The Upper Barrakka Gardens is a beautiful park that lies high above the Grand Harbour. The landscaped grounds were designed as a retreat for Italian knights in 1661 and opened to the public in the 19th century. Enjoy spectacular views of the harbor and its fortified towns and watch the centuries-old tradition of salute by cannon fire.
From the harbor area, climb up the stairs to the gardens or take the elevator. The gardens sit on a bastion at the highest point in the city. Make your way to the colonnaded walkway where there are lots of benches, and take in the gorgeous setting. From here you will be able to see the medieval cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea.
Just below you is the saluting battery of cannons. For nearly 500 years the guns protected the harbor and fired salutes on special occasions such as religious festivals, anniversaries and the arrival of dignitaries. At the beginning of the 19th century, they started to fire a signal at midday, a practice that continues to this day. Turn up 1 hour before they are due to fire for a guided tour of the battery and to watch the canons being loaded.
As you stroll through the gardens with their palm trees and exotic plants, stop by the statues and monuments, which include the figure of Sir Winston Churchill. There are also memorial tablets to important naval figures.
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are open every day and admission is free, although there is a fee for the guided tour of the Saluting Battery. The gardens are situated in the city’s pedestrianized area, approximately a 5-minute walk from the bus station. Drivers can park their car in the metered parking area outside the City Gate.
If you are arriving in Malta by cruise ship, the gardens' stairs and elevator are a short walk from the dock.