Three years back Dina wanted to go to China, and we ended up in Japan. Then last summer we planned to see Portugal and a bit of Spain, but due to circumstances we ended up in Italy and Switzerland. This time is no different. We actually planned to go to Iceland, but after a thorough research and knowing that we can’t visit any of famous sights with a toddler we decided to go toddler friendly. Toddler’s luck took us to Malta where we planned to spend a day in Valletta, the capital of Malta, beautiful country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the information available on the Internet, Valletta is strictly the small walled city centre, which has a population of around 6k people, making it one of the smallest capitals in the world. On the other side, it seems that “urban” area that belongs to Valletta seems to be around 360k people which is majority of 460k people that live in Malta altogether.

A few weeks before our trip, I’ve read an article about gay rights on Malta and how Maltese painted one of their crossings in the rainbow flag as a show of support and equality. I had no clue where that crossing was until we crossed it approaching Valletta, however it belongs to neighboring town Floriana. I was lucky enough to have to stop on the red light and make a photo in one occasion. 🙂

Travelling with a toddler is slightly different than how we travelled so far, and some adjustments are needed. Just a few minutes before we arrived and parked our car on the big parking in front of the Saint Publiju church in Floriana, Liam fell asleep. That means, we had an hour and a half to sit here and enjoy this view. I mean, it’s a pretty sight but not really worth spending 1.5 hours on the same spot here, yet – knowing our toddler, once he is awake there’s no way to put him back to sleep until the evening and having a restless toddler on the go is a big NO NO NO. 🙂

And, as we later learned, Malta is quite small and if you don’t have a really detailed plan you can end up visiting Valletta three times in a week (instead of a single one), and spend three times an hour and a half at this very same parking place. 🙂 (And we thought we have a very detailed plan!)

Once Liam was awake, we would start our city explorations approaching it’s main gates that are just behind the lovely Triton fountain.

Since I’ve spent a few years in similarly built city (Dubrovnik) and I spoke with a few people who were in Valletta before claiming that it’s boring, smaller than Dubrovnik, and nothing pretty to see here, I already had some expectations, but I must admit that I love being myself and successfully ignoring other people’s subjectivities. While Dubrovnik is mostly flat and small, Valletta is a bit hillier and a bit larger. While from the walls of Dubrovnik you have the view of the city itself and a bit of a sea view, Valletta offers the views of it’s two ports, one on the east, the other on the west, as well it’s streets are a bit wider. That still does not mean huge avenues though, don’t get me wrong. 🙂

As everything else on Malta, it’s built using limestone and in very characteristic way for this island. Thing that surprised me the most are the coloured wooden closed balconies. I’ve seen these kind of balconies in Tunisia and Egypt and on the photos from other, mainly Arabic, countries. With mostly yellowish limestone and colourful balconies, this country looks more like some northern African country of a completely different culture, but after a few days spent here I’d say the people and the way they approach foreigners is mostly similar to my experiences from the South of Italy and Sicily. No bargaining in the shops and things and goods are mostly in the shops, not everywhere on the streets.
Even though it was in couple of occasions.

A small green kiosks that we spotted in the city centre reminded me of Sarajevo, and again, some other Arabic countries, except it’s not. Red phone booths and red royal mailboxes in the background as reminder that Malta was under the British rule. It’s an interesting mix of different influences that shaped this country and it’s history.

Modern new technologies allow you to wonder around the city and at the same time take incredible photos of yourselves, so, this is me lost on the streets of Valletta.

Since we ended up having much more time than expected to explore Valletta, we’ve seen quite a few things, but Liam was the most impressed by the Valletta’s waterfront, the one overlooking the Grand Harbour from the Upper and Lower Barrakka gardens.
We’ve spent some time here looking at the sea and ships, learning the different type of ships. 🙂

It is pretty impressive and really big, so even the big ships look like being of average size when entering this port.

Besides the man made beauties and a bit of natural ones, Malta is known as a great gastro destination. It’s famous for rabbit made dishes, and here in Valletta I had the best ever dish made of insides. It’s rabbit’s liver and insides stew in red wine. (Yes, I’m one of those people who eat all that is today considered as “weird”, all the “yucky” food n things 🙂 )

It was served with baked potatoes placed on the truffles infused bed of mashed potatoes with some more veggies around it. Absolutely fabulous. Rabbit’s liver is so different than the liver of all other animals in terms of taste, that if someone would feed it to you while you were blindfolded, I bet you would never guess it’s liver.

Apparently there are no traditional Maltese desserts as such, so they fall back to desserts from the neighbouring countries. Sicilian Cannoli are common thing here, and as Liam really liked them, we had to stock some for a day or two. 🙂

We’ve walked everywhere around the place. Beside both Barrakka parks we’ve seen Fort St. Elmo, St. Johns Cathedral, main square, palace in the city centre, some more churches and Il Mall park in near by Floriana, but travelling with toddlers does not allow us to spend
crazy hours wondering around as we used to, so we had to slow down and leave earlier to give Liam time to sleep.

Even though, he insisted on being a big boy and going “home” on his own. 🙂

Off course – We added one more Angry Birds photo in our AB Collection. 🙂

In the end, my impressions are that Valletta is a lovely place, packed with history and old buildings, yet it somehow looks fresh and relatively modern, and it’s well worth seeing.

Unfortunately, we had no time to explore museums and historical segments of Malta and Valletta because we planned our stay to be the most interesting and enjoyable for Liam, so we’ll have to come back once, when we’ll all be a bit older. It’s a place with great food, great service, fair price and a load to see and do for a couple of days, but if you are like me and you don’t stand the heat too well, don’t come here in period from May to August. It was around 27 degrees Celsius now in the end of April, and it was just about right, I personally wouldn’t mind a few degrees less. 🙂

Till the next one,



By adminko

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