Going ashore in Marsaxlokk, Malta

Malta featured image

If your vessel goes to Malta, it will most probably go alongside in the port of MarsaxlokkMalta Free Port, as the big port of Valetta can accommodate especially cruisers and ferries. To get from the ship to the gate (and back) you will have to take one of the shuttle buses which are very helpful and always on time. The ride to the gate will last no more than five minutes and from there you can take a taxi to get you anywhere you want.

If you arrive in Malta on a Sunday morning, make sure to visit the Marsaxlokk market if you want to have a nice image of traditional life on this small island. The Sunday market in Marsaxlokk is very well famous among tourists and for this reason a little too crowded, but worth visiting. You will find there the best display of fish, fruits and vegetables, but also traditional clothing, souvenirs and different kind of things. You can also try the local food and you will find in Marsaxlokk some good restaurants with decent prices and only fresh products.

Very close to the port – only few minute walk away – you can find Pretty Bay, the perfect place for a short and relax stay. You can enjoy a walk on the beach (even a swim) and a nice dinner or just a drink at one of the restaurants along the beach.

Valetta is only few km away and a taxi can take you there in 25 minutes. You’ll have to pay 20-25 Euros for the ride. If you have more time available, you can cut the cost of transportation and go to Valetta by bus. The ride will take around 45 minutes and it will cost you only 1.5 Euros. You will find the bus stop very close to the port, but take into account that the bus schedule is very strict and not  24/7. During week days, the last bus leaves Valetta at 10 p.m. and during weekends at 11 p.m. So, if you intend to stay longer in the city, you’ll most probably have to take a taxi in your way back. Make sure that the driver will not take advantage and try to overcharge you, so it’s better to fix the rate exactly upon departure. Even if your return takes place late at night, the taxi fare from Valetta to Marsaxlokk must not exceed 30 Euros.

If your vessel remains alongside one or two days, you will be able to enjoy the city as a regular tourist. All you need is a map and a good plan. You can start with the capital, Valetta – which belongs to UNESCO heritage –  an open air museum, full of archaeological sites, museums and galleries, gardens and parks, forts and citadels.

You can have a stroll down the famous Republic Boulevard which will take you to the Palace Square where you can admire the Grand Master Palace, now seat of the President and of Maltese Parliament.

Valetta Republic Boulevard

Valetta Palace of Grand Masters

On the same Boulevard, few meters before arriving in the Palace Square, you can notice a very beautiful building which is hosting the National Library, in the middle of Queen Square.

Valetta National Library

After getting familiar with these important buildings, you can continue your walk towards the harbor, passing along the walls of the new Opera Theater. In only few minutes you will find yourself in front of another important building – Auberge de Castille, the seat of Maltese Government.

Valetta Auberge de Castille

If you are interested in art, you can pay a visit to the most beautiful Maltese Church – St. John Cathedral – and admire one of the paintings belonging to the great Caravaggio.

A few meters away from Auberge de Castille, you’ll step into the Barakka Upper Gardens from where you can have a wonderful panoramic view over the harbor and over the three fortified cities Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua. You can see also Valetta Waterfront, where cruise vessels dock, especially during summer months.

Valetta Upper Barakka Gardens

Valetta view from Upper Barakka Gardens– view from Upper Barakka Gardens –

If time allows it, you can have a ride in one of the many touristic boats that make a tour of the port and have a different perspective over the city. You can admire the fortified walls of Valetta, some forts along the way, the Manoel Island and the three cities. A tour like this is offered by many companies – Luzzu Cruises, Captain Morgan Cruises, Latini Harbour Cruises, it takes ~ one hour and costs 15 euros. The same ticket allows you to have a ride in the touristic bus (double decker) around the city.

Harbour Cruises Valetta

Fort San Telmo, Valetta– Fort San Telmo, Valetta –

Fort St. Angello– Fort St. Angello –

Vittoriosa Fortified City Malta– The fortified city of Vittoriosa –

If you are interested in crafts and traditional display of hand made goods, you can spend few hours in the Craft Village of Ta’ Qali. Here you can admire the glass blowers while at work and also some other craftsmen and artisans making jewelry, pottery, wooden objects and traditional clothing. If you want to find the glass artists at work, you have to arrive there in the morning (until 1-2 p.m.) In the afternoon, the shops are still open, but the glass factories are not.

Glass factory - Ta Qali

Mdina Glass factory - Ta Qali Craft Village

If you want to extend your visit and experience the island from a touristic point of view, you should continue your adventure and go to Sliema and St. Julien – the best summer resorts.

Sliema Bay Malta– Sliema Bay –

Malta - St. Julien Bay– St. Julien Bay –

If your vessel stays more than one day alongside, you can push the limits and arrive as far as the small island of Gozo, Malta’s paradise. It is a little complicated to go to Gozo, but a day or even only one afternoon spent in this wonderful paradise will make you feel more alive and more aware of the beauty that surrounds us.

To arrive to Gozo, you will need to start the day early. It will take you around one hour to get to Cirkawee (by bus or taxi) and another 20 minutes by ferry to go on the other side. The ferry ticket costs only 4-5 Euros (return ticket) and you’ll have to pay this amount only on your way back. Once you find yourself on the island of  Gozo, you can take a ride in one of the tourist buses hop on hop off to cross the island from South to North and back. One complete ride lasts around 3 hours and will cost you ~ 15 euros.

Approaching Gozo Island– Approaching Gozo by ferry –

Gozo Island Malta

Hop on hop off in Gozo Malta– Hop on hop off in Gozo –

Narrow Streets Gozo Malta

You can even walk your way through the island, using public transportation or hiring a car or a bike. Do not miss the Azure Window, one of the most photographed landmarks of the island.

Azure Window Gozo

If weather permits it you can hire a small boat and have a nice ride to the smaller island of Comino where you can enjoy a swim in one amazing lagoon with crystal water.

Malta is a small island, but nowhere in Europe you will find so many important tourist attractions concentrated in such a small area. It can offer you a diversified display of interesting buildings, archeological sites, beautiful coast line and beaches, gardens and parks, traditional villages, modern shops and fancy restaurants. It all depends on your willingness to discover new places and, of course, on your spare time.

Recommendation:

Food

Cuba Bistro – Sliema Bay (close to the Sliema Ferries)

Boat House Restaurant – Gozo  (Xlendi Bay)

Gozo Xlendi Bay Boat House Restaurant

 

Boat House Restaurant Gozo- octopus

Shopping

Point Shopping Mall Sliema

Ta Qally Craft Village – for traditional souvenirs and glass products

PHOTO GALLERY

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