I often search for the most Instagrammable spots or for photography locations with the actual purpose of finding the best things to do in a place that I’m visiting for the first time.
My reasoning is that if a place is worthy enough for people to want to take photos of it, then there’s a good chance that I’ll want to include it in my itinerary as well.
That’s why, in this post, you’ll not only find out what are the most photo-worthy spots in Valletta but also the best things to see in Malta’s capital city.
01. Valletta’s streets and colorful balconies
Strolling through the picturesque streets of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll quickly understand why this city is the perfect destination for photography enthusiasts.
But what really sets Valletta apart are its colorful, traditional balconies which add splashes of color to every picture.
While the main street (Republic St) has its own appeal, I personally found myself drawn to the side alleys. They are quieter, but still very photogenic and they also offer an escape from the bustling crowds.
Lastly, the city’s unique topography, with most streets sloping up and down, provides an opportunity to capture a different kind of perspective than in other capital cities.
How to get there? If you didn’t book your accommodation in Valletta, just take a local bus there. It’s pretty straightforward as most routes start and end in the capital.
02. Lower Barrakka Gardens
The Lower Barrakka Gardens, one of the best free places to visit in Valletta, is a small public park in Valletta.
In the middle of these gardens, you’ll find the monument of Sir Alexander Ball (a central figure in Maltese history), which looks like an ancient temple, while if you walk to the back of the park you’ll be able to see the Siege Bell War Memorial.
But what makes this location even more photogenic is the half-circle benches along the Grand Harbor side.
These aren’t just a comfortable spot to sit on and rest for a few minutes, but they also look quite nice in photos while you take in the stunning views of the Three Cities across the water.
How to get there? You can take a bus and get off at either of the two stops located near the park. However, the easiest way is to walk there. Valletta is quite compact in size and the entire city can be explored on foot within just a few hours.
For example, walking from the main entrance gate to St. Elmo Place which is positioned at the tip of the peninsula takes only about 14 minutes.
03. Red phone booth and balconies
Just above Victoria Gate, you’ll find one of my favorite Instagram spots in Malta: a building with bright red traditional balconies, near a pedestrian bridge. Nearby, you’ll also find a red phone booth if you want an extra oomph to your pic.
How to get there? To locate this specific spot, head in the direction of Victoria Gate from the Lower Barrakka Gardens, making sure to follow the promenade along the waterfront.
You’ll find this location right where the street along the waterfront passes over Victoria Gate. The spot is also marked on Google Maps as “Red Phone Booth and Balconies”.
04. Triton’s Fountain at night
Featuring three bronze Tritons, each straining to hold up a large basin, Triton’s Fountain is particularly photogenic at night, when it gets lit up.
How to get there? The fountain is very easy to find as it’s located in front of the main Gate of Valletta and close to the bus station.
05. Victoria Gate
In contrast to the Valletta City Gate, which received a modern redesign, Victoria Gate has retained its original 19th-century architectural style. And for this reason, I personally prefer it to the main entrance.
How to get there? To get a photo of the gate, simply head down the flight of stairs located near the building with the distinctive red balconies.
06. Upper Barrakka Gardens
Slightly larger than its counterpart, the Upper Barrakka Gardens is another lovely public park in Malta’s tiny capital. This spot offers stunning views of the Three Cities as well as Valletta’s own waterfront, making it a favorite for both locals and visitors.
The park features a central fountain and is home to a small café, perfect for a relaxing break. A highlight of the Upper Barrakka Gardens is the daily firing of the cannons which happens on the Saluting Battery below, offering a unique spectacle.
Also inside the gardens, you can find the Barrakka Lift (1 eur/ride, have cash) which provides convenient access to the waterfront down below, making it easy for those looking to ride the ferry or a traditional boat across the bay and explore the Three Cities.
How to get there? The park is located on the right side of the Malta Stock Exchange. If you arrive from the building with the red balconies, walk straight and you’ll eventually stumble upon the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
07. Firing of the cannons on the Saluting Battery
As I already mentioned, the firing of the cannons happens daily on the Saluting Battering located below the Upper Barrakka Gardens, first at noon and then once again at 4 PM.
You can watch this centuries-old tradition unfold from the park for free or you can see it up close from the battery itself, for a small fee.
I would recommend the first option, as I feel you get a better view from above, though it will also be way more crowded. And if you wish, you can still donate to maintain this tradition (it’s based on volunteer work) after the event ends.
TIP: If you decide to film the entire thing, make sure you hold your phone tight, as the firing of the cannon is quite loud and it will most likely startle you.
How to get there? The Saluting Battery can be accessed from inside the Upper Barrakka Gardens via a flight of steps.
08. The interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral
The interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta sits in deep contrast to its simple exterior, as once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by rich decoration, intricate carvings, and ornate details that are almost overwhelming for the eyes.
The floor of the cathedral is quite striking as well, being completely covered with marble memorial plaques commemorating many prominent knights from the Order.
And exhibited in the Oratory, you can see Caravaggio’s famous painting “The Beheading of St. John the Baptist”.
Lastly, I think this goes without saying, but I’ll still mention it: since it’s a worship place, make sure you are mindful and respectful while taking photos of the church.
How to get there? St. John’s Co-Cathedral is located in the heart of Valletta, on Republic St.
09. Valletta’s skyline from Senglea
For some of the best views of Valletta’s skyline visit Senglea, which is one of the Three Cities located across the bay from the capital. Once you’re there, head to the Senglea Tip viewpoint located within Gardjola Gardens.
From this vantage point, you can capture a clear, unobstructed panorama of Valletta, which looks particularly nice at sunset when the sky turns pink or orange.
How to get there? Take the ferry or a traditional Maltese boat across the water to the Three Cities (more precisely Cospicua) and then walk to Gardjola Gardens.
10. Siege Bell War Memorial
The Siege Bell War Memorial is a poignant reminder of Malta’s history, watching solemnly over the Grand Harbor. Every day at noon, the large bell rings, its resonant echo serving as a tribute to those who lost their lives during World War II, when the island endured heavy bombing.
While visiting this memorial, it’s important to approach photography with respect, considering its deep historical significance and the memories it holds.
How to get there? The Siege Bell War Memorial is located just below the Lower Barrakka Gardens, right on the waterfront.
I hope this list of the best Valletta photo spots inspired you to explore the Maltese capital city for yourself.
And if you’re curious about how to experience the best of this beautiful island in just four days and without the need for a car, don’t miss my comprehensive Malta itinerary. It’s packed with tips and easy-to-follow routes that will make your trip a breeze.
So, head over, give it a read, and start planning your next adventure in Malta.
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