Malta is a picturesque island state on the crossroads of civilizations that became a witness to numerous remarkable historical events. Its capital, Valletta represents one of the most important seaports in the entire Mediterranean. Conveniently located in the natural waterway, the Grand Harbour, Valletta cruise port receives annually around a million tourists arriving on cruise ships. Once visited by the mythic Odysseus, Napoleon, and Admiral Nelson, this unique city nowadays keeps attracting hunters for cultural, historical, architectural, and culinary treasures from all over the world.
The cruise terminal of Valletta is considered the main door to the Mediterranean having a centuries-old history and offering endless possibilities and exceptional convenience to numerous travelers who visit the capital of Malta. If you find Valletta cruise port on your itinerary this article will be definitely useful for you.
Where Cruise Ships Dock in Valletta
The unique location of Valletta cruise port allows cruise ships to dock easily irrespective of their sizes. It can simultaneously receive up to 3 cruise ships that dock at the Waterfront Pier. In addition, Valletta cruise port can boast close proximity to the main tourist attractions which represent the main goal for those who are on a cruise. It won’t take you more than 15 minutes walking on foot to visit the main city sites. Moreover, the distance between the Valletta cruise port and Valletta airport is insignificant allowing travelers to consider this cruise port as a convenient departure port.
Since 2012, tourists visiting the Valletta cruise port have had an amazing opportunity to get to the city’s very heart using an unusual way of transport, the Barrakka Lift. This unusual construction can transport 21 people at a time from the Grand Harbour right to the famous Upper Barrakka Gardens which will be mentioned below. The distance between the lower and the upper point amounts to about 60 meters and is covered within 23 seconds. The return ticket costs 1 euro.
What to Do in Valletta Cruise Port
The city of Valletta itself represents a real historical masterpiece and an open-air museum recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being one of the smallest European capitals, Valletta has been found by medieval knights and remains surrounded by the fortress wall that is considered one of the mightiest fortifications in the world. Valletta (as well as the entire Malta) was developing under the influence of various cultures as a result of numerous invasions by representatives of other nations. Valletta’s camera-friendly appearance attracts not only numerous tourists making it one of the most delightful touristic destinations but also the Hollywood filmmakers that constantly choose Valletta as a beautiful location for their movie sets.
Saint John’s Co-Cathedral
This flamboyant cathedral having a gilded and colorful interior in Baroque style is the personification and the symbol of the wealth and success of the 16th-century Maltese knights who felt the responsibility to protect the Catholic faith and Europe from the Ottomans. The appearance the cathedral has preserved since the time of its erection strikes everyone’s imagination. The main peculiarity of its architectural masterpiece is that it consists of 13 small chapels, eight of which impersonate 8 regions the Knights came from.
Valletta Palace Square
Having been impressed by the beauty of the co-cathedral, you can go out and explore the famous Valletta’s Palace Square where you can find a lot of interesting things such as quaint souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants serving tasty dishes of Maltese and Mediterranean cuisines. Almost every restaurant in Valletta can offer you an unusual national Maltese dish, a rabbit stewed in wine (better known as Stuffat tal-Fenek). It is undoubtedly worth tasting if you are not a vegetarian, of course. Another purely Maltese tasty thing is a Kinnie soft drink made of oranges and a combination of various fragrant herbs and having an unusual bitter-sweet taste.
Grandmaster’s Palace and Armory
After a small walk, you can proceed to the exploration of another Maltese landmark, the Grandmaster’s Palace located right at the center of the Palace Square and used to be the residence of the Maltese Knights in the past. One part of this magnificent building is used today as the residence of the President of Malta whereas another part of it is open for tourists. The armory demonstrating the impressive collection of the Maltese Knights’ numerous unique weapons is also available at the Palace.
Valletta National Museum of Archaeology
The National Museum of Archaeology of Malta will allow you to get acquainted with the unique ancient Maltese artifacts from the Neolithic Period, Bronze Age, and Phoenician Period and better understand the history and culture of this region. Such masterpieces as the Venus of Malta and the Sleeping Lady can be found there. As a bonus, you have an excellent opportunity to find a collection of ancient coins and awards.
Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens
Representing one of the most popular city attractions the Barrakka Gardens are part of Valletta’s fortifications allowing you to enjoy magnificent views being surrounded by fountains, flowers, picturesque gardens, and statues of famous historically significant persons. Don’t lose an opportunity to admire the breathtaking panorama of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities from the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Lower Barrakka Gardens located close to Fort San Elmo are worth visiting as well.
Valletta Saluting Battery
As far as you have already understood, centuries-old traditions are honored in Malta. The Saluting Battery of Valletta represents a shining example of such respect for the past. Every day at noon you can become a witness to an amazing solemn gun salute ceremony carried out by the members of the Heritage Society wearing authentic uniforms. It is a truly impressive sight, so plan your tourist route carefully not to miss it!
Cruise Around the Grand Harbour
Valletta port's unique location on the Grand Harbour guaranteed it an unconditional military success during numerous invasions throughout the existence of the city. It is not surprising as the harbor enabled numerous battleships to dock and defend the city from invaders, totally closing the entrance to the city. Today, fortunately, there is no need to defend Valletta, and its Grand Harbour hospitably welcomes numerous commercial and cruise ships. The best way to get closely acquainted with the Harbour is to order a boat excursion along its numerous small creeks and beautiful towns located along the Harbour.
For those who can not imagine their lives without arts and music, the Malta National Museum of Fine Arts and Teatru Manoel, one of the oldest theaters in Europe are always available.
Where to Swim in Valletta Cruise Port?
Being an attractive city in terms of historical and cultural heritage, Valletta can not boast the beaches located close to the cruise port of Valletta or the city center. Swimming in the Harbour’s numerous creeks is not a good idea, of course. Nevertheless, if you have a desire to swim a little bit you will have to spend some time getting to one of the beaches suitable for it. For instance, you can go to Ghadira Bay located in Mellieha by bus, but a one-way trip will take you at least an hour. Other good and well-equipped beaches with clean seawater such as Golden Bay, are also located comparatively far from the cruise port of Valletta. So, in case you do not have much time in Valletta, it would be better to refuse the idea of swimming and consider other ports of call on your itinerary for it.
How to Get from the Valletta Airport to Valletta Cruise Port?
The distance between Valletta International Airport and Valletta cruise port is equal to about 8 kilometers. The most convenient way is to take a taxi, of course, which will cost not more than 20 euros. And yet, the bus is available, departs regularly, and the trip costs 1-3 euros whereas travel time amounts to 15 minutes.