A great moment in any trip is stumbling upon that little-known shop, pub, or restaurant. Valletta offers all that and more. This small underrated European city holds secret places as yet untapped by mass tourism – quarters filled with character and authenticity, where it’s easy to slip in, slow down, and live like a local. Valletta is still an affordable city worlds away from the madding crowd.
At some point, most visitors to Valletta pass through Strait Street, the terribly quaint narrow street which cuts through the whole of the city. Few know that this cobbled narrow street was once the red light district. Remnants of that bygone era are the many shop signs that still hang on the abbandond bars and night clubs. ‘The Queen of Egypt’ or the ‘Smiling Prince’ just to name a few. Even though bohemian Valletta was long ago chased out of this area, there is still one small wine bar which you can still walk into and get a feeling of the kind of charm that is still alive. Trabixu is worth a visit, sip a glass of wine and enjoy the bohemian crowd that frequents this place. But just a few hundred feet downhill, and a left turning and you will find yourself in Old Bakery street. Here you will find some of the best restaurants that will entice your appitite with local cuisine. Rubino is one of the best for Maltese rabbit and Capistrano just a few paces away offers a different recepie for the same dish. If you prefer fish, then Fumia is the place to go for dinner. Housed underneath Manuel Theatre it is very popular for the fresh catch which is served every day.
Piazza Regina is one of the nicest squares in the centre of the city. There are plenty of coffee shops to choose from, however Cafe Cordina remains the city’s nucleus, surrounded by Palaces and the Old Grandmaster’s Library. Cafe Cordina has up to this day retained its cultured elite crowd. The spirit of the area that once served the Maltese Nobility with the best teas and coffee brought by the merchants just down the road, hasn’t completely died. Prim old ladies, layers and the young businessmen gather in this place for the best coffee in town.
For an authentic experience of the city stay at one of our Suites which have been purpously designed to enhance your experience and live like a local.
Round the corner from the touristy cafés you will cross Old Theatre street. There you will find café Palazz, with a nontraditional menu and a good selection of Sicilian pastry.
Malata – offers some of the nicest dishes in one of the newly restored squares – Palace Square. Malata dishes up some of Malta’s best fruits de mer . The seemingly humble Rubino Confectionary which still retains its 1900’s facade is still at the top of the list for Maltese cuisine.
Casa Rocca Piccola is worth a visit. It is a privately owned 18th Century palace with over 50 rooms, most are open for viewing. Take a guided tour to fully appreciate what this gem of a Palace has to offer.
Out of the 25 churches to be found in the city, St John’s Co-Cathedral is a must place to see. It was built as the conventual church for the Knights of St John. Stop at the Oratory and admire the altar painting by Caravaggio, the only known painting to be signed by the artist. The Beheading of St John the Baptist was completed in 1608 and depicts the saint at the moment of his martyrdom.
If you get tired from the stuffiness of Valletta’s major museums visit the collection of contemporary art at st James Cavallier