Valletta, the capital city of Malta, is a fascinating destination for families traveling on a cruise vacation. This charming city is filled with historical landmarks, stunning architecture, and a vibrant culture that captivates visitors of all ages. If your cruise ship makes a stop in Valletta, you’re in for an exciting adventure with plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy.
In this article, we’ll explore the best things to do in Valletta with kids, ensuring that your family creates unforgettable memories during your visit.
1. Explore the Grandmaster’s Palace and the Palace Armory
Start your family’s Valletta exploration by visiting the Grandmaster’s Palace, a magnificent building that dates back to the 16th century. Step inside to admire the opulent State Rooms, adorned with stunning frescoes and intricate tapestries. Don’t miss the Palace Armory, home to an impressive collection of armor, weapons, and artifacts. Kids will be fascinated by the medieval suits of armor and can imagine themselves as knights of old.
2. Visit the Malta National Aquarium
For a unique and educational experience, take your kids to the Malta National Aquarium. Located just a short distance from Valletta, this attraction showcases the incredible marine life found in the waters surrounding the island. Marvel at the diverse species of fish, turtles, and sharks as you walk through the transparent tunnels. The interactive exhibits provide opportunities for hands-on learning, making it an engaging experience for the whole family.
3. Embark on a Harbor Cruise
Get a different perspective of Valletta by embarking on a harbor cruise. Hop on a boat and sail around the scenic Grand Harbor, where you’ll have panoramic views of the city’s fortifications, historic buildings, and picturesque waterfront. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze and let your kids marvel at the impressive sights. Some harbor cruises even offer commentary, providing interesting insights into the city’s history and landmarks.
4. Discover the Upper Barrakka Gardens
Escape the bustling streets of Valletta and head to the tranquil Upper Barrakka Gardens. This serene green space offers a peaceful retreat for families. Stroll along the pathways, surrounded by beautiful flowers and lush vegetation. From the gardens, you can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Grand Harbor and the Three Cities. Find a comfortable spot to sit and have a picnic while soaking up the scenery.
5. Uncover History at the Malta Experience
To delve deeper into Malta’s rich history, consider visiting the Malta Experience. Located within a short distance of Valletta, this audiovisual show takes you on a journey through the island’s past. Learn about the Knights of St. John, the Great Siege of Malta, and other significant events that shaped the country’s heritage. The informative and immersive experience is suitable for all ages and provides a valuable educational opportunity.
6. Enjoy a Day at the Beach
Malta boasts beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters, and taking a day trip to one of them is a fantastic option for families. Just a short drive from Valletta, you’ll find sandy shores where your kids can build sandcastles, splash in the gentle waves, and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine. Some popular family-friendly beaches include Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay, and Pretty Bay. Pack a picnic, bring beach toys, and make the most of your day by the sea.
7. Take a Tour of St. John’s Co-Cathedral
A visit to Valletta wouldn’t be complete without exploring St. John’s Co-Cathedral. This magnificent cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and showcases stunning Baroque architecture and exquisite artwork. While the kids may not appreciate the historical and artistic significance as much as the adults, they can still marvel at the grandeur of the cathedral and its ornate interior.
Take a guided tour that is specifically designed for families, where knowledgeable guides will engage your children with fascinating stories and interactive elements. They can also participate in fun activities such as scavenger hunts or quizzes to make the experience more enjoyable and educational.
8. Discover the Malta Toy Museum
For a unique and nostalgic experience, visit the Malta Toy Museum, located in the heart of Valletta. This charming museum houses an extensive collection of antique toys from different eras. Your kids will be fascinated by the vintage dolls, miniature cars, and old-fashioned board games. It’s a trip down memory lane for adults and a chance for children to learn about toys from the past. The museum offers a glimpse into the history of play and provides a delightful and whimsical atmosphere for the whole family.
9. Explore the Lascaris War Rooms
Step into the secret world of the Lascaris War Rooms, a series of underground tunnels and chambers that served as the headquarters for the Allied forces during World War II. This hidden gem offers an immersive experience where you can see the original operations rooms, communications equipment, and war artifacts. Kids will be captivated by the wartime stories and the chance to explore the underground complex. It’s an educational and eye-opening experience that brings history to life.
10. Indulge in Maltese Cuisine:
o visit to Valletta is complete without savoring the flavors of Maltese cuisine. Take your family on a culinary adventure and try local specialties such as pastizzi (flaky pastries filled with ricotta or mushy peas), hobz biz-zejt (Maltese bread with tomato paste, olives, and capers), and ftira (a traditional Maltese bread topped with various ingredients). Visit local markets, bakeries, and restaurants to sample these delicious treats and immerse yourselves in the vibrant food culture of Malta.
Valletta, Malta offers a multitude of family-friendly activities that will create lasting memories for both first-time cruisers and experienced travelers. From exploring historical landmarks to enjoying scenic harbor cruises and indulging in the local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this captivating city. By following these tips and immersing yourselves in the culture and attractions of Valletta, you and your family are sure to have an unforgettable cruise vacation.