Photo: Malta Boat Trips | Birgu Panoramic View © ViewingMalta.com
You haven’t really visited Malta until you’ve explored its dazzling archipelago by sea. Though its ancient sites and gorgeous scenery certainly deserve your attention, the country also happens to be home to some of the Mediterranean’s most jaw-dropping caves, bays, lagoons and beaches. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of boat trips in Malta for those longing to get out on the water. Take your pick from a Grand Harbour cruise to the lofty Dingli Cliffs and the magical Blue Grotto – these destinations are best approached on water.
A number of tours ferry visitors around in everything from speedboats to old-fashioned schooners – even traditional luzzi (Maltese fishing boats). The bulk of boat trips in Malta disembark from Sliema Port, so you’ll be perfectly situated to dive in – figuratively, at least.
Gozo and Comino
The ferry that journeys from the island of Malta to its next-door neighbour, Gozo (the two are but 20 minutes apart) is certainly among the most popular boat trips in Malta. But don’t stop there – be sure to tack on a visit to miniscule Comino Island, the third largest island in the archipelago and host to the exquisite Blue Lagoon (that name is no understatement). Follow the locals onto the ferry or, for a more majestic impact, hop aboard a luxurious schooner.
The Grand Harbour
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, Malta’s capital city of Valletta is framed by forts, its skyline punctured by picturesque domes and spires, its golden hue especially tawny under the Mediterranean sun. After you’ve wandered its alleys on foot, you can add another dimension to your sightseeing with a boat tour of the striking Grand Harbour. You’ll also be rewarded with views of The Three Cities – Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea.
All Around Malta
For the best boat trip in Malta, it’d be hard to argue with an itinerary that, well, goes all around the island. Spend a day circumventing the petite isle and you’ll find yourself floating past the country’s best-known landmarks, from Anchor Bay to St Paul’s Island (where the eponymous saint was shipwrecked nearly 2,000 years ago), from Valletta to Marsaxlokk, plus a mid-trip stop-off at the Blue Lagoon. If all that exploring tuckers you out, feel free to snooze in the sun.
The Dingli Cliffs
Like the White Cliffs of Dover with a tan, Malta’s famous Dingli Cliffs, the highest point on the island, consist of a 250-metre sheer drop down to the azure waves below. While ramblers up top benefit from the vantage point, it’s hard to appreciate the true splendour of the cliffs unless you’re gawping up at them from the waters below. A number of boat tours wend their way past this Maltese landmark, while charters offer another chance to see them up close.
The Blue Grotto
Located on Malta’s southern coast opposite the uninhabited islet Filfla, the blue Grotto is the collective name given to a group of seven extraordinary sea caves that can only be accessed by boat. Not to be mistaken for the Blue Lagoon, it was given its name by a British soldier in the 1950s who was struck by its similarity to the Grotta Azzurra in Capri. The area can be accessed via boat tours from Wied iz-Zurrieq, which lead visitors through the collection of extraordinary rock formations, including Honeymoon Cave, Cat’s Cave and the aptly named Reflection Cave.
There are few nicer ways to watch the sun go down across Malta’s famous landmarks than from a boat with a drink in hand. The Sunset Cruise leaves from Sliema port and heads out to St Paul’s Island where guests have the chance to enjoy a refreshing dip. Furthermore, a tasty buffet-style dinner is served whilst on board and the return journey glides past the majestic Grand Harbour, which certainly makes for some amazing photo opportunities.