This grouping of three historic cities—Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua—look out to Valletta across the Grand Harbour. Originally enclosed by a line of fortification constructed by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century, the dockside neighborhoods were the knights’ base from 1530 until the Valletta’s founding in 1570. Today, the cities provide a scenic backdrop to the Grand Harbour.
The picturesque waterfronts of the Three Cities serve as a backdrop to the Grand Harbour, and a sightseeing cruise is a popular way to explore the area. Glide past the ancient fortresses of Senglea, Vittoriosa, and Cospicua as you learn more about the historic cities and the Knights of St. John from the onboard commentary.
Half- and full-day tours also take in the highlights of Three Cities by road. It’s possible to tour all three in one day, but the most visited is Vittoriosa, where top attractions include the Inquisitor's Palace, Malta Maritime Museum, and Fort St. Angelo.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A combined ticket covers entry to Inquisitor's Palace and Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa and a local multi attraction pass can be used at the Inquisitor’s Palace.
- The museums, palaces, and churches in Vittoriosa are open daily, except the Malta at War Museum, which is closed on Monday. All the churches close at lunch for several hours.
- Wear comfortable shoes to explore the cities on foot—the streets are hilly and require lots of walking.
How to Get to There
Vittoriosa is around five miles (eight kilometers) from Valletta and can be accessed by bus services 1, 2, 4, or 6 from the bus terminus. Regular ferries and water taxis also run across the harbor to Vittoriosa—take the elevator from Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta to reach the port.
When to Get There
High season in Malta is July and August, when it’s advised to visit attractions early if you want to avoid crowds. Time your return for sunset so you can watch the sun across the harbour.
Museums and Monuments of Vittoriosa
Vittoriosa is the architectural masterpiece of the three cities, with attractions including the old Naval Bakery, now the Maritime Museum; Malta at War Museum; Church of St. Lawrence; and Fort St. Angelo, Knight headquarters during the 1565 Great Siege of Malta and an important fortification in World War II. Today’s residential backstreets warrant exploration. Stop by a former Knights of St. John hospital, now a Benedictine convent, and Inquisitor’s Palace, now Malta's Museum of Ethnography.