I recently went on a holiday to Malta and was interested to check out Valletta which has been voted one of the European capitals of culture for 2018. It's situated high on a peninsula surrounded by the blue Mediterranean sea and we started our trip by parking the car down in the harbour and taking the new modern lift up the cliff side to the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
The gardens give you a stunning view over the Grand Harbour and a feel for your surroundings. The harbour was one of the world's great maritime sanctuaries and is at the heart of Maltese history.
With no agenda, we spent our time wandering round the narrow streets (many of which are car-free) and taking in the atmosphere. There are many lovely restaurants to dip into for a drink break!
I loved the blonde limestone buildings that glow in the afternoon sun. Nearly every building has painted wooden balconies which adds colour and character to the outside of the buildings and also adds a little extra space to each home.
I loved the purpose-built parliament building, designed by the architect Renzo Piano who also designed the London Shard. It's modern and interesting yet fits perfectly with the traditional Baroque architecture of its surroundings.
We also went on a boat ride around the bay surrounding Valetta and the Three Cities. It was great to be out on the water and to take in the surroundings, as well as learn a bit more about the rich history of Valletta.
The Three Cities are situated across the harbour from Valletta and are quite magnificent with their marinas and beautiful yachts moored up. On our last day we drove there to see them up close, and had a drink on the waterside.
The Malta at War museum, situated in Birgu, was actually very interesting. Malta was really bombarded for a few years during the war and it was interesting to see how resilient the locals were. We even got to do a tour of the underground air raid shelters which were intriguing, if a tad claustrophobic!
With the flight being only three hours away from the UK and with the sun shining for more than 300 days of the year, this is a year-round destination and great for a little city break.