Steeped in history and overflowing with spectacular scenery, Malta is one of several must-see spots in Europe. While on your cruise to Valletta, you’ll have time to explore this centuries-old fortress city that is now the country’s capital.
There are many fun and interesting things to do in Valletta and we want to be sure that you get to experience the fascinating nearby cities and villages firsthand.
On our shore excursions for Valletta, you can explore the city by foot, motor coach, harbor cruise or even by fishing boat. Here’s a list of the top nine things to do in Valletta, Malta.
1. See All of Malta’s Highlights in a Single Day
You can cover a considerable amount of ground during the Malta Highlights shore excursion. First, you’ll travel via motor coach to Valletta and visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens on foot.
There you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Malta’s natural harbors and the historic cities of Senglea, Cospicua and Cittá Vittoriosa (Birgu). Your tour then will proceed to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta, where you can view the artist Caravaggio’s famous masterpiece, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
After a walk to the Magisterial Palace, formerly the residence of the Grand Masters of the Order, head to Tarxien via motor coach to visit the Megalithic Temples of Malta.
From there, you’ll walk to Malta’s old capital known as the Silent, Mdina, the Silent City, to view the Old Cathedral and Ramparts dating back to the 9th century.
If time allows after, you’ll have the opportunity for a scenic drive to a glass factory to watch local artisans at work.
2. See Malta’s Top 10 Sights
Another comprehensive and unique shore excursion is Top 10 Best of Malta, offering you several stops in addition to the Malta Highlights tour, including a tour of a typical Maltese fishing village where you can savor the local cuisine.
Your itinerary will begin in Valletta with a stop in front of Auberge de Castille, one of the finest architectural structures in Malta and the present site of the office of the Prime Minister. Next you’ll proceed to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
You’ll then drive to Città Vittoriosa (Birgu), one of three cities serving as a cradle of Maltese history.
Later you will take a special tour of Marsaxlokk, a typical Maltese fishing village, known for its colorful fishing boats known as Luzzu.
The next stop is Zurrieq, where you can enjoy splendid views of the world-famous Blue Grotto. From there, you’ll drive past Buskett Gardens, Malta’s only woodland area planted by the Knights of St. John.
Proceeding on to Rabat, you’ll have an opportunity to mingle with the locals at a typical live music club called kazin and taste Maltese delicacies. Lastly, you’ll walk to Mdina and browse this historic area on foot.
3. Take a Jeep Safari for a Half a Day
On this Jeep Safari-Half Day excursion, your driver will take you, by jeep, to the northern point of the island. You’ll pass by the Red Tower to view the sister islands of Gozo and Comino.
After visiting Sweethaven Village, you’ll pass Fomm ir-Rih, a stunning bay on the western side of the island. You’ll then enjoy a snack with the group on Golden sands, one of Malta’s gorgeous beaches. Your last two stops are the Dingli cliffs, Malta’s highest point, and the Blue Grotto.
Have your camera ready for the breathtaking view of natural caves and the stunning blue ocean.
4. See 3 Breathtaking Historic Sites
Discover the southern part of the island on this jam-packed three-stop-excursion of Hagar Qim, Blue Grotto & Marsaxlokk. Begin with a drive by motor coach to the Prehistoric Temple of Hagar Qim, built between 3500 and 3000 BC, constructed entirely of soft limestone and overlooking the islet of Filfla.
Weather permitting, you’ll take a boat to the Blue Grotto and view the magnificent underwater flora before continuing on to the Maltese fishing village of Marsaxlokk.
While there, you’ll have a chance to stroll around the market and admire these unique fishing boats.
5. Go Underground at the Catacombs
Mosta, Mdina and Rabat are three definite must-see places during your cruise to Valletta.
On this panoramic tour, visit Mosta Dome, the Silent City of Mdina, see St. Paul’s Cathedral, enjoy free time in Mdina, and finally walk to Rabat to visit St. Paul’s Catacombs before ending your tour.
6. Indulge in Luxury at Palaces of Malta’s Nobility
On this romantic Malta’s Noble Heritage excursion, you’ll find out how Malta’s noble class actually lived in splendor during their reign. Stops along the way include:
- Palazzo Parisio: This 19th-century palace of the legendary (and romanticized) Knights of St. John features two very beautiful baroque-walled gardens and contains a lovely orangery.
- San Anton Gardens: This botanical delight was designed by Grand Master Antoine de Paule as grounds for his summer residence and is the current residence of the Maltese President.
- Casa Rocca Piccola: The home of the 9th Marquis and Marchioness de Piro is available for you to meet the present owners of the house. You might be delighted to discover a collection of furniture, silver and paintings that complements the aesthetic beauty of this country.
7. Hop a Ride on a Dghajsa Boat
On this Three Cities & Dghajsa Boat Ride shore excursion, you’ll travel to three cities and a village by motor coach, by foot and by boat. The highlights include a walk around Senglea, where you’ll savor a panoramic view of the Grand Harbor from the historic bastions.
Next you’ll visit Città Vittoriosa, where you can stroll the narrow streets of this historic city as well as visit the Church of St. Lawrence and Fort St. Angelo. The tour also includes a 30-minute cruise inside the harbor in a traditional Maltese dghajsa boat.
You will end your journey in Marsaxlokk, a Maltese fishing village where you will be able to commemorate your day with a few photos.
8. Take a Relaxed Tour of Valletta
If you prefer discovering a city at leisurely pace, you can pack in a lot of activities without ever leaving the city of Valletta. This Valletta: City of the Knights excursion takes you on short drive via motor coach around Valletta’s bastions past Fort St. Elmo and Fort Manoel and Marsamxett Harbor.
For dazzling panoramic views of the country’s natural harbors, simply walk to Upper Barrakka Gardens. From the Garden’s overlook, you can also see Malta’s historic cities of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa.
A stop at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Conventual’s Church of the Knights of Malta lets you see Caravaggios’s famous The Beheading of St. John the Baptist painting up close. Lastly before finishing the excursion, you’ll finish with a stroll to the Magisterial Palace, the former residence of the Grand Masters of the Order.
9. Gaze at Malta from the Water
On the Harbor Cruise & Shopping in Sliema excursion, you can view and learn about the history of Malta from the comfort of a boat. After traveling by motor coach to Sliema, you’ll sail around the Grand Harbor and the Marsamxett Harbor of Valletta.
You’ll learn about the history of the three cities while passing historic forts, battlements and other places of interest. When the historical journey is over, you’ll have a chance to shop in Sliema.
The island of Malta may be small, but it is full activities that the entire family will enjoy. When you take a cruise to Valletta, you’ll be able to explore nearly all sides of the island through various shore excursions. Fancy a relaxing day at the beach or a half-day jeep tour of the island? Carnival has you covered! Book your next European cruise and experience all that Malta has to offer.