From the terrace of the Upper Barakka Gardens you get spectacular views across the Grand Harbour to The Three Cities, and along the quayside to the harbour mouth and Fort Ricasoli, somewhere we need to visit another time. In this picture is Senglea, one of the three cities and with the famous Eye & Ear Vedette at the very tip of the headland. Senglea and it's neighbour Vittoriosa are two very nice places that you can combine in one day trip. Take a look at my pages on those cities for a bit more information.
Down by the quayside just past Victoria Gate are some shabby buildings, some used as workshops, some as storage and some as cafes (some of which looked quite nice). I like this kind of decaying building, I think they have some character. Dunno if it's the place to be at night though ;-)
TIme to stop for more refreshments. The Gun Post Cafe was just the sort of place we love: set by the Marsamxett Harbour with views over to Sliema and run by a Maltese family that seemed to range from grandparents to grandchildren. More about this place in the Restaurants section.
Well, what can I say? They don’t call it the Grand Harbour for nothing. At any given day several massive cruise ships lie anchored on this huge natural harbour on top of all the other ships and boats that regularly come in and out of Malta. It’s quite an impressive sight and can best be viewed from the Barracca gardens that are just at the right of you after entering Valletta through the city gate at the bus terminus.
Grand Harbour in Maltese: Il-Port il-Kbir is the natural harbour of Valletta and Mata. It has been used as a harbour since at least Phoenician times. The natural harbour has been greatly improved with extensive docks and wharves, and has been massively fortified. The harbour mouth faces north east and is bounded to the north by St Elmo's Point and further sheltered by an isolated breakwater and is bounded to the south by Ricasoli Point. Its north west shore is formed by the Scebarras peninsula, which is largely covered by the city of Valletta and its suburb Floriana.
The Saluting Battery occupies one of the most strategic locations in Valletta from where the whole of the Grand Harbour can be seen. It stands on the lower part of the St. eter & St. Paul's Bastion, at the foot of the wind swept Upper Barracca Gardens. (see previous tip on the gardens), and o verlooking Fort St. Angelo. This battery was originally built by the Order of St. John on the 16th Century as part of the main defences of Valletta. It remained in continuous use right through the French and British periods up to just 40 years ago.
It's excellent position at the heart of the Grand Harbour was meant to provide crucial inner-harbour defence in case of attack. Throughout its long service life spanning some three centuries, this battery had seen 21 different types of cannon mounted in it representing all major periods in the evolution of artillery.
Entrance Fee Euro5.00
Guided tours available 11-00am & 12.15pm. The 11.00 am tour allows you to stay in the Battery through-out the Noon-day gun firing, and will offer a unique opportunity for close up viewing of the drill and picture taking.
It also fired ceremonial gun salutes for visiting dignataries and vessels and on national occasions and festivities. You can watch the gun being fired from the balcony then descent to the battery and try loading one of the old cannons yourself.
In one of the photo's you can see the gun that will be fired slightly tilted up, and the two volunteer soldiers are waiting instruction from the other volunteer who has been talking us through the whole procedure.
A monument to remind us everyday of the 70,000 who lost their lives during the Second World War. A 'dead man' statue is positioned at the edge of the bastion with a plaque saying " At the going down of the Sun, and in the Morning, We Will Remember Them" Inaugurated in 1992 by Queen Elizabeth II, the Siege Bell Memorial is a monument to the dead of World War II. The bell is rung at mid-day, each day. Click on pic to see photos of the 'dead man' monument, and the Bell
Malta and the city of Valletta have experienced two important sieges in their history – the Great Seige in the 1565 during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire against the Order of the Knights of St. John, leading to the construction of the walled city of Valletta, and the Siege of World War II between 1940 and 1942 when Malta was in the crosshairs between the Axis and the Allies for control of the Mediterranean as the new front of North Africa began. In reading about Malta, it seems that people tend to confuse the two sieges, often referring to the WWII siege as the “Great Siege” which is incorrect.
Next to the Grand Harbour near the Lower Barrakka Gardens stands a bell that rings out each day at noon to remember those that died during the WWII Siege. Named the World War II Siege Memorial, this bell stands in memory of the thousands that died as Malta was held captive in the war, victims of their strategic location. It was because of their bravery that the entire population of Malta was awarded the George Cross by Britain’s King George VI in 1942 to “bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people.” This award is part of Malta’s national flag.
The memorial bell is easily accessible by walking. It can be found on the edge of the wall of the Grand Harbour near the Lower Barrakka Gardens just off the main road around the walled city and close to the entrance of the harbor. There is no parking nearby except for some difficult to find street parking, so I recommend that you walk to the memorial.
The warning sign cautions people to not be under the bell at noon since the huge 10 ton bell rings daily and is very loud. Any other time, visitors can walk up to and around the bell, housed in an open limestone tower. In addition to the tower, there is a small platform area with a bronze statue representing the more than 7,000 people who died during the siege.
The Saluting Battery is located below the Upper Barrakka Gardens and can be seen from the terrace in the gardens. Eight cannons line the edge of the battery, which is beautifully manicured with green grass. When we were there, the battery was closed to visitors, but we were able to peek in through the gate and from the gardens above.
At noon each day, the saluting battery goes into action as they set off the mid-day gun. This is the highlight of many visitors to Valletta.
There is extremely limited parking in the area, so I don’t recommend driving to the gardens. It is preferable to walk or take the bus that goes around the walled city. The battery is next to the Stock Exchange.
Whilst waiting for the noon day firing of the cannon at the Saluting Battery in the upper Barraka Gardens Valetta, I took the photo of the Seaplane that had just taken off from the Grand Harbour for a scenic tour round Malta.
Although I have not experienced this flight at all, I thought I would post the information for those of you who would like to take advantage of this trip whilst in Malta.
There is also a service between Malta and Gozo, plus there is a terminal if you are staying in Gozo that does the same trip, the address for this is the Mgarr Marina, Pontoon F., Mgarr Harbour , Gozo
Please click onto the website for the seaplane and watch the short video which shows take off, views over Malta and Gozo, and the landing, just to give you a birds eye view of what you can expect.
Positioned in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, Valetta is at the crossroads of many major maritime routes and occupies a strategic position. Valletta's architecture is inspired by the Italian Renaissance and the city has many magnificent monuments, the most famous of which is the Co-Cathedral of Saint John. There is a rich repository of ancient archeological artifacts dating back to 3000 BC in the Museum of Archeology.
This picture was taken from the sun deck of the Legends of the Sea when it stopped over at Valletta. Such an impressive view of the Grand Harbour!
Valletta is the Capital of Malta, it is the only town in the world what is under the UNESCO protections of monuments. It is a nice old town with fortres, churges, shops and a lot more to see. Here a fortres and the grand Harbour.
When I visit Malta in 1975, I was in the Military service of the Dutch Marines and we stay for a month on this island for exersises. When we arrived in Malta by ship was the first thing we see the Grand Harbour, A beautifull place to see.
The Valletta Waterfront pier is so lovely, I am sure you will like it!
There are nineteen beautifully restored 16th century warehouses and bastions, built during the Baroque period, stretching along the water's edge. These buildings were originally built as stores by the Knights of St. John, and now have been restored and revived. They look lovely with their brightly coloured painted doors. A clue, a blue door is for fish, green for produce, yellow for wheat and red for wine. There were lots of restaurants, clubs, retail outlets and some offices.
Lots of the restaurant's have alfresco dining, so nice when being beside the water on a warm evening.
The Valletta Waterfront is located within walking distance from the city of Valletta.
A Karozzin is another name for a Carriage used for a Horse & Carriage ride. We came across these as we walked along the Grand Harbour on Xatt Lascaris street. There were a lot here waiting for people to hire.
We weren't interested, infact, I felt rather sorry for the Horses. The Horses were set off along the road at a very fast pace, I would want them to slow down if I were to be sightseeing.
Ask coachman for rates of the various tours he suggests before setting off. I believe the approx price is around 50 euros.
The notice stated they were only here when Cruise Ships are in Port.
Hours between 7am - 7pm