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Fort St. Elmo

This battle-scared fortress has stood watch over Malta’s capital city for more than 400 hundred years. Learn about the historic sieges that took place here through dramatic reenactments.

Visit the star-shaped 16th-century Fort St. Elmo, the scene of one of the biggest battles on the island. Learn about its role in World War II, see historical reenactments and explore the military museum.

The fort was constructed in the middle of the 16th century by the Knights of Malta. They built it on the site of an old watchtower. In the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the massive stone fortification withstood attacks from the forces of the Ottoman Empire for several weeks. It eventually fell and more than 1,000 knights were killed. The fort also suffered heavy bombardment during World War II.

Survey the massive defensive walls by walking around the exterior. Another good way to see the stronghold and appreciate its scale is with a boat tour around the harbor. Then take one of the guided tours of the structure’s interior. As you approach the main entrance, see the lids of the fort’s subterranean granaries.

Once inside, go to the lower part of the fort, which served as the Turkish prison in the 1978 movie Midnight Express. View medals, weapons and other artifacts from military campaigns at the Military History Museum.

Turn up on a Sunday to watch the historical reenactments. They feature actors in period costumes who dramatize key moments of the siege against the island. The drama includes a cannon-firing demonstration.

Fort St. Elmo is open for tours on most Sundays and there is a fee for admission, although children get in for free. Contact Heritage Malta in advance to find out on which Sundays tours are held.

Fort St. Elmo overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is situated at the northeastern point of Valletta. The castle is about a 15-minute walk from Valletta’s bus station. On the eastern side of the fort, you can walk along a bridge to the St. Elmo Lighthouse.


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Lodging Near Fort St. Elmo

See all 1,013 Properties near Fort St. Elmo
Grand Hotel Excelsior $195
Reviewed on May 21, 2019
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Grand Hotel Excelsior

Grand Hotel Excelsior

Great Siege Road, Floriana, Malta
     
    4.3 of 5
    5.0 out of 5.0

    The hotel was in a good location . The grounds and pool were nice and the breakfast very good with lovely views from the room . The room service food was not nice and also it arrived luke warm

    Labranda Rocca Nettuno Suites $89
    Reviewed on Apr 30, 2019
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    Labranda Rocca Nettuno Suites

    Labranda Rocca Nettuno Suites

    Mattew Pulis Street, Sliema, Malta
       
      3.9 of 5
      4.0 out of 5.0

      The hotel is in the heart of Sliema. All the people that work in the hotel are kind and the rooms are big and clean. The only thing that I did not appreciate was the breakfast, which I do not recommend! Otherwise the hotel is well situated, 2' from the bust stop and 2' from the bars and restaurants ...

      Grand Harbour Hotel $106
      Reviewed on May 15, 2019
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      Grand Harbour Hotel

      Grand Harbour Hotel

      47, Battery Street, Valletta, MALTA
         
        4.4 of 5
        2.0 out of 5.0

        The harbour view rooms in which we stayed are a delight as they look over the Durand harbour and have a small sitting area to enjoy the view. Room was clean, bed very comfortable, staff extremely courteous, friendly and helpful. Only small criticism is that it would help to get more than 2 tea bags ...

        The British Suites $121
        Reviewed on May 2, 2019
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        The British Suites

        The British Suites

        40 Battery St, Valletta
           
          3.9 of 5
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Excellent, though it could have been nice if we had a refrigerator or an ice machine available.

          Palais Le Brun $340
          Reviewed on May 11, 2019
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          Palais Le Brun

          Palais Le Brun

          101 old bakery street, Valletta
             
            4.7 of 5
            4.5 out of 5.0

            Wonderful traditional building tastefully restored.we had a hot tub room which was fantastic. Room 33 has the biggest terrace with tub.

            Palazzo Consiglia $212
            Reviewed on May 18, 2019
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            Palazzo Consiglia

            Palazzo Consiglia

            102, St.Ursula Street, Valletta
               
              4.8 of 5
              4.5 out of 5.0

              Wonderful welcoming hotel manager- Dutch but can’t remember his name! So helpful and arranged everything for us. Lovely breakfasts. Location 1st class and very quiet despite 5 minutes walk to the centre of old Valletta. Great roof terrace and drinks served anytime!

              La Falconeria Hotel $263
              Reviewed on May 17, 2019
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              La Falconeria Hotel

              La Falconeria Hotel

              62 Melita Street, Valletta
                 
                4.6 of 5
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Excellent central location. Staff extremely helpful.

                The Vincent $124
                Reviewed on Apr 13, 2019
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                The Vincent

                The Vincent

                84 Hospital Street, Valletta
                   
                  4.2 of 5
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  When my wife had trouble walking up to reach a room on a higher floor they immediately changed rooms for us.