Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Making the most of our day in Malta

Valletta in Malta was our second port day. I'd been to Malta before and apart from the buses now being Arriva instead of the old Bedford buses painted yellow, orange and white, not much of what we saw had changed from what I remembered. So I'll not go into huge detail, especially since again it was a flying visit and we were unable to spend very much time in any one place. The main part of our Malta trip revolved around another hop-on-hop-off City Sightseeing bus tour which I have to say was a bargain given it covered almost half the island for about 15 Euros (about a 2 hour round trip not including stops). It was also packed though and there were long waits to get back on the buses due to this in popular spots like Mdina.

Mdina Tourist Sightseeing Road TrainGetting ashore from the ship was simple, just a short walk to where the tourist buses leave from (really the opposite of the sort of location in Palma) though walking into Valletta involved a 15 minute walk up hill. After buying some tickets we waited on the bus, we had to wait quite a while due to the queue.

After heading out of town on the lower deck of the bus we were happy to get off as early as we felt we could. It wasn't the first stop but the first place we did hop-off was at Mdina, an historic city and former capital of Malta. In Mdina we went for a short walk to the tourist information building before finding the tourist road train tour.

It was a nice way to see the area around Mdina and gave views of the city like this.


Once we'd arrived back at the road train stop, we walked back inside the walls of the old city and had a look around the Typical narrow medieval streets, this one being one of the more open streets.

A Street in Mdina

Deceptively large and a looming sight in Mdina is St. Paul's Cathedral

Mdina Cathedral

Eventually there was a bus that had room for us and we got back on track, we stayed on the bus for the rest of the tour. Next up after seeing the national stadium and a forest park was Mosta. There was the impressive Rotunda of Mosta which is apparently the 3rd largest unsupported dome in the world according to wikipedia.

Rotunda of Mosta

This area was very fond of flying the flag of Malta.

The Flag of Malta

After Mosta the bus reached the coast then began to make the journey down the north east coast back to Valletta. The landscape was very heavily agricultural in this part of Malta.

Malta Countryside

We passed by a few coastal resorts and then one of the many coastal fortifications.

St Mark's Tower Malta

As well as the tourist areas with lots of medium sized hotels, there were a couple of pretty bays as well as the odd churches, towers and even now a very high rise building.

Church of our Lady of Mount Carmel

We were slightly running out of time to do much in Valletta and that was made even harder by the fact the bus didn't drop off up the hill by where the big fountain is... what used to be the bus station the last time I was there. Now there is a big Arriva bus station that looks like it'd been picked up from the North of England. So yeah, Norngirl with her injury braved it and we walked back up the hill from the Valletta Waterfront. Along the way we passed through Victoria Gate.

Victoria Gate Valletta

We stopped for a beer, we had some food and a couple of cans of Cisk (pronounced 'Chisk' - the waitress was very adamant about that) which is basically just a generic cheap lager but was nicely refreshing after the up hill walk and the fact that even though it was November - it was almost 25°C. Once refreshed we took a small walk to see some of the cities main buildings, such as the Parliament Building.

Parliament Building Malta

And St Johns Co-Cathedral which if you notice the size of the people at the bottom of this picture - is much bigger than it seems at first!

Exterior of St Johns Co-Cathedral Valletta

I really like Valletta and it's on my bucket list to one day really visit the city for more than just a day (like the 1st time I was in Malta) or a couple of hours like this time. The streets are very pretty.


Valletta scene and Flag of Malta

We found an interestingly named tourist shop called WooHoo which is where we bought our fridge magnet.

Woohoo Souvenir Shop Valletta Malta

Alas, time was getting away from us and so we even got a small electric golf buggy like taxi back down to the Valletta Waterfront to speed things up. We were soon back at the dock and taking a last few pictures before boarding the ship.

Cruise ship at Valletta Waterfront Panorama

Fort St Michael Valletta

The light soon faded on our day in Malta and the city began to light up.

The Valletta Waterfront

It was a nice view as we headed out to sea once more. Looking back were the lights of the Maltese coast.

Malta Coast at Night

Our next stop was Messina in Sicily.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails