Taking a Valletta food tour is a great way to get to know Maltese culture through its food traditions. If you are looking for one to take on your trip to Malta, the Valletta Street Food and Culture Walking Tour is a fun option to consider. This friendly, three-hour tour introduces you to the tastes and sights of Malta’s capital, with stories about its history and customs told between samples of various dishes and delicacies. Here’s our review of the experience after taking this popular Valletta street food tour.
We took this Valletta food tour personally we paid for it ourselves and we have not been paid for this review. This page contains affiliate links, which means we may make a small commission from bookings at no extra cost to you. We always given honest, genuine travel recommendations.
Why take a Valletta food tour?
Taking a guided walking tour, whether it’s about history or food traditions, is the perfect way to introduce yourself to a new destination. We always begin a new trip with a local guided tour on the first day.
The benefit of doing this is not just that it gives you insights into the place from a local expert, but you can also get lots of personalised ideas for the rest of your trip. Many of the best restaurants, bars and cafés we’ve tried on our travels have come from recommendations by walking tour guides.
Food in Malta is a big part of the local experience. As with many places, the country’s food traditions are tied closely to its history and culture. And the best place to see and learn about this is in the capital city, Valletta.
Valletta has been at the heart of Malta’s food culture throughout its history, and today it is home to many of the country’s best eateries, coffee shops and food markets. It’s a vibrant scene that is a lot of fun to explore.
That’s we recommend taking a Valletta food tour on the first day of our suggested 3-day Malta itinerary. Learning about Malta’s food heritage really helps you to get to know the place properly, and you’ll also get some great ideas for some treats and gifts to take away from your trip.
About the Valletta Street Food and Culture Walking Tour
The Valletta Street Food and Culture Walking Tour is run by City Walking Tours Malta. It’s not just a food tour; the route weaves between many of the city’s famous buildings and back-street hidden gems, with stories about the local history. Along the way, you stop and sample a full day’s worth of typical Valletta food.
I booked the tour via GetYourGuide, which we always recommend doing because it is reliable, secure, and you can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour.
The tour begins every Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 9:30am. It runs throughout the year in all seasons, so don’t be put off from booking if you’re visiting Malta in winter!
The meeting point is by the New Parliament Building just inside the Valletta city gate. You won’t miss the tour guides; just look out for their big red umbrellas! The tour costs €45, and you need to book in advance. You can check availability here:
The tour lasts around three hours, although it’s best not to plan anything for immediately afterwards, as it can overrun a little bit. You certainly don’t need to plan anything for lunch, as you will be pleasantly full by the end of it! Skip breakfast beforehand too if you can, as the food sampling starts straight away.
My experience on the Valletta Street Food and Culture Tour
Here, I will do my best to give a flavour of the Valletta Street Food and Culture Tour without giving too much away. After all, the secrets you learn on the tour are what makes it so much fun.
There are a few local guides who specialise in running this tour, and so the guide you get will depend on who is working the day you book. The guide for my tour was Marisa, who lives locally and spends a lot of time in Valletta. She was friendly, full of energy, and clearly very passionate about Valletta and Maltese traditions. These are qualities you can expect in all the guides.
This Valletta food tour has a different structure to many typical city tours we’ve tried in the past. Rather than focusing solely on the food, the tour also takes you on an educational journey into Valletta’s history, local culture and customs. I thought this gave it a really enjoyable depth, as you learn the fuller context behind the various delicacies you try.
The tour is structured to walk you through a full day of typical meals, snacks and drinks in Valletta. We began with a traditional breakfast, there was a stop for lunch, and finally we culminated with a sit-down group meal at Merkanti, a lovely rooftop restaurant above Valletta Food Market.
What do you try on the Valletta food tour?
You might have heard of pastizzi, a popular Maltese snack made with filo pastry and various fillings. Locals often eat these for breakfast, and so the tour begins with a sampling of pastizzis from one of Valletta’s much-loved bakeries.
The lunch stop on our tour was at a cosy local café with outdoor seating that served traditional Maltese sandwiches on ftira bread. And for the sit-down meal at the end, we were given a variety of delicacies to try.
We tried more than just the three square meals! Various other snacks, drinks and traditions were sprinkled in between along the journey.
Coffee is an important tradition in Malta. At the height of the 17th century, Valletta was one of the coffee capitals of the world. Coffee has been consumed in the city since Roman times, and it’s still an intrinsic part of city life today.
Marisa gave us a fascinating perspective on this, and took us to an off-the-beaten-path café that we would never have picked out ourselves. Here, we tried some traditional Maltese coffee – which is very hard to find, even in Valletta – paired with a delicious traditional honey ring cake. It was our first proper introduction to the wonderful coffee shops of Valletta.
Other drinking traditions are also incorporated into the tour. My sandwich at lunch was washed down with a bottle of Kinnie, a bittersweet-tasting Maltese soft drink. And when we sat down for some typical Maltese evening food, it was accompanied with a local beer.
What else do you see on the tour?
Food culture in Valletta isn’t just about cafés and restaurants. The narrow, cobbled streets of the city are dotted with old grocery and produce stores, often family-run businesses that date back decades or even centuries. These places are part of the city’s fabric, and to many people they represent the true spirit of Valletta street food.
On the sad occasions when one of these old stores closes, to be replaced by a supermarket elsewhere, locals make their disquiet known. But shopping locally for produce remains a big part of the local culture, and these quaint old stores stacked with seeds, sauces and spices are wonderful to see. Marisa took us into an old spice shop, where we had time to peruse the shelves and buy produce if we wanted to.
We also had some insights into the characterful non-food shops around these roads, such as the various haberdasheries and jewellery stores.
While exploring these old shop-lined streets, the tour route passes various quirks and hidden gems of the city. For example, there is the Staggering Hook of Valletta, a peculiarity that has a curious story behind it (told wonderfully by Marisa). Make sure you bring your camera to capture these curiosities!
Overall thoughts on the experience
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Valletta. What I enjoyed most was the refreshing balance between food discovery and local cultural insights. They get the mixture just right.
There is a lot packed into the three hours, and your feet will probably be quite tired by the end. Relax it off with a cuppa and cake in one of the many charming coffee shops in Valletta.
You can book your place on the Valletta Street Food and Culture Walking Tour here.
For more activity ideas during your trip, check out our selection of the best things to do in Valletta.
Have you been on a Valletta food tour like this one? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
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