As your ship cruises into Valletta, a magical skyline of soaring steeples and bulbous church domes rises to greet you. This is Malta's quintessential capital, a captivating city steeped in history.
• Stroll the colourful streets of Valletta, taking in sights like the Grandmaster's Palace, the House of Parliament and Castille Palace.
• Visit Mdina, the island's old capital. It's an impressive walled city dripping in Medieval and Baroque architecture. They call it the Silent City because cars are forbidden. Carriage-laden horses trotting through the streets and the gentle chatter of Mdina's inhabitants are the only sounds likely to pierce the sleepy calm.
• Take a boat ride to the spellbinding Blue Grotto, an impressive 50 metre-deep cave.
• Sit back and relax on a boat trip around Valletta’s two natural harbours. The waters here have seen their fair share of naval action, standing by as both Napoleon and Nelson staked their claims to them.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
This driving tour takes in some of Malta’s most famous sights – everything from bomb-proof buildings to natural wonders are on the agenda. First up, you’ll set off on the coach and head for the historic city of Vittoriosa, where you’ll get to see the Church of St Lawrence, which is home to the observation tower used by Grand Master La Vallette during the siege of 1565. From here, it’s on to Marsaxlokk, Malta’s largest fishing village, where you’ll have some time to explore before getting back on the coach. Next up, you’ll drive through some tiny villages before reaching the Blue Grotto – a cluster of picturesque sea caverns on the south coast. Then, you’ll pass through the town of Girgenti, home of the Prime Minister’s summer residence, before making tracks for the Dingli Cliffs – Malta’s highest point. From here, you’ll drive through Rabat, and around the edges of Mdina, Malta’s old capital city. Lastly, there’s a stop in the town of Mosta, which is famous for its church, which was hit by a shell bomb in World War II. The bomb went through the property but, miraculously, didn’t explode.
Highlights of Malta►
Your tour kicks off just a short coach ride from the capital with a visit to the ‘Malta Experience’ - a spectacular show bringing to life more than 7,000 years of history, followed by a visit to the Barrakka Gardens, Valletta’s most beautiful garden with a breath-taking view of the Grand Harbour and the old towns of Senglea and Vittoriosa. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to walk the main attractions of Valletta like the exterior of the Grandmaster’s Palace, the House of Parliament and the outside of Castille Palace. You then make your way to Mdina, the ancient capital city, for a wander around the bastions and ramparts. You’ll also get the chance to go inside the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral. Next comes Rabat, a town just outside Mdina, famous for its crafts and local trades. Here, you’ll make one last stop at the ‘Tales of the Silent City’, where you’ll get some free time to shop for take-home trinkets, before re-boarding the ship.
Set off on a cruise round Valletta’s two natural harbours. This is the ultimate chill-out experience, so just sit back with a drink and watch as you float past Malta’s capital. You’ll drift by historical forts, battlements and creeks that can only be seen from the sea. Back on dry land, you’ll have some free time for retail therapy in Sliema. You can dip in and out of boutiques selling shoes, jewellery and bastketware. Simply sit beneath a parasol and sip a cup of coffee at one of the charming cafeterias dotting the seafront or just enjoy a local ice-cream on the Sliema promenade.