When you visit Malta, a visit to Valletta is a must. It is the tiny capital of Malta and also a world heritage site by UNESCO, so you know it must be good. We made our stay in Valletta as comfortable as possible and stayed in the lovely hotel The Phoenicia, which was a true highlight of our Malta trip. In this blog you will find out about why you should stay at the Phoenicia and what are the best things to do in Valletta.
The Phoenicia belongs to the leading hotels of the world group and has an amazing restaurant and pool, which make a stay all the worthwhile. It is situated at the edge of Valletta, just outside of the city walls. This means you have the city at your display in walking distance, but you can also enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings of the Phoenicia. The Phoenicia is surrounded by lush gardens and we even found a bougainvillea in bloom in November. When you walk to the end of the gardens you will find a beautiful infinity pool and sufficient relaxing chairs.
We absolutely loved the restaurant and ate there several times. We opted for a room rate that included breakfast and were very happy with our choice. Breakfast had plenty of choice of bread, charcuterie, yoghurt, fruit and you could even order eggs in several styles, pancakes and healthy breakfast options such as avocado toast and porridge. The main restaurant is located in a colonial art nouveau room and features a terrace as well. The Phoenicia recently opened a new restaurant: a beef bar, that serves Asian dishes as well. As the restaurant is located inside the hotel, we sometimes left Hugo in our room and used the babyphone-app to check up on his, so we could enjoy our dinner in the restaurant.
Another thing that I would highly recommend about the Phoenicia is the spa. The spa features a indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms, that are included in your roomrate. You can also undertake several wellness and sports activities, for which you have to pay an additional fee. In the early morning the spa had a timeslot for kids, so we could bring Hugo along for swimming.
The rooms of the Phoenicia are decorated in Maltese style, feature spacious bathrooms, at night your bed is being made and you can take free drinks from your minibar (wine not included). All in all we had such a lovely stay at the Phoenicia, that I would advise everyone to stay here, if you can find a decent room rate. We paid € 175 per room, per night including breakfast. This is an absolute steal for a 5 star luxury hotel and we were lucky to travel during uncertain COVID times and in November, which is the lowseason on Malta. During high season rooms go for a higher price, but you might be able to find last minute deals.
Valletta had been on my bucket list for quite some time, as I found the buildings and structure of Valletta super interesting. The sandstone buildings contrast lovely with the pastel colored balconies and a walled city always adds an extra intrigue. The only thing that reveals you are not walking in an open air museum, is the abundance of cars parked in the streets. Malta is located on a hill, so expect to walk a lot of up and down, which adds interesting visuals as well.
Upper Barrakka Gardens: You cannot miss the Barrakka Gardens when you visit Valletta. I don’t know if I would have called them gardens, as there are not that many plants, but these public squares are beautifully decorated and feature great views of the Mediterrenean and surrounding villages.
Lower Barrakka Gardens: The second Barrakka garden is worth a quick visit as well, as it is nice to photograph the Upper gardens from this one.
Historical city center: If you go for a walk in the historical city center, you will find most highlights by just walking around. I absolutely loved meandering through the tiny streets of Valletta, admiring all the colorfully traditional closed wooden balconies and doors, painted in a wide array of colors. I particularly loved the staired alleyways near St Johns street, that had the Mediterrenean sea as a backdrop and the viewpoint near Bridge Bar. We didn’t end up visiting the St. John’s Co-Cathedral and Casa Rocca Piccola, but I heard they were definitely worth a visit.
Sliema ferry: A fun way to see Malta from a distance is to take the ferry to Sliema. A return ticket for adults costs € 2,80 per ticket. From Sliema you have an amazing view of Valletta and the enormous dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Unfortunately, my camera lens broke down when we arrived to Sliema and I had to take pictures with an old iPhone, but Sliema truly has a great view. Sliema itself is not worth it if you ask me. It consists of lots of highrise buildings and mainstream stores, but if you have to do some shopping, Sliema is the place to be.