What to expect
Valletta Walking Tour
In addition to being Europe’s smallest and southernmost capital, Valletta is ideal for walking. Built on a grid plan in the 16th century, it’s easy to get around but more fun to wander. As a 2018 European Capital of Culture, the main landmarks have been restored to their original beauty and ask to be photographed. We’ll show you our favourite pedestrian lane; Strait Street. Formerly the refuge of bohemian artists and musicians, it evolved into a postwar hangout for British and American sailors who introduced jazz to the island. Now it’s known for a buzzing nightlife featuring trendy cocktail bars and concept restaurants. Another “must” includes walking through the original City Gate, past the Old Opera Theatre and onto the shopper’s haven of Republic Street. But don’t think you’re finished until you see the Prime Minister’s office at Castille Palace, smell the roses at The Upper Barrakka Gardens, pop by the indoor Is-Suq tal-Belt market for a fresh bite and finally saunter up to the panorama overlooking the Grand Harbour and Three Cities.
Three Cities Walking Tour
Directly across the Grand Harbour from Valletta are the Three Cities, Birgu (Vittoriosa), Isla (Senglea) and Bormla (Cospicua). Apart from Birgu, the Three Cities were founded and built by the Knights of Malta to protect the harbour for safety and trade. Today, the fortifications are restored, the views are spectacular and charming streets abound. We’ll guide you through scenic squares and working docks up to the historic Fort St. Angelo and the Gardjola lookout point and garden. Along the way, you’ll see where cannon balls crashed during the Great Siege of 1565 and Axis firebombs sent residents fleeing during World War II. After both tragedies the Three Cities were rebuilt, a tribute to the people’s resilience.
Mdina and Rabat Walking Tour
Set in a fortified hilltop, Mdina is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a treasure from another time. Established by the Romans, it was Malta’s capital until the Knights took over in the 1530. Known as the “Silent City” due to the restriction of car traffic, the true pleasure of visiting Mdina is simply strolling the stone streets and soaking up the atmosphere. After entering the main gate, you’ll see why the location was ideal for armies to raise their forts and noble families to build their palazzos. As you walk, pay attention to the decorated doorways and door knockers, another aesthetic feature of life in the “Noble City.” Your guide will escort you to into St. Paul’s Cathedral, a baroque masterpiece completed in 1705. Highlights include the metalwork, stained glass windows and our favourite, the imaginative and intriguing inlaid tombstones of noble families and clergy, each with a unique heraldic symbol and Latin inscription. While soaking up history, you will also have an opportunity to climb the southern bastion for a spectacular view of the Maltese countryside unfurled below. Next, exit Mdina’s gate to adjacent Rabat. Start by visiting the Roman Villa (Domus Romana), which was buried for centuries until its rediscovery in 1881. The focal point is the suite of mosaic pavements, which rival those of Pompei and Sicily. Restored to their original beauty, it’s a miracle they survived through the ages. You can also see a collection of Roman tools, earthenware, jewellery and utensils.
Your second stop will be St. Paul’s Catacombs. Legend has it that after his conversion, St. Paul was taken to Rome to be tried in court but was shipwrecked on Malta and stayed for three months. In keeping with the Roman custom of burying the dead outside the city walls, St. Paul was laid to rest in the underground catacombs which remains the earliest evidence of Christianity in the island.