Valletta Apartment

When researching places to stay in Malta we came across Valletta Vintage. The renovated apartments they rent are beautifully styled and unique, but usually quite expensive. But in the off season — including January — the prices are more reasonable, in line with a slightly-above-average Airbnb. So we went ahead and booked their “Retro Pad” apartment.

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Arrival in Valletta, Malta

We hopped a short flight from Valencia, Spain to Valletta, Malta. Malta is a small archipelago of islands in the Mediterranean roughly 93 km south of Sicily and 300 km from Tunisia and Libya in North Africa. We’re staying in the capital city, Valletta which we will use as a base to take a few day trips to other parts of the islands.

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City of Arts and Sciences

We wandered through some of the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) complex in Valencia. Designed in part by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the buildings were completed between 1996 and 2009 at a cost of nearly €900 million.

El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

The complex sits within the Jardines del Turia, the park created from the former Turia riverbed. It includes an IMAX theater, a planetarium, an opera house, an aquarium, a sporting and events center, and an interactive science museum — among other things.

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Sagunto

On Saturday we took a day trip to visit the town of Sagunto, located about 30 km north of Valencia. The town is known for its sprawling castle ruin, restored Roman theatre, and historic town centre.

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Mercado Central

We visited the Mercado Central in Valencia, one of the largest markets in Europe. It was built between 1914 and 1928 in the Art Nouveaux style, which gives it the stunning high ceilings and a light, airy atmosphere.

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Museo Nacional de Cerámica

A museum of ceramics might not sound particularly enticing, but the Museo Nacional de Cerámica in Valencia is housed in an 15th century building that was re-modeled into a dramatic Rococo palace in the 1740’s. It’s impressively overwhelming — if gaudy to modern eyes — and well worth the €3 admission.

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El Cabanyal

On a warm and sunny Sunday we decided it was time to figure out the Valencian bus system and head to the El Cabanyal area of the city, about 20 minutes from the core. There we explored the beautiful Platja del Cabanyal beach and the historic fisherman’s quarter tucked in behind it.

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