A Day in Malta

Blend a background of Roman, French, and English history with a touch of Greek and Arab culture, and you will get a fascinating peek into Malta’s appeal. The amazing movie set visuals and dichotomy of ancient vs. modern-day life in Valletta tip the scale in its favor as a popular cruise port and southern Mediterranean destination.

With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that the southern Mediterranean island has been selected as a popular port of call. Ideally located for Eastern and Western Mediterranean itineraries, it lies just south of Sicily with convenient air gateways from several European cities.

One day is never enough, but regardless of your intended length of stay, there are always things to do and see for a day or two longer. In the main city of Valletta, set your sights on passing through the City Gate and visiting the Grand Masters Palace as an introduction to Malta’s historical heritage. Impressive staterooms, art tapestries, and painted ceilings adorn the elaborate marble-floored hallways.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral | Photo: Steve Leland

Further along is the Baroque masterpiece interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, an unmissable spot on a tour of the city. The cathedral is located adjacent to the Great Siege Square and midway along Republic Street, the city’s mainly pedestrianized thoroughfare. The street is awash with buildings of architectural grandeur, public squares, museums, shops, and cafes.

Overlooking the harbor, the view from Upper Barrakka Gardens, with its gardens, arches, and benches, provides a peaceful interlude to a morning of sightseeing. The Lower Barrakka Gardens are home to the Siege Bell War Memorial, with a backdrop of the sea and the Three Cities—Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua—each offering splendid photo opportunities, small streets, and island charm.

Historically, Valletta was protected by its bastion of city walls and a network of underground tunnels. The walls still surround the city, and while most of the tunnels remain off-limits, the subterranean War Rooms and specific segments of passageways are open to the public.

Step back in time with a visit to the walled city of Mdina. Just a short drive from Valletta, this Silent City is pedestrian-only and full of intriguing sights and attractions defined by a district of medieval and Baroque architecture. Getting lost in the backstreets of this 4,000-year-old city is not only possible but is highly encouraged. The ancient ramparts and bastions surrounding the city, catacombs, and dungeons harken back to a darker time as a fortified city.


Photo: Steve Leland

As a former Cruise Director, Steve has been cruising the world for the past forty years. Bringing a new dimension to cruise journalism, he continues to spin the globe searching for off the grid cruise adventures and unplugged destinations to share with Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.