Valletta, may be one of the world’s smallest capital cities but it packs a lot into just over half a square km of space. In fact, it’s so beautiful and rich in history that the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From steep streets with typical Maltese balconies jutting out to colourful harbour boats, make sure to check out these charming spots in and around Valletta to add a splash of Maltese magic to your Insta feed!
1. Valletta Skyline – parking lot in North West Valletta
The perfect location to catch a gorgeous view of Valletta’s skyline may seem a little strange but trust me it’s great! It’s quite tricky to find but if you search for Giannini restaurant you should find yourself there no bother. From the corner of the parking lot you can look North across the classic Valletta skyline, the Dome of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the steeple that belongs to St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral.
We came to this spot in time for sunrise (yes this meant a 5am start!) and we were not disappointed. As the sun rose directly on the horizon, out of the Mediterranean, it transformed the sky into an array of purple and pink colours. After waiting some time the morning sunlight was perfect for capturing the soft golden glow of the yellow bricked buildings of Valletta.
2. St Lucia’s Street
The streets of Valletta are calf achingly steep at times and whilst cars can drive in the city, many of the streets are either pedestrianised or turn into staircases. These beautiful streets were one of my favourite things about Valletta and St Lucia’s is one of the prettiest and most Instagram perfect.
Fairy lights and chandeliers (yes really!) are suspended from one side of the street to the other for a more unusual street photo. During the day and evening, tables and chairs furnish the steps spilling out from the cafes and restaurants on either side. For a quiet shot to get that twirl we came around 6.30am after watching the sunrise.
3. Marsaxlokk Harbour
Add a bright boost of turquoise to your feed with a shot of the gorgeous fishing village of Marsaxlokk. The harbour is full of fishing boats (known as luzzijiet) soaked in primary colours that make for a cheerful shot. It takes around 50 minutes to get to Marsaxlokk from Valletta taking the bus. Valletta is a great place to base yourself for a stay in Malta, especially if you’re only planning on using public transport as it is home to the country’s main bus station and bus routes lead to all corners of the island.
4. Doorways of Valletta
The doorways of Valletta and beyond are so iconic that they have an entire Instagram page dedicated to them (@maltadoors). Seek out the prettiest and most unconventional as you roam the city because seriously have you even been to Malta if you haven’t got at least 5 photos of pretty doors on your camera?!
5. Triq San Gwann
Another Instagrammable street in Valletta, Triq San Gwann is complete with classic Maltese balconies hanging out into the street as well as a clear view down to the sea behind. Again, come early in the morning to have this place to yourself but make sure to come back in the evening. I can confirm that Cafe Society does excellent frosé (basically a rosé slushie) so grab a drink and take a seat on a cushion on the stairs.
6. Alleyways of Mdina
Hop on a bus to the mysterious medieval town of Mdina for some charming photo opportunities. This city is a maze of narrow alleys and cream bricked buildings just asking to be explored so take a couple of hours to get lost wandering the streets and finding your favourite passage.
The winding alley above with the sign for The Medina restaurant is my favourite. You can find this shot on Holy Cross Street.
7. Cinema Bar
For a quirky Insta shot filled with character head to St John Street. Here you will find the cosy Cinema bar which is (unsurprisingly) both a bar and a cinema, showing classic films throughout the day. Whilst you may not want to disappear into the dark during your sunny stay in the city, you should definitely wander past this unusual cinema and snap a photo of its charming exterior.
8. Triq Zekka
After you’ve admired the view from the car park near Giannini make your way to Triq Zekka. Here you can enjoy the street nicely framing the dome of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is tricky to get the lighting right but with some patience and a few practice shots it is well worth it!
9. Beach huts from the War Memorial
Just because Valletta doesn’t have any beaches it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy catching rays and some Mediterranean bathing to cool off! Take your towel down to one of the rocky areas around the base of the city for a break from exploring. Grab a photo of these beach huts and sun worshippers from the War siege Memorial.
10. House with the blue door – Mdina
When I searched Mdina on Instagram this house was one that came up time and time again and it is no surprise to see why. The distinctive violet flowers cling to the building and contrast nicely with the blue door and shutters to create a striking image. You might have to queue for your photo but you definitely should do it!
11. The Three Cities from the Upper Barrakka Gardens
Across the harbour from Valletta are the Three Cities: Birgu, Senglea & Cospicua. The three cities are rippled with history and both Senglea and Cospicua were founded in the 16th and 17th centuries by the the Knights of the Order of St John. Find stunning panoramic views across to the three cities from the Upper Barrakka gardens which are also a lovely place to escape the busy streets of Valletta.
12. Strait Street
You can’t go anywhere in Valletta without noticing the Maltese balconies. Strait Street is a very narrow street that runs through the city and here the balconies are almost touching each other. It used to be known as ‘gut street’ and was notorious for drunken debauchery and rowdy antics. It was frequented by British and American military men during their deployment in the 19th to mid 20th centuries. Now there are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes to enjoy instead!