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

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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

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    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.