Are you visiting Malta soon and you’re wondering what are the best free things to do in Valletta, the capital of the island? I’ve got you covered!
Whether you’re traveling on a budget or you simply love to explore attractions and landmarks that don’t cost a dime, Valletta offers an array of free activities that will surely appeal to many travelers.
In fact, during my visit to Malta’s capital, I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to see and do without spending anything: from picturesque gardens to historical monuments to the vibrant streets of the city.
So grab your walking shoes and get ready to explore Valletta, a place where history and charm collide, all for free!
- 15 Free things to do in Valletta
- 01. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens
- 02. Admire the views from the Lower Barrakka Gardens
- 03. See the Siege Bell War Memorial
- 04. Stroll along the streets in Valletta
- 05. Watch the cannons firing from the Upper Barrakka Gardens
- 06. Admire the colorful Maltese balconies
- 07. Explore Birgu
- 08. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Victory
- 09. Walk through Valletta's City Gate
- 10. Visit Senglea
- 11. Take a walk in Hastings Park
- 12. Walk through Victoria Gate
- 13. See Triton's Fountain light up at night
- 14. Explore Cospicua
- 15. Visit the Church of St Paul's Shipwreck
- Free things to do in Valletta: Wrap up
15 Free things to do in Valletta
01. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens
Perched high above the waterfront, the Upper Barrakka Gardens is an absolute must-visit when you’re in Valletta.
Having panoramic views of the Three Cities and the surrounding fortifications, this public garden is perfect for both a daytime visit as well as for watching the sunset (highly recommended!).
And if you want to grab something to eat or drink while soaking in the views, you can actually do that as there’s a small cafe right inside the park.
Also, from here you can take the Barraka Lift down to the waterfront, from where you can catch the ferry or a traditional Maltese boat to the Three Cities.
02. Admire the views from the Lower Barrakka Gardens
A bit smaller but no less enchanting than the Upper Barrakka Gardens, the Lower Barrakka Gardens is another must-visit spot in Valletta. Usually less crowded than its counterpart, it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy beautiful panorama of the 3 cities across the water.
Right in the center of the tiny park, you’ll find the monument of Sir Alexander Ball, which resembles an ancient temple. And if you head out to the back of the gardens, you’ll get a view of the Siege Bell War Memorial.
03. See the Siege Bell War Memorial
Overlooking the Grand Harbour, the Siege Bell War Memorial is more than just a monument; it’s a reminder of the resilience and courage shown during some of the darkest hours in Malta’s history.
Every day, precisely at noon, the large bell rings out, echoing across the harbor in memory of those who lost their lives, during World War II when the island was heavily bombed. It’s quite a moving experience.
04. Stroll along the streets in Valletta
Taking a leisurely stroll along Valletta’s narrow streets is like walking through a living museum.
You’ll encounter ornate Baroque architecture, colorful Maltese balconies that seem to hang precariously off aged stone facades, and little cafes where locals and tourists alike chat animatedly over a cup of coffee.
Whether you’re window shopping, people-watching, or simply soaking in the ambiance, a walk through Valletta’s streets is a free and unforgettable adventure.
05. Watch the cannons firing from the Upper Barrakka Gardens
One of the main reasons why Valletta is worth a visit is the iconic daily cannon firing. Originally used by ships to calibrate their maritime chronographs, this tradition is now preserved by the Malta Heritage Trust.
The cannons are fired twice a day, at noon and 4 pm, from Monday to Saturday. And for a donation, visitors can head down to the terrace of the Saluting Battery to witness the firing up close and learn about the history and mechanics of the cannons.
However, you can also watch the event from the Upper Barrakka Gardens for free. In fact, I dare to say that the public park offers a better, more panoramic perspective.
06. Admire the colorful Maltese balconies
The island of Malta is renowned for its colorful balconies, which are a distinctive element of its architecture.
These closed wooden balconies, known as gallariji, are often painted in bold hues like blue, green, and red. In addition to adding to the island’s visual charm, they also serve practical purposes such as providing shade and privacy to the residents.
07. Explore Birgu
Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa, is one of the Three Cities lying across the Grand Harbour from Valletta. Steeped in history, and older than Valletta itself, the tiny town is more than worth the short boat trip across the bay.
While wandering its narrow streets, you’ll be greeted by old buildings, fortifications, and the impressive Fort St. Angelo, which stands guard over the harbor.
Head out to Birgu Belvedere/ Is-Simenta viewpoint for a beautiful panorama of Kalkara and Valletta across the water.
08. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Victory
Standing proudly as the very first building constructed in Valletta, the Church of Our Lady of Victory holds a special place in the hearts of the Maltese.
The rather simple exterior of the church sits in stark contrast with the richness within, as upon entering, you’re greeted by ornate decorations and intricate frescoes. So make sure you pay it a visit during your trip to Malta.
09. Walk through Valletta’s City Gate
The Valletta City Gate has undergone multiple transformations since its original construction, with the latest design by renowned architect Renzo Piano (which also built The Shard in London) giving it a modern twist.
As you pass through, you’ll be flanked by the impressive city walls (which reminded me a bit of Dubrovnik’s own fortifications, minus the modern touch of course), creating quite a dramatic effect.
10. Visit Senglea
Nestled on a small peninsula, Senglea, or L-Isla as it’s locally known, is also part of the Three Cities. This tiny fortified city is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, each echoing the footsteps of its storied past.
The city’s vantage point offers panoramic views of the Grand Harbour and the surrounding areas, a vista best enjoyed from the Gardjola Gardens. The iconic watchtower, found in this tiny park has become a symbol of Senglea itself.
11. Take a walk in Hastings Park
Perched atop Valletta’s bastions, Hastings Park provides a peaceful rest from the city’s bustling streets. Named after the British Lord Hastings, who once served as the Governor of Malta, the park offers great views of Marsamxett Harbour.
Whether you’re looking to unwind, enjoy a quiet read, or simply bask in the beauty of Valletta’s surroundings, Hastings Park is a perfect destination.
12. Walk through Victoria Gate
While Victoria Gate might be a tad harder to find due to its location, the search is very much worth it. Built in the late 19th century, the gate allows access into the city from the Grand Harbor area.
In contrast with the Valletta City Gate which received a more contemporary design, Victoria retained its original architecture, making it a must-see attraction for history enthusiasts.
13. See Triton’s Fountain light up at night
Triton’s Fountain, with its bronze figures holding a massive basin, is impressive by day, but it’s even more pretty at night when it gets illuminated.
So if you’re wandering around Valletta after sunset or you’re coming back by bus after a day full of adventure – my top tip for visiting Malta without a car is to use Valletta as a base since it’s the starting point to most bus routes, I’d recommend you stop by for a photo op.
14. Explore Cospicua
Cospicua, also known as Bormla, is the largest of the Three Cities and brimming with historical charm. Strolling along its streets, you’ll be greeted by limestone buildings, grand churches, and echoes of the past.
The city’s dockyards bear testimony to its maritime heritage, while the fortifications and bastions speak of its strategic importance through the ages.
But Cospicua isn’t just about history. It’s a living, breathing community, offering a genuine glimpse into Maltese life, past and present.
15. Visit the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck
One of the oldest churches in Valletta, the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, stands as a monumental tribute to St Paul, who is credited with introducing Christianity to Malta. Inside, you’re greeted with lavish Baroque interiors, detailed frescoes, and stunning artworks.
However, beyond its rich decorations, the church is a place of deep spiritual significance for the Maltese. The relic of St Paul’s wrist bone and a piece of the column on which he was beheaded in Rome are among its sacred treasures.
Free things to do in Valletta: Wrap up
As you can see, there are plenty of free things to do in Valletta, from exploring historic sites and gardens to simply soaking in the atmosphere of its charming streets.
The city caters to all kinds of travelers, be they history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, or those just seeking a leisurely stroll amidst picturesque surroundings and it’s one of the main reasons why Malta is worth a visit.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE