Valletta is the capital of Malta and, despite its small size, it has plenty to offer during your stay abroad. Here is a list of places of interest to visit. Of course, as well as the historical sites, Valletta is a top city for partying and enjoying the nightlife: there are free concerts and DJs from March onwards, when the sun allows you to hang out on the terraces, day and night. Unlike Paceville, Valletta is a little more ‘stylish’, and the evenings are less overflowing: a pleasant way to enjoy long evenings without the music blaring until you can’t hear yourself speak. In short, Valletta, by day and by night, is one of the must-see cities to visit during your work placement abroad in Malta! Let’s get started with the TOP 10 things to do in Valletta!

Nightlife in Valletta

We can’t begin this list of the top 10 places to visit in Valletta without extolling the virtues of its nightlife! You’ll find it easier to meet locals here in Valletta than in Paceville! Valletta has a lively nightlife, particularly along Strait Street and in the surrounding areas. Here are some suggestions for enjoying Valletta’s nightlife on a student budget:

  1. Affordable bars and pubs: There are plenty of affordable bars and pubs in Valletta, offering drinks at reasonable prices. Some establishments also offer happy hours and special evening offers. Don’t hesitate to venture out into the back streets to discover some of the lesser-known, and often cheaper, places.
  2. Cultural life: Valletta is also home to festivals, concerts and cultural events throughout the year. Find out what free or reduced-price events are taking place during your stay. You can enjoy musical performances, open-air film screenings or art exhibitions without breaking the bank.
  3. Wine and tapas bars: If you want to enjoy quality wines and tapas at affordable prices, look out for Valletta’s wine and tapas bars. These establishments often offer a selection of local and international wines at reasonable prices, accompanied by small tasting plates.
  4. Student parties: Check with Malta’s universities and colleges to find out about evenings and events specially organised for students. These evenings are often affordable and will give you the opportunity to meet other international students.
  5. Outdoor events: During the summer months, Valletta often hosts outdoor events such as film screenings, concerts and festivals. Check the local events calendars for free or low-cost activities that might interest you.
Co-cathedral of Saint-Jean-Baptiste

The Co-Cathedral of St John the Baptist, located in Valletta, is an emblematic and much-visited landmark in Malta. Built in the 16th century by the Knights of the Order of St John, it served as the seat of the Grand Master of the Order and as the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Malta.

The co-cathedral is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. While the exterior of the building is relatively sober, the interior is remarkably opulent, adorned with gilding, frescoes and detailed sculptures. Renowned artists of the time, including Caravaggio, contributed to its decoration.

The interior of the co-cathedral is sumptuous, with richly decorated side chapels housing the tombs of the great masters of the Order of St John. However, what really draws visitors’ attention are the two paintings by Caravaggio on display: “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” and “Saint Jerome Writing”. These works are considered masterpieces of art and are admired by many visitors every year.

Next to the co-cathedral is the oratory, which houses the famous co-cathedral carpet. Made up of 400,000 finely cut marble tiles, this carpet depicts the coats of arms of the 12 languages of the Order of St John.

A visit to the Co-Cathedral of St John the Baptist offers visitors a glimpse into the rich past of the Order of St John and the island of Malta. As a place of worship, but also as an artistic and historical treasure, the co-cathedral is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and art of Malta.

Magistral Palace

The Magistral Palace, also known as the Palace of the Grand Masters, is a historic building located in Valletta, Malta. It was the official residence of the Grand Masters of the Order of St John.

Built in the 16th century, the Magistral Palace is an impressive example of Renaissance architecture. It is located next to the Co-cathedral of St John the Baptist, underlining its historical and political importance within the Order of St John.

The exterior of the Palais Magistral is sober yet elegant, with a façade of ashlar and meticulous architectural detailing. It has a magnificent interior courtyard and several grandly decorated rooms.

During a tour of the palace, visitors can discover sumptuously decorated rooms such as the Throne Room, the Council Chamber and the Armoury. These rooms are richly decorated with frescoes, tapestries and works of art, reflecting the grandeur and influence of the Order of St John at the time.

Today, the Magistral Palace houses the office of the President of Malta and is also used for official functions and state ceremonies. Parts of the palace are open to the public, allowing visitors to discover the history and splendour of the Order of St John through its magnificent halls and rich art collections.

A visit to the Magistral Palace is a unique opportunity to delve into Malta’s glorious past and discover the legacy of the Knights of the Order of St John. It is a must for history, architecture and culture lovers visiting Malta.

Barrakka Gardens

Barrakka Gardens, or Upper Barrakka Gardens, are public gardens located in Valletta, the capital of Malta. They offer breathtaking views of Valletta’s Grand Harbour and the Three Cities, making them one of the most popular places to admire the Maltese landscape.

Here are some of the special features of Barrakka Gardens:

  1. History: The gardens were laid out in the 19th century on the St Peter’s Bastion and the St Mary’s Bastion, which formed part of the city’s fortifications. They were originally reserved for members of the British aristocracy and were considered a privileged place to relax.
  2. Architecture : The gardens are surrounded by ashlar walls and are laid out in terraces, offering different levels to enjoy the panoramic views. The paths are lined with trees, flowers and statues, creating a peaceful, leafy atmosphere.
  3. Belvederes: Barrakka Gardens boasts two belvederes offering spectacular views of Valletta’s Grand Harbour and the Three Cities. From the upper lookout, you can admire the historic fortifications, the boats in the harbour and the seascapes as far as the eye can see.
  4. Saluting Battery: Close to the gardens is the Saluting Battery, an old cannon battery that was once used to salute ships entering and leaving the port. Today, this tradition is still honoured with cannon salutes at set times.
  5. Memorial: The gardens also house a memorial to the Maltese soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War.

Barrakka Gardens are an ideal place to stroll, relax and enjoy breathtaking views. Whether admiring the seascapes, watching the boats in the harbour or simply relaxing in the lush greenery, these gardens offer a pleasant and memorable experience for visitors to Valletta.

St Elmo’s Fort:

Fort Saint-Elme, also known as Fort Saint-Elmo, is a fortress located at the tip of the Valletta peninsula in Malta. Built by the Knights of the Order of St John in the 16th century, the fort boasts impressive military architecture with its thick walls, star-shaped bastions and moats. It played a crucial role during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, withstanding Ottoman assaults before falling. Today, St Elmo’s Fort houses the National War Museum, offering visitors a detailed exhibition on Malta’s military history. With its panoramic view over Valletta’s Grand Harbour, the fort is also appreciated for its striking scenery. Cultural events, such as concerts and historical re-enactments, are sometimes held here, adding a lively dimension to this major historical site in Malta.

Manoel Theatre

The Manoel Theatre is a historic theatre located in Valletta, the capital of Malta. Here is an overview of its history:

The theatre was built in the 18th century and opened in 1732. It was commissioned by António Manoel de Vilhena, Grand Master of the Order of St John of Malta, hence its name “Manoel Theatre”. It is considered to be one of the oldest theatres in Europe still in use.

The Manoel Theatre has a rich artistic history. In its early years, it hosted theatrical performances, operas, concerts and ballets. It was a popular place of entertainment for Maltese nobility and members of the Order of St John.

Over the years, the theatre has undergone a number of renovations and modifications to meet ever-changing technical requirements and standards. However, it has managed to preserve its original charm and character, retaining much of its Baroque architecture.

The Manoel Theatre has also played an important role in Malta’s cultural history. It has been the venue for the first performances of Maltese works, as well as international shows. Famous artists such as Sarah Bernhardt and Enrico Caruso have also graced its stages.

Despite the challenges it has faced, including periods of closure and decline, the Manoel Theatre has been restored and preserved in recent years, and continues to function as an active cultural venue. It hosts a variety of theatre productions, operas, concerts and arts events, attracting international artists as well as local talent.

Today, the Manoel Theatre is a cultural and historical icon in Malta, offering audiences a unique experience in a setting of exceptional architectural beauty. It is a must-see for theatre lovers and history buffs keen to discover Malta’s artistic heritage.

The National Museum of Fine Arts

The National Museum of Fine Arts of Malta is an art museum located in Valletta. Here is an overview of its history:

The museum was founded in 1974 and is housed in a historic building known as the Inquisitor’s Palace, located close to the Magistral Palace and the Co-cathedral of St John the Baptist. The building itself has a fascinating history, having served as the residence of the Inquisitors of the Order of St John. The museum houses a vast collection of works of art, covering different periods and artistic styles. It features paintings, sculptures, prints and decorative arts, showcasing both Maltese and international artists.

The museum’s permanent collection includes works by renowned artists such as Mattia Preti, Antoine Favray and Giuseppe Calì, as well as contemporary Maltese artists. The paintings on display cover a wide range of themes, from portraits and historical scenes to landscapes and still lifes.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also organises temporary exhibitions highlighting specific artists and artistic movements, offering visitors a variety of artistic experiences.

The National Museum of Fine Arts plays an essential role in promoting art and culture in Malta. It offers visitors an opportunity to discover the evolution of Maltese art through the centuries and to become familiar with national and international artists. Temporary exhibitions also keep the museum dynamic and constantly evolving.

The three towns of Birgu, Bormla and Senglea

And the top 10 places to visit in Valletta means I have to tell you about Birgu, Bormla and Senglea! Not far from Valletta, in fact, just across the road, are the Three Cities. Three towns steeped in fascinating history.

Here’s an example of how to organise a day trip to visit Birgu, Bormla and Senglea:

Day 1 :


  1. Start your day with a visit to Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa. Explore the narrow streets of this ancient fortified town and soak up its medieval atmosphere. Don’t miss the Inquisitor’s Palace and Saint Angelo’s Fort, with its breathtaking views over the Grand Port.

Afternoon: 2. Head to Bormla, also known as Cospicua. Visit the town’s historic centre and wander through its picturesque streets. Admire the colourful facades of the houses and discover magnificent churches such as the collegiate church of Saint Laurence.

  1. Take a lunch break in one of the local restaurants or cafés, where you can sample traditional Maltese dishes.

Evening: 4. End the day exploring Senglea, also known as Isla. Stroll along the seafront promenade and enjoy the views of the bustling harbour. Visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame des Victoires, a major landmark in the city.

  1. For a unique experience, take a traditional water taxi (dghajsa) across the Grand Harbour to Valletta, admiring the fortifications and seascapes.

If you wish to extend your visit over two days, you can divide the activities between the two days as follows:

Day 1 :

  • Morning: Tour of Birgu (Fort Saint-Angelo, Inquisitor’s Palace)
  • Afternoon: Visit to Bormla (historic centre, collegiate church of Saint Laurence)

Day 2 :

  • Morning: Continuation of the visit to Bormla (if you weren’t able to see everything the day before)
  • Afternoon: Visit to Senglea (seafront promenade, Basilica of Our Lady of Victories) and water taxi to Valletta.

Don’t forget to leave time to relax, enjoy the local restaurants and discover Maltese culinary specialities as you explore the three cities.

  1. Birgu (Vittoriosa): Birgu, founded by the Phoenicians, has a long history dating back to antiquity. It is known as the birthplace of the Order of St John in Malta. In 1530, the Order settled in Birgu after being granted the Maltese archipelago by Emperor Charles V. Birgu became the island’s capital and a strategic stronghold. In 1565, during the Great Siege of Malta, the town successfully resisted the Ottoman attacks. Today, Birgu retains many vestiges of its rich past, including the Fort Saint-Angelo and the Inquisitor’s Palace.
  2. Bormla (Cospicua): Bormla is a historic town which also played a key role in Malta’s defence. After the Great Siege of 1565, Bormla was rebuilt and fortified to strengthen the island’s defences. It became an important maritime and military centre. During the Second World War, Bormla was heavily bombed, but was subsequently rebuilt. Today, it offers a charming blend of traditional architecture and modernity.
  3. Senglea (Isla): Senglea is a small peninsula opposite Valletta. It was founded by the Knights of the Order of St John in 1551, shortly before the Great Siege. Senglea is built on a steep escarpment and was a strategic position from which to defend the Grand Harbour. The town takes its name from Grand Master Claude de la Sengle. It was also hit by bombing during the Second World War, but has since been rebuilt. Senglea is appreciated for its picturesque charm, narrow streets and panoramic views over the harbour.

The three towns have a shared history of military importance and have witnessed many historic events. They have survived periods of conflict and destruction, but have managed to preserve their architectural and cultural heritage. Today, they attract visitors with their historic atmosphere, impressive fortifications and rich heritage.

Casa Rocca Piccola:

And finally, this ranking of the top 10 places to visit in Valletta would be absolutely imperfect without mentioning the incredible Casa Rocca Piccola, a historic residence located in Valletta, Malta. This aristocratic house has been the home of the de Piro family for over 400 years. Here’s an explanation of this fascinating place:

Casa Rocca Piccola was built in the 16th century by Don Pietro La Rocca, a member of the Maltese nobility. It is located in the old walled city of Valletta, close to the Co-Cathedral of St John the Baptist and other important historical sites.

The house is a magnificent example of Maltese aristocratic architecture of the period. It features a combination of styles, with Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical influences. The rooms are decorated with period furniture, tapestries, paintings, objets d’art and precious family collections.

Casa Rocca Piccola offers visitors an insight into the life and history of the de Piro family. Guided tours explore the different rooms of the house, including the drawing rooms, bedrooms, dining room and private chapel. The guides explain the family history, Maltese traditions and the remarkable architectural details of the house.

As well as its historical aspects, Casa Rocca Piccola is also known for its magnificent gardens. Visitors can stroll through the well-kept gardens, which offer a peaceful space with fountains, sculptures, exotic plants and shady corners.

Casa Rocca Piccola is an architectural gem and a veritable window on the history of Malta. It offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to discover the intimacy of a Maltese aristocratic house, to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the past and to better understand the daily life of the nobility of the time.

Finally, the TOP 10 things to do in Valletta! If you’re interested in doing an internship in Malta, click here! All you have to do is fill in the form, and a member of our team will call you back to help you plan your work placement abroad! And if this top 10 list of things to do in Valletta isn’t enough for you, you can also read about our experience in Malta, or the experiences of Cécile and Jérémy, who went on an internship in Malta with International Horizons.

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