Weekend in Valletta

Posted in SummerMaltaFilms

Let me just preface this post with… there was so much food involved on this trip that I actually didn’t eat for 24 hours after and came back with a bit of weight on my belly. I’m not kidding. Trips never do this to me, but this one did and I see that as a positive sign.

So my birthday was coming up and I was a bit stressed about what I wanted to do. I did want to celebrate it in some way, but the idea of getting away in May sounded more appealing. Considering London was being spectacularly horrible with properly transitioning into the warmer season, I craved the Mediterranean. I sound so over the top and posh, but when I realized how economical the flights to Malta were, I jumped the gun!

The flight was entirely too early in the morning, so much so that I ordered a Wheely to take me to Gatwick. We arrived and check-in was seamless per usual. Upon arrival, it didn’t feel like I was anywhere Mediterranean because I wasn’t sitting next to the window. I didn’t get glimpses of the water or anything. I was glued to my computer trying to get some work done so I can enjoy the “holiday.” The second we were on the bus over to Valletta, it was like a big smack. I was clearly in another country. Cacti and flowering bushes EVERYWHERE—it was instagram heaven. After barely 30 minutes, we arrived at the Valletta bus terminal and through a few little streets full of cruise-goers making their day stop, we were at our hotel and the rest was history. By far one of my favorite trips to date! So, here’s my weekend in Valletta guide just for you…

What I Wore

skirt c/o GREAT PLAINS blouse c/o GREAT PLAINS flats NEXT sunnies MESSY WEEKEND denim jacket ANTHROPOLOGIE

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

What I Wore

dress c/o BODEN sandals c/o BODEN nails DEMETRIA c/o ZOYA NAIL POLISH

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

What To Do during a Weekend in Valletta

You’ll see that most people come in just for the day in Valletta and that’s mostly because it’s comprised of only 2 major high streets and a few tributary streets. If you’re in Malta for a longer period of time, then Valletta for the day is perfect. Most people cover the basics, which are the views. Here’s what we did since we did spend a weekend in Valetta:

  • Hastings Garden: Off the beaten path, you will find mostly teenagers here having a cheeky beer. It’s a small park that doesn’t have much greens, but does gave a gorgeous view of the Sliema Harbor, Manoel Island and the original fortified walls of Valletta. You’ll see mostly locals here and not a spot of tourists at all.
  • The Fortress Builders: This was the most requested thing to do from everyone I know who visited Valletta {2 people}. The fortress Builders not only showcases the history of Malta in the most interactive way. Malta was such a pivotal piece of land in European history due to its positioning in the centre of the Mediterranean in both military (expansion) and commerce (the Silk Roads). And on the very top floor is one of the best views I have ever seen of Valletta!
  • Grand Master’s Palace: Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do much of this, but we did do the courtyard with the old cars and gardens. This was the administrative centre for the knights of Malta. You will still see guards out front and see the changing of the guards as well.
  • Casa Rocca Piccola: If there is one thing you have to see in Valletta to understand a bit more about Maltese everyday life, I would highly suggest Casa Rocca Piccola, a 16th century palace of a Maltese family. Each element in the home from art to practical infrastructure just puts everything into perspective and really encourages you to understand Maltese culture.
  • Upper & Lower Barrakka: My favorite of all places. We started at Lower Barrakka as it was way less occupied. Not as empty as Hastings, but the views of the sea are incredible. There is no ugly corner and the blossoming trees make it the perfect sanctuary. Both are extremely windy locations, so choose outfits wisely!

Where to Stay for a Weekend in Valletta

La Falconeria

We stayed at La Falconeria. A gorgeous boutique hotel that has recently made its debut. The location is perfect as it’s nestled between two of the most important streets of Valletta and quiet enough to enjoy moments of peace when you’re trying to dodge the cruiseshippers. They large rooms with modern amenities also included a hot breakfast and vegan friendly beauty products. I’ll share more about my stay here in another post because it’s particularly noteworthy.

19Rooms

If you’re looking for just a cheaper option, then I would suggest 19Rooms. Also a brand new hotel on the banks of the sea, spanning four floors and modern finishes. The hotel offers all the amenities you absolutely need, but the over the top luxuries are what makes it a money saver. It’s a great stay if you’re looking for a quick stay in Valletta without wanting to invest too much.

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

What I Wore

dress c/o BAUKJEN flats NEXT

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

Where to eat in Valletta

Trabuxu Bistro

On our first night in Malta, I wanted a really laidback atmosphere that served authentic, but unpretentious food. You’d be surprised by how hard it is to fin that as the city is used to seeing hoards of tourists from cruise boats by day. By night, the city opens up and the locals come out and enjoy the town. We walked into a candlelit restaurant that was full of people in their intimate corners, nothing too romantic, but quite sweet and inviting. There were friends, colleagues, dates—all the sorts. We ordered the local fish ceviche and the baked goat cheese brie topped with rosemary, pistachio and honey encased with a filodough. It had that perfectly blend of sweet, nutty and pungentness that brought a cheese dish together.

For our mains, we wanted to get a home made pasta, so the ravioli with the fennel pesto was the choice (with extra parmesan on top). It was delicate and comforting whilst elevating the dish with the subtle flavors of fresh fennel. The second main was the rabbit. Roasted in an herby white wine sauce, it was the dish to get. It was the perfect summer dish with the citrus from the wine and freshness from the herbs, it was a dish we ate purely with our hands.

Finally, the dessert was too good to pass up. We had woken up at 4:30am and were looking forward to sleep. But the second I heard that an vendor from Gozo has especially sent ice cream down, I couldn’t pass it up. Four flavors: chocolate, fig, (not your basic) vanilla, and cinnamon. Each so full of flavor. The fig ice cream had bits of the fruit among the sweet ice cream. You could even distinguish between the peel and the flesh. The chocolate didn’t have the nonsense of the milk in it and it felt like I was drinking straight cacao. So rich and pure. The show, in my opinion, was stolen by the cinnamon. Each spoonful had bitty bits of cinnamon, making it a true earthy experience.

Since Trabuxu Bistro also comes with a wine bar just around the corner (and mentioned above), they had a gorgeous range of wines and so we thought to go for a syrah from Gozo to accompany all the dishes. Literally the loveliest dinner experience and one that can fit any occasion. For a weekend in Valletta, make this a definite stop!

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

Legligin

We were on the fence about coming here because the reviews are quite disparate. But after a few locals informed us about how great it is for foodies, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. So we headed to Legligin the second night not expecting much because of what we read. There is one thing to keep in mind: there is no menu and what you get changes daily, so you may never see it again. So you have to truly enjoy each morsel and know how to recreate it to enjoy the flavors you have there again. Legligin is a tapas-style menu starting with a soup to vegetarian and seafood and ending with the meats.

Going through each course would be long and not really worth it, but all the dishes celebrated the Mediterranean cuisine, not just Maltese. One thing to suggest however would be to go for the house wine, it’s literally made in-house and worth each and every drop! So if you’re looking for a unique gastronomic experience, Legligin is your place!

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

Where to drink & nibble in Valletta

There were so many charming places in Valletta, it felt like walking through the smaller streets of East London where one coffee shop can out do the next. We ended up going to quite a few of them because we really were taking it lightly on this trip in terms of what to see and do. We focused on one thing, consuming, because it was my birthday after all…

Caffe Cordina: This is more of a tourist trap and there are tons of pigeons around, but worth the visit if you’re looking for a bit of ambiance. The inside is a typical Maltese style cafe and is worth a little visit. We ended up getting some local beers here (Cisk and the Cisk Lager) and enjoyed it on the square under a patio umbrella.

Pastizziera Sphinx: The best place for a pastizzi! They’re little pastries filled with either cheese, veggies or mince. My favorite was the peas and mince filled ones. They’re only 50cents and can be eaten on the go! We knew we were at the right place because a ton of locals were here at 4pm getting their afternoon fix!

Trabuxu Wine Bar: We had reservations at their bistro just around the corner, but absolutely fell in love with the wine bar as well. It’s charming and romantic. They have lots of incredible imported and local cheese and wine, so definitely go here if you fancy a lighter meal.

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

Nibbly bits continued…

Bridge Bar: There was something so simple and authentic about this place. There was live jazz, lots of flowing drinks and the bar ran through a bridge, so it made it an ideal romantic setting for evening drinks. They have cushions on the stairs, it’s such a fun environment!

Cafe Society: The word on the trip was “vibes” and Cafe Society got the vibes just right. We sat on a table and chairs atop the steps of a small alleyway that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea and twinkling lights.

Gunpost Bar: One evening before dinner, we were walking along the seaside and came across this little shack that had a full bar. We decided to grab a cold one and saw that there was a terrace attached to it that had the most majestic view of the sea! Definitely come here for a sunset drink before dinner if you can!

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

What to Buy in Malta

Beware: this is purely a foodie list. I didn’t really go out of my way to hunt down the lace and wire flowers that Malta is known for only because it’s not unique to Valletta. So what did we buy instead? Ingredients and things to make stuff at home. Here’s where we shopped:

  • George Zammit: When I went to Venice last winter, I bought a lot of Italian dried herbs to put in pastas and soups. Unfortunately, a few months later, my mom came to visit and took them all. Malta has a strong Italian influence, so they make a beautiful dried herb mix that can be used for the same purpose. George Zammit on St. Paul Street has an array of spices and herbs and mixes that will fit your needs. We went for the Italian mix as the owner himself suggested it and then got a bit of the rabbit herb mix in an attempt to recreate the Trabuxu dish!
  • Ellul Wines & Spirits: Came upon this story completely on accident and I fell in love. Literally all sorts of people were walking out with the most gorgeous sandwiches so we went in and saw a large shelf of all local products made on the island. We picked up honey, prickly pear jam, sundried tomatoes, capers and olives.
  • Prickly Pear: Okay, so not a place… But definitely pick up a few prickly pear bits because it’s unique only to Malta. We got a jam and liquor (that we enjoyed with vodka and lemonade) and it is life!
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

What I Wore

wrap dress c/o BODEN sandals c/o BODEN

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta

What I Wore

dress c/o BODEN sandals c/o BODEN

Tips

  • Use the bus system as much as possible to avoid crazy taxi prices. The buses are very easy to use, very cheap and can get you very close to your destination!
  • If you’re only going to Malta for the weekend, then stay in Valletta and do the other towns and tourist bits with a local bus.
  • If you’re looking to spend a weekend in Valletta only, then just get a single fare ticket with cash on the bus.
  • Avoid tourist areas when the cruiseships dock, otherwise they will be overwhelming. Your hotel will have a schedule for when cruiseships will arrive.
  • Take advantage of the happy hour (4PM-8PM) for when the cruiseships are in town.
  • If you’re looking for quality food and service, avoid any place on the main square. Meander into the side streets.
  • Tipping 10% is customary.

If you have any tips, suggestion or advice on what to do, see, eat and/or drink on a weekend in Valletta, leave it in the comments below!

Weekend in Valletta
Weekend in Valletta