasonably up-to-date.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and ask around if you want to know what film sets (and
stars) you might stumble across as you travel around the country.

ever made. Their 100-ton shells had a range of Getting There & Away
6.4km and could penetrate 38cm of armour To get to Fort Rinella, take bus 4 from Valletta
plating. The guns were never fired in anger, or the Three Cities; departures leave from
and were retired in 1906. Fort Rinella has been Valletta at half-past the hour from 9.30am to
restored by a group of amateur enthusiasts 4.30pm and then drop you off out the front
from the Malta Heritage Trust ( and of the fort. If the bus drops you only as far
is now one of Maltas most interesting military as the Mediterranean Film Studios, face the
museums. Guided tours given by volunteers water and head to your left after about 10
dressed as late-19th-century soldiers, including minutes you should see a Union Jack flying
historical re-enactments, are held at 2.30pm from the fort. For a small fee you can also call
daily (youll pay an additional Lm2 on top of the fort and arrange a direct pick up from your
the entry price to join one of these tours). accommodation (Lm1).

Lonely Planet Publications. To make it easier for you to use, access to this chapter is not digitally
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