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Sixty miles south of Sicily, you will find a magnificent island by the name of Malta. This Mediterranean dream is home to the lovely city of Valletta, a tourist's heaven. The waters off the coast of Valletta are a sparkling blue, and the whole island is an exercise in adventure and splendor. The land is visually stunning and bustling with activity, and the beauty of the region is complemented by an incredible range of available activities. One of the highlights of Valletta is Carnival, held annually from February 19th through the 23rd. A festival, a celebration, and a tribute to the past all rolled into one, contemporary and traditional elements are blended perfectly into this wonderful event. Holy Week and Easter are also quite enjoyable in Valletta. More driven by heritage than pure entertainment, the locals are dedicated and devout in their celebration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is a very interesting time of the year, and I highly recommend visiting Valletta during this season.
 
When you walk into protected harbor of Valletta, it feels as if modern civilization has melted into thin air. Oh, you can observe a vehicle or two driving around the winding roads among the limestone battlements, awe-inspiring crenellated forts and beautiful hillside structures, however they appear terribly unnatural and unpredictable.  If you are looking for an offbeat vacation destination, away from the innately touristy, crowded places, Malta Valletta may be your spot.
 
Let alone the country, which has 7,000 many years of intriguing history behind it, is fully up-to-date and contemporary. A specific item when entering Valletta Harbor is cream-colored structures climbing twisting roads and slopes pockmarked from centuries of cannon fire ancient forts protecting the harbor entrance and Malta's own colorful luzzo motorboats, fishing craft resembling nothing under an elf's shoe.
 
The initial landscape and also the structures of Malta have made an appearance in recent films for example "Troy," "The Gladiator," the 50's classic "Maltese Falcon" and also the 1980 movie "Popeye," starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.
 
 This small Mediterranean country is really a part of an archipelago of 5 islands, only three which are lived on (another two are Gozo and Comino). But it is the area of Malta and also the port of Valletta (created by a friend of Michelangelo) where the cruise ships call. Knowing a little from the good reputation for this destination is useful and helps make the experience more significant.
 
 Malta continues to be lived on since 5000 B.C. and it was colonized through the Phoenicians in 1000 B.C. Then your islands went consequently towards the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and also the Spanish, who handed them to the Knights in combat from the Order of St. John inside a "perpetual lease" in 1533 this survived until Napoleon grabbed control in 1798. The Maltese didn't such as the French, rebelled, received the help of the United Kingdom, grew to become an English protectorate in 1900, grew to become an element of the British Empire in 1814, rebelled from the British, in 1964 was granted independence as well as in 1974 grew to become a republic underneath the British Commonwealth.
 
 The influence of these cultures is apparent in Malta, with the fascinating ancient Roman period apparently taking priority. Indeed, Malta is fairly modern, especially in the area in which the major chic resorts and casinos are situated. However for cruise site visitors with only a single day to take in the city, be within the old city to enjoy a nice old-worldly break.
 
 
Valletta lives up to its reputation as a city built by gentlemen, with its romantic and enchanting streets and a designated world heritage site. Blessed with the most beautiful harbour in Europe, stunning architecture and a rich history, it is a definite must see while visiting Malta. Here are five attractions you should visit during your stay in Valletta.
 
Where You're Docked
Ships dock outside the city wall beside Valletta Waterfront south of the main gate. You will need to walk up the hill to get into town or take the newly constructed Barrakka Lift located east of the pier up to Barrakka Gardens.
 
Local Transportation
Valletta can be explored on foot but other cities can be visited by taking the bright yellow buses from the bus terminal outside the main gate. The bus routes spoke out from Valletta and only display the route number so make sure you get on the correct one. You can catch one at the Terminal and purchase and all day ticket for 3.49 euros or 1 euro for a round trip to the Terminal.You can walk right into Valletta, no problem. And if you want to avoid the crazy hill, there is a shortcut to an elevator in the parking garage. You have to go into the mountain where the cars for the parking garage come out and walk up a bit (not as much as the hill, though) At the top to the left is the inlet with the elevator. Take it up and you will be at the bus station if you want to go to M'dina, or walk across the street into Valletta. Taxis are 10 euros to the city. There are reasonably priced public buses that can take you to various spots on the island (you catch them in the city) and ferries that can take you to Gozo and Comino. Pay careful attention to the timetables so you don't miss your ship's departure time!
 
Hanging around the Valletta Waterfront pier area makes this one of the nicest cruise ports in Europe. Filled with shops, restaurants and bars, the Valletta Waterfront is also a destination for local residents. On any given day there might be a festival of some sort or another, or musical performances: for example, a jazz band conclave or a classical recital. Filled with retail shops, bars and restaurants, you can take your time reboarding while you relax at the Hard Rock Cafe, or pick up some last-minute purchases at Pedigree Toys, the Agenda Bookshop or a branch of Mdina Glass. There is an ATM in the center, as well.
Getting around from the waterfront area you have three choices for getting around: on foot, by taxi or by horse-drawn carriage. The latter two are very expensive (10 euros to go up the hill in a taxi and about 50 euros to go on a horse and carriage ride). Walking into town is good recreation for reasonably fit travelers but can be very difficult for anyone who is even minimally mobility-impaired, as it is a steep and arduous climb. Additionally, where your ship docks can add as much as a quarter of a mile to the trek just to the exit gate and there are no benches for resting. It also gets quite hot in Malta during the spring and summer months; plan accordingly.
 
You can take a spectacular walk along the sea around the outside of the city walls. If you go to the mooring place where the ferry for Sliema leaves, there is the possibility to walk over the rocks towards the tip of the peninsula and then around it coming back up into the city just next to the Malta Experience. This walk takes about 30 minutes and is done by virtually no-one. You may also opt to take one of the free walking tour around the city of Valletta organised by tour companies such as Colour My Travel.
At night in St George's Square, there is a lovely water fountain, with coloured spouts of water which pop up and down - a fantastic play opportunity for children. They WILL get wet, so don't let them go near if they are wearing their best clothing. Great fun for kids.
 
Attractions
Upper Barracca Gardens – The best view in the city overlooking the Grand Harbour and the three cities across. One of the most spectacular spots dating back to 1565. The grand balcony and arched walkway juts over the harbour at vertiginous hight, this breath breathtaking bit of craftsmanship incorporates part of the bastions which surround the whole of the city and has become an iconic image in Valletta. Adding to its charm is the small romantic mediterranean garden at its entrance.
 
Grand Master’s Palace – Built in 1571, it was one of the first buildings in Valletta. It served as the official residence for the Grand Master. It houses a Throne Room, an Armoury with one of the finest collections of weapons of the period of the Knights of Malta. A Tapestry chamber where you can still admire ten tapestries of the cycle ” Les Tentures des Indes” (The Indian Hangings), which were produced at the Royal Gobelin workshop of Louis XIV. in 1700.
 
Piazza Regina and the adjoining St. George square – On the grounds just in front of the Grand Master’s Palace and also at its side, is probably Malta’s most magnificent public urban space and piazza. The plaza sits lined with charming cafes, including the oldest coffee shop in Valletta – Cafe Cordina and its rival Cafe Premier, beautiful historic buildings and a swarm of pigeons. Meanwhile the neo classical Bibioteca overlooking Piazza Regina, still houses to this day one of the best collections of 16th century books dating back to the Knights of Malta. Walk inside and view the priceless collection of books which line the walls of the main hall.
 
Back streets – Although Valletta’s side streets is usually not part of many tourists’ itineraries, it certainly should be. Able your way through some of the narrow streets of this fascinating city lined with Maltese balconies, a typical feature of local architecture. A host of small restaurants beckon you in. The most popular with locals – Rubino for the national dish Rabbit stew. For a more romantic experience, the city is best explored at night when it quietens down and the dimly lit streets evoke a feeling of times gone by.
 
A Carriage Ride – So what if it seems like a tourist trap? A horse ride inside one of the Victoria carriages is an essential experience while in town. Although the city can be easily viewed on foot, a carriage through the streets gives you back the intimacy and grace of the past. A romantic ride remains the ideal way to end your vacation in Valletta.
 
Saint John's Co-Cathedral
Saint John's Co-Cathedral is testimony to the wealth and importance of the Knights of Malta, who created a stronghold of Christianity in the 16th century. The Knights mission was to protect Europe and the Catholic faith from attacks by the Ottoman Turks, and this cathedral was built as a symbol to their success. Visitors are awestruck when entering Saint John's Co-Cathedral. The simple facade belies its magnificent interior, which appears more like a jewelry box than a church sanctuary. Unlike any other church in Europe, the nave of Saint John's Co-Cathedral features opulently decorated and ostentatiously gilded walls. The design epitomizes flamboyant Baroque style of the 17th century. After admiring the glittering space, viewers notice the gorgeous ceiling paintings. The most renowned painter of Malta, Mattia Preti, created the breathtaking series of overhead paintings, which depict the life of Saint John the Baptist. Throughout the cathedral, the entire floor is an intricate inlay of around 400 marble tombstones with Latin epitaphs that commemorate the Knights of Saint John.
 
The various chapels of Saint John's Co-Cathedral reflect the different "langues" (regions) of the Knights of Malta who hailed from many different countries in Europe. Among the eight chapels are a few must-see highlights: The Chapel of the Langue of Aragon (the region of Catalonia and Navarre in Spain) is one of the most richly decorated chapels in the church. This chapel is dedicated to Saint George and features Mattia Preti's splendid painting of Saint George on a white stallion after slaying a dragon. The Chapel of the Langue of France is another lavishly decorated chapel with ornate sculptural reliefs and impressive monuments to the Grand Masters of France. The Chapel of the Langue of Italy has a splendid Baroque artistic style. The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine altarpiece painting by Mattia Preti is dedicated to the patron saint of the Italian "langue," Saint Catherine of Alexandria. This chapel also displays the famous work of Saint-Jerome Writing by Caravaggio, one of Italy's most renowned painters.
 
Be sure to visit the Oratory, an opulent room decorated with ornate gilded moldings and filled with important works of art including the most famous painting in the cathedral. The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio is an evocative piece and one of the artist's finest works. Adjoining the cathedral, the museum includes a collection of rare illuminated manuscripts, exquisite Flemish tapestries (from Belgium), and precious relics.
 
After visiting Saint-John's Co-Cathedral, walk down Republic Street to explore the area around Palace Square on the way to the next attraction-the Grand Master's Palace. This area has many quaint shops, cafés, and restaurants. A great place to stop is the famous establishment Caffe Cordina, an elegant café founded in 1837. Try the specialties like "Kwarezimal" a traditional Maltese pastry made during Lent.
Address: Saint John's Street, Valletta -- Official site: http://stjohnscocathedral.com/
 
Grand Master's Palace
Valletta's most magnificent building, the Grand Master's Palace stands in the center of the town on Palace Square, a spacious town square often used for traditional ceremonies. Grand Master Fra Pietro del Monte commissioned the palace in the 16th century as a residence for the Knights of Malta. The building was enlarged and enhanced in the following centuries. Part of the building is now used as the House of Parliament and the office of the President of Malta. The rest of the building is open to the public as a museum. Tourists enter through an impressive courtyard. The visit continues on the Upper Floor, where grandiose hallways lead to the State Rooms. The hallways feature lavish 18th-century Baroque ceiling paintings that were designed to impress visitors.
 
The enormous State Rooms are richly decorated with gilded moldings and works of art. An elaborate series of murals painted by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio illustrates a complete narration of the Great Siege of 1565. The murals depict specific events including battle scenes of the knights fighting against the Ottoman Turks. The State Rooms display official portraits of the Grand Masters, who led the knights to victory. One of the paintings depicts the dignified-looking Grand Master Jean de Vallette, founder of the city of Valletta. Also be sure to see the Red Room where the knights met with ambassadors for important diplomatic meetings. Another highlight is the series of Les Teintures des Indes tapestries. This rare set of 18th-century Gobelins tapestries (made in Belgium) depicts the New World and features scenes of the jungle in South America including images of exotic animals and plants.
 
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Grand Master's Palace is the Palace Armory. This extensive armory collection displays the knights' armor and weapons (swords, bows, firearms, and cannons) dating from the 15th century to the 18th century. The armory reveals that the Knights of Malta were not ordinary soldiers-they were aristocratic warriors equipped with the most elaborate armor and weapons that money could buy. Some of the exhibits allow visitors to feel the actual weight of the helmets. The collection includes a special focus on the Great Siege Period as well as examples of armor and weapons of the Ottoman Turks.
Address: Palace Square, Valletta - Official site: http://heritagemalta.org/museums-sites/the-palace-state-rooms/
 
Grand Harbor
Valletta owes much of its military success to its strategic location on the Grand Harbor. The enormous harbor could dock its battleships and still keep invaders out by closing off the entrance. The entire harbor is surrounded by massive fortifications, bastions, and defensive towers. This formidable setting was the scene of the Great Siege of 1565, the most famous event in Malta's history. Led by Grand Master Jean de Valette, the knights heroically defeated the ruthless Ottoman Turk invaders.
 
Today, the Grand Harbor allows entry of large commercial ships, ocean liners, and cruise ships. The harbor branches off into smaller creeks (shaped like a multi-pronged fork). In these quiet ports, there are many yacht marinas. The ports around the Valletta harbors provide enough docks for thousands of yachts, making it one of the largest marinas in the world. The entire harbor area encompasses a semicircle of densely populated little towns, including Kalkara, Vittoriosa, Cospicua, Senglea, Paola, and Marsa. Just across from Valletta, the towns of Vittoriosa, Cospicua, and Senglea, known as the "Three Cities" were the original settlement of the knights. These towns are filled with historical monuments, such as auberges of the knights, beautiful Baroque churches, and important military forts.
 
National Museum of Archaeology
The National Museum of Archeology is housed in the former Auberge de Provence, the historic residence of the knights originating from the Provence region in France. The building dates to 1571 and is a wonderful example of Baroque architecture designed by Glormu Cassar. The Grand Salon is especially noteworthy, with its richly painted walls and wood-beamed ceiling. The museum's exceptional archaeology collection tells the story of Malta through 100 objects that chronologically narrate a timeline of 85 million years. Exhibits include prehistoric artifacts and architectural elements found at megalithic sites as well as Roman era and medieval antiquities.
 
The museum is renowned for its Prehistoric collection, an extensive array of artifacts from the Maltese Islands' megalithic temples. These Neolithic-era archaeological finds include 6,000 to 7,000-year-old pottery, ornaments, altars, limestone statuettes, terra cotta bowls, and cult utensils from the Ggantija site on the Island of Gozo, the cult sites of Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and Hal Tarxien, and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. One room contains interesting models of the five best-preserved temples. The headless "fat" statues of the Tarxien Temples are displayed here. There is a separate room dedicated to The Sleeping Lady, a masterpiece of prehistoric art. The tiny figurine of a woman lying on a couch reveals the expression and emotion of centuries ago. Other sections are devoted to Phoenician, Punic, Roman, and Arab artifacts; medieval objects of art; and items related to the Order of Saint John.
Address: Auberge de Provence, Republic Street, Valletta
 
Upper Barracca Gardens and Military Ceremonies
The lovely Upper Barracca Gardens encircle part of the city's old fortifications, built on the highest point of Valletta. The peaceful and shady gardens are beautifully laid out with fountains, flower beds, and rows of arch ways. There are multiple viewpoints from different outlooks around the garden, offering stunning views of the Grand Harbor. It's possible to see across to the towns of Vittoriosa, Cospicua, and Kalkara. The level below the gardens is the former bastion, which is lined with the old military cannons. This space is now used for outdoor weddings and ceremonial events. Every day, a traditional ceremony at noon is performed by members of the Malta Heritage Society dressed in authentic British Artillery uniforms. The ceremony includes firing the cannons as a salute. Fitting of its associations with military history, the Upper Barracca Gardens also features several bronze statues of prominent historical figures, including one of Winston Churchill.
 
The Upper Barracca Gardens is in the heart of the city next to Castille Place. To arrive here, go to the Victoria Gate and turn left past the Church of Saint Mary of Jesus onto Saint Ursula Street. The entrance to the Upper Barracca Gardens is at the end of the street. There is also an elevator at the foot of Saint Barbara Bastion that goes up 60 meters to the Upper Barracca Gardens.
Address: Saint Ursula Street, Valletta
 
Lisa Alexander
Visit the ancestral home of an aristocratic Maltese family who still lives here. Just past the Grandmaster's Palace, this 16th-century palace was built for Don Pietro La Rocca, one of the Knights of Malta. The current owners are the 9th Marquis and Marchioness de Piro. Visitors can tour 12 of the palace's elegant rooms including two dining rooms, a bedroom with a four-poster bed, the salons, and the small family chapel. The palace displays numerous heirlooms as well as a family tree that traces their noble lineage back several generations. The rooms are decorated with antique 16th-century furniture, Murano glass chandeliers imported from Venice, and crystal chandeliers from Bohemia (Czech Republic). In the Sala Grande, there is a unique portable chapel, a cabinet crafted from black lacquer with an altar inside, that was designed for personal devotion. A visit to the Casa Rocca Piccola includes a short tour of the underground tunnels used as WWII air raid shelters. The Casa Rocca Piccola also has a charming courtyard garden and gift shop. The family-run La Giara restaurant prepares the authentic cuisine of Sicily from the palace's old kitchens. Address: 74 Republic Street, Valletta - Official site: http://www.casaroccapiccola.com
 
Manoel Theater: One of the Oldest Theaters in Europe
This magnificent little theater was commissioned in 1731 by António Manoel de Vilhena, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, to meet the local demand for operas, pageants, and theatrical performances. With this distinguished heritage, the Manoel Theater ranks among the oldest theaters in Europe. The lavishly decorated auditorium features gilded box seats and plush velvet chairs. Every seat in the house offers a good view, and the acoustics of the oval room are excellent.
 
Visitors may take a self-guided tour with an audio guide. During the theater season (September through May), there are performances in the evenings. It is a delightful tourist experience to attend an event in this sensational historic setting. The schedule includes classical music concerts, traditional opera, dance recitals, dramatic theater, and visual arts. In January, the Manoel Theater hosts a renowned Baroque Festival. In the theater's courtyard, the Café Teatro is a relaxing spot to enjoy a light meal of Sicilian cuisine.
Address: Old Theater Street, Valletta - Official site: http://www.teatrumanoel.com.mt
 
Collegiate Parish Church of Saint Paul's Shipwreck
With its impressive dome, the Church of Saint Paul's Shipwreck is an important landmark in Valletta. The church is dedicated to the father of Christianity in Malta, the Apostle Saint Paul, who arrived on the island because of a shipwreck in 60 AD. Designed by renowned architect Cassar, this church is one of the oldest in Malta, dating back to the 1570s. As befits a church dedicated to one of Malta's patron saints, the interior is sumptuous and houses venerated relics. Pope Pius VII donated the most precious relic, the block upon which Saint Paul was said to have been beheaded, as well as what is believed to be part of his wrist bone. This relic stands on a pillar in a small chapel.
 
The wooden gilded statue of Saint Paul is solemnly carried through the streets on February 10th every year to commemorate the day Saint Paul's shipwreck occurred. The ceiling frescoes depict Saint Paul's brief sojourn in Malta and were painted at the turn of the century. The main altarpiece displays a painting of Saint Paul and Saint Luke in a scene of the shipwreck. This work was painted by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio in 1580. Address: 74 Saint Paul Street, Valletta
Malta's National Museum of Fine Arts is housed in a beautiful palace that was originally a residence for the Knights of Malta. The monumental staircase at the entrance makes a grand impression, worthy of Valletta's finest art collection. The museum's collection represents important works of Maltese art from the 12th century to the 20th century, as well as noteworthy pieces by other European artists. There is an excellent assortment of works by the most famous artist of Malta, Mattia Preti, who was from Calabria in Southern Italy. His finest work on display here is the Baptism of Christ painting. The museum also displays a few masterpieces by Italian artist Guido Reni and the exceptional Judith and Holofernes painting by Valentin de Boulogne. One of the most exquisite paintings in the museum is the early Impressionist View of the Grand Harbor by J.M.W. Turner. Address: South Street, Valletta
 
Valletta Waterfront
Overlooked by many tourists, the Valletta Waterfront is a popular spot among locals. The elegant Baroque buildings along the Marsamxett Harbor were once used as warehouses. The row of buildings was commissioned in the 18th century by Grand Master Pinto for the purpose of storing goods such as grain, vegetables, and fish. The doors were painted in different colors to indicate the type of contents stored inside. For instance, yellow represented wheat, and blue was for seafood. The warehouse buildings have been beautifully restored and the pathway has been enlarged. Fringed with shady trees and leafy palms, the spacious waterside promenade is lined with trendy restaurants. This is a perfect place to enjoy an atmospheric meal by the harbor.
 
Festivals, Theater, and Cultural Events
Valletta has a vibrant art scene and has earned the title "European Capital of Culture" because of its wealth of cultural events throughout the year. The Malta Arts Festival draws talent from all over the world to perform at various venues in Valletta as well as in the nearby towns. The main performance venues are the Pjazza Teatru Rjal, the Royal Opera House (destroyed during WWII but now serving as an outdoor venue), and the Saint James Cavalier Center for Creativity in Valletta. From film, ballet, and classical music to Shakespeare, Puccini operas, and circus acts, the schedule of events offers something for everyone. There are also fun local Maltese theater performances.
 
In April, the city of Valletta hosts a spectacular International Fireworks Festival. This tradition goes back to the era of the Knights of the Order of Saint John. The festival features beautiful fireworks displays, gun salutes, and the firing of muskets. Another traditional festival is the religious celebration for the Feast of Saint John on June 24th. There are also lively religious parades in July, when the parish churches pay tribute to their patron saints. Valletta's important churches are illuminated, and marching bands parade through the town carrying icons, while locals throw confetti and enjoy the scene. Another reason to visit in July is the Malta Jazz Festival, a high-profile program of musical events held at beautiful venues on Valletta's Grand Harbor. Official site: www.maltaartsfestival.org
 
World War II History
Malta's National War Museum is in the historic Fort Saint Elmo overlooking the Grand Harbor and the Marsamxett Harbor. The museum displays military memorabilia from the British period with a special focus on the Second World War. The Lascaris War Rooms underneath the Upper Barracca Gardens is an underground tunnel complex. Here, visitors can see the original fighter control rooms, where WWII operations against the Germans and Italians were planned.
 
Restaurants
Valletta has a collection of decent restaurants, due to most of the tourists residing either in Sliema or on the north coast of the island there are fewer of the trashy variety. You will find restaurants and shops along Valletta's main street. Try a Pastizzi (cheese filled pastry) from a bakery and a Kinnie, a local drink made from bitter oranges.
 
On a Budget: Lunching in Valletta can be casual and charming by sitting al fresco at one of the many outdoor cafes, or casual and cheap by purchasing Maltese pastizzi (flaky pastries filled with meats and peas sold at little kiosks).
Upscale: Malata (Palace Square, Phone: 21-233967) is definitely one of the "haute cuisine" dining spots in Valletta, more expensive than most and from all reports, worth it. This is where the members of the Maltese Parliament lunch. Specialties are seafood and steak.
 
Al Fresco Dining: Caffe Cordina (Repubic St., shopping area; Phone: 21-234385) is Malta's oldest and most celebrated outdoor cafe, located on the ground floor of the old treasury building. Most people dine outside, but if you choose to do that, take a moment to look at the inside of the restaurant, with its ornate murals and ceiling frescoes.
 
Peppino's  A very popular restaurant on the St Julian's waterfront. Think tiled floors, checked tablecloths and patterned crockery like Mama used to have. Lunch is served downstairs only, while at dinner time all three floors are open. The best sea views are from the top floor, and you need to book well in advance for terrace tables. All along the stairway are pictures of stars who have eaten here, most of whom were in Malta to make films: Madonna, Daniel Craig, Ridley Scott etc. The food is generally good, if perhaps a little pricey for what it is. Address: 31 St George's Road, St Julian's
Getting there: bus to Spinola Bay, St Julian's (multiple services) Contact: 00 356 21373200; peppinosmalta.com Opening times: Mon-Sat, noon-2.30pm, 6.30pm-11pm -- Prices: pastas from €8; full three-course meal around €35
 
Trabuxu Wine Bar offer inexpensive meals well established Valletta’s first wine bar.  A wine list of 300 plus local and international wines is complemented with a small blackboard menu (varied daily) of excellent home-cooked meals at very reasonable prices. Their Shepherds’ Pie is a comforting winter option, or there are salad platters for summer. The food is beautifully presented too. The décor is part permanent, including the musical instruments that hang from the limestone walls, and part changing – the contemporary art (for sale) that is refreshed each month. The same owners also run the Trabuxu Bistro round the corner if you are looking for the full restaurant experience. Address: 1 Strait Street, Valletta -- Contact: 00356 21223036; trabuxu.com.mt
 
Local Favorite: Lantern (20 Sappers St., Phone: 21-237521) offers reasonably priced Maltese dining in an 18th-century townhouse on the west side of Valletta. Owned and operated by two brothers for years, this is a local favorite.
Sweet Treats: Locals and tourists love the Perfection Cafe (Old Theatre St.), where you can sit for hours if you'd like, sampling the sweet and savory pastries. Burgers, chips and other plebian fare is available too, but it's the baked goods that make this place special.
At the Port: A picturesque string of cafes line the dock at Valletta's Grand Harbour; these range from the aforementioned Hard Rock (which serves sandwiches) to Chinese and Italian. (Casanova has excellent Naples-style pizza.)
 
Shopping
Shopping is among the favourite activities on many a holidaymaker's to-do list. Malta offers numerous and diverse opportunities and is sure to satisfy the casual buyer as well as the serious shopaholic.Retail outlets and shopping centres can be found in all the major towns and villages, but the foremost amongst these are at Valletta in Republic Street and Merchants Street; in Tas-Sliema mostly along Tower Road, Bisazza Street and the Strand; in St. Julian's and Paceville; in Paola town centre; in Hamrun along High Street; in Mosta around the town centre; in Bugibba and St. Paul's Bay; and in Victoria (Rabat) in Gozo. Shops are normally open from Monday to Saturday, mornings and evenings. Opening times of shops are usually between 09.00 - 13.00 and 16.00 - 19.00hrs. However, in tourist areas, shops are open throughout the day Mondays to Saturdays, from 09.00 till 19.00 hrs and even later.
 
shopping for maltese craftsShopping for Crafts
Crafts have undergone a revival in recent years. Not solely because they make interesting souvenirs but also because of their high cultural value to the Islands. Some crafts, such as knitwear, basket-ware and lace, have a long history.
 
Open Air Markets
Markets are at the heart of Maltese village life and an experience not to be missed by visitors. Almost every town and village has its version. For the locals, they are a place for socialising, catching up with neighbours and local news, as much as for buying daily necessities.
 
Shopping Malls 
The concept of Shopping Mall is a relatively new addition to the Maltese commercial landscape, but is one that has rapidly gained popularity amongst locals and tourists. The comfort and convenience of shopping under one roof has seen a number of malls opening in both Malta and Gozo.
 
Merchant Street Flea Market: Smack in the middle of the shopping area of Valletta, this colorful open-air market is set up daily between 9 a.m. and noon. Shop for bargains on laces, silver filigree jewelry, Gozo or Mdina glass and other Maltese specialties.

Republic Street: One of the main shopping streets in Valletta, it's fun to browse. Stop for a coffee in one of its leafy squares, just to sit and people-watch.
 
Classic Jewelry is located at 293 Republic Street (21/220-200) and is the premier destination in Valletta for high quality diamonds, gold, and silver. There are actually multiple stores in Valletta, and this one, in particular, is quite accessible from the port area and the town center. The selection of watches is the finest in the land, and if you are a fan of fine jewelry then this is definitely the place for you. A favorite among wives of easily-coerced men, be careful in this store because credit cards have been known to fly out of wallets faster than you could say how much?! Clamus Center is located at 152 Melita Street (21/226-594) and is a five-story wonder full of all kinds of items ranging from stationery to toys to jewels. There are five floors that carry almost anything you could be looking for. Gio Batta Delia can be found at 307 Republic Street (21/233-618) and features top quality glasswork and china.

 
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