What's Valletta like as a place to live?

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What's Valletta like as a place to live?

Postby johnofessex » Sun 02 Sep 2007 17:45

Hi ladies and gentlemen

I'm new here. I'm thinking about moving to Malta.

I've considered both Malta and Cyprus. In Cyprus I was rather taken with Nicosia, partly because it had the buzz of a capital city, as the centre of cultural and political life. However, Nicosia is inland (so hot), rather overrun with cars, and (ahem) half of it is under occupation.

I'm therefore intrigued by Valletta, also a capital city, close to the coast, and I understand with some restrictions on car use. I'm also told that it has little nightlife, and if that means that disco-going tourists are somewhere else on the island, that suits me fine too.

That's my picture of the city so far. Does it sound right? Are there important points I've missed?

I'll be most grateful for any comments you may have.

Best regards

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Postby john07900 » Tue 04 Sep 2007 15:45

Hi johnofessex

Unfortunately one housing in Valetta is very cramped and suffers from the high number of tourists and shoppers.

Unfortunately two Malta is also over run with cars.

Fortunately most of Malta (and Gozo) is a pretty good place to choose to live in.

Why not list your top say five wish list, I guarantee you will receive lots of helpful comment.


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Postby johnofessex » Thu 06 Sep 2007 17:35

Hi John07900

Many thanks for your thoughts. I will consider them carefully and maybe get back once I've done so.

Best regards

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Postby aslat » Mon 05 Nov 2007 16:40

Its been a long time since I posted here...

Anyway, I used to live in Valletta 14 years ago when I first settled in Malta (Old Bakery Street to be exact).

From my point of view, I thought the place was amazing and that was 14 years ago. I'd imagine it's even better now.

As I was probably one of the few English guys living there, I soon got used to the 'bonju l-ingliz' (Good morning, English-man) from the locals everytime I used to go out for the papers or pram-walking with my then new-born daughter. I always felt at home when going for a drink in the many bars (just how many drinks can you accept off people that don't know you !)

From first impressions, Valletta looks like a chaotic, disorganised, noisy, untidy capital city..but underneath its friendly, safe and imposing.
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Thank you Aslat

Postby johnofessex » Mon 05 Nov 2007 17:28

I hadn't been expecting a further reply, so thank you very much for yours!

I guess I perceive Malta as a little bit of a backwater - and that's fine - but I'd like to tap into any city (business, cultural) buzz there may be. So I suppose I'm looking at Valletta, other urban locations nearby (eg Sliema), and possibly Victoria/Rabat in Gozo. At least that's the sort of place I'd like to start. Perhaps I'll choose to look for somewhere slower and quieter eventually, but I'd like to start at the buzzier end of things and then work down.

I'm most grateful for your informative post.

Also, I'm most open to any thoughts from anyone who thinks that, given my requirements, I may have missed something in the way of possible locations.

Best regards

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Postby dave dee » Mon 05 Nov 2007 21:09

John if its buzz your looking for stay put, Malta is deffo not the place for you. try Spain.
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Re: What's Valletta like as a place to live?

Postby johnofessex » Wed 05 Dec 2007 19:02

I have now visited Valletta, and would like (for the possible benefit of future readers) to offer my own initial reply to my own question.

Valletta has been around for about 500 years. It was built as a fortified city to withstand onslaughts, and has suffered wind, weather, a couple of sieges, and some aerial bombardment. To some extent all this shows. It looks as if it's been knocked about a bit.

The city is bounded by fortified walls, and then by the sea. So while many cities tend to sprawl, Valletta can’t and doesn’t. There’s a limited amount of scope to increase the floorspace by adding extra storeys to a few buildings. But essentially, the space the city has is pretty well all it will ever have.

Some of the city has been preserved or restored. The central area (pedestrianised, I believe recently) has been well looked after and looks great. If you go further in, some of the deeper residential areas have not been as well cared-for and seem rather depressed.

I understand that there are financially-backed plans to restore the city. I applaud them. It does seem to me that there is a whole lot of work to be done, and that the city could readily soak up as much money as anyone was willing to throw at it.

As regards character, Valletta has many historical attractions. It’s perhaps a bit like (say) York or Cambridge or Bruges. It’s something of a museum piece, or a museum. It will always attract many tourists. A lot of the shops are aimed at them.

The city has many (literal) ups and downs, and many stairs, both on the pavements and inside buildings. It might not suit anyone with limited mobility or just limited energy.

Is it, as the capital, the centre of the country? As far as I can see, Valletta is (a) definitely the centre for government, and (b) probably the centre for (formal/classical) culture. It clearly has a fair amount of (c) professional/business activity, though I wouldn’t be sure it was predominant in that field.

The city goes very, almost deathly, quiet around 8pm when the shops close. I understand that a few bars/restaurants may stay open later but I didn’t seek or find them.

I looked at a few properties. Some made creative use of the space within buildings. This creativity was however bounded by the constraints of the structure of the buildings. They did seem (in my price range) possibly a bit cramped, whatever you did to them.

An estate agent I spoke to said that, in his experience, people who chose to live in Valletta were those especially attracted by its architecture and artistic character. Also, some young Maltese professionals had chosen to live in Valletta because it was cheaper than the more modern Sliema. As a consequence, it was not now so much cheaper than Sliema. All that seemed to make sense.

I hope these thoughts are useful to some readers.
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Postby Kay » Thu 06 Dec 2007 10:09

johnofessex - many thanks for coming back with such useful insights. I'll clean up this thread and shift the off-topic comments to the Knight and Rabbit, then make a sticky of all the relevant info. As you say, this info could well be a benefit to future readers.

Thanks again, Kay. 8)
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exploring living in malta from valletta

Postby navalchild » Tue 27 Dec 2011 17:17

Thanks for the information in this thread....it has proved helpful.

I was born in Malta and lived there till the age of 8 and so I have many fond memories of the island. I am now thinking of returning and spending a few years here. As a child I lived in the then unspoiled St George's bay area but am now informed that all my memories are buried under concrete. Accordingly, I thought of renting a small flat in Valletta where I was often taken as a child and exploring the island by bus from there to hopefully find a place where I can settle, if indeed I do not decide to stay on in Valletta itself. The idea of living in Valletta does appeal (I have lived in central Paris so am used to not having much space in a high population density environment). I would welcome advice as to the practical sensibility of my plan and if Valletta would indeed be a pleasant and agreeable place from which to begin my "sentimental journey".
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Postby georges99 » Tue 17 Jul 2012 20:03

Hell all,
I have been living in malta for severals year now and I can also say that I would not recommend to live in Valletta.
This is a beautiful city with a lot of amazing monument to see. But most of the buildings are very old and not really healthy. Also, Valletta is quiet dead in the evening as it is an office place. Come for lunch, all restaurants will be packed, come for diner and you will see an empty city (except in the summer).
Also, parking in valletta might be a nightmare as there are only few parking. And a lot of warden to watch your car :-)
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Postby navalchild » Thu 19 Jul 2012 08:23

Thanks for this Georges,

I have heard similar opinions expressed by others. As I am now an "oldie" the lack of evening social life doesn't worry me too much, and, I was thinking of coming to Malta probably only for a few years rather than permanently, the charm of old Valetta might sustain mr for a while.

Thanks for the advice,
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Life in Valletta

Postby nhazert » Sun 28 Jul 2013 13:52

We are two married retirees moving to Malta. We are looking for an environment lively during the day and quiet in the evenings. Our main interest is art and culture. We thought that Valletta might be the right choice. Comments would be welcomed
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Postby gozomark » Sun 28 Jul 2013 14:09

Hi nhazert, and welcome to the forum :-)

Valletta fits your requirements, especially if you dont intend having a car
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Postby glenMT » Tue 26 Aug 2014 19:31

I was born in Malta, specifically Attard, a few kilometres south of the capital. I have always been impressed by the history, architecture, and the city's reborn lively character. Valletta is packed with tourists all year round, summer being the busiest of course.

The city lacks nightlife, however Sliema can be easily accessed via water taxis on the city's east side, or by catching a bus from the terminus just outside city gate. The Paceville clubbing district is a stone throw away from Sliema.
In fact, historically, Floriana, Hamrun, Pieta, Ta Xbiex, Imsida, Gzira and Sliema were suburbs of the capital city, and have over the years become independent towns.

A city car makes no sense here since parking is scarce and the city streets are not car oriented; although I would suggest owning a car if you'd be interested in having an occasional visit to the countryside.

The poor area of the city is located in the north of the city peninsula, in an area known as "Il-Mandragg" (The Manderaggio), which was once a slum area. Nowadays, buildings known as "kerrejja" (literally - rentals) still exist, and are a Maltese alternative to slums.

Rest assured that trouble is unheard of in Valletta!

Nowadays, many funds are being allocated to the development and restoration of the city, particularly because in 2018, Valletta will be one of the top cultural city names in the whole of Europe. (European capital of culture - aka V18)

For the city to develop itself and compete with larger European cities, the many lonely houses need to be filled and occupied, so as to renew the city's nightlife and reimburse its environment.

I hope I was of help and was informative, I would be more than honoured to share with you more knowledge about The City (known as "Il-Belt" among locals) and the country itself. Please, do move into Valletta!!
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