The Fairytale of Valletta

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Once upon a time there was a sleeping city.

St pauls Co-Cathedral valletta

It had been built by knights with a penchant for gold.


They said: “This is a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen,” and made it the capital of their island home.


Folk flocked to the city and embellished its buildings with elegant grandeur,


… wooden balconies and sculptural motifs.


It thrived and people felt safe enclosed by its vast bastion walls.


But then came World War II and havoc spread across the island. The city wasn’t spared and bombs came falling upon it.


In those post-war years, the city’s residents began to dwindle, allured by modern housing and foreign shores.


The city began to sleep.

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Shops were abandoned,


… houses left to dust, and the population shrunk to 9,000.


In hibernation, the city became a museum, visited daily by gawkers in their thousands, capturing a glimpse of times gone by. By night, it only whispered.


But then one day, it started to wake.


Young artists and architects with an eye for style became enamoured by the city’s looks.


They started to move there, and breathe life into its sleeping streets, opening quirky cafes,


… and design studios.


Others began to follow and old residents chose to return.


Merchants’ houses became boutique hotels, and chocolate shops reopened after 20 years.


Like a magic wand across the streets, the city was waking up.


The city is waking up.


Welcome to Valletta. Her time has come again.

More info on Valletta and Malta

If you’re planning a trip to Malta, also have a look at our Valletta Essentials Guide. I’ve also written about vegetarian food in Malta, and here’s a photo essay showing just how gorgeous the island is.

I was invited to Malta by the Blog Island Malta campaign. I was free to write what I wished and all opinions are of course my own.  The campaign was created by the people at iambassador in partnership with the Malta Tourism Authority and the support of Air Malta. Thanks for inviting me to the fairytale land!

One thing that you might like tonote about Valletta is that it will be the European City of Culture in 2018. That year will be an especially exciting time to visit.

31 thoughts on “The Fairytale of Valletta”

  1. One of my good friends is from Valletta and always encouraging me to visit…I definitely think it is about time – great pictures!

    • Thanks Sam 🙂 Steve normally takes the bulk of the photos but this time I was on my own, so I’m pleased people still like them!

  2. What a brilliant way to publish a photo essay! Love how it tells the story of the city in just a handful of sentences. I never really wanted to go to Malta but I’ve been reading a lot about it lately and it’s changing my mind 🙂

    • Thanks Carmen. I also hadn’t really thought much about going to Malta. It is pretty touristy but gems like Valletta, the countryside, Gozo and Comino make it worth a visit.

  3. Malta has been on my dream list for a while and after seeing these amazing pictures I really want to visit it soon! Thanks for this amazing post!

  4. I loved this story! Malta has been showing up on my radar lately and I hope to visit in the next year or two. We’ll be living in Riga and, from what I hear, Air Baltic offers cheap flights all over Europe!

  5. Lovely storytelling approach Victoria and some wonderful impressions indeed! I just noticed how the word “tale” is hidden in the city’s name already… 🙂
    Really lovely to see how your words and the visuals intermingle, a wee ode to that place! I sense you had a lovely time “feeling the city with your soles” while walking through the streets and maybe get lost a little bit.

  6. What a nice post!
    It has been a great pleasure living this experience with you, you’re a special person and this tale demonstrates it!


  7. Pingback: Unpacking Travel: Issue 24 | GoEuro Blog
  8. I lived in Malta, in Rabat, forty three years ago. It was lovely to see the old streets in Valleta. I keep thinking to bring my daugther who was born in Malta


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