Valletta has emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and with good reason.
The small capital city of Malta is a tourists dream with its stunning 16th century buildings, laid back atmosphere and variety of events that are held throughout the year which bring together both local and international cultures. In fact, the city has been designated UNESCO World Heritage Site status and any visitor to Valletta will quickly see why.
If you are thinking about taking a holiday in Valletta this year or next or if you just want to know what is going on, we have 10 of the best events that are happening over the year.
Witness an authentic re-enactment of the Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St. John as they inspect Fort St. Elmo and perform military drills.
There are 50 people in total that take part in the re-enactment and it provides a fascinating glimpse into one of Malta’s major fortifications. It takes place between February and December every year and there are 3 performances per month (during June and July the re-enactment is held at the Grand Masters Palace).
Admission costs €10 for adults and €5 for kids between 6 – 12 years of age.
If you want to experience one of the best views in Valletta then watching the saluting battery is the place to be.
Set along the high walls in the east of the city, you will get great views of the harbour and the fortified towns that are scattered around the area. The guns have been in operation for 500 years and were fired at 12 noon to inform ships and the rest of the city of the time. You can watch the saluting battery with €3 for adults and €1 for children under 16 and this also includes a guided tour which takes place at 11am, 12.10pm and again at 3pm. Guns are now only fired on special occasions of state.
Now in its 17th year, the Malta International Fireworks Festival is a colourful, vibrant and exciting event that takes place over 3 dates in April.
There are numerous international pyrotechnic companies that attend to put on stunning displays every year and there is a photo contest to see who can snap the best fireworks pic. It isn’t just the fireworks that people come to this event for as there is a variety of musicians too and it is a must see attraction if you are on Malta during April.
Held in July, the Malta Jazz Festival is a must for jazz lovers and anyone who has an interest in hearing some fantastic jazz music amidst the backdrop of the Grand Harbour should attend.
It takes place over 6 days and has a variety of jazz musicians from all over the world as well as local artists from Malta. The event has grown massively in recent years and is now held all across Valletta where you can find every kind of jazz genre music to listen to. If you have little experience of Jazz music then this is a great event to get introduced to the fast paced and vibrant sounds that can be found over the city every year.
Notte Bianca takes place in October each year and is one of the main cultural events in Valletta.
It encompasses theatre, film, music, dance and a host of other activities for everyone to enjoy. There has recently been an increased emphasis on the digital arts too. In fact, historical buildings, art galleries, museums and many other places of interest are open free of charge and there is a wide range of food stalls and restaurants that open later than usual and the whole city seems to come alive.
Museums and Co-Cathedral
St. Johns co-cathedral and museum in Valletta hosts a wide range of events that offer an interesting experience for anyone who visits Malta.
From Gregorian chants and spiritual songs to lectures and impressive religious functions and sermons, the cathedral is one of the most visited places in Valletta. The museum has undergone a refurbishment and displays tapestries, manuscripts and various items of religious and historic significance.
Valletta has an indoor and open air theatres that showcase local and international plays and performances throughout the year.
In conjunction with Valletta 18 there are lots of quirky plays that bring together lots of different influences to create memorable performances and given Valletta’s rich cultural history, attending the various theatres is one of the main reasons many people visit the city.
Changing of the Guards
Held at 10am on the last Friday of every month, the changing of the guards is a worthwhile event to attend if you are in Valletta.
An elaborate ceremony, you can watch an age old tradition happen in front of your eyes and – aside from a brief period when it was suspended in the 1970s – the changing of the guards has been going since the 17th century. It is free to attend and takes place from Republic Street to St. George’s square.
Delicata Wine Festival
The Delicata Wine Festival allows you to experience local wines alongside great food and chilled music in over two weeks in August.
Alongside mouth-watering food and drink, you can experience fantastic views of the harbour as well. Tickets for €15 and that also includes a souvenir glass to take away with you.
If you want to truly experience the culture that Valletta has to offer the V18 (or Valletta 18) has everything you could possible want.
Over 400 events are held through the year and have been boosted by a €10 million injection of funds into the Maltese cultural sector. From art exhibitions, outdoor cinemas, plays, music festivals and one-off performances to workshops – there is a wide variety of events happening throughout the year for V18. You can find the full programme for V18 here.