Valletta is one of the first modern cities in Europe in that its streets were laid out in a grid system. At that time, most other European cities had sprung out of old settlements from the time of the Roman Empire or earlier, and did not have such a degree of urban planning. As a result of the town design, the streets of Valletta circulate air from the two harbors quite efficiently, somewhat cooling the city during the summer.

The two natural harbors of Valletta are Marsamxett, to the north of the peninsula, and Grand Harbour to the south. Marsamxett is primarily used for leisure boating, while Grand Harbour is the island nation’s main port for cargo and passenger ships. The city itself is located on the Valletta peninsula and flanked on one side by Floriana, a suburb that originally held cheap housing projects. Today, the area is undergoing economic development, but still remains a fairly shabby district.

Just across the harbor from Valletta is another Maltese attraction, the Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua, which have existed since Phoenician times as trading ports. The local communities here celebrate festivals and feast days with even more fanfare than those of Valletta.

Beware of pickpockets in Valletta especially at the Bus Terminal.