Hidden Gems Guide Books Do Not Tell You About!

Valletta has a lot to offer visitors, having been described as one of the most historically concentrated areas in the world by UNESCO, having 320 monuments all within 55 hectres.

Visitors flock to Valletta in droves to admire the ornate interiors of St John’s Cathedral or take in the majestic views over the Grand Harbour from on top of Upper Barraka Gardens’ ramparts, however in the shadow of the major attractions lie less visited attractions and sites which also merit a visit in their own right.

The following are some of Valletta’s hidden gems which for the most part you will not read about in guide books.

Lady of Victories Church

Valletta is full of beautiful churches, the city having been built by a religious order, so it should not come as a surprise that two of the entries are dedicated to churches.
The little church is located in what is the best preserved quarter of the city, boasting a number of imposing buildings such as the Auberge of Castille and Italy and of course the much talked about Upper Barakka Gardens.

The building despite its ornate baroque façade only attracts the most curious of visitors. The church is the oldest building in the city and is the site where the city’s foundation stone was laid.

In addition this was the initial resting place of Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette, the founder of the city before his remains were moved to St John’s Co-Cathedral.
The most captivating feature of the church are the frescos embellishing the vault, depicting the life of the Virgin Mary, painted by the remarkable Maltese artist Allessio Erardi in the early 18th Century.

St James Cavalier

St. James Cavalier is located adjacent to the Lady of Victories Church, and like the church is another attraction that remains rather undiscovered.
The late 16th century fort was renovated as part of the city’s millennial project to spearhead urban rejuvenation. The talented Maltese Architect Richard England successfully transformed the forts cavernous halls into a space of creativity with the building now housing a number of art galleries, exhibition halls, recital rooms, an auditorium and even an arthouse cinema.
The centre of creativity exhibits a number of art installations and is one of the best venues to sample the Maltese contemporary art scene.

St Pauls Shipwreck Church

Located just off Merchants Street, the church is dedicated to one of the Islands’ most beloved Patron saints. The devotion towards St Paul is evident by the richly decorated interior of the church.

Of interest are the various chapels dedicated to the various guilds, who would make offerings to the church to embellish their own chapel, as well as the common areas of the church.
To this day the church still draws in a lot of devotion with the church housing two important relics, being a portion of the wrist bone of the saint, as well as a portion of the column on which he was beheaded.

Hastings gardens

The sprawling gardens located a top of St John’s bastion remain an undiscovered gem and offer visitors a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Valletta’s city centre.
The gardens are the best point in the city to admire the city’s towering city walls which are up to 60 metres tall, as well as spectacular views over Marsamxett harbour.
The Gardens are also the final resting place of Governor Hastings, whose funerary monument takes pride and place in the centre of the gardens.

The Fortress Builders – Fortifications interpretation centre

The interpretation centre, located a few minutes away from Hastings Gardens, is housed in a late 16th century warehouse locally known as Baggio Steps.
The centre celebrates Malta’s military heritage, and is a must see for military buffs. The large halls house a number of informative displays and models displaying the Islands’ major fortifictaions and fortresses.

De Vilhena Boutique Hotel is ideally located to discover the city’s major attractions, as well as the lesser known gems mentioned in this article. Our dedicated team would be more than happy to offer our esteemed guest more information about the city and Malta to ensure that they visit the best Malta has to offer.

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Probably the best hotel in the world!
I really loved our stay at De Vilhena!
This is why: Its in the middle of Valletta, and close to everything, The staff couldn’t be more friendly and helpful. They where in the reception 24/7 to answer our questions and help us arrange taxi and everything else we needed., The rooms are big, clean and fresh., The AC worked perfectly. Usually ACs in hotels dont work that well, but this one kept us cold and nice., The wifi was free, fast and worked perfect., You could connect your phone or tablet to the TV (via wifi) to watch movies, news from your home country or whatever you wanted to see., The view from the rooftop is amazing.
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I am an artist and designer based in Malta. My work is bold and minimalistic and encompasses typography, colour and alternative realities. I work from my studio together with my side-kick Georgie, a cockapoo and spend my time flitting between commercial work and personal projects.


Hidden Gems Guide Books Do Not Tell You About!

Valletta has a lot to offer visitors, having been described as one of the most historically concentrated areas in the world by UNESCO, having 320 monuments all within 55 hectres.