Malta & Gozo With Marco Polo Guides

Malta has been a holiday destination of choice for many British people for years. It's positioning within the Mediterranean is perfect in terms of weather and geography, it's well connected and has mild weather almost all year round; but what really makes this island tick is the people, the culture and the influences of modern life and ancient history that combine together to make Malta such a fantastic destination. I want to take you on a little trip, with Marco Polo Guides, to see what is good to do in the city and why it makes a fantastic destination for budding photographers and artists alike. Marco Polo Guides covers the entirety of Malta and Gozo, which makes it a brilliant choice for those who are wanting to explore the island as a whole. 

What To Do 

Valetta is rich in artistic culture and you won't find it too difficult to stumble upon one of their many museums, art galleries or shops. They are tucked away in the stone streets, so be sure to plan ahead. I often refer to my guide way before I go on a trip because I can plan methodically and see the places I want in the amount of time I am there. Many of the art galleries you will find have influences from all over the world, and of course, Malta is British owned, so you will find many British traditions and cultures there also, one of which is the fact that they drive on the same side of the road as the UK, making it much easier to navigate if you are hiring a car. Some of the top galleries include:

ART BOX , Gallery of Modern Art

39, Charming B&B dar ta' Zeppi, Qala, Gozo Art Box is an art gallery situated in Qala, Gozo.
Tel:+356 21555051


No. 8, Triq Agius de Soldanis, Victoria, Gozo ArtHall is an art gallery situated in the heart of Victoria, Gozo.


St. Lucy Street, Valletta, Malta The BLITZ residency is located in a 400-year-old Valletta townhouse, lovingly restored to its former glory.
Tel:+356 21224992

Casa Bernard

St. Paul Street, Rabat, Malta Situated near St. Paul’s Church, Casa Bernard is a well-preserved late 16th Century Palazzo, which is home to a Maltese noble family who still live there today.
Tel:+356 21451888, +356 99844343

Casa Rocca Piccola

No. 74, Republic Street, Valletta, VLT 1117, Malta This beautiful Palace is the only privately owned property open to the public in Valletta and has a fascinating variety of different things to see.
Tel:+356 21221499
Taking a stroll around the city couldn't be easier, because you can always use the sea as guidance. The city is surrounded by the water and Valetta itself can be explored very well on foot and is preferable for travellers. There are plenty of cobble stones as I discovered as well as little cafe stops along the way, which make the city a wonderful choice. You can be sure to find the most picturesque spots for photography taking, a section you can take a peek at in a little while, but street photography is quite prevalent in Valetta. The areas of the city that are worth looking at are of course the many famous points of interest in the city, full of history and charm. 

St John's Cathedral

An epitome of artistic impression from the baroque era, it is full of delightful architecture, golds and deep earthy colours that make the cathedral stand out from the rest. It's a must see, you will find that it is a really great place for anyone to visit, light a candle, say a prayer, it's a truly humbling experience and is a must see.

Location: St. John’s Street (visitors’ entrance from Republic Street)
Opening hours: Mon-Friday: 09.30-16.30h (last admission at 16.00hrs). Sat: 09.30-12.30h (last admission at 12.00hrs). Closed on all Public Holidays.
Entrance fee: €10 for adults, Children up to 12 years: Free

Grandmaster's Palace (Palace State Rooms and Armoury) 
The Grandmaster’s Palace was once the seat of power for the Order of the Knights of St. John, served as the Governor’s Palace during British rule and nowadays houses the Office of the President. Until recently it also housed Parliament until the new Parliament building near City Gate was built. It is truly a majestic building to visit and this is for sure one to put on the list for history lovers. Even to this day it is used for government events and meetings, so if it is closed, this will most likely be the reason for it.
Location: St. George’s Square (within the President’s Palace)
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-16:30h and Sat-Sun 9:00-16:30h. Closed: 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1st Jan & Good Friday
Entrance fee: €10 (adults) or €5 (children)

Streets of Malta
Fort St Elmo and National War Museum

A war museum can often conjure up a relatively mundane trip, where you feel you're not really learning as much as you could or feeling as immersed as you should wish to, but the Fort St Elmo really captures something that other museums may not. It has been around since the sixteenth century and has been used over the years during wars and during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. It's a magnificent place to visit and it should definitely be put on your list. I always refer to my Marco Polo Guide to ensure I can tick every single thing off my list! 

Location: St. Elmo Place
Opening hours: Apr-Sep – Mon-Sun 9:00-18:00h and Oct-Mar – Mon-Sun 9:00-17:00h
Entrance fee: €10 (adults), €5.50 (children)

Upper Barrakka Gardens 

This delightful park area is situated by the sea and overlooking the harbour, which boasts a true tranquility and is perfect for a stroll around in the spring. There are plenty of places around here to sit and have a quiet spot of lunch.  
Location: To the east of Castille Place
Opening hours: 7:00-22:00h daily

The Manoel Theatre

As a lover of theatre and a performer myself, I am always keen to see the theatres that any city or destination has to offer. This theatre is was built in 1731, it's rich in history, boasting a regal feel, it doesn't often have any shows that you can physically sit and watch, but the tours are worth it, to appreciate the theatre's architecture and history. 

Location: 115, Old Theatre Street
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-12:00h
Entrance fee: €5 (tour)

Accommodation In The City

Valetta is full of wonderful hotels, there are plenty of affordable choices. I was kindly invited to the wonderful Coleridge Hotel, a little boutique hotel in the heart of Valetta. Full of charm, thoughtful and functional interiors, the colours and styles were stunning, and of course if you want to opt for a bigger resort, Malta has many, including beach front resorts that are perfect for the summer, you can search below to see what offers are currently available on booking.com. There can be many benefits of choosing a smaller hotel, for its friendliness, attention to detail and the quiet element. With Valetta being at the heart of Malta, it truly isn't difficult to find a hotel to match what you need for your little city break. 

I have  always maintained my love of boutique hotels, since my last trip to Athens, when I stayed at the new and beautiful CocoMat Jumelle, and I find that there are so many hotels that really truly epitomise the city you're staying in, with authentic decor and great staff. that is what really makes a beautiful addition to your trip. A lot of Valetta's hotels are perfect for photographers also, with stunning interiors, they make for wonderful portraits which makes the city perfect for street photographers alike. If you prefer to rent, you can always take a peek at what Clickstay Villas (highly recommended) are available. 

Food And Drink in Valetta 

You will never go hungry in Valletta. The food and drink scene is huge there, from the incredible markets for those who enjoy to cook for themselves, or fine dining restaurants, the options are endless. You will be able to find vegetarian and vegan options also. I referred to my Marco Polo guide to look at some of the local specialties, because every city as them and it's great to eat least try one. The markets are fresh and full of delights, a lot of fish of course can be found and there are always good markets with local fresh produce, such as great fruits, vegetables and more. Apples and plums are certainly always in season.

 Let's take a look below to see what restaurants are ranked highest on TripAdvisor. 

1. Il-ĦorżaIl-Ħorża, 6 St. Christopher Street, Valletta, Malta, +356 21226936

2. Legligin: 117/119 Santa Lucia Street, Valletta, Malta, +356 21221699

3. Malata, Palace Square, Valletta, Malta, +356 21233967

4. Piadina Caffe, 24 Triq Santa Lucija, Valletta, Malta, +356 21225983

5. Rubino, 53 Old Bakery Street, Valletta, Malta, +356 21224656

Malta also has a huge dessert culture and there are many cafes dedicated just to this; including coffee shops and cake shops, which are filled with an array of exciting decadent sweet treats, mouthwatering deliciousness and everything in between! Keep your eyes peeled for more information on the Blog relating to Malta's desserts and where the best places (and most Instagrammable dessert cafes in Valletta are!) You must certainly enjoy the delicacies of the city whilst you're here. 

Shopping in the city is also quite good, if you're looking for art, ornaments or even homeware. Collecting items for the home abroad is cultural and evokes wonderful memories from your travel in the months and years to come. The biggest shopping area in Valletta is the Savoy Shopping Centre and Energy Complex, where you will find some of the biggest high street names. You'll be surprised what you do find in Valletta, there are plenty of independent boutique stores. A really luscious and beautiful shop full of raw, organic materials.

Street Photography in Valetta 

Exploring the nooks and crannies of Valetta is perfect, you will find many different nationalities and influences as well as the life of the people who live there on this tiny island, often hopping around on scooters, there are many people who lived crammed together on small streets, but are more than happy with their way of life. Valetta after all is influenced a lot by Italy and England, but also the remnants of the Ottoman Empire still remain in some of its architecture. It has an eastern feel with western culture and mixing these together is a delightful combination for the likes of both experienced and novice photographers. 

In Valetta itself, you will find photography workshops and classes available, a prominent one in the city is the Photography Workshop designed by the Malta Society of Arts, and they will run throughout spring. 

There is plenty of life to capture on film here, and as my Marco Polo Guide tells me, the photography stretches way behind the walls of Valletta and across Malta as a whole, Gozo and lots of the coastal areas are majestic with rocky sandy terrain and clear blue seas, it's a place to explore your photography skills and see what the island has to offer. 

Walking tours in the city are operable every day, as well as city bus tours. They operate daily and are very affordable but remember that the most epic adventures are found on foot. Wearing good footwear is a must because the terrain can be tricky, and if you're looking to go on a day tour out of the city and around Malta as a whole, you may want to ensure that you have sunscreen and a hat as plenty of the coastal areas are real sun catchers. Lots of local walking tours may seem futile but you will find many of the people who operate the tours are locals and have lived there for most of their lives; they will be able to give you a true rundown of exactly what happens in the city, where is off the beaten track and how you can have an authentic Maltese experience. Many tours are also free, but a little tip at the end is much appreciated. 

Find yourself lost in this magical city and be sure to enjoy the wonders of Malta, from the sea, to inland and soak up every inch of culture.

*This post was written in collaboration with Marco Polo Guides but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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