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Visiting the Barrakka Gardens of Valletta, Malta

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

Saluting Battery—Upper Barrakka Gardens

Saluting Battery—Upper Barrakka Gardens

One Day in Malta

With just one day to spend in Malta as part of a Mediterranean cruise, we wanted to be sure to visit the beautiful Barrakka Gardens in Malta’s capital city of Valletta. Having read about the amazing views of the harbor from the gardens, we were anxious to see firsthand what all the fuss was about. Our anticipation was handsomely rewarded.

The Barrakka Gardens are actually two separate gardens, the Upper Barrakka and the Lower Barrakka Gardens. Both sites definitely offer magnificent views of the Grand Harbor and both are easy to find on your visit to Valletta. If you are looking for a beautiful garden setting with stunning views, and a chance to relax from the hustle and bustle of touring Valletta, then head to the Barrakka Gardens.


Upper Barrakka Gardens

Of the two gardens the Upper Barrakka Garden is clearly more impressive and if you only have time to visit one, then make sure this is the one.

The Upper Gardens are located at the top of the new lift that takes visitors from the cruise ship dock up into Valletta. This is the highest point in the city of Valletta and if you decide to climb the stairs it can be quite challenging. There is a new elevator lift, which is a welcome addition for most visitors and makes accessing the city of Valletta easy. We decided to climb the stairs in lieu of the lift and there are a lot of them, so be forewarned. But, the effort is rewarded at the top as you exit into the beautiful setting of the gardens and that amazing view.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens

As you head to the overlook to catch a glimpse of the Grand Harbor the first thing you will notice is the saluting battery just below you. The eight cannons of the battery guard the harbor and they actually fire them daily at noon and 4 pm, which is an added treat if you can arrange the timing of your visit.

Across the harbor are the three very picturesque forts guarding the city and the harbor; Fort Ricasoli, Fort St. Angelo, and Fort St. Michael. For a small fee (2 euro) you can access the Saluting Battery to watch the loading of the cannons, see them fire, and learn the history of the gardens from a local expert.


The gardens actually date back to the time when the Knights of St John were based on Malta and they were initially the private gardens of the Italian regiment of the Knights. Later, in the early 19th century, the gardens were opened to the public, and visitors today can admire the colorful flowers, statues, and incredible views for free.

The Colonnade of the Upper Barrakka Gardens

The Colonnade of the Upper Barrakka Gardens

As you walk from the overlooking terrace through the colonnade into the gardens you will notice that there are a number of statues in the garden. There is a bust of Sir Winston Churchill; the famous statue Les Gavroches (“The Street Boys”); and a number of other statues and plagues of prominent military officers and leaders from Malta’s storied past. The garden contains numerous benches and provides a shady respite to read, relax, meet friends or just stare out over the harbor.

Cannons fire at noon and 4 pm.

Cannons fire at noon and 4 pm.

If you are visiting Valletta as part of a cruise and are venturing into the city on your own the Upper Barrakka Gardens will be your first stop heading into the city. It is only a five to ten-minute walk from the new cruise ship dock to the lift so they have made this very easy for cruise ship visitors.

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Lower Barrakka Gardens

The Lower Barrakka Gardens are located at the other end of Valletta and if you are touring the entire city you will most certainly stumble upon them at some point. Not as large or impressive as the Upper Gardens they are still worthy of a visit and offer a different, yet just as spectacular a view of the Grand Harbor.

  • St John's Co-Cathedral—Valletta, Malta
    Located on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta is one of the grandest cathedrals in Europe and one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture. Welcome to St John's Co-Cathedral.
The Lower Barrakka Gardens

The Lower Barrakka Gardens

The centerpiece of the Lower Gardens is the neo-classical monument dedicated to the first British Governor of Malta, Sir Alexander Ball. The monument sits in the center of the gardens with a fountain in front of it.

Just below the gardens is the Siege Bell Memorial with its ten-ton bronze bell. This memorial commemorates the seven thousand people who were killed in the two-year siege of Malta by Germany and Italy during World War II. In 1992 Queen Elizabeth II christened the memorial to signify the 50th anniversary of the siege.

The Siege Bell Memorial

The Siege Bell Memorial

Much like the Upper Barrakka Gardens, this is a wonderful place to unwind and relax with a great view while you watch the ships sail in and out of the harbor. Even the very large cruise ships make their way into the tiny harbor, which is an amazing sight to see as they navigate through the tight harbor entrance.

The Lower Barrakka Gardens are about a ten to fifteen-minute walk from the Upper Barrakka Gardens and are located closer to the harbor entrance. Like the Upper Barrakka Gardens, there is no fee to enjoy this beautiful slice of Malta. I hope you enjoyed this tour of the beautiful Barrakka Gardens of Valletta, the capital city of amazing Malta.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on September 20, 2014:

Hi merveille. No, both gardens are free. They both have great views of the harbor and are a great place to take a break for a spell. Thanks for stopping by. If you are visiting Malta, enjoy, it's a wonderful island.

merveille kanga on September 20, 2014:

do people have to pay to visit the gardens ?

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on January 09, 2014:

Hi mylindaelloit. Thank you. We really enjoyed the Gardens. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on January 09, 2014:

It sounds and looks beautiful.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on January 03, 2014:

Hi Crystal. Thank you for stopping by. A few years ago I never would have thought about visiting Malta but I'm sure glad we did, it's an amazing place. Many thanks for the share, vote, etc. Happy New Year.

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on January 02, 2014:

Looks like a very lovely spot to visit. I envy you and your rambling spirit! Voted up and sharing.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on January 02, 2014:

Hi Glimmer Twin. Malta was very interesting, a lot of history. And yes, the weather was excellent, we were very lucky. Thanks for the share and Happy New Year.

Claudia Mitchell on January 02, 2014:

This looks fascinating Bill. I am not familiar with Malta so it would be very intriguing to visit. Looks like you were lucky with the weather while you were there too. Shared.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on December 15, 2013:

Hi Christy. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the trip to Malta. It's one of those places that most of us here in North America really never consider as a vacation destination. I most likely would not have visited were it not for the fact that our cruise stopped there for a day. Just goes to show that there are a lot of really amazing places to see in this world.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2013:

How amazing! I love your descriptions and now I want to travel!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on December 14, 2013:

Hi Joelle. We were very lucky with the weather on this trip :) We really enjoyed our day in Malta. There is a lot to see there and I would love to go back some day. Thank you for stopping by, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on December 14, 2013:

Thank you Linda. There is so much to see and so little time. We are already thinking about where to go next year? Have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on December 14, 2013:

Thanks MG. Glad you enjoyed it. Malta is beautiful and has so much history to it. Thanks for stopping by.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on December 14, 2013:

Another place I never had the chance to go and wish that I will be able to visit one day! I don't know if it ever rains over there but you manage to take pictures always when it's sunny :-) Wonderful pictures!

Thank you for sharing another great hub! Have a nice Sunday, Bill!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 14, 2013:

The photos are beautiful, Bill. This is yet another of your lovely travel hubs that makes me want to book a flight to Europe right now!

MG Singh from UAE on December 14, 2013:

Very informative and nice post. Given a chance will love to see this garden.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on December 14, 2013:

Thanks Bill. It is amazing. Everywhere we turn there is history and beauty, you would love it. Thank you as always and have a great weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 14, 2013:

So much beauty and history....my goodness, Bill, I just have to get to Europe before I'm pushing up daisies. :) As always, a job well done. Thank you for the tour.

Have a great weekend my friend.


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