La Valletta Shore Excursions
St. John's Co-Cathedral
The Co-Catheral of St John (a co-cathedral is a cathedral linked to a convent) was built between 1573 and 1577. It has an austere facade which hides an opulent interior of marble and gold. You'll find many masterpieces of art within including Caravaggio's The Beheading of St John. An audio guide is available.
Upper Baracca Gardens
Two beautiful public gardens, Upper Barracca and the Lower Barracca, overlook the Grand Harbour. The Upper Barracca offers the more splendid view across the bay. The garden was a gift to the city from an eighteenth-century Italian knight. Dotted around are a number of statues and plaques which commemorate well-known Maltese personalities.
Mdina, the old capital of Malta, is a medieval walled town perched high up on a hillside in the middle of the island (about 8 miles from Valletta). Only 300 people live here, and no cars are allowed, so it's no wonder it has the nickname 'The Silent City'. Climb the town walls for a wonderful view of the whole island.
Hagar Quim Megalithic Temple
About a mile from Zurrieq lies the megalithic temple at Hagar Qim, thought to be around 5000 years old. It's the best-preserved of pre-historic limestone temple in Malta. A short walk away lies another Neolithic site, the Mnajdra Temples. (Zurrieq is around 10 miles from Valletta).
There are no beaches in Valletta itself, so you'll need to head out of town. The best beaches are to the west of the island. Golden Bay, just past the town of Mgarr (bus route 47 from Valletta, about an hour's journey) has shallow-sloping golden sands, clear blue seas and good facilities, making it a firm favorite. Though it is overlooked by a large hotel complex. A short walk from Golden Bay lies undeveloped Ghajn Tuffieha, possibly the best beach on Malta.
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