Understandably, lots of visitors to Malta’s beautiful capital get drawn in to the sights that line the little city’s streets. But one of the most beautiful things about Valletta is its impressive coastline, and taking a walk around the shoreline is a great way to stretch your legs while taking in some breathtaking views of the Three Cities across the bay.
Starting at the Lower Barrakka Gardens on the South side of the peninsula, take a few minutes to stroll around this charming park, whose benches are perfectly arranged to allow visitors to watch the sunset. From here, there are stunning views out over the Grand Harbour and Vittoriosa. Take a look at the neoclassical monument, as well as the memorial to the Siege of Malta, and keep your eyes peeled for some of the more unexpected monuments dotted around the park – including the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Prague Spring.
From the entrance to the gardens, head North East on Lvant until you get to the impressive Siege Bell War Memorial, completed in 1992 in memory of the 7000 who lost their lives in the Siege of Malta (1940-1943). It was as a result of their bravery during this conflict that the islanders were awarded a collective George Cross by the King of England, and this honour features on the Maltese flag to this day. There are wonderful views from the belltower, engraved with the latin motto Obumbrasti Super Caput Meum In Die Belli MCMXL-MCMXLIII (You cast your shadow over my head in a time of war, 1940-1943).
From here, follow Xatt Il-Barriera downhill and onto the seafront. The pavement is narrow in parts, so be sure to keep an eye on small children. This is one of our favourite parts of the city to take a walk on a Sunday afternoon, as it’s a great chance to see how the locals enjoy their beautiful city. From generations fishing together from the harbour wall to young men racing horsedrawn carriages along the road, this is a slice of real Malta.
Follow the road round along the coast, and if you’re thirsty stop at The Harbour Club for a coffee with a view. Keep going through the little road tunnel (keep your eyes peeled for the tiny chapel carved into the rock), pass the Three Cities ferry and eventually you’ll end up at Valletta Waterfront – a newly-developed seafront dining area with a range of family-friendly restaurants and a few shops, very popular at the weekend among middle-class Maltese families. We ate at Brown’s and were impressed with the fresh swordfish and views out across the Grand Harbour.
If your legs are tired, or you don’t fancy the trudge uphill, you can go back the way you came and pay a small fee to use the Valletta Lift, which will whizz you up to Upper Barrakka Gardens and the heart of the city in the blink of an eye – money well spent on a hot summer’s day.