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14 Things You Can Do In Valletta Malta: One Day Itinerary

Enjoy sunsets over the historic buildings, one of the best things to do in Valletta.


Are you looking for the best things to do in Valletta, Malta? You’ll find many incredible adventures in this historic capital city! Even if Valletta is one of the smallest capital cities in Europe, covering only 0.61 square kilometers (0.24 square miles), it’s packed with over 320 monuments, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Valletta was built in 1566 by a group of brave knights called the Knights of St. John. They ensured the city had strong walls, fancy palaces, and beautiful churches that will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Let me help you explore the city’s cute streets, colorful balconies, and lively squares, where people love to hang out and have fun!

Easy One-Day Itinerary for Things to Do in Valletta, Malta

This itinerary is filled with the best things to do and see, so you won’t miss out on any of the cool stuff. Check out the schedule below to make the most of your time when visiting Valletta in Malta:

9:00 AM – 10:00 AMWalk Around the Streets of VallettaThroughout the city
10:00 AM – 10:30 AMTake Instagrammable PhotosRepublic Street and Merchants Street
10:30 AM – 11:30 AMVisit the Grandmaster’s PalacePalace Square
11:30 AM – 12:00 PMWatch the Changing of the Guard CeremonyGrandmaster’s Palace (last Friday of the month)
12:00 PM – 1:00 PMGo Inside St. John’s Co-CathedralSt. John’s Square
1:00 PM – 2:00 PMLearn the History of the Knights of MaltaSt. John’s Co-Cathedral
2:00 PM – 3:00 PMRelax and Enjoy the ViewsUpper Barrakka Gardens
3:00 PM – 3:30 PMWatch the Saluting Battery CeremonyUpper Barrakka Gardens
3:30 PM – 4:30 PMLearn Malta’s Army HistoryFort St. Elmo and the National War Museum
4:30 PM – 5:30 PMGo on a Fun Tour of Fort St. ElmoFort St. Elmo
5:30 PM – 7:00 PMEat Yummy Maltese Food and TreatsVarious locations (Cafe Cordina, Is-Suq tal-Belt, Nenu the Artisan Baker)
7:00 PM – 8:00 PMJoin a Food TourVarious locations
8:00 PM – 10:00 PMHave Fun at Night in VallettaStrait Street (The Gut)
10:00 PM – 11:00 PMWatch a Show at the Old Manoel TheatreOld Theatre Street
One Day Itinerary for Things to Do in Valletta City, Malta

This Valletta day plan has lots of different things to do, from checking out the pretty streets and old buildings to eating tasty Maltese food and having fun at night. Follow this guide, and you’ll have the best time ever in Valletta! Now, let’s discuss them all in detail:

1. Walk Around the Streets of Valletta

Explore flower-filled streets of Valletta, a must-do activity when visiting Malta's capital.

One of the best things to do in Valletta City is to simply walk around and explore the city’s streets and alleys. This Maltese city is small enough that you can easily see and experience many travel destinations just by walking, and you’ll find lots of fun surprises along the way, like colorful balconies, cute cafes, and lively squares where people like to hang out.

2. Take Instagrammable Photos on Republic and Merchants Street

Take in the breathtaking views of Valletta's Grand Harbour, a top attraction in this city.

Make sure to bring your camera or phone when you’re walking around Valletta in Malta because there are so many great photo spots! Two of the best streets for taking pictures are Republic Street and Merchants Street.

On Republic Street, you’ll see:

  • Bright red telephone booths that are perfect for a silly photo
  • The National Library, which is a big, fancy building
  • The Grand Master’s Palace, where important people used to live

On Merchants Street, you’ll find:

  • Lots of Valletta shops selling things like jewelry, clothes, and souvenirs
  • Pretty Maltese balconies with lots of flowers and decorations
  • Narrow side streets that are fun to explore

3. Visit the Grandmaster’s Palace, Where the Knights of St. John Used to Live

The incredible architecture inside Valletta's St. John's Co-Cathedral.

One of the most important places to visit in Valletta is the Grandmaster’s Palace. This big, fancy building was where the leaders of the Knights of St. John lived a long time ago. Today, it’s where the President of Malta works.

When you go inside the Grandmaster’s Palace, you can:

  • See the beautiful State Rooms with their fancy decorations and furniture
  • Look at the Malta’s weapons and armor in the Palace Armory
  • Learn about the interesting history of the Knights of Malta and how they helped build the city

4. Watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Grandmaster’s Palace

Visit the impressive Grandmaster's Palace, one of the coolest things to see in Valletta.

If you visit the Grandmaster’s Palace on the last Friday of the month at 10:30 in the morning, you can watch a special event called the Changing of the Guard. This is when soldiers from the Armed Forces of Malta do a changing ceremony in front of the palace.

During the ceremony, you’ll see:

  • Soldiers wearing neat uniforms and marching in perfect lines
  • The AFM Band playing lively music
  • A special military drill that shows off the soldiers’ skills and discipline

It’s a great chance to take some fun photos and learn more about Malta’s military history.

5. Go Inside St. John’s Co-Cathedral

Visiting the St. John's Co-Cathedral is a top attraction for experiencing Valletta's history.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral is another must-see place in Valletta City. It’s a big, beautiful church that was built in the Baroque style, which means it has lots of fancy decorations and details.

From the outside, St. John’s Co-Cathedral might not look too special, but wait until you step inside! You’ll be amazed by:

  • The shiny marble floor with 400 tombstones of important knights and nobles
  • The high ceiling with paintings showing the life of Saint John the Baptist
  • The nine special chapels, each one representing a different country or group of the Knights of Malta

6. Learn About the History of the Knights of Malta at St. John’s Co-Cathedral

Learning about the Knights of Malta is vital when exploring things to do in Valletta.

To really understand why St. John’s Co-Cathedral is so important, it’s a good idea to join a guided tour. The friendly guides will tell you lots of interesting stories about the Knights of Malta and how they were connected to the church.

You’ll learn things like:

  • What the different jobs and ranks were in the Knights of Malta
  • How the knights helped with art, healthcare, and protecting the city
  • The story behind the famous painting “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” by the Italian artist Caravaggio

7. Relax and Enjoy the Views at the Upper Barrakka Gardens

The Upper Barrakka Gardens has stunning views, a popular spot for sightseeing in Valletta.

If you’re feeling a bit tired from all the walking and exploring, take a break at the Upper Barrakka Gardens. These lovely gardens are up high on the city walls, so you can enjoy fantastic views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities across the water.

At the Upper Barrakka Gardens, you can:

  • Sit on a bench or find a nice spot on the grass to rest and relax
  • Look for the statues and fountains scattered around the gardens
  • Take lots of photos of the amazing views, especially during sunset

8. Watch the Saluting Battery Ceremony at the Upper Barrakka Gardens

The Saluting Battery cannon ceremony is among the unique things to experience in Valletta.

Every day at noon and 4 pm, you can watch a special event called the Saluting Battery Ceremony at the Upper Barrakka Gardens. This is when soldiers fire big cannons as a tradition that started hundreds of years ago.

During the ceremony, you’ll experience:

  • The loud “boom” of the cannons being fired
  • Smoke coming out of the cannons and filling the air
  • Soldiers dressed in historical uniforms performing the ceremony

It’s a fun and exciting way to learn about Malta’s history and military traditions.

9. Learn Malta’s Army History at Fort St. Elmo and the National War Museum

The fortified harbor entrance is one of the iconic things to see in Valletta.

For those who love learning about history, especially wars and armies, Fort St. Elmo and the National War Museum are great places to visit in Valletta.

At Fort St. Elmo, you can:

  • Explore the big stone walls and towers that protected the city from attacks
  • See the old prison cells where enemies were kept
  • Learn about the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, when the Knights of Malta fought against the Ottoman Empire

Inside the National War Museum, you’ll find:

  • Exhibits with old weapons, uniforms, and army equipment
  • Stories and pictures about the important battles and wars in Malta’s history
  • A special section about World War II and how Malta played a big role in the war

10. Go on a Fun Tour of Fort St. Elmo to Learn More About Malta’s History

A group of tourist enjoying a tour at Fort St. Elmo learning the history of Malta.

To make your visit to Fort St. Elmo even more interesting, you can join a guided tour. The tour guides will take you around the fort and share lots of stories and facts about its history.

On the tour, you’ll discover:

  • How the fort was built and why it was so important for protecting Valletta
  • The clever ways the knights defended the fort during attacks
  • Fun stories about the people who lived and worked in the fort over the years

11. Eat Yummy Maltese Food and Treats

Savoring traditional Maltese pastizzi, a must-try snack when visiting Valletta.

After all that exploring, you’ll probably be pretty hungry! Luckily, Valletta has lots of delicious Maltese food for you to try.

Some tasty treats to look for are:

  • Pastizzi: flaky pastries filled with ricotta cheese or mushy peas
  • Ftira: a yummy sandwich made with special Maltese bread, tomatoes, onions, and tuna or other fillings
  • Rabbit Stew: a traditional Maltese dish made with slow-cooked rabbit, vegetables, and herbs

You can find these foods and more at:

  • Cafe Cordina: a fancy cafe that’s been around since 1837, famous for its pastries and sandwiches
  • Is-Suq tal-Belt: a Valleta indoor food market with lots of stalls selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods
  • Nenu the Artisan Baker: a cozy bakery and restaurant where you can try ftira and other Maltese specialties

12. Join a Food Tour to Taste the Best Foods in Valletta

Explore Valletta City's fruit and vegetable market for local produce and street food.

If you really love food and want to learn more about Maltese cuisine, consider joining a food tour. On a food tour, a local guide will take you to some of the best places to eat in Valletta and tell you all about the history and culture behind the dishes.

During a food tour, you might:

  • Visit a family-run bakery and watch how pastizzi are made
  • Sample different types of Maltese cheeses and learn how they’re produced
  • Try a traditional Maltese meal at a popular local restaurant
  • Learn about the different influences (like Italian, Middle Eastern, and British) that have shaped Maltese cuisine over the years

13. Have Fun at Night in Valletta City

Valletta's lively waterfront area comes alive at night with entertainment and crowds.

Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the fun things to do in Valletta City have to stop! The city has a lively nightlife scene with plenty of Maltese bars, pubs, and live music venues to check out.

One of the most popular areas for nightlife is Strait Street, which is also known as “The Gut.” This narrow street was once the red-light district of Valletta, but today it’s filled with:

  • Maltese cocktail bars like Yard 32 and The Thirsty Barber
  • Pubs with live music and DJs, such as The Pub and Tico Tico
  • Cozy wine bars and craft beer spots for a more laid-back vibe

14. Watch a Show at the Old Manoel Theatre in Valletta

The historic Manoel Theatre stage, is a great place to watch shows in Valletta.

For a unique and cultural nightlife experience, head to the Manoel Theatre, one of the oldest theaters in Europe. This beautiful Baroque theater dates back to 1732 and still hosts regular performances of plays, musicals, and concerts.

Here are some interesting facts about the Manoel Theatre:

  • It was built by the Knights of Malta and named after Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena
  • The theater has a stunning blue and gold interior with ornate boxes and balconies
  • Many famous actors and musicians have performed on its stage over the years, including Luciano Pavarotti and Dame Judi Dench

Watching a show at the Manoel Theatre is a great way to experience Valletta’s rich cultural heritage and enjoy a memorable evening out in the city.

So there you have it – a fun-filled day (and night) trip to Valletta, Malta! With so many fun things to see, do, and eat, you’ll never be bored in this amazing city of Valletta. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring your camera, and come hungry for adventure (and pastizzi).

Is Valletta a Walkable City?

Yes, Valletta is a walkable and it’s the best way to experience the city! Its small size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it easy to explore on foot. You can walk from St. John’s Co-Cathedral to the Upper Barrakka Gardens in minutes, enjoying views of the Grand Harbour​. The city is filled with narrow, charming streets, historic buildings, and spots like Casa Rocca Piccola​​. The Valletta Waterfront, with its colorful 18th-century buildings, is also a short walk from the center​​.

What to Wear in Valletta Malta?

When visiting Valletta, wear light, breathable clothes like cotton or linen. In summer, go for sundresses, shorts, tank tops, and sandals. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses for sun protection. For visiting churches, cover your shoulders and knees. In spring and fall, bring layers like t-shirts and light jackets, and wear comfortable walking shoes. In winter, pack a light sweater or jacket for the mild, sometimes rainy weather​.

When is the Best Time to Visit Valletta?

The best time to visit Valletta is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). These months offer warm, sunny weather without the intense heat of summer, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities. You’ll also encounter fewer tourists, allowing for a more relaxed experience. Summer (July and August) can be very hot and crowded, ideal only for beach enthusiasts. Winter (November to February) brings mild weather, fewer crowds, and better accommodation deals, but it might be too chilly for swimming​.

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