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Valletta tours and excursions

Valletta tours

Segway tours

Wheel around Valletta on a Segway tour, visiting key historic sites en route and stopping at cafes when you need to refuel.

Tel: 2099 8925.
Website: http://www.segwaymalta.com

Bus tours

Malta Sightseeing offers a hop-on hop-off bus service with one route covering the north of Malta and the other covering the south; pay on board. The same company also offers 'Vintage Bus Sightseeing Tours of the Three Cities' through Supreme Travel. All buses depart from Sliema Ferries. Coach tours of the island are of the whistle-stop package tour variety and are not recommended.

Tel: 2169 4967.
Website: http://www.maltasightseeing.com

Boat tours

Boat tours of Grand Harbour last around 90 minutes, and not only offer magnificent views of the capital but tell the story of the key moments in Malta's history, from the Great Siege through to WWII. Make sure the operator you choose has a live commentary and visits all of the creeks. Captain Morgan Cruises is recommended. By contrast, a visit to the beautiful (but often overcrowded) Blue Lagoon at Comino is a half-day of sybaritic delights, usually comprising swimming and sunbathing. Tours of Grand Harbour and to the Blue Lagoon depart regularly from Sliema Ferries, a short bus or ferry ride from Valletta. Another recommended boat tour is the Blue Grotto. You can do this part-independently by driving to Wied iz-Zurrieq, 8km (5 miles) west of Valletta, but the actual tour (25 minutes) is organised by the local fishermen and is strictly controlled.

Tel: 2346 3333.
Website: http://www.captainmorgan.com.mt

Valletta excursions

Mdina

Malta is so small that it is easy to make day excursions to anywhere on the island from Valletta. Top of the list is Mdina (im-dee-nah), the island's original capital and one of Europe's finest medieval walled cities. Take bus 51, 52 or 53 from Valletta to Mdina. The journey is about 30 minutes. Rabat sits just outside of the Mdina city walls and boasts several interesting historical sights of its own.

Malta's temples

Malta's prehistoric temples are some of the world's oldest structures. The Hypogeum in Valletta is a must-see and a short walk from here the Tarxien Temples (tar-sheen) are also of interest. The most dramatically located temple is Mnajdra (im-na-ee-dra) on the south coast which shares its site with Hagar Qim (ha-jah eem).

Website: http://www.heritagemalta.org

Gozo

It is quite possible to visit the neighbouring island of Gozo in a day from Valletta and a visit is highly recommended, but it is preferable to stay overnight to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of Malta's prettier less commercialised little sister. Enjoy acnient ruins, dramatic coastline, a smattering of museums and tranquil hamlets and villages.

Tel: 2156 5171.
Website: http://www.islandofgozo.org

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Maison La Vallette

This eccentrically-designed self catering luxury town house is situated in the old part of Valletta and dates back to the Knights of Malta. The house offers a large, air-conditioned bedroom with ensuite facilities, living room and separate kitchen. The decor is a mix of Maltese-style baroque and bespoke designer furniture. This is not your standard accommodation but it's memorable and suitably romantic.

Marco Polo Hostel

Bright, colourful and hipster-cool, this hostel in the heart of St Julian also offers bike hire, free Wi-Fi, and the views from its roof top terraces are glorious.

Hilton Malta

A huge palm-filled atrium, a grand piano in the lounge, a platoon of flunkies, a choice of five excellent restaurants, three bars and 410 bedrooms with every comfort known to man - Brad Pitt liked it so much he offered to buy it, just so that he could extend the bar hours. Located in the prestigious Portomaso waterfront in buzzing st Julian's, this is the place to stay if you want to be close to the heart of the action.

Castille Hotel

Originally built as a home for the influential De Robertis family at the turn of the 16th century, Captain Giacomo De Robertis, a Bolognese, then passed the building on to the Testaferrata family and later to the Marquis Cassar Desain. The building is now a hotel with a sitting room, reading lounges on all floors and a coffee shop which formerly housed the stables. There are also two restaurants, serving local and global cuisine.

La Falconeria

This 4-star hotel is delightful. The rooms are modern and clean and the service is excellent. The onsite restaurant L’Artiglio serves up superb seasonal dishes. Triq Ir-Repubblika (Republic Street) is just a short walk away and so are attractions like the National Museum of Archaeology.

Hotel Juliani

Hotel Juliani is Malta's first boutique hotel, featuring lots of designer style and an excellent restaurant on the premises. The former seafront townhouse offers 44 rooms offering contemporary Med decor. It's also conveniently located for the nightlife and restaurants of St Julian's, on pretty (albeit very busy) Spinola Bay.