Visiting Vittoriosa and Senglea in Malta

November 17, 2014 by

Art & Museums, Europe, Places to Go, Things to Do

Located right in the middle of the Mediterranean, the island nation of Malta is known for two things: its breathtaking landscapes and its history.

Gorgeous day for a gorgeous view.

Gorgeous day for a gorgeous view.

Though it may seem small on a map, it’s actually quite a big place when you see it in person and there’s so much to do that it can be a bit overwhelming. After having stayed there for a week, I highly recommend touring the Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua) along the grand harbor to get a sense of Maltese culture and history before venturing out and exploring the rest of the island.

The labyrinth-like ancient brick streets in these cities are a photogenic gem, but it’s also easy to get lost!  While it might be fun to wander around for an afternoon, having a guide will definitely save you some time. Plus, you can then take in the sites and focus on the experience rather than worrying about where to go, and you’ll then have a great foundation for knowing your way around.

Wonderful art piece.

Wonderful art piece.

While staying in Malta, I signed up for the Vittoriosa and Senglea tour to check out the Three Cities I had been taking pictures of from across the harbor.  We met our guide in front of the Upper Barrakka Gardens and hopped into an air conditioned van for the short drive over to Senglea. Our first stop was Gardjola Gardens, a local secret known for its stunning panoramic view of the harbor. There are guard towers there with interesting shapes carved into them, an eye and an ear, which our guide explained to us that they were a symbol for protecting Malta.

Definitely an earfull .

Definitely an earfull .

After Senglea, we zipped over to Vittoriosa and stopped just outside the fortified city gates where we spent the rest of the morning strolling through the maze of streets in this ancient city, learning about the unique architecture, Knights of St. John and local churches. Near the end of our tour, we paused for a break at a local coffee shop for a taste of local pastries, the pastizzi. If you’ve never had one, definitely give it a try.  Shaped like a half moon, it’s buttery and flaky like a croissant and typically filled with ricotta cheese.  They’re the perfect snack to keep you going!

The fabulous Malta Maritime Museum.

The fabulous Malta Maritime Museum.

We finished up the morning at the Maritime Museum with plenty of time left in the day to explore the antiques and artifacts inside.  It was a great way to spend the day!

 – Contributed by Rachelle Lucas

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