What I did and saw:
Valletta City Gate and The Triton Fountain-
Entering Valletta feels a bit like going in a weird time machine that mixes a variety of cultures. Due to the influence of the countries surrounding the island of Malta and the countries that have ruled over Malta, it has produced a unique mix of culture and history. It is a cool experience to walk into and through the old city of Valletta, which was founded in 1565, and take in the different cultural influences displayed there.
Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens-
The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens are both free to enter, and it is well worth the trip. It provides great views of the island and the sea. Also, there is a display showing the filming locations for a variety of popular movies and TV shows that were filmed on the island such as Game of Thrones, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, Risen, Gladiator, Captain Phillips, World War Z, and a couple James Bond movies.
Siege Bell War Memorial-
During World War II Malta was attacked by the Axis forces due to its strategic importance in the Mediterranean, and it was one of the most bombed areas during the entire war. After being under siege for over two years, the Allied forces prevailed in a major victory. This monument is built to honor the siege and victory.
Where I ate and drank:
Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters-
Lot Sixty One serves up some excellent coffee in the old town of Valletta. They also offer some tasty pastries and bread. Also, I was also a fan of the simplistic, sturdy design of their coffee cups. It was the best cup of coffee I had during my time in Valletta.
The food at 67 Kapitali was unique and absolutely delicious, and they also had a nice selection of local beers. I had the “Bruna” sandwich, which contained Parma ham, creamy Brie, and homemade banana and almond chutney. It may sound strange but it tasted delicious. I also had a bit of a platter with some local Maltese cheese.
Theobroma Raw Cacao Collective-
If you are looking for some tasty chocolatey treats, Theobroma Raw Cacao Collective is a nice place to get them. Also, they are focused on sustainability and will give out a free chocolate if you bring your own container.
Cafe Jubilee is a nice place to grab a bite to eat or a drink. They serve good food at good prices. While I was there I tried their homemade cinnamon ice cream.
Nenu the Artisan Baker-
I had to opportunity to get some “Ftira” from Nenu’s which is a great place to get it. It is somewhat similar to a heartier version of a pizza, and it was very tasty.
The Beer Cave-
I was only able to spend a short time in The Beer Cave because I had to catch a bus, but it was a very cool place. It looks very inconspicuous from the outside, but after going down the stairs it opens up into a very nice space. They have a very nice beer selection, and I would definitely go back again next time I am in Valletta.
Is-Suq Food Market-
Is-Suq is a great place to go to try different Maltese foods. A number of different restaurants have stalls inside the market, and there is also a grocery store where you can buy a variety of Maltese food items.
Where I stayed and how I got around:
I visited Mdina via public bus on a day trip from St. Julian’s on Malta’s northern coast, where I stayed at Luma Residence. I would typically prefer to take a train over a bus, but Malta does not have much of a train system. However, because it is such a small island, the bus journeys from city to city are fairly short.
My favorite thing:
The food and drink in Valletta was excellent, but my favorite thing about Valletta was the mix of cultures and the history.
My least favorite thing:
Due to its geography, there are not many public transportation options in Valletta with the exception of a bus system. I tend to get carsick on long bus rides, but fortunately Malta is a small island so no bus ride is extremely long. Also, once inside Valletta it was very walkable.
For next time:
Next time in Valletta I would like to dive further into Maltese history. I would also like to check out Wild Honey, which was closed while I was there, and I would be interested in taking the ferry from Valletta to Sliema.
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