Valletta – One city, two faces

German students go to Malta to tan, swim and brush up their English in language courses during the school break. But the capital, Valletta, which is soon to be European Capital of Culture, also has lots of historic buildings to explore. We show you both sides.

Historic stronghold

Defensive walls, bastions, battlements: Valletta, one of the world’s best-fortified cities, was founded in the 16th century by the Order of Malta.

Popular backdrop

Malta’s fortifications are popular with filmmakers, too. Fans will enjoy a guided tour of the locations used for filming the fantasy TV series “Game of Thrones.”

Culture wars

Back in the day, people used to exchange rhymed couplets while they worked. These days, traditional ­Għanaian musicians battle it out on stage in poetry slams.

Raptor watching

Malta has been known for its peregrine falcons since the Middle Ages. Today, you can observe falcons, eagles and vultures at the Malta Falconry Center.

Ancient craft

Maltese artisans are exceptionally skilled in the age-old craft of weaving gold and silver threads into delicate, intricately patterned works of art.

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Pamper yourself

The Baia Beach Club on Malta’s northeast coast is a very elegant place to unwind. It boasts great cocktails, excellent food, yoga classes and spa treatments.

Build it yourself

There are many old castles on Malta, but the best place to build your own (sand)castle is in Golden Bay, on what is probably Malta’s most beautiful beach.

Underwater attraction

Malta and its neighboring islands are very popular with divers, thanks in part to the large statue of Christ that was lowered onto the seabed there in 1990.

Fast and fun

The best way to visit Valletta’s neighboring cities, Vittoriosa and Senglea, is by water taxi, a traditional Maltese boat that looks much like a motorized Venetian gondola.

Nostalgic nights

The flame in Delimara Lighthouse has been extinguished, but the venerable building with its sweeping view of the sea now boasts two apartments for overnight guests.