Tag Archives: Malta

Changes at the port of Valletta

The first time I sailed into the Grand Harbour of Malta’s capital city, I was struck, as most people are, by the beauty of this place.  That was over eight years ago. I’ve sailed into this port three times now and, while it never gets old, there have been many improvements over the years.  From a cruise perspective, these changes make it so much easier to move from the port to the upper city and beyond.

Of course, you can still take a bus up to the main gate where there are buses to take you all over the island.  And there are plenty of taxis offering tours of various lengths. And even horse-drawn carriages. But now, there is also an elevator that will take you from the port to the Upper Barracca Gardens where you will find some of the best views of the harbour (and where they fire cannons).

For this trip, I did opt for a taxi so that my mother could see more of Malta. Our driver took us on a tour of part of the coastline. At the end, he dropped me off at the Upper Barracca Gardens and was able to drive my mother directly to the ship by showing the port authorities her cane. Sometimes, it is good to have this kind of assistance.

I spent the rest of my day wandering the streets of Valletta, visiting St. John’s Co-cathedral to see Caravaggio’s The Beheading of St. John and generally just enjoying being back in a place I love to visit.

Other travel notes … there are public toilets at the Upper Barracca Gardens. Always good to know!

The elevator *may* charge 4 Euros to use, however when I used it to go back to the port, there was no charge. There are also a number of shops, restaurants and bars lining the area near the cruise port as well.

M is for Mdina Malta

m

Mdina is about a thirty minute bus ride from Malta’s capital of Valletta. It was the old capital of Malta until the Knights of St. John came to Malta and moved the capital and fortified the Grand Harbour of Valletta.

It is easy to get to Mdina from Valletta by bus, some of which are vintage.

 

Mdina is a walled city, sometimes called the Silent City and has about 300 permanent residents. Most people live in Rabat, a “suburb” of Mdina.

It is a beautiful city with stunning architecture and great views.

 

A to Z Challenge: M = Malta

M = Malta

I reMad several reviews about sailing into the Grand Harbour on Malta and all mentioned how beautiful it was to sail into this port. The Captain of the first ship I cruised on, the Brilliance of the Sea, said that this was his favourite port, I knew it would be a treat – and it is!

Here are some of my top picks for visiting Malta.

  St. John’s co-Cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.  From the outside, it does not look like it would be much – but inside, it is over the top! The floor is a unique treasure. Each large square tile decorated with coats of arms and other fantastical symbols and marks the resting place of a member of the Knights of St. John. Another highlight is the large Carvaggio painting of the Beheading of John the Baptist.

The Grandmasters Palace is another interesting place to visit.  Built in 1571, after the knights left Rhodes, it is still used today by the Maltese government for state functions.   Some of the highlights include a rare collection of Gobelins tapestries and the Palace armory. One suit of amour worn by a grandmaster is pictured in a Carvaggio painting that is in the Louvre museum.

Clock tower at the Grandmasters Palace
Clock tower at the Grandmasters Palace
Grandmasters Palace
Grandmasters Palace
Neptune's Courtyard at the Grandmasters Palace
Neptune’s Courtyard at the Grandmasters Palace
Caravagio's Grand Master
Caravagio’s Grand Master

I loved the National Archaeology Museum. It is right on Republic Street in Valletta, The collection is from the sites on Malta and include several stone altars and the large Reclining Goddess of Malta.

National Archeology Museum
National Archaeology Museum
National Archeology Museum
National Archaeology Museum
National Archeology Museum
National Archaeology Museum
National Archeology Museum
National Archaeology Museum
Republic Street
Republic Street

There are inexpensive buses that can take you around the island. About twenty minutes from Valletta is Mdina. This is a beautiful walled city and well worth a quick visit to walk around and see the limestone walls.

Buses in Malta
Buses in Malta
Buses in Malta
Buses in Malta
Many modes of transportation
Many modes of transportation
Mdina
Mdina
Mdina
Mdina
Mdina
Mdina
London-style phone booth in Mdina
London-style phone booth in Mdina
View of countryside between Valletta & Mdina
View of countryside between Valletta & Mdina

The Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta have a fantastic view of the harbour. Every day at noon, they fire the cannons in a very traditional military fashion.

Upper Barrakka Gardens
Upper Barrakka Gardens
Cannon Firing at Upper Barrakka Gardens
Cannon Firing at Upper Barrakka Gardens
Cannon Firing at Upper Barrakka Gardens
Cannon Firing at Upper Barrakka Gardens

And my favourite part of Malta — sailing in and out of the Grand Harbour.

Entering the Grand Harbour early in the morning
Entering the Grand Harbour early in the morning
View of Valletta
View of Valletta
View of the Upper Barrakka Gardens
View of Valletta
View of the Upper Barrakka Gardens
View of Valletta
Sunset over Valletta
Sunset over Valletta
Sunset over Valletta
Sunset over Valletta
Sunset over Valletta
Sunset over Valletta
Leaving the Grand Harbour
Leaving the Grand Harbour