The Saint John occupies a 17th-century limestone building on Merchants Street, putting it at the heart of historic Valletta.
Malta International airport can be reached from many larger European airports. It takes 15 minutes to drive from there to Valletta. Smith24 can arrange flights and transfers; call anytime, day or night.
The arrival of buses spelled the end for Malta’s single-track railway, which closed in 1931.
It’s worth hiring a car if you plan to explore the rest of the island, but you won’t need one to explore Valletta or the other old cities across the harbour. Parking on the street is free, but finding a spot can be difficult, particularly during working hours. The Smith24 team can arrange car hire.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel’s central location puts you within easy walking distance of many of Valletta’s historic sights, including the Grand Master’s Palace, St John’s Co-Cathedral, the Manoel Theatre and Casa Rocca Piccola. To the southwest are the Upper Barakka Gardens, which are built on the city’s highest point. From here, you’ll get the the best views of the grand harbour; there’s also a midday gun salute from the 16th-century battery. For a contrast from crumbling palaces and Baroque artworks, try Blitz, an independent gallery and exhibition space that acts as a platform for much more contemporary (and sometimes radical) forms of art. If you’re hoping to see a little more of the island, you could hire a car and a driver from Prestige Cars, who offer an eight-hour package. There’s the old city of Mdina to the west, which is wreathed in 4,000 years of history and home to St Paul’s impressive hilltop cathedral; the apostle is said to have lived in a grotto near the city walls after being shipwrecked on the island in 60 AD.
Found inside hotel la Falconeria, L’Artiglio achieves simple elegance through its trompe l'oeil floor tiling, blue leather banquettes and glazed earthenware plates. Soulful Mediterranean flavours underpin the menu, with the chef creating daily specials from the best ingredients he can get hold of. Less traditional but wildly popular nonetheless, The Pulled Meat Company specialises in slow-cooked soul food, showing particular talent for preparing melt-in-the-mouth ribs, steaks and pulled pork. Their agnolotti pasta has also inspired a particularly enthusiastic group of admirers.
Coffee shop Lot Sixty One already had outposts in New York and London before they set up another on Valletta’s Old Theatre Street. As with their other shops, the coffee is always roasted locally on a hallowed Probat L12, a revered German roasting machine. For ice-cream, there's Amorino, founded in 2002 by two childhood friends with a lifelong love for gelato. Their devotion to their favourite foodstuff is clearly as strong as ever, as the locals can’t seem to get enough of their creamy creations.