After Mykonos, the third stop of our Med cruise and our Celebrity Equinox reviews was Valletta, the capital of the tiny island of Malta. We were fortunate to have been offered a press trip to the capital a few months after six out of ten launched way back when, but as I couldn’t attend, we sent one of our writers in my place.
I was gutted as she had a fab time, so we were just as thrilled when we’d be docking for a day.
Back in my old, pre-blogging life, a friend’s dad had a luxury flat (complete with yacht) which overlooked the port. One summer she invited me and friends over to stay with her in the apartment and we had a great time exploring the sights, sounds, and delicious smells of the area, which watching the cruise ships dock.
The journey from Mykonos took a full day and night at sea, so it was with great excitement we stepped foot on the tiny island and the UNESCO protected town.
Our first impressions of Malta
Getting through the port was a doddle, despite the increasing heat, and we stepped outside only to be greeted with touts trying to herd us all onto air conditioned buses. After shrugging off the ever-increasing aggression being shown by touts selling everything from tickets to Gozo to a ride on a horse-pilled carriage we managed to find a lift up to the town. A literal lift, not a share-a-car lift.
It’s here where you have a choice – pay €1 each and sit in the queue to get the Upper Barrakka lift to the top, as Valletta town is raised about 100ft from the port, or walk the steps for free. Seeing as the temperature was easily hitting the high twenties, we opted to wait in the queue. A note for anyone travelling to Valletta: the machines only take €1 coins.
Getting to the top
We reached the top, and were amazed by the breathtaking view. We could see everything from the cruise ship, now looking like a bathtub toy in the distance, to the entire town below. It was stunning.
We wanted to explore, perhaps grab a coffee and a bite to eat, but after wandering the streets, we were massively disappointed. After being faced with shops I see every day in London, from George at Asda to Superdry, we wandered around a bit more in the hopes of seeing a bit of culture. But all we really saw was grubby streets full of trash, and more aggressive touts trying to get us to board buses to Comino.
We gave it a full morning walking around, but by then we were done.
It’s a shame as the memories of Malta I have are of little basement restaurants and friendly locals, not touts, poorly looking horses and trash-strewn streets. I’ll be back to Malta, definitely, but not as a cruise liner passenger.