The definition of luxury travel continues to evolve. A new one is long overdue, anyway, as the term becomes more and more watered down with too many purveyors anxious to apply the misnomer to their brand. Price can lend to exclusivity, but shouldn’t be the only factor. True luxury tends to also revolve around authentic, unfiltered experiences that open your eyes to new ways of viewing the world, and aren’t available anywhere else. Luxury holidays should also be enjoyed with complete freedom and flexibility. Wherever you go and whatever you do, it should be exactly what you want, when you
Discover why Valletta, the capital of Malta, should be next on your list. Read about what makes this small but mighty city so special, including it’s status as a UNESCO world heritage site, beautiful architecture and interesting museums. You’ll soon realise why it’s the European Capital of culture for 2018!
Valletta is not just another European capital.
Even as you first lay eyes on Valletta, the under-the-radar capital of the Mediterranean archipelago nation of Malta, it becomes clear that the city was built to impress, to inspire confidence in its cultural, commercial and military prowess.
Home to grand Baroque architectural masterpieces and palatial residences, Valletta boasts a rich, illustrious history; its stories being told over and over in the myriad patterns of the city’s old stone walls (nature’s handiwork), trails on the water where boats sail in to the fortified harbor, hilly cobbled backstreets where emerald and scarlet balconies adorn honey-colored buildings, and inside elaborate homes of nobility, with doors open to curious visitors.
A Brief History of Valletta
Read more from source: Valletta: The Cultural Capital of Malta is a Baroque Gem
The Week has partnered with Chic Retreats to offer one lucky winner and a guest the chance to win a 3-night trip to Valletta including a stay at the stylish and historic boutique hotel The Saint John along with return flights from London.
Enter here! The Saint John
With its incredible history (it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site, no less), thriving foodie scene and title of this year’s European Capital of Culture there are few better cities for a weekend away than Valletta and, nestled in the heart of town, The Saint John is a great base from which to explore.
Housed in a beautifully converted honey-hued 17th-century building – formerly a merchant’s residence and shop – this chic retreat offers style in abundance, with plenty of original features set neatly alongside more contemporary design.
Born out of founder Lulu’s passion for unique, small independent properties, Chic Retreats offers a curated collection of exceptional stays from around the world. From cosy B&Bs to stylish boutique hotels and design-led retreats, each place boasts charm in abundance as well as meticulous attention to detail.
One of my favorite travel moments was an evening stroll through the “Silent City,” Mdina (yes, that’s the spelling), in the Northern Region of Malta — the island’s capital from antiquity to the medieval period. Mdina has a population of just under 300. Candlelight flickered against ancient stones as my steps echoed on the wall enclosing the town, and I was transported to a time of Knights and sailing trade routes.
I also remember attending one of Malta’s many saint’s festivals; each town outdoes the others with entertainment, music, dancing, fireworks and lots of local food. I entered the opened doors of spotlessly cleaned homes as hosts proudly showed off their furnishings and family photos. I was even beckoned into a bedroom where a grandfather was sitting up in bed, smiling and waving.
Yes, memories are some of the sweetest elements of travel, but here are some facts that will help with future trips:
Malta is an archipelago (the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino) in the center of the Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast.
Spanning bright blue sea vistas, breathtaking Baroque architecture, and ancient fortifications bathed in golden sunshine, these 32 photos capture the beauty of Valletta, the European Capital of Culture 2018.
There’s no better time to visit Valletta than now, when the beautiful Maltese city shares the title of European Capital of Culture 2018 with Leeuwarden, Netherlands.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this city exudes history from every square inch of its narrow cobblestoned streets, from every ornate Baroque building and imposing rampart, gently lapped by the blue Mediterranean Sea.
But, within the ancient walls of this glorious fortress, life bubbles in sunny piazzas lined with elegant outdoor cafés, around honey-colored limestone palazzi, and beneath enclosed wooden balconies painted in bright colors.
Though small, the capital is home to the largest concentration of art in Europe, and the beautifully restored centuries-old townhouses dotted throughout play host to some of Valletta’s best boutique accommodations.
Founded in 1565 by the Order of St John, Valletta is a delightful mélange of Arabic, British, and Italian influences, all of which shine in its majestic architecture, delectable cuisine, and vibrant cultural life.
Hmmm. Malta? Isn’t that a part of Italy, somewhere near Sicily? This is what many people think, but that’s only half right. Malta is an archipelago that lies between Sicily and the Northern African coast. It is packed with interesting architecture, brilliant turquoise sea, charming cities and a laid-back vibe.
I predict that Malta is going to be the next hotspot, much like Croatia is now. So, you gotta go before that happens. And when you do, don’t miss these best things to do in Malta.
WHAT TO SEE + DO
1. Eat Fish in Marsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk (pronounced marsa-schlock) is a traditional fishing village where colorful boats clutter the bay and the shore facing street is lined with fresh fish restaurants.
Popular amongst tourists, it’s best to go to Marsaxlokk on Sunday when the open-air local fish market sells the morning catch.
Valletta may have celebrated 450 years – however, it is not afraid to embrace change. Jennifer Grech reports.
Many capitals outgrow the nations they actually represent. London and Rome, for instance, are ambassadors to the nation but also have their own identity.
Valletta is no exception, featuring prominently on all of the world’s smallest destinations lists – it is a staggering concentration of monuments and historic buildings that have earned it the status of Unesco World Heritage site.
“Valletta is indeed one of our country’s most recognisable icons. Of course, its importance as a capital is clear, however, what makes it stand out is the centuries-old architectural marvels – the fortifications, palaces, churches and the rich art and colourful history they contain,” says conservation architect and architectural heritage researcher Edward Said.
Malta is one of the most popular touristic destinations, receiving three times more tourists than the number of residents each year. Perhaps the beauty of the islands, the gorgeous beaches, and the luxurious hotels are making more and more people try this destination. If you want to enjoy an unforgettable vacation and quality is more important to you than quantity, Malta is the place for you. It can satisfy the requirements of even the pickiest tourists, being much appreciated by tourists in search for a luxurious experience. Exquisite 5-star hotels, casinos, and some of the best restaurants can be found here, besides stunning beaches and a perfect weather. Of course, these are only a few examples of what you can find here. If you enjoy beautiful ships, Malta is the best place to add a gorgeous yacht experience to your vacation.
With a history as rich as it has been dramatic, Valletta has become a laid-back coastal destination with a thriving creative class.
People love to invade Malta. The Mediterranean island nation, situated between Sicily and Tunisia, counts among its unwelcome guests the Romans, the Ottomans, Napoleon and, in the early 20th century, hundreds of Russian aristocrats fleeing the fall of the czarist autocracy. For the most part, the Maltese were having none of this. Napoleon was forced out after just two years, and the Knights of Malta — effectively, and against all odds — defeated the Ottoman Empire’s much larger forces. In Valletta, Malta’s capital, people still bring up the Great Siege with enormous pride, boasting about it as if they had actually been there.