Walking Tour of Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta, a walled city whose fortifications date to 1566, was built by the Knights of the Order of St John. The narrow streets are wonderful for walking and are lined with numerous shops and restaurants, perfect for browsing or taking a break. Be sure to walk the City Walls. Valletta is a deserving UNESCO World Heritage Site.
My walk begins at the Triton’s Fountain, just outside the city walls. Pass through City Gate, to the north, onto Triq Repubblika, Valletta’s main thoroughfare. It leads to the National Museum of Archaeology, on your left, which displays many ancient artifacts from pre-historical Malta.
Continue north, into and across Great Siege Square, and turn right on St Lucia Street, to reach St John’s co-Cathedral, with its elaborate Baroque interior, which includes Caravaggio’s famous Beheading of St John the Baptist, as well as the tombs of many of the Knights of the Order, in particular its founder, Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette, for whom the city was named.
After your visit, continue east on St Lucia Street, and then turn left on St Paul’s Street, to find St Paul’s Shipwreck Church. The writer of the New Testament epistles was beloved by the people of Malta, and they spared no expense in the construction of this beautiful church, dedicated to the apostle.
Now, turn left on Old Theater Street, which leads to Palace Square, and the Grand Master’s Palace. Malta’s parliament still meets here, in this 1574 structure. There is also an Armory, with battlefield equipment exhibits, on site.
Exit and walk north on Republic Street, to a unique venue, the Great Siege of Malta and the Knights of St John, a walk-through presentation of the Order’s history on the island.
Continue north on Republic Street, to the northern tip of the city, where you will find Fort St Elmo, an important part of Valletta’s fortifications. It was built in 1552, but rebuilt over the years, following its destruction during the siege of 1565.
From here, walk south on Republic Street, and turn left on North Street, to visit the Sacra Infermeria (Hospital of the Knights). The impressive edifice is now a convention center, but also offers the Malta Experience, a multi-media presentation about Malta’s history, to visitors.
Continue south, along the city walls, to access the Lower Baracca Gardens, for a brief respite, and then further south, on Mediterranean Street, then onto St Ursula Street, which leads to the even more spectacular Upper Baracca Gardens, with fantastic views of the Three Cities (Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua), across the bay to the east. There are also great views of one of the world’s deepest and best harbors. Descend from the gardens and walk north on St Ursula Street, and then turn left on Melita Street, and left again on Triq Repubblika, to return to the Triton’s Fountain, where you began.