Port Buzz: Valletta, Malta

Information for cruise visitors to Malta

Helpful tips and ideas for Mediterranean cruise visitors calling on Valletta, Malta.

Described as a city ‘built by gentlemen for gentlemen’, Valletta is home to over 300 places of interest.

Imagine sailing into a historic port which hosted famous explorers and traders, from the Phoenicians to the Romans and many others. Cruising into Malta’s Grand Harbour is to arrive in one of the most breathtaking ports in the world which has been celebrated by numerous famous authors and poets. A moment away is the island’s capital city of Valletta, a 16th-century masterpiece built by the Knights of St. John, which received the designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Valletta, Malta. Photo by Carrie Finley.
La Valletta, Malta. Photo by Carrie Finley.

The archipelago islands are centrally located in the Mediterranean Sea, truly a melting pot of major world civilizations and the point where cultures converge. This marriage has allowed Malta to the reputation as an internationally diverse community that is known for its hospitality.

Malta’s best kept secret

Discover what locals consider to be Malta’s best kept secret,  her sister island of Gozo.  This tiny island boasts a laid back lifestyle and its Eco-friendliness attracts discerning travelers.

What three words best describe Malta?

Diverse, Accessible, Historic



Where do cruise ships dock?

Valletta Cruise Port offers a striking welcome with its modern terminals and berths. Step off the ship immediately onto the Valletta Waterfront, an award-winning and favorite landmark on the island of Malta. There are nineteen beautifully restored 18th century warehouses and bastions, built during the late Baroque period, stretching along the water’s edge. The gemstone buildings were originally constructed by Grand Master Pinto to be used as stores by the Knights of St. John. Today, ushering in a modern era, the iconic doors have been revived with an artistic impression of color. The colored doors represent the storage of goods from days past, with blue for fish, green for produce, yellow for wheat and red for wine. These buildings have now been transformed into a diverse variety of lively restaurants, retail outlets and office space.

Distance from city center:

Valletta city center is a 15- 20 minute walk (uphill) away from the terminal.

Distance from airport:

The Malta International Airport is approximately 15 minutes drive from the Valletta Cruise Port.

Insider’s tip about what to do in a day

Top attractions, not to be missed

  • Valletta Waterfront
  • Grandmaster’s Palace, Valletta
  • St. John’s Co Cathedral, Valletta
  • Mdina (Malta’s old capital city)
  • Palazzo Falson (Mdina)
  • Catacombs (Rabat)
  • Blue Grotto
  • The Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua)
  • Neolithic Temples (UNESCO World Heritage)
  • Mosta’s Rotunda (the third largest unsupported dome in Europe)
  • Gozo (Malta’s sister island)
Carriages wait for cruise visitors near the pier. Photo by Carrie FInley-Bajak.
Horse carriages waiting for  visitors near the pier. Photo by Carrie Finley

Shore excursion ideas:

Examples of typical shore excursions

  • Visit Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa. Glimpse authentic Maltese life.
  • Enjoy a scenic ride around the Harbour, in a typical Maltese fishing boat.
  • Proceed to Casa Rocca Piccola where you are met by the owners of the house. Tea, coffee and fresh cannoli will be served in the courtyard.
  • Proceed to St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the conventual church of the Knights of St John.
  • Enjoy a 3 course lunch, sampling local cuisine.
  • Proceed to Mdina, the Silent City, for a walk through the town’s impressive streets. Walk to Palazzo Falson, a historic museum housing a collection of treasures.
  • Enjoy a glass of Maltese wine before your return drive.

Avoid disappointment: what should visitors pre-book in advance:

The Hypogeum: The unique monument’s micro-climate is strictly regulated and for this reason, the site is open to a maximum of 80 visitors each day. A tour of the site starts with a brief introductory exhibition and multilingual audio-visual film focusing on the temple building peoples and the Hypogeum’s relationship to Malta’s temple sites.

Opening Hours: From Monday to Sunday eight tours will be conducted, starting on the hour from 9.00 till 16.00 (last tour). There are two extra tours at noon and 16.00 hours.

When planning your visit, we advise that you book a ticket well-ahead of the chosen visiting date as tours are often full-up weeks in advance.

Tips for staying in port for longer than a day:

You may find more information about staying longer than a day on www.visitmalta.com and www.vallettacruiseport.com

Answers provided by: Anna Maria Cardona Schranz from  Valletta Cruise Port.

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