Valletta City Break
The multi-layered (architecturally, linguistically, gastronomically, literally) cultural gem of Valletta could make a wannabe historian of even the least enquiring mind, with the tiny walled city centre described as 'one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world'.
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
Your three-hour flight to Malta leaves London in the early morning and lands mid-morning. Once you have cleared customs and collected your luggage you will be met by one of our team on the ground for the 20-minute private transfer to your hotel for the next three nights.
After you have checked in and dropped your bags in your room, it will be just about time for lunch. Consult your handy Dossier for our favourite places, before meeting your expert guide for a four-hour private walking tour of Valletta. Your guide will take you through Valletta's beautiful baroque streets, explaining the city's rich history as you visit St John's Co-Cathedral and the beautiful Grand Masters Palace, before finishing at the Upper Barracca Gardens - whose views stretch across the Grand Harbour - at sunset. After your tour, you will head back to the hotel for a sundowner cocktail and sample the wares of another excellent restaurant (if it's on the menu, try the braised rabbit - a delicious Maltese speciality).
Day 2: Full Day Tour of the South
After breakfast this morning you will be met at your hotel by your expert guide and driver for a full day private tour of the southern tip of Malta.
Your tour will take in the fascinating prehistoric caves at Ghar Dalam, where your guide will explain the interpretations of the cave paintings and how the first humans came to live on Malta over 7000 years ago. You will then move on to other important ancient sites, namely the Tarxerian Temples and Hagar Qim - both of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites - before a boat tour of the Blue Grotto. After your tour, you will be privately transferred back to Valletta in time for drinks and dinner.
Day 3: Private Half Day Tour of Mdina
After breakfast today, you will be met by your expert private guide and driver for the half an hour drive to Mdina.
Here you will visit St Paul's Catacombs, which date from the Roman occupation of Malta, and are an example of the unique Maltese underground architecture. After a tour of the catacombs you will visit St Pauls Cathedral, which was built over a period of five years after the original was levelled during an earthquake in the 17th century. Your guide will explain how, according to tradition, St Paul was met at the site by the Roman governor of Malta when he was shipwrecked on the island and how the cathedral came to be built. At the end of you tour you will be privately transferred back to your hotel to enjoy lunch and the afternoon at leisure.
- Subterranean Tour of Valletta. To get under the skin of the city even more, we can arrange a tour of the catacombs, tunnels and cisterns that meander in a far more mysterious way beneath the perfect grid of streets on the surface.
- Take a tour of the harbour. To get a feel for what Valletta might have looked and felt like hundreds of years ago, take to the water on a tour of the Grand Harbour by boat, or more precisely, by dghajsa, Valletta's aquatic equivalent of London's black cabs. We can arrange a trip on one of these once ubiquitous craft that buzzed around the harbour for centuries ferrying sailors and locals around. Sadly they are becoming rarer and rarer.
Day 4: International Flight
Today it is sadly time to wave goodbye to Valetta after a last morning at leisure as you take a private transfer back to the airport in time for your lunchtime flight home.
You will arrive back in London in the afternoon and the flight takes just under three and a half hours.
Harriet is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.