The capital of Malta, Valletta, is inextricably linked to the history of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. The fortress city, built on a peninsula rising steeply from two deep harbours, was commissioned by Grand Master Jean de La Valette in 1566 and completed in just 15 years. Known as the “city built by gentlemen for gentlemen”, Valletta is the administrative and commercial centre of the island.

Whether you’re wanting a city break alone, with friends or a romantic trip with your partner, Valletta has something to offer. Due to its Mediterranean location, whatever time of the year you visit, the sun is likely to be beating down on you as you sightsee; Valletta was recently revealed to be the sunniest city in Europe. The magnificent fortress city grew on the arid rock of Mount Sciberras peninsula, which rises steeply from two deep harbours – Marsamxett and Grand Harbour.

Its grid of narrow streets boasts some of Europe’s finest works of art and baroque architecture. With its 320 monuments in just 55 hectares, Valletta is the most concentrated historic area in the world. Not surprisingly, Valletta is one of Malta’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Valletta has been selected by the European Commission as the 2018 European Capital of Culture.

Some of the unmissable highlights of Valletta include:

St John’s Co-Cathedral - home to Caravaggio’s only signed painting, the “Beheading of St John the Baptist”

The President’s Palace - which is also the seat of Parliament.

The Sacra Infermeria - the Knights’ former hospital with Europe’s longest corridor.

The Upper Barrakka Gardens - commanding a magnificent view over Grand Harbour.

The Manoel Theatre - an 18th century architectural gem and one of the oldest working theatres in Europe.