"Small but beautiful." Top 5 Page for this destination Valletta by antistar

Valletta Travel Guide: 721 reviews and 1,852 photos

Tiny Valletta. It's the smallest capital in the EU, and at just over 6000 people it's one of the smallest in the world. It's no wonder it's small: With so many important buildings, churches, government offices, museums and shops, there's not much space left on the cramped peninsula for people to actually live on. Instead they spill out into the city's only suburb, Floriana, and all the connected small towns that make up the patchwork super city of urban Malta.

It may be small, but it is still magnificent. It draws comparisons with other great Mediterranean cities, and the likes of Benjamin Disraeli considered it an equal of Venice and Cadiz. Certainly its skyline, especially when viewed from Sliema across the harbour, is stunning, but there are many delights to discover too within its small, tight, steep streets. The highlight of all is probably the St. John's Co-Cathedral, a sumptuous palace of a church built with the overflowing coffers of the Knights of Malta.

Valletta was born of the famed Siege of Malta, one of the greatest battles in history that lasted four months and cost tens of thousands of lives. The Knights of Malta built a fortress in Birgu overlooking the Grand Harbour. When the Ottoman Turks came for Malta they laid siege to Birgu from across the harbour. This peninsula, once cleared of Ottoman soldiers, was quickly converted into a new fortress city: One that would become the capital of the country.

The success of the Siege of Malta, and the fame of the Knights, brought streams of gold into the island and allowed Valletta to become one of the great cities of Europe. Despite some hideous bombing during World War 2, it retains this status of greatness in everything but size.

  • Last visit to Valletta: Dec 2012
  • Intro Updated Dec 10, 2013
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“Treat hosts like your girlfriend, and never tell them how wonderful the last one was.”

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