The Three Cities, Temples and Blue Grotto. This tour allows you to visit The Three Cities, which consists of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa (Birgu), and other Malta highlights: Hagar Qim Temples & Visitors Centre, Blue Grotto (with optional boat trip), Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, Ghar Dalam Cave.
We start our tour with a visit to Senglea and the Gardjola Gardens: here you can admire the magnificent view from the Vedette (watch tower used by the Knights). We continue with a drive through Cospicua, the most inner creek of this ancient harbour which has recently been regenerated. Next we visit the old city of Vittoriosa (or otherwise known as Birgu) which is the most important of the Three Cities. Our walking tour will take us to the heart of city, the narrow streets and quaint alleys known as the ‘collacchio’, an area of old Palazzo’s which were the original Auberges occupied by the Knights’. If time allows you can also take a trip around the harbour on a traditional Dghajsa, a type of gondola (extra service, optional).
We continue with our tour passing through typical southern towns until we reach Ghar Dalam. The Ghar Dalam Cave is a highly important site as it was here that the earliest evidence of human settlement on Malta from 7,000 years ago was discovered. This huge cavern is 144 metres deep, but only the first 80 metres are open to visitors. The various layers contained the fossilised bones of dwarf elephants, hippopotami, red deer, bear, fox, wolf, micro-mammals and birds from the Pleistocene Age (180,000 years ago) and the end of the last Ice Age(16,000 years ago).
We then continue to our next stop and an opportunity to experience a little local culture when visiting the pretty traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Marsaxlokk, is a quaint fishing village and is characterized by low lying buildings and the colourful traditional fishing boats known as the ‘luzzu’. A small market lines the seafront and if you would like to sample fresh Mediterranean fish there are numerous local restaurants to choose from (other cuisine is available).
In the afternoon we proceed to our next stop which will be the ancient site of Hagar Qim Temples. Before entering the temple site we start at the new visitors centre where you can easily understand how these magnificent temples where built over 7000 years ago! We then continue with a short tour around this incredible ancient temple which has the largest and heaviest megaliths out of all the temple sites around the Maltese Islands, some slabs which form the outer wall weighing a staggering 20 tons.
After a short drive from the temples we will soon arrive at the Blue Grotto. This picturesque grotto and its neighboring system of sea caverns mirrors the brilliant phosphorescent colors of underwater flora. Boat trip is optional: it takes around 25 minutes and allows you to explore these grottoes and sea caverns along this stretch of coast (the boat trip operates subject to weather conditions).
At this stage our tour comes to an end and we make our way back.