Top 5 Things to do in Valletta this October by

A very good article by Melanie Drury at GuideMeMalta about How to enjoy the best Valletta has on offer in October 2018.

Valletta, the capital of Malta, the city of the Knights of St John, and the European Capital of Culture 2018, is a larger than life attraction despite its meagre area of 55 ha. UNESCO describes Valletta as “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world” featuring impressive forts and fortifications, wonderful palaces and Auberges of the Knights of Malta, and several more places of interest. Add to that the captivating cultural events in the city and you may become quite overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do in Valletta. Allow us to guide you if you’re visiting this October.

1. Explore the historic elements of the city

The absolute must-sees that highlight Baroque beauty include St John’s Co-Cathedral with its gilded gold walls, mosaic tomb floors and Caravaggio painting of the Beheading of St John; the Grand Master’s Palace, today the office of the President; Auberge de Castille, now the office of the Prime Minister; the National Museum of Archaeology housed in the Auberge de Provence; the Muza museum of art housed within the Auberge d’Italie (opening later this month!); and Casa Rocca Piccola, a historic noble residence that’s now an open museum. And that’s not to mention the wonderful squares, picturesque streets and gardens, oh and the stunning views, especially the one of the Grand Harbour from the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

2. Relish some extraordinary plays & performances

Entertain yourself with some intriguing performances coming to Valletta this month. A strange amalgam of tragedy and fiercely black comedy arrives in The Jew of Malta, 5-14 October, a fast-moving play by Christopher Marlow that will remind you of a Quentin Tarantino script.  On 19-20 October, in Orfeo & Majnun, we can expect a theatre of emotions of love, loss and longing in the cultural overlap of the Middle Eastern legend of Layla and Majnun and the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice; to this effect, the narration interweaves Maltese, English and Arabic and the score combines oriental and occidental styles. The music-theatre performance of Orfeo & Majnun will further include a parade whereby participants will meet surprises in the form of song, dance, short performances, storytelling, music-making, bands and many other forms of artistic expression on every street corner. And let’s not forget the regular live events happening at the Beer Cave and other locations across Valletta throughout 2018.

3. Enjoy some thought-provoking visual arts

October in Valletta brings us food for thought. See how the film 18 Comidas/18 Meals on 3rd October highlights the human journey related to the most universal of struggles: the search for happiness. In various scenarios set around a table, we gain insight into various relationships in all their fascinating diversity and field of emotions. Thereafter, during the Rima Film Festival on 12-14 October, we embark on a journey of exile and migration told through the diverse and subjective experiences of those who have experienced exile.

Were this not enough, we go a step further in a visual art exhibition that elimintes the ‘visual’ aspect replacing it for ‘tactile’. Tactile takes us into the world of the visually impaired in an exhibition of 12 concealed sculptures which leaves its audience to experience them only through the sense of touch. Now that’s different!

4. Indulge in wining & dining

Remember we said Valletta has a total area of just 55 ha? Within that space, amid all the extraordinary history and culture are also many culinary delights. Here’s our list of almost 150 delightful restaurants in Valletta to choose from, ranging from small hole-in-the-wall establishments that are big in character to fine dining establishments with vast sea views. Don’t miss out on the variety of wine bars that are one of Valletta’s iconic features; you’ll find these hidden in the city’s cellars.

Another ‘must do’ is a visit to the Valletta Waterfront, with its historical 250-year-old warehouses – built by Grand Master Pinto at the height of the baroque period in Malta – converted to chic food and beverage establishments overlooking the picturesque Grand Harbour.

5. Check out these huge special events

On 6th October, the entire city of Valletta comes alive through the night! During the Notte Bianca event, the Auberges, palaces, museums, churches and chapels welcome visitors, while street performers, live music of all kinds and art installations bring spirit to the streets, and retail shops, cafes, restaurants and wine bars are open for business.

For something truly spectacular and photo-worthy, see the start of one of the biggest sailing races in the Mediterranean departing from the seas around Valletta. The Rolex Middle Sea Race follows a course that’s a clockwise circumnavigation of Sicily, including Lampedusa, Pantelleria and the Egadian and Aeolian islands, back to Malta. The starting gun of the 50th anniversary edition of this prestigious race goes off on 20th October.

Now you know where to go and when to go to enjoy the best Valletta has to offer, it’s a whole lot easier, isn’t it?

Attention to all vintage and classic lovers!

The Valletta Concours d’Elegance, set within the walls of the baroque city of Valletta will host a selection of Malta’s finest historic automobiles.

The Valletta Concours d’Elegance made its debut in April 2017 and it is envisaged that this will become a yearly staple event in the Maltese Islands. The concours, born out of a collective love of vintage and classic cars and their preservation and enjoyment, seeks to fill in a gap in Malta’s various classic car events by giving local enthusiasts the opportunity to showcase their pride and joy in an upmarket event that celebrates their passion within the majestic setting of Valletta, itself a 16th century baroque icon, built by the Knights of the Order of St. John.  

The organizers seek to obtain the participation of a sizeable number of local and possibly foreign entrants in a bid to present an event that will blend automotive craftsmanship and design across a number of decades with the passion of classic car ownership, at the same time capturing the celebratory camaraderie that these events generate. A team of independent foreign judges with vast experience in similar events abroad has been commissioned to lend professionalism and expertise to the judging process. 

Various categories of vehicles will be presented and the onus is on the judges to decide on the best entrant in each category, based on a predetermined set of criteria. The winner of each category will then vie for the prestigious overall winners’ trophy. The overall winner of the Concours d’Elegance will be the entry adjudged to be The Best in Show. The judging panel will focus primarily on originality and authenticity as well as attention to design, styling, elegance and state of preservation, among others. 

Picasso & Miro at The Grand Master’s Palace

Throughout the spring of 2018 the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, which is currently the European Capital City of Culture, will open its doors to a remarkable exhibition confronting the work of two major Spanish artists of the 20th century – Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.

‘Picasso and Miró: The Flesh & The Spirit’ is brought to Malta by Fundación Mapfre in collaboration with Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti and the Office of the President of Malta. Fundación Mapfre strongly believe that culture enriches people’s lives and one of its principle aims is to bring art and history closer to the public through exhibitions, courses and publications. This exhibition is the first of its kind to be displayed in Malta.

This exhibition is part of a major international project titled ‘Picasso-Méditerranée’, an initiative from Musée National Picasso in Paris held between Spring 2017 and Spring 2019. Over 60 cultural institutions have come together to conjure up a programme exploring the Mediterranean work of Picasso and across the places which inspired him, aiming to strengthen ties between all the shores.

Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. He has a worldwide reputation and his works fetch the highest prices at auction houses. The exhibition comprises a suite of a 100 etchings produced by Picasso in the 1930s for the legendary art dealer Ambrose Vollard, as well as over 40 paintings by Miró, in a bid to explore the different possibilities which modern art offered them.

Pablo Jiménez Burillo, director of the Culture Department at Fundación Mapfre and curator of the show, explains: “This project intends to display something more than a show of two of the most significant creators of the 20th century who really shook up traditional art. This exhibition not only tries to delve into the soul of the artists through their powerful passions, feelings and inspirations, but also it will demonstrate the significance of their personal universes, full of symbols, which depict their personalities. While Picasso unties the dark forces of the male obsessions and delights in female beauty, Miró instructs us in pure colours and free gestures, which represent the generosity of nature and the key to attain happiness.”

The exhibition opens daily between 1000 – 1630 (last entry at 1600) as from the 7th April and will run till the 30th June 2018. Tours will be held everyday between 1230 and 1330.


Malta Carnival 2018 Official Programme

Malta’s Carnival is one of the oldest historical festivals held on the island, with just under five centuries of credited and documented history which can be traced back to the early 1400’s. It was the Knights of the Order of St John that endowed the national festivities with spectacle and pageantry. New artistic creations are born while traditions are kept alive and revived, particularly with the revival of satire, a fundamental facet to the historical Maltese Carnival.

ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 6pm – 7.40pm
Entrance: €5

The programme starts in St George’s Square with the opening ceremony, followed by competitive dancing by Companies C and D and the Costume Parade.

ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 6pm – 8.45pm
Entrance: €5

The programme starts in St George’s Square with competitive dancing by Companies A and B, followed by a small defilé featuring the King Carnival Float, grotesque masks, satirical floats and Category A floats.


ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 9.30am – 11.30am
Entrance: €5

Children’s Carnival programme starts in St George’s Square with the participation of dancing companies from private schools, Companies C followed by a small defilé with the participation of the King Carnival Float, isolated masks and satirical floats along Republic street.

ST JOHN’S SQUARE 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
Entrance: Free

A theatrical production produced by Teatru Malta. ‘L-Għarusa Karfusa’ is the classical tale of banned love – between a fruit and a vegetable.

ST GEORGE’S SQUARE 5pm onwards
Entrance: €10

Another programme starts in St George’s Square with the participation of competitive dancing Companies A, B and D, and Triumphal Floats from Categories A, B and C. Following this, a parade will proceed up Republic Street.

TRITON SQUARE 8pm till late
Entrance: Free

Triton 18 Carnival Ball will take place around the fountain outside the City entrance. All Carnival companies and the public are invited. The event will feature local DJs and a live performance by the Big Band Brothers. The event will carry on till late.

Entrance: Free

Carnival Floats Parade at Castille Place, Valletta. The defilé will proceed via Granaries, Great Siege Road, Floriana to Glormu Cassar Avenue to Castille Place, Merchants Street, Archbishop Street, St John’s Street, Republic Street to City Gate, Tritons Fountain Area to Sarria Road and St Publius Road, Floriana.

Entrance: €12

The programme starts in St George’s Square and sees the participation of Category C Companies followed by a defilé featuring the King Carnival Float, grotesque masks, Companies D, satirical floats, Triumphal Floats A, B and C and Company Floats Category A. Following this activity a defilé will proceed up Republic Street.

Entrance: Free

A Children’s Parade with the participation of private dancing schools from both Malta and Gozo as well as Category C companies. Starting at St. George’s Square and parading through Valletta, the parade will culminate with a performance by all companies in St George’s Square.

Entrance: €7

The programme opens with a show by dancing Companies A, B and C in front of Castille. It is followed by a defilé with the King Carnival Float, grotesque masks, satirical floats, Triumphal Floats A, B and C and Companies on Floats Category A. A defilé proceeds up Republic Street.

Entrance: Free

At 10am there will be a Children’s Parade with the participation of a private dancing schools and groups from St George’s Square through Republic Street. It will end with a show at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, which will also include a performance from Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe from China.

Entrance: Free

The King Carnival Float and his retinue of floats, and dancing companies in costume celebrate around Floriana, culminating in St Anne’s Street, Floriana, for the final defilé. Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe will also be performing.

For more info please visit

Live The Festa

The festa is a wonderful metaphor for what Valletta 2018 is doing. It brings people together, it’s rooted in our heritage, we’re raised on contributing to it…but it’s so much more than that. The programme reflects the various elements that make up this wonderful festa.”

Programming Coordinator, Joanne Attard Mallia present our Cultural Programme to the ECoC Family.

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