Three islands

Rocky bay, San Lawrenz

Malta is a set of islands in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Northern Africa. Once connected to Sicily it developed a rich cultural heritage. Because of its strategic position it saw many rulers come and go, including the Knights Hospitaller and the British leaving their visible traces on the islands. As an important base during the Crusades or as an unsinkable air-carrier during World War II, war has always shaped the past of the islands.

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St. Elmo

Fort St. Elmo, Valletta

A fortification at the sea, a national war museum, but most important: a place where important Maltese history has happened. The Fort St. Elmo sits at the end of the headland on which Valletta was built, between the entrance to the Grand Harbour and the Marsamxett Harbour. The fortification was built by the Knights Hospitaller but the location wasn’t perfect: when the Osmans attacked in 1565 they could enter the northern harbor and they attacked St. Elmo from the opposite side of the bay as well as from the higher areas of the headland.

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St. John’s Co-Cathedral

St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta

When you’re seeing the large lines in front of the main cathedral of Valletta you might think about skipping this sight and saving the high entrance fee of 15 hours. But that would be a bad decision as the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is not like an ordinary church, it is filled with extraordinary richness that cannot be seen or guessed from the outside. St. John’s Co-Cathedral was built by the Knights Hospitaller until the year 1578 and contains a section for every nationality that sent knights.

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Sleeping lady

Sleeping lady, National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta

She is one of the Maltese national treasures: the sleeping lady. The statue was found at the hypogeum of Ħal Saflieni, a neolithic necropolis. It is rather small but more than 4500 years old and seen as the representation of a goddess. Today you can’t visit her at the hypogeum which is nowadays a UNESCO world heritage site (and tickets are extremely hard to get), you can see her at the national museum of archaeology.

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Museum of Fine Arts (MUŻA), Valletta

In 2018 Valletta (and Leeuwarden) became European Capitals of Culture. This was a good reason to enhance the Mużew Nazzjonali tal-Arti (MUŻA) that was founded in 1974. It was moved from the Admirality House to the Auberge d’Italie bringing it closer to the parliament and city gate. Today it is located in a beautiful modern building and it’s fun to explore.

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Upper Barrakka Gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valletta

Valletta has two nice public parks located facing the harbor: the Lower Barraka Gardens and the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Especially from the upper ones you can enjoy good views on the Grand Harbour, the fort St. Angelo and the Three Cities. It is located on the St. Peter and Paul bastion and contains different memorials and artworks, for example honoring Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.

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Ferry time

Ferry Sliema-Valletta, Sliema

The capital city of Malta, Valletta, is located on a headland facing the Mediterranean sea North and south of it are harbors and important cities can be found on the land behind. In the north it is Sliema and St. Julians that are modern cities with lots of hotels. In the south the Three Cities Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa can be found with their ancient city structures. Maybe you choose a hotel in these areas, for sure you want to visit them and best to do so is taking one of the ferry boats.

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