The Most Beautiful Buildings in Valletta

Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta | Emmanuele Eragna
Nicola Collins

Following the Great Siege of 1565, the knights, under the Order of St John, set about creating a city ‘built by gentlemen, for gentlemen’. Valletta became the home to elaborate baroque buildings, some incorporating Mannerist features taken from neighbouring Italy, many of which still stand as they did in the 16th century. Today, the capital city is an assemblage of old and new elegantly lining the streets of 2018’s Capital of Culture. Here are just some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of architecture the capital has to offer.

Auberge De Castille

Today Malta’s government office and seat of Malta’s prime minister, the outstanding building of Auberge De Castille, was originally opened in 1574 and built in the form of a military-style building during the rule of the Order of the Knights of St John. In 1741, the renovating of the facade of the building was entrusted to master builder, Domenico Cachia, whose ornate baroque design still stands today. The Grand Master’s symbol and crescent moon are featured throughout this vast building with the main central window displaying the Grand Master’s coat of arms and bust.

Auberge De Castille, Merchants St, Valletta, Malta +356 2200 0000

Auberge De Castille

With construction ordered in 1731 by Grand Master of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller, Fra António Manoel de Vilhena, the Manoel Theatre was created to house the increasing popularity of operas, theatrical and drama productions available to the public. Previously entertainment solely for nobility, Manoel funded the project himself in order to provide ‘honest entertainment’ to the young knights and general public who had not been given the opportunity to experience this before. Constructed and opened in a mere 10 months, the first performance was held in January of 1732. Still in operation today, the Manoel is Europe’s third oldest working theatre.

Manoel Theatre, Old Theatre Street, Valletta, Malta +356 2124 6389

Manoel Theatre

The House of Four Winds

In 2010, the House of Four Winds was renovated to become the official offices of the chairman of the Bank of Valletta (BOV). With outstanding views over Marsamxett Harbour, Manoel Island and Sliema, the building has previously been the workplace of both a variety of Malta’s ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Originating as an army barrack, the building has always been held in high esteem, later becoming a colonial home. Its architecture has remained a focal point throughout its lifetime. Transformed into the stunning building it is today by Malta’s renowned architects and constructional engineers, DeMicoli & Associates, it remains a structure of true architectural beauty.

The House of Four Winds, Triq L-Imtiehen, Valletta, Malta

House of Four Winds

The Grand Master’s Palace

Behind its less elaborate exterior lies the ornate state rooms of the Grand Master’s Palace. Built in the 16th century as a formal residence to the Grand Master’s of the Knights of St John, the palace has remained Malta’s centre of administration for over 350 years. Walls are adorned with several portraits of both the Grand Masters of the Order and European monarchs among original suits of armour. Five of the state rooms are open to the public displaying works such as 17th-century French Gobelins tapestries and oil paintings depicting naval battles and scenes of Africa, Brazil, India and the Caribbean. The palace was the main office of Malta’s president up until 2015.

The Grand Master’s Palace, 58 Republic Street, Valletta, Malta +356 2124 9349

The Grand Master’s Palace

St Augustine Parish Church

Becoming a parish church in 1968, St Augustine’s serves a parish population of 1,668 people made up of 650 families across Valletta. Originally built in 1571 by Girolamo Cassar, the resident engineer of the Order of St John who played a key role in some of Valletta’s finest architecture. The church lasted until 1765 and was then rebuilt by Giuseppe Bonnici in a cruciform layout. Still displaying many artefacts from the original church, such as a representation of Mattia Preti’s painting of Augustinian Nicholas of Tolentino. The pipe organ within the church is still used today and was built by Mascioni, one of Europe’s most renowned pipe organ firms based in Italy who have been in operation since 1829.

St Augustine Parish Church, Old Bakery Street, Valletta, Malta +356 2123 8861

St Augustine Parish Church

St John’s Co-Cathedral

Malta’s most impressive church was built between 1573 and 1578. The church became the main place of worship for the knights of the time. Its interior was improved in the 17th century and in keeping with baroque style, the rooms inside are an exuberant display of gold, ornate marble flooring and stunning, painted arch ceilings. Home to original Caravaggio painting of St John the Baptist, the church attracts many visitors daily to witness firsthand what lies behind its comparatively plain exterior.

St John’s Co-Cathedral, Triq San Gwann, Valletta, Malta +356 2122 0536

St John’s Co-Cathedral Nave

New Parliament

Made of limestone, concrete and steel, this relatively new building was constructed between 2011 and 2015. The building was designed by Renzo Piano as part of the City Gates project. The entrance to the building holds a permanent exhibition, open to the public, showing the history of Parliament from 1921 to the present day. However, visitors are screened upon entering and there may be time restrictions in place.

New Parliament Building, Republic Street, Valletta, Malta +356 2559 6000

New Parliament
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article