The fortified city of Valletta has one of the most breathtaking backdrops of the Mediterranean, which has also been used as the setting for several films. All the information you need to discover Valletta on your own, you can find here. Below you will find tips and important information about the local sights and means of transport. You will also find a map of the city below, on which all the places and sights mentioned are marked.
Highlights for Malta on your own
Malta is an island with a thousand years of history. Accordingly, it has many cultural sights. But also the landscape with its many different scenery offers spectacular attractions for everyone.
There is hardly any other city on the Mediterranean that tells stories from 7,000 years of the past. This becomes particularly noticeable when you visit the small settlement of Qrendi. Not far from this settlement are some of the oldest buildings in the world.
You can find out here what you have to consider when you go on excursions on your own and whether it makes sense to explore the island on your own!
City exploration in Valletta
Let the charm of Valletta enchant you! You can also reach the city centre on foot, but it is elevated from the harbour area. Fortunately there is an elevator (!), about 980ft (300m) from the cruise terminal.
Especially the old town impresses with its cultural “pearls”, the Grand Master’s Palace (today seat of government) and the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, both from the 16th century. Most of the streets are pedestrian zones, cars were largely banned from the old town. This makes walks and shopping experiences more relaxed.
In the evening, Valletta really comes to life with numerous bars, restaurants and clubs that open at late hours. Some of them are also down by the harbour, with an impressive backdrop. Just be careful not to miss your boat!
The impressive “Blue Grotto” is located in the south of the main island of Malta, in the Zurrieq district, about 9.3 miles (15 km) from Valletta. With a height of 98.4 ft (30 m), a circumference of 295 ft (90 m) and a water depth of 164 ft (50 m), the Blue Grotto is one of the largest in the Mediterranean, and when you are in its middle on a small boat, the dimensions become really obvious. One has the feeling to be in a gigantic cantilevered dome.
Especially in the morning the light effects are often particularly impressive: the water then glows in a radiant turquoise, which gave this natural sight the somewhat strange linguistic combination “Blue Grotto”.
temple complex Mnajdra
Even if you are not much into archaeology and excavation sites: you should not miss the temple complex Mnajdra. After all, the presumably oldest free-standing building structures in the world are located here! Some of the temples date back to the time of the Greek and Roman high culture. Legend has it that they are almost 6,000 years old.
Mnajdra is located about 9.3 miles (15 km) southwest of Valletta, not far from the Blue Grotto. Just “around the corner” are the similarly impressive temple complexes of Hagar Qim, so it is especially suitable to combine the two excursions. So if you can’t get enough of prehistoric evidence of human architecture, you’ve come to the right place.
Bathing excursion to the Ramla Bay
Malta is altogether rather a barren, rocky island. Beautiful sandy beaches are therefore rather rare.
The red beach of Ramla Bay in the north of the main island is certainly one of the most worth seeing in the whole Mediterranean area and is considered to be the most beautiful beach of Malta. Therefore you can’t necessarily count on loneliness and romance – especially in the high season. However, it is definitely suitable for a refreshing and relaxing bathing and beach experience to compensate for cultural cruise excursions.
Mdina is the former capital of Malta. Its origins date back to the age of the Phoenicians around 1,000 BC. It lies in the interior of the country, about 8 miles (13 km) west of Valletta.
Mdina radiates its own special atmosphere. She is often called the “city of silence”. Time does indeed seem to have stood still here: when walking through the car-free streets, one cannot help but feel as if one is travelling back in time for several centuries.
Especially worth seeing is the cathedral St. Paul on the eastern outskirts of the city (admission 4.5,- GBP p.p.).
If you are travelling by public transport and are planning a trip to Mdina, you can combine this perfectly with a trip to the Dingli Cliffs. Just take the bus from Mdina southbound. The Dingli Cliffs are about 2.5 miles (4 km) away.
Things to know for shore excursions on Valletta (Malta)
Cruise lines and routes
With more than 500,000 transit passengers, Valletta is one of the largest and most important destinations in the western Mediterranean. MSC, Costa Crociere and Phoenix have scheduled arrivals in the Maltese capital for 2017.
Entry and visa
Malta is a member of the EU and belongs to the Schengen area.
In case of doubt: check the formal regulations with the chosen cruise line or play it safe and take your passport with you and have it renewed if necessary.
Malta has a dry, subtropical climate for most of the year. The main travel season is the summer months, but temperatures regularly reach 30° and more. As in many other ports of the Mediterranean, the cruise season starts in spring and extends until the end of October/beginning of November.
So if you prefer milder temperatures, you should switch to the shoulder season. Advantage: especially outside the school holidays the availability of cabins and the prices of cruises are often much better here.
Transfer to the cruise ship port terminal
- Shuttles on site can be expensive and should be booked in advance
- the taxi fixed price from airport to port is about 18 pounds
- Bus line X4 takes about 20 minutes to Valletta, from there take line 130 again to Waterfront
For more information please visit our Valletta Cruise Port Terminal page.
How to get to the city centre?
The centre of Valletta is situated on a hill about 1640 ft (500m) from the port. Either you use one of the many roads leading up or the so-called Barrakka Lift. This elevator leads directly to the Upper Barrakka Garden. For the ride up you have to pay 0.9 pounds, the way down is free. Alternatively you can use the adjacent staircase.
Another possibility are the lifts of the MCP parking garage at the Triton fountain. For this purpose, use the signposted garage entrance, which is located about halfway. There, a tunnel leads slightly uphill for about 656 ft (200m), from where you can take the parking garage elevator to the top free of charge. You will then come out at an exit near the large bus station, which borders directly on the old town of Valletta.
Local public transport
You can also get to the city centre of Valletta by bus. The Pinto bus stop is about 820 ft (250m) from the terminal. From there you can take line 130, which will take you into the city. The fare is 1.8 pounds in summer and 1.4 pounds in winter.
The map shows you the best way to get to the city centre by bus.
There are also numerous taxis near the port, with which you can easily reach the city.
To fully enjoy the culture in Valletta, you can also take a carriage to the city center. In this way you can reach your destination for 22.6 pounds, including a half-hour city tour.
Locomotion in Valletta
In Valletta there are many different ways to explore the city.
On Malta you can look forward to a reliable and good bus network with modern and air-conditioned buses. All bus lines converge at the central bus station at the Triton Fountain outside the gates of the old town. There you can get all information about the bus lines and departures. A ticket in summer costs about 1.8 pounds, in winter 1.4 pounds. From the cruise port you can take bus line 130 to the bus station. Of course you can also get information about the bus network in Valletta in advance.
The 12 Single Day Journeys Card could be interesting for cruise ship guests. The card costs 13.6 pounds, can be used by several people and allows you to take 12 single journeys.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Very close to the berth you can board one of the hop-on hop-off buses. There you can choose between two operators, each offering a North (Red Line) and a South Tour (Blue Line).
A tour lasts three hours, with between 12 and 14 stops. Buses leave every 30 minutes and you can get on and off at every stop. A ticket costs about 18 pounds. Included is also an audio guide that provides you with the most important information. If you also want to go to the beach, the Blue Line is recommended, as it also goes to Golden Bay or St. Georges Bay, for example. You can book your tickets in advance.
The most beautiful corners and sights in Valletta are only a few minutes’ walk away. Even the historical old town of Valletta, which you can reach from the port simply by elevator, has a lot to offer. Directly behind it the first sights are waiting for you, like the New Parliament Building, the open-air theatre Pjazza Teatru Rjal, the National Archaeological Museum or the St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
Tourist information, places of interest and much more can be found on the information platform for Valletta.
Website port operator and tourism organisation
- Port operator: Valletta Waterfront
- Official website: Tourismus Valletta
- Online tour guide: Wikitravel
Alternatives to excursions on your own
Although Valletta is the capital of Malta, it is not too big a city. Therefore you can explore the city on your own. There you will find cathedrals, shopping facilities and cosy cafés or bars. An excursion on your own in Valletta is therefore particularly suitable for a relaxing day of just strolling through the city.
However, if you want to experience more of Malta’s nature or history, we recommend a guided shore excursion. Most of these sights are not directly in Valletta, but a few miles away. Of course you can also get to these sights on your own. However, you must bear in mind that there may be extra costs involved in planning the outward and return journey, for example, and that you will have to think a lot about the organisation beforehand.
“My Cruise Excursion” therefore offers some impressive guided shore excursions for you. With these shore excursions you will benefit from some additional advantages. With the punctual return to ship guarantee, for example, you don’t have to worry about whether you will have enough time to get back to your ship after your excursion. Furthermore, the excursions are carried out in small groups, which creates a relaxed family atmosphere for you.