Valletta Culture & history

Our most recommended Valletta Culture & history

Malta: Highlights of Malta & Mdina Full Day Tour with Lunch

1. Malta: Highlights of Malta & Mdina Full Day Tour with Lunch

Experience some of Malta's most interesting highlights in just one day on a guided group tour. Discover the medieval city of Mdina, St. Cataldus Catacombs, and Mosta Rotunda. Stroll through the San Anton Botanical Gardens, take in sea views from Dingli Cliffs, and buy glass from local craftspeople. After hotel pickup, start your tour with the ancient city of Mdina, renowned for its opulent palaces, fortifications, architecture, and ancient heritage. Stroll through the narrow streets of the island's old capital, taking in one of Europe's finest examples of an ancient walled/fortified city. Take a journey back in time, as the streets have not changed much in the last 1,000 years. Admire the magnificent palazzos and churches in the city's unique mix of medieval and Baroque styles, as well as the spectacular panoramas from the high bastion walls. Leave Mdina through the Greeks Gate. Head to St. Cataldus Catacombs, in Rabat, on the outskirts of Mdina. Discover the catacombs, which were originally a Punic burial shaft, and some of the earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta. See graves that are beautiful examples of canopied tombs and others hewn in the rocks. Continue to Dingli Cliffs, off the village of Dingli on Malta's western coast, the highest point of the Maltese island at around 253m above sea level. Enjoy breathtaking views over the terraced fields underneath and the panorama of the vast open seas with the small uninhabited island of Filfla. After lunch, visit the San Anton Botanical Gardens, built in the early 17th century by Grand Master Antoine de Paule to complement his summer residence: San Anton Palace, located at the perimeter of the gardens, now serving as the residence of the Maltese President. Next, stop at the Ta' Qali Craft Village, a former British Royal Air Forces wartime airfield restored into a local artisan hub. Watch local craftsmen form elaborate glass art using ancient glassblowing techniques. Get some genuine locally made mementos to remind you of your visit to Malta. End your tour with Malta's largest church, the Sanctuary Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, commonly known as the Mosta Rotunda or Mosta Dome. Built between 1833 and the 1860s to Neoclassical designs, the present church is based on the Pantheon in Rome. Discover its dome, the third largest unsupported dome in the world. Finally, return to your hotel.

Malta: Prehistoric Temples and Highlights of the South

2. Malta: Prehistoric Temples and Highlights of the South

See the best of Malta's south island in just one day with a comprehensive tour of its landmarks. Explore an old quarry, magnificent pre-historic sites, the world-famous Blue Grotto, and a traditional village. Enjoy plenty of time at each site and become immersed in local culture and history. After being picked up from your hotel, head over to one of Malta's oldest quarries. Tour the Limestone Heritage Park & Gardens, an innovative attraction highlighting the beauty of the Maltese stone and its incredible 22 million years of history. Take in a fascinating audio-visual presentation. Visit the megalithic temple complex of Hagar Qim, located on the southern edge of the island on a hilltop overlooking the sea. Discover a majestic site dating back to 3600-3200 BC and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue on to Zurrieq Valley for an exciting stop. Arrive at the majestic Blue Grotto and seize the opportunity to appreciate breathtaking views as you gaze at the seven coastal caves. Admire the intense blue color of the ocean and the imposing rock formations. If the weather allows, you can opt to take a boat trip around the area for an extra fee. Eat lunch then stroll through the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk and browse through the charming market. Finally, head into Ghar Dalam, Malta’s oldest prehistoric site, dating back to 5200 BC. Step into the 144-meter-long cave to see the bone remains of elephants, hippopotami, and more.

From Valletta: Rabat, Mdina, & San Anton Gardens Tour

3. From Valletta: Rabat, Mdina, & San Anton Gardens Tour

Embark on a guided trip from Valletta to the San Anton Palace to explore the lush gardens before visiting some of the highlights of Rabat and Mdina, also known as the Silent City. Step into the unique underground galleries and tombs of St. Paul’s Catacombs, entry tickets included. San Anton Palace and GardensFor your first stop, visit the San Anton Palace in Attard, the official residence of the president of Malta since the office was created in 1974. Originally built in the early 17th century as a country villa for Antoine de Paule, it was later expanded into a palace in 1623. The palace was used as a residence by subsequent grand masters, being enlarged several times in the process. It was once the headquarters of the rebel National Assembly, and it later became a residence for the civil commissioners, governors, and governors-general of Malta. The palace is surrounded by the extensive San Anton Gardens, parts of which have been open to the public since 1882. During your tour, you’ll get to explore the garden before continuing to the next stop which is Rabat. RabatRabat is a town in the Northern Region of Malta and is home to the famous St. Paul’s Catacombs. These catacombs were used in Roman times to bury the dead. The catacombs are now looked after by Heritage Malta. Part of St. Paul's Catacombs, the part accessible from the Parish church, was where, according to tradition and as recorded in the bible, St. Paul stayed for three months when he was shipwrecked on the island in 60 A.D. After getting to know the unique underground galleries and tombs of St. Paul’s Catacombs, you’ll head to the next and final stop of the tour: Mdina. MdinaMdina, also known by its other titles Città Vecchia or Città Notabile, is a fortified city in the Northern Region of Malta, which served as the island's capital from antiquity to the medieval period. The city is still confined within its walls and has a population of just under 300. Follow your guide around this quaint yet historic city, and marvel at its several Baroque features as well as its longstanding medieval character. Discover what gave rise to the city’s popular nickname “Silent City," used by both locals and visitors. Mdina is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is now one of the main tourist attractions in Malta.

Valletta: Guided Walking Tour with St. John's Co-Cathedral

4. Valletta: Guided Walking Tour with St. John's Co-Cathedral

You will meet your guide at the entrance of Valletta in front of the New Parliament Building, looking out for their red umbrella. Your guide will give an introduction to Valletta, and then will lead you through this fortress city, ensuring you do not miss out on anything worth seeing. As you walk past Auberges, palaces, and churches, your guide will unfold the history of the Knights of Malta, as well as the city’s connections with the British period. You will also visit gardens, which offer stunning views of Malta's Grand Harbour. The walk ends with a guided tour of St. John's Co-Cathedral, including the oratory which houses Caravaggio's masterpiece "The Beheading of St. John the Baptist". Entrance fee to the church is not included and tickets can be bought on the day.

Malta: 5 Attractions Pass with Valletta Walking Tour

5. Malta: 5 Attractions Pass with Valletta Walking Tour

Explore Malta with a 5-attractions pass, with a guided walking tour included. Admire Fort St. Elmo, step inside the National Community Art Museum, learn the early history of the Maltese Islands, gaze at Fort St. Angelo, and walk through Valletta on foot. Enter Fort St Elmo, originally built to defend against Ottoman attacks. Today, it is home to a superb collection of prehistoric artifacts, and boasts incredible views of the harbor and surrounding villages. Afterward, step inside the MUZA (National Community Art Museum), one of the city's more recent establishments, and discover four themes of special art; The Mediterranean, Europe, Empire, and The Artist. Explore the early history of the Maltese Islands at the National Museum of Archaeology. Some notable artifacts homed there are the ‘Sleeping Lady,’ ‘Venus of Malta,’ and ‘Bronze Age Daggers.' Then, visit Malta’s most important fortress, Fort St Angelo, and learn how it was of significant importance during WWI and II. The fort further offers spectacular panoramic views of the Grand Harbor, and begs to be admired. Watch Malta’s history come alive, as you enjoy a family-friendly show at Malta 5D. With moving seats and water spray, it’s a fun way to be introduced to Maltese history and culture. At last, discover Valletta by foot, as you embark on your guided walking tour. Be amazed as your tour guide introduces you to Valletta’s iconic landmarks, including St John’s Co-Cathedral, Royal Opera House, Upper Barrakka Gardens, and many others.

Discover Valletta Private Walking Tour - Insider Tour

6. Discover Valletta Private Walking Tour - Insider Tour

See the sights of Valletta on a 3-hour private walking tour with a guide who provides insight into the history ,architecture and wonders of Malta's capital. Explore both the top attractions and less-visited locations in the city, hearing interesting facts as you go. Enjoy the personalized service of a private guide. See the city's UNESCO-listed baroque architecture and other historical sights Learn fascinating facts about the founding of the city in the 16th century and enjoy personalized attention from a private guide who will tell you all you need to know about this wonderful city and answer all your questions

Malta: Valletta and Mdina Full Day Tour

7. Malta: Valletta and Mdina Full Day Tour

The tour starts with the visit of Mdina, after a 20-minute trip by car from your place. Mdina, located on top of a hill in the center of Malta, was the ancient capital before the arrival of the Knights of St. John's from Rodos. The old capital of Malta, that has now been turned into the silent city with 400 residents living inside its wall, the guide will describe the tiny little streets leading to the Belvedere one of the best viewpoints of the island, from where you can enjoy a stunning panorama of all of Malta.  After that, you will enjoy a short walking tour of the nearby town of Rabat, before reaching the famous St. Paul's Catacombs. You will have a visit to the latter and then free time for lunch. On the way back to Valletta, you stop in Mosta to visit the famous church with one of the biggest domes in Europe built according to the example of the Pantheon in Rome. Return back to Valletta and go on a walking tour of the tiny Maltese capital, the historical center is a Unesco Heritage Site. The tour starts with the visit of the Barrakka Gardens, an ideal point from which to enjoy breathtaking views of the Grand Harbor. You stop to admire the 'Auberge de Castille”, the old building that housed the knights coming from Spain which is now the residence of the prime minister. The guide will lead you to the front of St. John's Cathedral, the “home” of the Knights of St. John's where there are situated masterpieces of Caravaggio. Enjoy some free time to shop afterwards before returning to your hotel or cruise ship.

Valletta: World War II Malta Full-Day Walking Tour

8. Valletta: World War II Malta Full-Day Walking Tour

Travel back in time to the dark days of the Siege of Malta, a military campaign in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and learn about the fight for the control of the strategically important island between 1940 and 1942. Your guide will set the scene, when Malta pitted the air forces and navies of Italy and Germany against the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. The opening of a new front in North Africa in mid-1940 increased Malta's already considerable value. British air and sea forces based on the island could attack Axis ships transporting vital supplies and reinforcements from Europe. General Rommel, in de facto field command of the Axis forces in North Africa, recognized Malta’s importance, and in May 1941 he warned that "without Malta the Axis will end by losing control of North Africa." Along the walk, see the commemorative RAF Monument to the 2,298 Commonwealth aircrew who lost their lives in various World War II air battles. Go to Porta Reale, a curtain wall at the center of the Valletta Land Front. Continue to Pjazza Teatru Irjal, site of the former Royal Opera House that was extensively bombed in 1942. Walk along vibrant Strada Stretta, and see the Misrah San Gorg (St. George’s Square), site of a George Cross awarded to the island in 1942. Continue to the Queen Victoria Statue in Republic Square. Next, learn about the community kitchens, know as “Victory Kitchens,” built to avoid food waste at a time of shortage. Go to Victoria Gate, built on the site of the old Del Monte Gate, and pay your respects to the fallen sailors of Operation Pedestal at the anchor-shaped Santa Marija Memorial. Continue to Upper Barracca Garden to see the statues of Winston Churchill and other prominent men. Admire the Siege Bell Memorial overlooking the Great Harbor of Valletta, built in 1992 to honor the 7,000 people who lost their lives in the Siege of Malta. You will also enter the underground complex of the Lascaris War Rooms, where the air defense of Malta was conducted, along with some of the great Mediterranean sea battles. It was also here that General Eisenhower and his Supreme Commanders, Admiral Cunningham, Field Marshal Montgomery, and Air Marshall Tedder directed the Invasion of Sicily in 1943.

Valletta: Malta's Noble Homes and Palaces Private Tour

9. Valletta: Malta's Noble Homes and Palaces Private Tour

Meet your local guide and learn about the history and rich culture of the Mediterranean island of Malta. Discover splendid examples of medieval architecture, palaces adorned with Baroque decorations, noble residences, and wonderful gardens. The tour starts with a walking tour in Mdina. Make the first stop at Palazzo Falson. This palace is the second oldest surviving building in Mdina, dating back to the 13th century. Then discover Palazzo de Piro, a 17th-century building nestled in the bastion walls of the medieval city. Stop for a tea or coffee and enjoy spectacular views from the Fontanella Cafe' panoramic terrace. Continue your journey to visit the gardens of San Anton, the most beautiful botanical garden on the island. Find the chapel built by the Knights of St. John and the nearby Presidential Palace. Finally, stop at Naxxar to visit Palazzo Parisio, described as the Maltese Versailles for the beauty of its walled gardens.

Aviation Museum, Mosta Church, WWII Shelters inc. Platter

10. Aviation Museum, Mosta Church, WWII Shelters inc. Platter

During this tour, you will travel onboard a traditional Maltese Bus known by the locals as ‘Xarabank’. These buses were built by Maltese Bus Builders during the 1950s to the 1970s and came in all kinds of colours, to overcome illiteracy - red, purple, blue...all depending on the locality they served. This tradition persisted until eventually bus numbers came into place. Traditional Maltese bus decoration consisted of different designs and typography. This included designs in paint; passenger messages on the interior and exterior of the bus, names of patron saints, song lyrics, slogans and many more. There were also plenty of chrome and accessories, such as flags and good luck symbols. Nowadays, these colourful buses are rarely seen, used only on special occasions such as weddings & tourist events. During this tour you will first visit The Aviation Museum, an aircraft museum situated on the site of the former Royal Air Force airfield in the village of Ta'Qali. The museum, based in three hangars, covers the history of aviation on the island with exhibits, particularly from the Second World War and post-war periods. The museum is involved in the preservation and restoration of aircraft, some of which are in airworthy condition. You will then visit the Mosta Rotunda, a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. The design is based on the Pantheon in Rome, has the third largest unsupported dome in the world and is Malta's largest and most famous church. The church narrowly avoided destruction during World War II when on 9 April 1942 a German aerial bomb pierced the dome and fell into the church during Mass, but failed to explode. This event was interpreted by the Maltese as a miracle, although many bombs failed to explode. During your visit you will admire the sacristies, the various objects of prestige, a large-scale model of the church and a replica of the bomb. You will also go up to the portico, to the bell tower & enter in the inner gallery of the the church. Your last stop will be the World War II Shelter that skirts the Mosta Church parvis. The Shelter which was opened recently, was dug by hand in 1940 by 15 highly-skilled workmen. Families used this shelter during World War II to protect themselves from the many and continuous air raids. The complex also boasts an exhibition of tools and implements related to old trades. At the end of the tour, you will also enjoy some local savouries.

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What people are saying about Valletta

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 268 reviews

Our host Angela, is a great guide. Took us on exceptional tour of the main sights of Valletta. She had plenty of stories and she started with a detailed explanation of the history of Valletta and the Knights of St John. We were given time for a quick stop at the midpoint of the tour, using the loos of an art gallery. We finished in the breathtaking Co-Cathedral of St John, skipped the line to get in and were given a detailed tour of this very impressive cathedral. She answered all our questions and advised us on where to eat and shop, a real insiders guide.

It was an EXCELLENT experience… with a dynamic and vibrant guide named Elisa… Elisa was passionate and very enthusiastic about her Country…its history… its people…its cultural… She made the spirit of Valletta come alive through her detailed knowledge… We were a group of 6 cousins in the tour… by the end of our excursion with Elisa, she had become our “honorary” 7th cousin… Bravo!

We were very fortunate to have V as our guide. She has vast knowledge of not only Valletta but all of Malta. The entire walk was filled with interesting information, even during the rest stops, which made this experience extremely enjoyable! Highly recommend this tour.

Our guide Daiva is vey professional , I would really recommend her

It was very well organized, even a visitor with a wheelchair.