Valletta tours and excursions
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.