Three cities

Three Cities

The Three Cities - or Tri-Cities - is the name associated with the densely built-up two peninsulas on the southern shores of Grand Harbour.

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Head to the Three Cities for spectacular views of Valletta, empty narrow streets, beautiful promenades and a visit to the massive walls.

It is the strong fortifications that are the common denominator of all three cities. The strategic location by the natural harbour and the commercial and political importance of the towns necessitated the monumental walls spread along the entire coastline of the Tri-Cities.

Where to go and what to see?

Vittoriosa (Birgu)

The middle of the towns is Vittoriosa, also known as Birgu. Around 1570, Vittoriosa was even briefly the capital of the whole of Malta, but this moved to the opposite shore to Valletta.

Vittoriosa is criss-crossed by a tangled network of hilly streets and squares with many small restaurants. Here you will also find the most striking sights of the entire Tri-City.

Fort St. Angelo

This beautiful and well-preserved fortress is, along with Fort Ricasoli and Fort St. Elmo, the largest of the fortifications protecting Grand Harbour.

The monumental fortress was built gradually from the 13th century to 1691 and served its purpose until the 19th century.

St. Lawrence Cathedral

The Baroque St. Lawrence Cathedral, dating from 1681, is the dominant feature not only of Birg but of the entire Tri-City.

The church is only open to the public from 9:00-12:00 and admission is free.

Malta at War Museum

A very interesting museum charting the events of both World War I and World War II, which hit Malta hard.

The museum is housed in one of the fortresses and is the largest of its kind in Malta.

  • Open Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:30 (last entry 16:00)
  • Admission for adults for 14 eur
  • Official website:

Senglea (L-Isla)

The southernmost peninsula is occupied by the town of Senglea, mainly known among the locals as "L-Isla".

The elongated town lives a quiet life of its own, with the tourist part mainly concentrating on the promenade full of restaurants by the boat dock.

But be sure to venture into the heart of town and explore the narrow quiet streets with views of the modern harbour.

If you make it to the very end of town, you'll have a spectacular view of Valletta opposite. The viewpoint is situated in a small park and, unlike the view from Fort St. Angelo, is accessible 24/7 for free.

Cospicua (Bormla)

The largest of the towns, Cospicua, called Bormla among the locals, is the only one not located on the peninsula, but connects the two aforementioned towns more inland.

Bormla has the fewest tourist sights, but the area by the harbour is beautifully landscaped and there are many cafes and restaurants on the promenade.

Accommodation in Tri-City

Accommodation in the Tri-Cities can be a good alternative to the overpriced hotels in Valletta or the towns of San Giljan or Sliema.

The Three Towns are both well connected by transport and also considerably quieter than the belt of most famous tourist towns from Valletta northwards.

In the Tri-Cities you will find mainly smaller family-run apartments and guesthouses with prices from 120 eur.

Transport to the Three Cities

Bormla harbour is connected to the capital Valletta by a regular boat service and there are also bus services.


The Valletta Ferry Services ferry runs every 30 minutes from 6:30 to 23:45. Between November and May, ferries run only until 19:15 (until 18:15 on Sundays and public holidays).

A one-way ticket costs 1,50 eur (nightly from 19:30 costs 1,75 eur). Return tickets are sold at a discounted price 2,80 eur (nightly at 3,30 eur).

Tickets are payable to the ferry attendant on boarding and can be paid by card or cash.

The timetable can be found on the official website:


There are also bus routes to the centres of all towns. Click on the line number to see timetables and a map.

Birgu (Vittoriosa) - centre

  • Line 2 - Valletta, Paola (2x per hour)

L-Isla (Senglea) - centre

  • Line 1 - Valletta, Paola (2-3 times per hour)
  • Line 124 - Marsaskala (1x per hour)
  • Line 213 - Mater Dei, Paola (1x per hour)

Bormla (port)

  • Line 2 - Valletta, Paola (2x per hour)
  • Line 3 - Valletta, Paola, SmartCity (2x per hour)
  • Line 124 - Marsaskala (1x per hour)
  • Line 213 - Mater Dei, Paola (1x per hour)

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