Cruising to Malta: let’s discover it together!

Malta: what should you do and see during a stopover in Malta during your cruise? Follow Cruising Journal advice to ensure you have the perfect visit.

The Malta archipelago is located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Given its strategic position, Malta is an important port for both commercial and tourist activities. It is a fantastic archipelago, where you will fall in love with the beauty of the landscapes, the richness of the flora and fauna, the crystal clear waters and the long and fascinating history. Even if you have just a few hours available, Malta will be able to convey its centuries-old charm.

Upon arrival at the Port of Valletta, I recommend selecting one of two options: either aim to visit just the capital city, La Valletta, or head to other beautiful areas on the island.

From the port you can arrive to the city of La Valletta with different modes of transportation. There is an elevator, located 400 meters from the dock which costs 1 € to go up and is free to come down. There are minibuses with many different options costing between 2 € to 5 € or you can take a taxi or go on foot.  Upon arrival, you can choose to participate in a little tourist train mini-tour that lasts 30 minutes. The advantage of the last is that with a ticket of just 6 € you will be able to get an overview of the city of La Valletta, through the winding city streets.

If instead you prefer to explore on your own, here is some information you might find useful. Upon arrival (by using the elevator) you will find yourself in the Upper Barakka Gardens, these gardens were built to offer a refuge to Italian soldiers. Sure to make quite an impression is the presence of the battery of guns at the lowest level of the garden, still used today for the daily salute (every day at midday one of the guns of the battery fires blanks, be sure and try to see it). A great first stop is the Church of Santa Caterina d’ Alessandria, then another one right in front of it, the Church of Our Lady of Victory, and finally a visit to the Cathedral of San Giovanni. You might be wondering why you should visit 3 churches. On the island of Malta there are 359 churches and cathedrals, it is a must to visit at least 2 or 3 of them.

Now let’s jump into the bustling city life at the famous San Giovanni Piazza, one of the most important places in the city. You can discover many shops or stop for a quick coffee. To head towards the sea, you will need to go down Republic Street where you will discover tiny side streets and hidden corners of the city. At the end of the main road you will find Fort Saint Elmo, a fortress which still has signs of the numerous battles fought here. I recommend stopping here to enjoy one of the typical seaside attractions.

The second option for visiting Malta is that of getting on board one of the classic sightseeing buses of the Malta Sightseeing company, with a stop right in front of the cruise terminal. If you join the Northern Tour lasting 3 hours, you’ll have the possibility to see many sights of the island of Malta. The cost is 20 € and you can get on and off at your leisure at any stop along the route. Here are the planned stops: the San Anton Gardens, the most beautiful gardens on the island with many flower and plant varieties. Mdina Glass, and important glass maker on the Island with incredible products. The Ta’Quali Crafts Village where there are a number of local craftsman shops.

The Aviation Museum is a must-see for those who are passionate about history, with many artifacts from the Second World War. The Church of Mosta, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The Port of Mdina, the main port to access the fortified city of Mdina. The Roman Villa, which are the ruins of a villa from the Roman era. Mgarr Church, which dominates the main square of the city of the same name. And Golden Bay, one of the most famous beaches on Malta with golden sand from where it gets its name.

Then there is Bugibba, a famous coastal city in northern Malta. As well as St’George Bay, a town famous for its numerous language schools, hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs. And finally, Spinola Bay, another of the tourist spots in Malta that is famous for its colorful, traditional fishing boats you’ll find moored in the bay.

I recommend you decide ahead of time how you prefer to spend your time on the island.

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Meri Biagetti