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Exploring Malta, Valletta

Valletta is the capital city of Malta and the administrative and commercial heart of the island. As you enter the city you will instantly be mesmerized by its sheer beauty. Small winding streets lined with boutique coffee shops are in abundance. Valletta boasts a timeless elegance almost untouched by the modern world.

The best way to explore Valletta is by foot so make sure you wear comfortable footwear as there is so much to see you will not want to miss one moment. To begin our day in Valletta we first make our way to The Malta Experience. An audio visual show that takes you on a journey through Malta’s 7000 year history. The show is spectacular and for a small island Malta has certainly played its part in history. The Malta Experience is told in 16 languages and is open daily making it very accessible for tourists. Next we visit Fort St Elmo located next door to The Malta Experience. Fort St Elmo recently opened to the public after six years of restoration. The fort is spectacular and again brings to life the history of Malta.

After a rather educational morning we decide to pay a visit to Café Cordina one of Malta’s most acclaimed coffee shops. Founded in 1837 Café Cordina comprising of tea rooms, pasticceria, coffee bar and gelateria. If you are able to find a seat be sure to sit outside and enjoy the old palazzo. Having heard that Café Cordina does the best Maltese Pastizzi we decide to try this local speciality along with a Kinnie, a soft drink only found in Malta. This is washed down with an ice cold Kinnie a rather bittersweet soft drink. However we cannot leave Café Cordina without trying one of their famous sweets. Wanting to experience a local dessert we opt for the kannol ricotta and a small honey ring. The kannol ricotta is a flaky pastry filled with a sweet ricotta and dusted in icing sugar and mixed nuts, light and fluffy the kannol crumbles in our mouth while the sweet ricotta offers a smooth creamy texture. The small honey ring is equally enjoyable made with black treacle, marmalade, orange peel, spices and honey it offers a variety of flavours and textures.

In much need of a walk we head towards the Upper Barrakka Gardens built in the 1560’s the public gardens offer a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour. A stunning and tranquil garden this is a must visit when in Valletta.

Later that evening we return to Valletta for dinner. We decide to visit Valletta Waterfront, originally built in the 18th century the waterfront now plays host to a selection of restaurants, retail outlets and bars. The front of the buildings are wonderfully decorated in a variety of colours. The colour of the door signifies what the merchants there would have sold, for example those selling iron would have had a red door whilst those selling crops would have had a green door, it enabled them to communicate when language was once a barrier.

After a short stroll down the waterfront we decide to visit Browns one of the many dining venues located here. We decide to order one of their mouth-watering pizzas, handcrafted and baked fresh in the pizza oven. Topped with tomato sauce, tuna, black olives and onions the Al Tonno delivered a satisfying experience.

Maltese cuisine has evolved over time due to its relationship between islanders and those who occupied Malta. Malta boasts Mediterranean cuisine unlike any other found in its neighbouring countries. Malta offers a wide variety of cuisines to suit all tastes and budgets. The culinary scene is Malta is forever evolving and in recent years more restaurants have started to serve their own modern version of traditional specialities.

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