Senglea (Valletta), Malta

Set on a peninsula along Malta’s Grand Harbour, Senglea is one of three fortified cities that resisted the Ottoman siege of 1565. (The port’s nickname, Città Invicta, translates as “Unconquered City.”) The most prosperous of the Three Cities thanks to its shipbuilding docks, Senglea was home to some of Malta’s most respected politicians and merchants; a few of their grand houses survived the island’s bombing during World War II. Must-visits include il-Maċina, a seaside fortification built by the Knights of St. John; Gardjola Gardens, set on the tip of the bastions with a climbable guard tower; and the Basilica of the Nativity of Mary, which attracts Christian pilgrims with its venerated Maria Bambina statue. Senglea is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with nearly 3,000 inhabitants living in an area about the size of ten city blocks. Meet some locals over Cisk lagers at a waterfront café, gazing across the harbour at the UNESCO World Heritage-designated city of Valletta.