Thursday, August 18, 2016

MALTA: The Sliema to Valletta Harbor Cruise

I know, I know.  It's a never-ending story but, believe it or not, I have saved Valletta (Malta's capital city) and Gozo (the other big island) to the end.  So, yes, we're very close to ending our 11-day April holiday in Malta.

On our second day, Saturday, we decided to take the cruise of the Valletta Grand Harbor, also known as the Port of Valletta, to get an overview of the capital city, which we knew would be a constant point of reference our entire stay...which it was.

To get our bearings again, we took the bus from our Bugibba hotel to Valletta.
Actually, to be correct, we got off at the Sliema stop because that's where our harbor cruise began.

 The Msida Parish Church in Msida was as far as the bus could take us.
From there we walked along the harbor for half an hour to our boat in Sliema.

It was a foretaste of what was to come...

...with plenty of people-watching along the way.

Once we found our docking spot and waited for the next boat, we had a nice koffie break
 and watched all the other cruise boats taking off.
Remember, Malta relies on tourists for its livelihood.

Since we're waiting, here's a closeup of the approximate cruise route (not the land part, silly).
It took 75 minutes to go from the left dot around to the right dot,
starting in Sliema and ending on the eastern side of Valletta.  [Google image]
As you can see, Valletta is a peninsula city, with the Grand Harbor on its eastern side.

Here's a partial sky-view to give another point of view.  [Google image]

Our boat was the MSV Life "Sliema to Valletta" ferry.
We booked it through our travel agent because it was a longer tour than the others.

OMG!  Where do I begin??!!

It doesn't take long to realize there are churches everywhere.
Measuring 900 x 630 meters, Valletta has 25 churches, most of which are Roman Catholic.

And boats, of course.
Sailboats, yachts, cruise boats, catamarans, freighters, navy vessels, etc.
After all, this is the Mediterranean Sea area.

There were cranes everywhere...massive ones in dry dock area.

From such a cruise you see how "walled" the city really is, 
established in the 1500s by the Knights of St. John.

Where did they get all that stone???
Right.  The island is full of it!

After rounding the lighthouse and bridge from the Grand Harbor,
you're definitely out to sea...the Mediterranean Sea, of course.

Once docking in Valletta (not back in Sliema where we started),
we immediately met this fine gentleman, who was a good beginning to our Valletta experience.
He was so proud of his Maltese boat called luzzu (luzzus, pl.)

But our Valletta experience is another post to come....


  1. OMG all the stone, water and boats are enough to make me crazy! Just beautiful. It must have been magnificent in person.

    1. I keep saying it's Europe's best-kept secret for a reason, Ruth! It is truly a spectacular place to visit...while the weather is still cool, I must add. Right now it would be waaaaay too hot for us both!

  2. It is beautiful, and so much to take in. I love seeing the people just going about their days. Great post.

    1. Bingo, Marie: "So much to take in." Indeed, so. Thank you.

  3. The perfect way to get an overview of the city! Wonderful images!

    1. It really WAS a perfect overview, Robin...and very different seeing it from the water, as we found out later!

  4. This was so much fun for the money. We saw a lot and all we needed to do was sit and enjoy. I loved this little cruise. short of eyes all the time. Great pictures and those churches?...erm I think Malta and Gozo have altogether 365 churches in 316 km2 (122 sq mi)
    I loved seeing it all from the water. IHVJ

    1. It was the best way to spend our second day, wasn't it, getting a different view of what we'd see later. And we had such great weather. Man. The entire trip was fantastic!

  5. you sure are good at putting together collages, i used to do that in photo albums! which i think we lost in the move :(

    a roman catholic city huh? no wonder they rely on tourists lol nobody wants to live there haha! just joking... it's very colourful tho!

    1. Collages are the way I can keep my images and have them visible in one sitting, Elaine, without having to run through an album (which is what I used to do). It takes a lot of time but for Astrid and me it's worth it, so that all our images don't go into that proverbial Black Hole. Thank you.

      More RC you cannot get than in Malta. Not my thing, as you know, but worth seeing!