Day 2. Exploring Valletta

After a good night’s sleep we enjoyed a hearty breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant and then walked the short distance to the Bugibba bus station to catch a bus into Malta’s capital Valletta.  It’s possible to take the 31, 45 and 48 buses and the journey takes approximately one hour on each service.

View from Valletta towards Sliema

Valletta is located on a narrow headland surrounded on both sides by a stunning natural harbour.  Alighting from the bus in the centre of Valletta we strolled the short distance to Freedom Square with its Renaissance sandstone facades of original Maltese style buildings glowing in the sunshine.  On our right we viewed the modernist Parliament House, completed in 2013 adjacent to the ruins of the Royal Opera House which has now been transformed into an open air theatre venue.  At least the new parliament building reflects the gold sandstone of its surroundings and doesn’t detract too much from the historic square.

Auberge de Castile et Leon

Walking uphill we reached the city ramparts where we found attractive gardens with archways leading out onto the city wall and the Saluting Battery.  From here we were rewarded with stunning views of Valletta’s grand harbour and the surrounding fortified towns.

Arched entrance to Saluting Battery, Valetta

The gun battery is reputedly one of the oldest in the world still in operation having protected the harbour against naval assault for almost 500 years.  The guns were originally fired at noon each day to enable ship’s masters to calibrate their on-board chronographs, the ritual has now been restored to mark the passage of mid-day.

Saluting Battery, Valletta, Malta

Next it was time to view the ceremonial Changing of the Guard outside the Grand Master’s Palace in St. George’s Square.  We watched the Armed Forces of Malta put on a show of pomp lasting 45 minutes with spectators having good viewpoints at the sides of the square.  Our guidebook indicated that the Changing of the Guard only takes place on the last Friday of the month at 10.30 a.m. but as we were there on a Wednesday at noon, I’m unsure why it was taking place then, but it was a bonus which we were happy to have seen.

Changing of the Guard, Valletta, Malta

Moving on, we continued exploring this delightful small capital with its steep narrow streets and its British style postboxes and telephone booths.  Motorists drive on the left and it even started drizzling making it feel even more like home, apart from it being considerably warmer.  Hopefully we’ll make a return visit to Valletta later in the week to take in more of its sights.

Telephone Kiosk and Postbox, Valletta

Returning to our hotel was easy as there was already a bus waiting to depart from the bus station.  Tea and cakes followed in the hotel’s cafe before relaxing in the hotel’s spa awhile before dinner.

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42 thoughts on “Day 2. Exploring Valletta

  1. I’ve seen pictures on the news recently of Valletta’s harbour – it looked stunning and your pictures especially the first one really showed that. How lucky you got to see the Changing of the Guard too – something we like to see in different places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Valletta has been on the news quite a lot recently because, as you probably know, Malta is taking its turn of chairing the EU. It’s only a small capital but it’s absolutely gorgeous with so much to see and do. Hope you get an opportunity to visit before too long.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. I hope you’re able to go back to Valletta! I spent a lot of my time in Malta in Valletta. You should check out St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the upper and lower Barrakka Gardens, and eat at The Pub or Soul Food- all very good places!

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