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Introducing Valletta

Valletta is Malta's Lilliputian capital, measuring 600m by 1000m. When it was built by the Knights of St John in the 16th and 17th centuries, its founder decreed that it should be 'a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen', and it retains much of this elegance. Despite its small size, there's a mass of things to see here: when Unesco named Valletta a World Heritage Site, it described it as 'one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world'.

Now is the time to visit: Valletta's lately undergone more changes than it has for centuries, with the brand-new Renzo Piano–designed main gate and parliament building, as well as the renovation of the bombed-out Opera House. There are plenty of bars and restaurants here too; just don't expect Valletta to be buzzing all night – its tranquility is a large part of its charm.