Valletta cruise

An UNESCO-protected Mediterranean port
The capital of the island of Malta
St. John’s Co-Cathedral

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Valletta

A 16th century city

The UNESCO-protected port of Valletta, the capital of the island of Malta, is one of the must-see stops for every Mediterranean cruise of merit.

You can admire this port, constructed in the second half of the 16th century by the Frenchman Jean de la Valette and moulded by the religious and military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, from your MSC ship even before disembarking. The over 300 monuments rising in little more than half a square kilometre make this a place with one of the greatest density of historical attractions to visit during a cruise, not mentioning other attractions such as its beaches, seaside locales and restaurants.

An excursion to the island can start right from its capital, Valletta, which enchants the cruise-goer with its famous Maltese balconies, which decorate the facades of houses in its old quarter. Surrounded by a multitude of churches, which the islanders assure are as many as the days of the year, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is one of Malta’s biggest tourist attractions.

The National Museum of Archaeology, on the other hand, hosts prehistoric artefacts found on the island. By the Grand Harbour, one can visit the underground passages of Auberge de Castille and the beautiful Baracca Gardens, which overlook the harbour; at night, when the city gates would close, its porticoes served as shelter for travellers. To get a taste of the life of Malta’s ancient nobility, visit Casa Rocca Piccola.

A 16th century Palazzo now the residence of the 9th Marquis De Piro, it has period furnishings and has a bomb shelter built for protection against bombings during the Second World War. The set of the film Popeye can still be seen from Malta’s largest beach, as well as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha with a fresco of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Christ; according to tradition, Saint Luke, who was shipwrecked on the island with Saint Paul, is the author of this Byzantine-style fresco.

Must see places in Valletta

Discover our excursions

10 results found

  • RABAT, MOSTA & MDINA

    CITY TOUR
    • Shopping

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adult$59Price per person

    • Child$45Price per person

    MLT03

    Half a day off the ship and three of Malta’s must-sees are the measure of this entertaining sightseeing tour that begins with a short coach journey to the first of the destinations: the medieval walled city of Mdina, constructed by the Knights of Malta in the second half of the 16th century and once the capital of Malta. Also dubbed “The Silent Town” due to heavy restrictions on the use of motorised vehicles within its walls, Mdina is a place to explore entirely on foot. You will get to stroll through the lovely old city and have a chance to marvel at its old bastion. Next up is the town of Rabat, where you will take a short walk and enjoy some time to browse for a souvenir. The last place on the tour itinerary will then be the nearby town of Mosta to check out its fabulous Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, which was consecrated in 1871 and whose Rotunda boasts one of the world’s largest unsupported domes. A short coach ride back to the port and your ship then brings the tour to a close. Please note: as your visit to Mdina will be entirely on foot and involves long periods of walking, the tour is unsuitable for guests with walking difficulties. Although all sites visited are wheelchair-friendly, Mdina terrain is mostly cobblestones and might be uncomfortable for guests using a wheelchair. If wheelchair guests want to take part, they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and their wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. On Sunday calls, the visit to Mosta Cathedral will be external. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance.
  • VALLETTA AND MDINA

    CITY TOUR
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4 h

      • Adult$62Price per person

      • Child$49Price per person

      MLT01

      When in Malta, you can do no better than to pay not only the island’s current capital of Valletta, but also the former capital of Mdina a visit, both of which are the fascinating destinations on this half-day tour. Valletta is first up, where you will go to see the wonderful Barrakka Gardens – a beautifully landscaped public park – to savour breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour, after which you will head for St. John’s Co-Cathedral, built by the Knights of Malta in the second half of the 16th century. The ornately decorated interior is rich in treasures, including a masterpiece by Caravaggio. The tour then continues on to the medieval walled city of Mdina, which is situated in the middle of the island and is also called “The Silent City” due to restrictions imposed on motorised traffic. You will get to visit the Baroque-style St. Paul’s Cathedral, which presides impressively over the town, before enjoying a walk through the narrow streets and lanes of this piece of living history. Your tour then draws to a leisurely close with your return to the ship. Please note: as your visit to Mdina will be entirely on foot and involves long periods of walking, the tour is unsuitable for guests with walking difficulties. Even though all sites visited are wheelchair-friendly, Mdina terrain is mostly cobblestones and might be uncomfortable for guests using a wheelchair. If wheelchair guests want to take part, they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and their wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. If the call falls on a Saturday afternoon, the visit to the St. John’s Co-Cathedral will be external; guests will visit the National Museum. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. This tour is not available on Sunday calls.
    • THE NEOLITHIC TEMPLES & MARSAXLOKK
      BAY

      CULTURE AND HISTORY
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adult$55Price per person

        • Child$39Price per person

        MLT10

        The islands of Malta and the nearby Gozo are home to an intriguing set of eleven prehistoric monuments, seven of which are classed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely the marvellous Megalithic Temples of Malta. One of these fascinating sites of early engineering and worship forms the first stop on this half-day tour and will take you to the southeast of the island. These temples are among the oldest free-standing buildings ever found in the world – some pre-date the Egyptian pyramids – and make highly evocative representatives of a bygone age. You’ll then continue on to the pretty fishing village of Marsaxlokk, situated on the shores of Malta’s second-largest natural bay, to see the traditional, brightly coloured “luzzu” fishing boats. In keeping with a seafaring tradition that possibly goes back as far as the Phoenicians, all of these luzzi have a pair of eyes painted on the bow, perhaps to make sure they always know where they’re going. Your coach ride back to the port and your ship then lets the tour draw to a leisurely close. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
      • DOLPHIN EXPERIENCE

        NATURAL WONDERS
        • No guide available

        • Possibility of swimming

        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adult$179Price per person

        • Child$165Price per person

        MLT14

        Travelling with children? Look no further than our dolphin day, ideal older for kids and nature lovers alike. Leave the pier heading for the Marine Park where we will have a short talk on dolphin behaviours and learn how to interact with these gentle mammals. We will then proceed to the dolphin pool where you will meet and play with trained bottlenose dolphins for about 20 minutes. Free time in the Marine Park before returning to the vessel. Please note: guests must be good swimmers and in good physical condition in order to participate in this tour. Participants must be at least 8 years of age. Do not forget your towel and wear your swimsuit. Guests must sign a waiver before taking part in the tour. During autumn and winter calls, the duration of the tour will be 2.5 hours with no free time. You can book this tour only during your cruise.
      • CAR WITH GUIDE

        SOMETHING SPECIAL
        • No guide available

        • Limited seats

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adult$395Price per person

        • Child$395Price per person

        MLT33PV

        Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional guide and driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver, guide and gasoline included. The price does not include any entrance fees or meals and is per vehicle and not per passenger. If you want to set a customized itinerary and add entrance tickets to any of the tourist attractions, please contact your shorex excursion staff on the ship.
      • ESSENTIAL MALTA, LOCAL FAVOURS &
        SIGHTS

        SOMETHING SPECIAL
        • Tasting included

        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          3:30 h

        • Adult$72Price per person

        • Child$55Price per person

        MLT49

        This half-day roundup of Maltese essentials begins with a coach ride to the city of Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa. As one of Malta’s three historic cities, Birgu was the first place the Knights Hospitaller called home when the order moved to the island in 1530. Your walk through town will take you past such historical treasures as the inns of residence – called auberges – that were built by the Knights, the 17th-century Church of St. Lawrence and Fort St. Angelo, whose construction began in the 13th and continued until the late 17th century. You’ll then continue on by coach to the south of the island and Malta’s largest fishing village: Marsaxlokk. Enjoy exploring the quaint marketplace with its cafeterias and the luzzus in the harbour, colourful boats typically used in this area. A tasting session of Maltese delicacies ends the outing before the coach returns you to the ship. Please note: this tour includes some walking on cobblestone streets with some steps; it is not recommended for guests using a wheelchair.
      • GOZO EXPERIENCE

        SOMETHING SPECIAL
        • Possibility of swimming

        • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

          Difficulty Level
          Strenuous

        • Duration
          6 h

        • Adult$142Price per person

        • Child$109Price per person

        MLT28

        Join us on this adventure to Gozo Island. Leave the ship and board a powerboat which will take you alongside the east seaboard past the urbanized Sliema coastline, the seaside resort of Bugibba, St Paul’s Island, and Mellieha Bay, by Comino, its Caves and the most beautiful Laguna with crystal clear waters, on the way to Mgarr Harbour. Gozo is famous for its breath-taking scenery and unspoilt nature, as well as for its ancient history and legends. Discover its most beautiful hidden corners, not normally seen by tourists and have the opportunity of taking panoramic photographs of the extraordinary landscape: the imposing Xewkija Dome, the stunning Sanap Cliffs, the picturesque Xlendi Bay, The Azure window and Inland sea, followed by a stop at Hondoq Bay for swimming (weather permitting). A stop for shopping at the Gozo Crafts centre will be included. Finally you will embark the powerboats again for an exhilarating ride back to the Laguna at the Valletta Waterfront. Please note: as the tour involves a long period of walking, it is unsuitable for guests with walking difficulties, back/neck problems, pregnant women or using a wheelchair. Guests are recommended to wear comfortable walking shoes, bring sun lotion and towels and wear a bathing-suit. Jeeps on Gozo have no radio contact; beach stop depends on weather conditions and location may change depending on weather. If weather conditions are adverse (rough sea), guests will reach the north of the island by minivan that is more sheltered and start the powerboat ride to Gozo from there and vice versa. This tour is available only from June to September. Guides available in English and Italian only.
      • HARBOUR CRUISE & WINE TASTING TOUR

        SOMETHING SPECIAL
        • Tasting included

        • Limited seats

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          3:30 h

        • Adult$55Price per person

        • Child$39Price per person

        MLT04

        To visit the island state of Malta, leave your ship and board a motorboat to embark on a relaxing sail along the scenic Maltese coastline, along the way passing by the lovely Cottonera area made up of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa, which are collectively known as The Three Cities. Nearly opposite Cottonera lies the Maltese capital, Valletta, whose harbour you will approach via the water route. The city has retained much of its architectural heritage and one of its most iconic sights is Valletta waterfront, a marvel of 18th-century Baroque architecture that has been extensively restored. Do take your camera to capture awe-inspiring views of the waterfront, while also enjoying a wine-tasting session at this unique location. Before returning to the port, you will stop at a renowned jewellery for shopping. Please note: the feasibility of the excursion is subject to wind / sea conditions on the day of call. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair; there is a narrow gangway to have access to the boat.
      • JEEP TOUR

        SOMETHING SPECIAL
        • No guide available

        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adult$79Price per person

        • Child$59Price per person

        MLT12

        Get set to enjoy four hours of uninterrupted fun on a guided tour around the north of Malta by jeep. After leaving the ship and boarding the waiting vehicle, your first stop will be at G?adira Bay, near Mellie?a, to see the square-shaped St. Agatha’s Tower (outside), also called the Red Tower due to its striking colour, which was completed in the middle of the 17th century. After a chance to enjoy the superb views of the nearby Gozo and Comino islands from this historical spot, you will continue your drive along a scenic off-road route to Golden Sands Bay, a wonderful stretch of fine sandy beach. Then it’s on to the lovely Mtal?eb, with a photo stop on the way, and finally the walled city of Mdina – Malta’s one-time capital – before you return to the port and your ship. Please note: participants must be at least 4 years of age, provided that they can be properly seated and wearing a seatbelt. The safari leader will provide you with information only in English during the trip. Comfortable shoes and casual clothing recommended. This tour is not suitable for pregnant women, for guests with walking difficulties or with back or neck problems.
      • MINIVAN WITH GUIDE FOR 3 TO 6 PAX

        SOMETHING SPECIAL
        • No guide available

        • Limited seats

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          4 h

        • Adult$462Price per person

        • Child$462Price per person

        MLT34PV

        Disembark in the port and have a vehicle with a professional guide and driver waiting for you, your family and friends. Create your own tour and enjoy your day with a vehicle at your disposal. Please note: Vehicle, driver, guide and gasoline included. The price does not include any entrance fees or meals and is per vehicle and not per passenger. If you want to set a customized itinerary and add entrance tickets to any of the tourist attractions, please contact your shorex excursion staff on the ship. Larger vans can be arrangeg upon request.

      The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
      Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

       

      Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

      Malta

      Thousands of years of history
      Thousands of years of history

      Malta has been a contended land for as many as 10,000 years and is located in the middle of the Mediterranean where past and present coexist in harmony.

      This archipelago-state is formed by three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. The oldest human settlements, dating back to the Neolithic age, were located north of Birzebbugia, in Ghar Dalam, where the so-called Dark Cave is found. A location that, instead, combines Christian tradition, architecture and curios is Mosta where one can visit the church of Santa Maria Assunta, that has one of the largest domes in the world.

      A vacation in Malta should also include an excursion to the centre of the island, to the town of Mdina, the ‘silent’ or ‘notable’ city, protected by tall walls, with its narrow alleys lined with crafts shops, little restaurants and small shops. From here you have the best view in the whole island.

      To learn about Malta’s prehistory, you should go south, towards he hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, in Paola:this is an underground construction on three levels dug out of the rock between the 4th and 3rd millennium B.C., and used as a shrine and burial ground, or you can chose to visit one of the seven megalithic temples erected between   Malta and Gozo. In Gozo’s main town, Rabat, one can visit the strongly fortified citadel that towers 150m above the town.