Stretching along Grand Harbour, below the fortified city and opposite the Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua, the beautifully restored Valletta Waterfront (Pinto Wharf) is the grand frontage of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Right next to the cruise port, it’s the gateway to Valletta and the rest of Malta.
Cruise passengers stroll along Valletta Waterfront as soon as they arrive in port. The scenic promenade is home to gourmet restaurants, ocean-view bars, and the Forni Shopping Complex. Most Valletta city tours include a walk along the seafront promenade, and hop-on hop-off bus tours stop right outside. For the best views, take a cruise across Grand Harbour to the Three Cities and admire the wharf from the water.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is a Tourist Information Center along Valletta Waterfront, which opens to coincide with cruise ship arrivals.
- City tours by horse-drawn carriage (karozzini) leave from along the waterfront.
- The Valletta Waterfront is wheelchair accessible, and an elevator runs up to Barrakka Gardens in the historic city.
How to Get There
Valletta Waterfront is in the pedestrianized part of the city and can be reached on foot in 10 minutes from the Valletta bus terminus. An elevator runs between Barrakka Gardens and the waterfront, offering direct access to the fortified city. Ferryboats also cross Grand Harbour for tours of Vittoriosa and the Three Cities. There is plenty of parking around the gateway to the old city.
When to Get There
The waterfront can be unbearably busy when cruise liners are in port, especially at arrival and departure times. The waterfront hosts free children's activities (face painting, balloon modelling, puppet shows) on weekends, and Maltese music and dancing performances Thursday evenings during the summer (July to September). The waterfront is also the center of numerous local events, including the Malta Fireworks Festival in April, the Jazz Festival in July, and the Global Run Valletta race in October.
History of the Valletta Waterfront
Once a series of 19 baroque bonded warehouses, the waterfront is now a leisure complex for locals, tourists, and cruise passengers. Manuel Pinto da Fonseca, Portuguese Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, commissioned the original buildings. He was also responsible for Auberge de Castille and the present offices of the prime minister. Damaged during World War II, the waterfront is part of an award-winning landscape renovation project, mixing old-style facades with modern buildings.