Valletta
Valletta / iStock.com / Krasnevsky
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Streets of Valletta
Streets of Valletta / iStock.com / liseykina
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Maltese Fish Stew
Maltese Fish Stew / iStock.com / Sarsmis
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Fishing Boats in Valletta's Grand Harbour
Fishing Boats in Valletta's Grand Harbour / iStock.com / Woolfenden
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Valletta's Grand Harbour
Valletta's Grand Harbour / iStock.com / Ionut David
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Valletta
Our Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

An independent republic, Malta’s strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean has seen waves of traders and conquerors pass through and settle down: Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, Greeks, Spanish, French, and British. Three inhabited islands, Malta, Gozo, and tiny Camino make up the country. Most large ships dock at Valletta on the island of Malta — the capital city that dates back to the 1500s.

What We Love

Easy Communication: Malta was under British rule until the 1960s, and the country’s two official languages are Maltese and English. Signs and notices are also posted in English.
 
Valletta’s Plan: Most ancient cities grew haphazardly, but Malta’s capital grew on top of a street grid. Streets do rise and fall according to the geography, though. When a lane becomes steep, steps are added.

Best Known For

Rich History: Valletta’s city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its relatively small size makes it easy to navigate. Look up at the medieval bay windows overhanging the streets and head to the ramparts for a view of the Grand Harbour.
 
Fish Soup: The main ingredient for this stew depends on what’s fresh off the boat: bass, bream, grouper, stonefish, swordfish, and dolphinfish. The displays at the fish market will give you a clue.

Who It's Best For

Architecture Buffs: You can witness a span of almost 6,000 years here, so you can have a field day in Valletta and then locate major ruins in the countryside, with some the oldest freestanding buildings in the world.

Beachgoers: Few ports on Mediterranean itineraries have as many choices for swimming beaches and in so many different types of settings, from full-service destinations to the totally secluded.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Up Hill and Down Dale: While you can walk into Valletta from your ship, be aware that the city is above the harbor, and once in the center, streets slope down and rise up.