It would be a shame to miss out on a night stroll in Valletta or the Three Cities – once everything turned a mysterious dark, colorful lights illuminate hidden spots of the city, bringing new features to life.
The Three Cities lie opposite of the capital of Malta, divided by the Grand Harbour, hence offering a perfect view of the city. The naming of the Three Cities can be quite confusing: The Three Cities together can also be called Cottonera, and each of the individual cities has two names it can go by: Il-Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea (L-Isla) and Cospicua (Bormla) in between.
Go there for the amazing view of Valletta, go to Senglea for the best views from La Guardiola, for balconies galore and sandstone churches, go to Birgu for Fort St. Angelo and the yacht harbour, for good traditional food and religious decorations, go to Cospicua for exploring markets and peaceful promenades.
The Maltese Islands actually consist of multiple islands – Gozo being one of them. From Valletta, it takes quite some time to get there by public transport – the bus ride to the harbour of Ċirkewwa takes one and a half hours, the ferry then goes to Gozo every 45 minutes with another bus waiting at the Gozo harbour to take you further to the desired destination. Prepare for full busses and windy roads. So unfortunately, there is only so much that can be seen on a day trip. The Ġgantija megalithic temples are part of the Unesco World Heritage sites and the Cittadella of Victoria is also worth a visit. It is also possible to do boat rides to the Blue Lagoon or to visit the Azur Window (the GOT filming site that crashed into the sea).
The construction of the magnificent Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is deeply intertwined with Malta’s past and influence by the Order of St. John. Compared to an oyster because the plain exterior hides the lush interior baroque decorations, it tells the story of Malta’s religious history. Every one of the eight langues (sections) of the order is represented in a chapel, rich with its native symbolism and characteristics.
So is Valletta the monochrome city? The predominant color seems to be sandstone on which the city has been built. But looking closer, splashes of color seep through the cracks and crevasses of the architecture, infiltrating the built of the city – the greyish blue of the sky, the deep blue of the water surrounding it, the aquas and greens of the balconies, the reds of crosses and cars, the multicolored boats…
Home to several national museums and major temples, there is no shortage of culture in Ueno (上野). Shinobazu pond is also one of the few flecks of water inside the city (not counting the ocean), home to beautiful Bentendo temple (see header). Ueno park is also not to be missed, the colors on a sunny day are simply stunning.