Fort St. Elmo & the National War Museum Tours
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Set at the tip of Valletta’s old town, where it guards Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour, the star-shaped Fort St. Elmo earned its place in history during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 when the Knights of St. John repelled Ottoman invaders. It withstood further attacks, notably during World War II, and now holds the National War Museum.
You can walk around the exterior and admire the sturdy bastions and defensive walls as you please, and there are also guided tours focusing on key points of the siege on Sundays. Inside, at the National War Museum, visitors can see displays recounting Malta’s wartime history. It holds an extensive collection of WWII memorabilia, including the George Cross medal, which was awarded to the entire population in 1942.
Fort St. Elmo is typically including on walking tours (private and group) of Valletta. It is also a designated stop on hop-on hop-off bus tours. Visitors with a particular interest in the Great Siege of Malta or in the Maltese experience of WWII can find a tour with a specific focus on those aspects of Malta’s history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fort St. Elmo is a must-see for history enthusiasts, especially for its WWII memorabilia.
- The National War Museum is filled with displays: Plan a half-day visit to thoroughly explore.
- Fort St. Elmo completed extensive restoration in 2015, which allows for display of a much larger collection.
How to Get There
Fort St. Elmo is just off Republic Street, about a 15-minute walk from Valletta City Gate. It is in a pedestrianized area of the city, so drivers should park in the designated parking zone outside the City Gate.
When to Get There
Fort St. Elmo is open every day except Good Friday, Dec. 24, 25, 31, and Jan. 1. On Sunday mornings from October through June, the colorful military parade In Guardia takes place around Fort St. Elmo, with local men dressed in period costumes and armor.
National War Museum
The seven galleries that make up the National War Museum display artifacts from throughout Malta’s history, from the Bronze Age through its years of being controlled by various rulers including the Romans, Arabs, Normans, and British and up until Malta’s 2004 entrance into the European Union.
Address: St Elmo Pl, Valletta, Malta
5 Tours and Activities to Experience Fort St. Elmo & the National War Museum
Step into Malta’s Second World War history on a full-day tour of wartime sites in Vittoriosa and Valletta. Explore fortifications and a maze of air raid shelters, see a former British military base, and take in artifacts from the era in the National War Museum. Along the way you'll find out how the British came to Malta, and why Rommel believed that Malta was the key to controlling North Africa. This full-day wartime Malta tour includes all entrance fees, with pickup and drop-off at selected hotels.
Hop on Hop Off
Explore the south of Malta at your own pace with on a hop-on hop-off bus tour from Valletta. The double-decker open-top bus travels between important southern landmarks with audio commentary offered in several languages. Stops include popular sites such as the Tarxien Temples, Blue Grotto, and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk.
Learn about Malta’s bravery during World War II on this 3-hour private Valletta walking tour. Visit key sites and monuments associated with the 1940-42 Axis bombardment, including the poignant Siege Bell monument. Learn about the tunnels and community kitchens established in Valletta, and discover how locals maintained their daily lives. Hear about events like the Illustrious Blitz, and visit the National War Museum for additional insight into the island's wartime struggles.
Private Sightseeing Tours
See the sights of Valletta on a 3-hour private walking tour with a guide who provides insight into the history and architecture of Malta's capital. Explore both the top attractions and less-visited locations in the city, hearing interesting facts as you go. Enjoy the personalized service of a private guide.
See Malta’s historic streets and landmarks light up after dark, on an immersive evening tour of the island in an open-top bus. Hear stories about island history and culture throughout the tour, and enjoy an hour of free time to explore the city of Mdina, the former capital of Malta. This bus tour includes pickup and drop-off at hotels in select towns.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Fort St. Elmo & the National War Museum?
The best ways to experience Fort St. Elmo & the National War Museum are:
- Vittoriosa and Valletta Full Day Second World War Tour
- Malta's Panoramic South Hop On Hop Off Tour
- Valletta World War II Private Walking Tour
- Valletta Private Walking Tour
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