Malta is simply magical, in its totally counter stereotypical, rarely attractive environment. Why? - You might ask. Besides the visual pleasure and tranquility, that is found hardly anywhere these days, as well as a variety of attractions and entertainment, Malta offers extremely interesting insights into its past.
Valletta, capital of Malta, is practically a city-fortress, located on a peninsula surrounded by two bays and forts on opposite coasts.
Wherever you look, you see only the several rows of high and thick walls, domes and the church towers. The entrance to the city is straight from the square, where the main bus station is.
The city was founded by Jean de Valette, Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, after Malta failed to survive the great Ottoman siege in 1565. Valette was elected leader and supreme commander of the knights from different parts of Europe, each of which was given its own auberge (palace).
Pearl of Valletta is undoubtedly St. John Co-Cathedral, completed in 1577, all in marble, gold and silver packed with artworks: sculptures, tapestries and paintings, the most famous pieces by Caravaggio among others. In fact, wherever you look while walking through the narrow streets, you’re looking at something five centuries old. The history of this place is very rich. Main city street - Republic Street - leads all the way to the tip of the peninsula. Shops, bars, restaurants and historic buildings are on the left and right.
Barrakka Gardens is located on the right side of the entrance. Below is a terrace with the eight cannons battery, gun salutes are fired two times a day, always at the same time. Terrace offers a beautiful panoramic view of the forts on the opposite side of the Grand Harbor.
At 7 pm everything is closed in Valletta and the city suddenly fades away and clears. Tourists move to their hotels. There are, in fact, bays and small peninsulas north of Valletta, full of hotels, restaurants and shops, most of them on the coast, along with the promenade, which stretches for many miles. Pacewille is the center of nightlife for young people. In addition to expensive hotels, shopping centers and stores, there is a maze of streets with many cafes, restaurants and discotheques. Only one street has a dozen discos. There are fast food restaurants of all known global chains. Beer costs one Euro, two cocktails - four Euros. There are 38 schools of foreign languages, mainly English, operating on the island; some even have their own hotels.
Most hotels have swimming pools, or on the roof or outside the building. When looking for a quieter, cheaper, family vacation, one can choose between Bugibba, Qawra, St.Paul's Bay, Mellieha and Gozo. The largest and most beautiful sandy beaches are located in the Mellieha Bay.
The gastronomic offer is more than the rich. Decent, hearty meal in a restaurant can be found for 6 to 12 euros, and the price always includes French fries and salad. From national specialties, one should taste aljotta, fish soup; stuffat tal-Fenek, rabbit stew with red wine; and tympana, baked macaroni filled with minced meat. Most famous seafood specials are the grilled swordfish steaks and seasonal white fish lampuki. Large shrimps are three times cheaper than in most European countries, for example. Be sure to pear all of this food with good local wines or Maltese beer.
Taxi has a fixed price for major destinations and it is much more expensive than public transportation. However, be sure to negotiate the price in advance. Rent a car service is not expensive, smaller vehicles for seven days cost from 100 to 150 euros, but the problems may be caused by the left side traffic, traffic congestion and lack of parking space.
When it comes to souvenirs, it is well known: everyone is buying the Maltese cross, handmade fabrics and lace, filigree silver and gold. Apart from tourism, Malta earns as shipping country, with ports for transshipment of the cargo.