Escape the 50+ person mob tours the cruise lines offer with this group tour of never more than 30 guests (and often times less). Leaving the port, you will be driven to Mdina. Approximately 30 minutes away and Malta's first capital, Mdina dates back to before Roman times. Together with the guide, you will stroll through the quaint winding streets, admire the beautiful palazzos still used as homes by Malta's oldest families, and enjoy the view from the bastions of the 'Silent City'. The total walking time with stops is approximately 45 minutes.
Following the visit of Mdina, your transport will take you to see an island specialty produced at a glass-blowing factory, where you will have approximately 30 minutes free time to see the artisan-produced glassware and shop for the perfect souvenir.
On the way to the harbor, you will have a short photo stop outside the Mosta Dome Church, the third largest dome in Europe. In 1942, the church had 300 people inside when a bomb pierced the dome and miraculously failed to explode.
Arriving in Valletta, you will begin your approximate 90 minute walking tour of the capital city of Malta. You will visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens for a panoramic view of Malta's natural harbors and the historic cities of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa in the distance.
Continuing through Valletta's main streets, you will walk to St. John's Co-Cathedral, the 16th century knight's own church. Revealing a staggering display of Baroque art, it houses some of Malta's finest art treasures. The two masterpieces by Caravaggio, "The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" and "St. Jerome," hang in the Oratory.
At the end of the tour, you will walk past various important buildings before reaching your transport, which will be waiting to return you to the port below. Guests wishing to remain in town may do so, but are responsible for getting themselves back to the cruise pier at their own expense.
Please Note: For tours on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays, the St. John's Co-Cathedral and the glass-blowing factory will not be open to the public. In such instances, they would be substituted with a visit to the National Archaeology Museum in Valletta and free time (approximately 30 minutes) in one of the cities. The same would apply in case of last minute closure of St. John's Co-Cathedral and/or the glass-blowing factory. The order of the sites visited may change according to the logistical needs of the day.
Reviewer: Pia Manach
This was by far the best tour we took during our cruise. It was comprehensive, informative and interesting. Our tour guide was wonderful! She kept everyone interested, gave us a lot of history and commented on current affairs in Malta. She spoke English very well and had a wonderful personality.
Reviewer: Tom Brandt
Our excursion got off to a rocky start because our Holland America ship had to dock across the harbor so we were about 45 minutes late for the start of our excursion. There were quite a few other passengers experiencing the same or similar delays. Our excellent tour manager was there waiting for us. She was very knowledgeable and accommodating throughout the tour. My only negative comment is that I wish we had been given at least 30 minutes to explore Mdina on our own. I feel like we just got to see one small area of this amazing town.
Reviewer: Cynthia Samudio
We loved our guide Ireona, she was so passionate about the history of Malta and Medina and we learned so much! It was also so nice to be in a small group!
Reviewer: Yvonne Palit
I had in mind that Malta was going to be bland and lacking in interest but I was totally wrong. We had a full size coach which took us all round the island. Stops were made regularly so that photographs could be taken. The island is full of surprises with a grotto, barren hill tops, various little harbours and marinas, beautiful buildings made of the local stone which a soft creamy colouring. Set this against the magical blue seas it is captivating. So pleased I chose to go on this excursion.
Reviewer: Ron JKocher
Great guide, great sites, loved his one.