Valletta is the capital of Malta and was founded after the Great Siege. It is surrounded by some of the strongest Renaissance fortifications in Europe. The Grand Master's Palace currently acts as Malta's House of Representatives. The finest room is the Hall of St Michael and St George. This contains frescos portraying the events of 1565. There is also an armoury containing one of the finest collections in the world of Renaissance arms. In the surrounding streets are various Aubereges of the Knights. Fort St Elmo contains the National Military Museum. Other museums include the National Museum of Archeology and the Fine Art Museum. Of the religious buildings, the most important is the St John's Co Cathedral. Whilst the exterior is austere, the interior is typically Baroque. Of note are two paintings by Caravaggio, particularly the Beheading of St John the Baptist.
Valletta is the main shopping centre of Malta and during the day tends to be very busy. Whilst having various bars, it is much quieter in the evening.
Across the Grand Harbour from Valletta lies Fort St Angleo, Birgu and Senglea. These were where the majority of fighting took place in 1565. They are now residential areas and are much quieter than Valletta. If you are interrested in the history of the Knights, the majority of the Auberges from the time of the Great Siege survive in the narrow streets.
Whilst wandering round the Grand Harbour (or any other Maltese harbour) keep your eye open for the traditional dghajsa or the larger luzzu. Brightly painted in traditional colours of red, blue and yellow, invariably with a pair of eyes on the prow, these are used both as fishing boats and as ferries for locals and tourists.
Staying in Valletta is a good alternative, particularly for those most interested in sight-seeing and the culture of the islands. Not only is there a lot of the major tourist sites within walking distance but it makes the entire island very easy to get to by public transport. Whilst it is not suitable for those wanting to go clubbing, there are some very good restaurants, particularly on the waterfront overlooking the Grand Harbour.