Valletta, Malta’s capital, is a place where the term living history can actually be applied because the whole city has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The entire city is a one big museum and architectural tour where every building is a baroque monument. One might think it would be hard to stand out in a place where all the buildings date back to the 16th century. But St. John's Co-Cathedral manages to shine as the star of the show. Every landmark from the Grand Master's Palace to the Prime Minister's office and Malta's Grand Harbor is a thing of exquisite beauty. Get a car for hire in Valletta and get to know the legacy of the Knights of Malta.
The Grand Master's Palace, which houses the President of Malta and is also the House of Parliament, is one of the main living history monuments in Valletta. So is the Auberge de Castille et Leon, which is now the Prime Minister's office. Get a car for rent in Valletta and pick your spots carefully, because you cannot possibly see everything in a day. Other must-visit living history attractions include the 1732 Manoel Theatre and the Valletta Waterfront, which has nineteen 250 year old warehouses that have been restored and are now being used as waterfront cafes and shops. The Upper Barrakka Gardens provide a sweeping view of Grand Harbor. Strait Street is an interesting place with a very colorful history. Remember that this is a living history tour, so museums and landmarks such as the National War Museum and Fort St. Elmo may be visited separately. The most famous Churches are detailed below.
Valetta has more than 25 Churches, but the highlight is unquestionably St. John's Co-Cathedral on St. Lucia's Street. It is likely the most complete and grand example of Baroque architecture in the world. The vaulted central nave, the 300 impeccably paved marble tomb slabs, and the only signed Caravaggio painting in the world depicting the beheading of St. John are a spectacle that has to be seen and felt in person. St. Paul's Church is on the next block. The St. Francis of Assisi Church on Republic Street is quite popular among tourists, and so is the Church of St. Paul's Shipwreck on St. Paul Street.
Since living history seems to be the theme in vogue for Valletta, it might be interesting to stay in a historic hotel and make it a part of the whole tourist experience. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is a prime candidate, with 16th century fortifications that make it the only five-star hotel housed inside historic architecture in Valletta. The Castille Hotel is a three-star accommodation that was originally a 16th century residence. The wine cellar and Pizzeria housed in the hotel's basement retain the original look and furnishings of a 16th century Palace wine cellar.
If there is anything Valletta lacks, it is a beach. If you want to enjoy a day out on a beach in Malta, you will have to book car rental in Valletta right now and figure out which beaches and beach resorts you want to visit. Your options include Mellieha, which has the biggest beach in Malta. You can find more beaches if you go past the Sliema ferry to St. Julian's and then St. George's Bay. You can also choose to stay at a Golden Bay beachfront hotel. Southern Malta has the St. Thomas Bay in Marsaskala, and if you can hop over to Comino on the Valletta to Gozo car ferry, you will find the Blue Lagoon beach.
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