8 Best Gardens in Malta: A Local’s Guide

A pathway lined with trees in a garden in Marla on a sunny day.

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There are so many beautiful gardens in Malta. Though Malta is known for its beaches and warm climate, greenery is not one of its main attractions. Yet, Malta’s gardens are picture-perfect, offering a peaceful escape for tourists and locals.

Many well-known gardens in Malta include the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, San Anton Gardens, and Gardjola Gardens. These gardens are loved by both tourists and locals.

Other gardens are not well-known. I discovered some while wandering Valletta and Floriana. These places look stunning in winter and spring. They offer a peaceful green getaway from the busy streets, with plenty of benches for resting. It’s a lovely spot for enjoying time with family or friends, going for a walk, or unwinding with a good book.

I have been living in Malta since 2011, and I truly adore the hidden gems this island has to offer. I am excited to show them to you.

In this blog post, you’ll discover the top 8 beautiful gardens in Malta. I’ve included lovely images and details about each garden. Plus, there’s a handy map to help you easily navigate from one garden to another.

A Map of the 8 Best Gardens in Malta

Trip map created using Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android

San Anton Gardens

The San Anton Gardens in Attard are a charming 16th-century public park. They are known as one of Malta’s most beautiful gardens.

The gardens get their name from San Anton Palace, which was originally built by the French knight Antoine de Paule as his private home. Today, San Anton Palace serves as the official residence of the President of Malta.

A decorative fountain surrounded by benches and trees in San Anton Gardens on a sunny day.
Fountain in the San Anton Gardens

The gardens opened to the public in 1882 and have since become one of Malta’s beloved spots. Visitors can stroll along walkways and admire beautiful sculptures and ornamental ponds.

The gardens have many types of trees, like palm trees, cypress trees, jacarandas, and araucarias. They also have other exotic plants from around the world. Some of the trees are over 300 years old. Additionally, you can find there a lovely orangery.

This park is perfect for a break from beaches or sightseeing. You can admire the beautiful plants, relax in the shade, and watch turtles and peacocks roam free. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two.

Opening times: daily, 7 am to 4:45 pm in winter, 7 am to 6 pm in summer

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta offer a breathtaking view of the Three Cities. Knights of the Order of Saint John built the gardens for private use in the XVI century.

After the French occupation, the gardens became public. The park has various monuments and memorials, including a replica of “Les Gavroches”.

“Les Gavroches” is a bronze statue by Antonio Sciortino. The sculpture is of three street kids from Paris. It was inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables

From 1904 the sculpture was in Valletta’s Upper Barrakka Gardens. In 2000, it was moved to MUŻA for preservation. In Upper Barrakka, you can see its replica.

A fountain surrounded by bushes and people sitting on benches in Upper Barrakka Gardens with arched structures in the background.
Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, Malta

In Upper Barrakka Gardens, you can also see salute shots daily at 12 noon and 4 pm. For the prime spot to watch the daily cannon fire, get there 10-15 minutes early.

Saluting Battery cannons on a fort below the Upper Barrakka Gardens overlooking the sea on a sunny day.
Saluting Battery below the Upper Barrakka Gardens

The gardens are small, but there are plenty of shaded spots and benches to rest and take in the view. Take beautiful photos or relax in the cafe while enjoying a drink or snack. You might even see some sun-loving cats! It’s a great place to visit.

Opening times: daily, 7 am to 10 pm

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps

Lower Barrakka Gardens

The Lower Barrakka Gardens are a great spot for a calming break in the city. From the top of Valletta’s bastions, you can enjoy stunning views of Valletta’s breakwater, as well as Senglea, Birgu, and Cospicua.

A temple-like structure with palm trees and a fountain in the Lower Barrakka Gardens.
Lower Barrakka Gardens Fountain in Valletta, Malta

Enjoy a break from city exploration with a snack or a beverage from a cafe nearby. Despite being smaller than the Upper Barrakka Gardens, the Lower Barrakka Gardens are worth a visit.

Olive trees and fruit are scattered across the grounds. You can watch ships gracefully sail through the harbor entrance. This creates a truly romantic atmosphere.

A pathway in the Lower Barrakka Gardens lined with trees overlooking the sea on a sunny day.
Lower Barrakka Gardens, Malta

Opening times: daily, 8 am to 9 pm

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps

If you want to understand Malta’s history well, take a walking tour in Valletta. Look at my guide for the best Valletta walking tours.

Gardjola Gardens

In Senglea, the Gardjola Gardens offer stunning views of the Grand Harbour. The garden is on the top of the bastions and overlooks Marsa, Valletta, the Grand Harbour, and Fort St. Angelo. Grandmaster De La Sengle designed the gardens in 1551. At the tip of the bastions is a guard tower called ‘Il-gardjola’, hence the name of the gardens.

A small dome structure surrounded by bushes and a lamppost in Gardjola Gardens.
Gardjola Garden in Senglea, Three Cities of Malta

‘Il-gardjola’ tower has symbols of an eye, an ear, and the crane bird. As a symbol of protection of Maltese shores. In the garden, visitors can also enjoy the fountain and the shade of palm trees.

Opening times: all-day

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps

Argotti Botanic Gardens & Resource Centre

The Argotti Botanic Gardens & Resource Centre is in Floriana, a short walk from Valletta.

The place has two sections. There’s an open garden you can access every day. There’s also a Botanic Gardens & Resource Centre with plant collections and greenhouses.

The gardens have variety of plants, including Mediterranean flora, cacti and succulents, and indigenous and endemic plants. The gardens are open Tuesdays for a tour from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. Click here for more info.

Argotti Botanic Gardens & Resource Centre - garden with various potted plants and trees on a sunny day.
Plant Collections in Argotti Botanic Gardens & Resource Centre, Valletta

You can walk through different types of trees, flowers and a fountain in the open garden. People love this place for the picturesque views from Floriana’s fortifications.

The area is fantastic for taking sunset photos and for a quiet stroll. Cat lovers will be delighted to see many of them at the entrance. There hasn’t been a time in my life when I’ve seen more cats in one place.

A walkway with benches and trees at Argotti Gardens overlooking the nearby Maltese towns.
Views from Argotti Gardens, Valletta

Opening times: you can visit the open garden daily. The Botanic Garden is open on Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Entrance fee: Free for the open garden, €5 for a guided tour of the Botanic Garden

Location: Google Maps

Sa Maison Garden

Sa Maison Garden in Floriana is a peaceful and hidden retreat. Located on the fortifications, it looks out over Pieta’ and Marsamxett Harbour. I’ve been to this garden twice and never seen anyone else. It’s one of the few places you can explore on your own.

The park is accessible from Triq Sa Maison, which is not popular with pedestrians. That’s why the garden is less popular.

Sa Maison Garden dates back to the 17th century when Fra Giovanni Minucci founded it. To enjoy the view of Marsamxett Harbour, he bought a piece of land and built a house in the large garden.

A view from a limestone fortification at Sa Maison Garden overlooking a harbour with sailboats and naval ships.
Sa Maison Garden Views overlooking Pieta, Msida and Sliema

Sa Maison Garden is also known as Her Ladyship’s Garden, after Lady Julia Lockwood. She lived there from 1842 to 1856.

Later, her house was demolished, and the military took over the garden. Later, the British Army used the park as an observation and defence post.

Today, it has several local flora species and a conservatory. The garden has an unusual layout. You can go up and down to explore its many levels. On the highest level is the Gardjola Tower, offering a 360-degree view of the harbour, bastions and gardens. There are some sculptures on the bottom level. 

Gardjola Tower rising above the trees in the sunlit Sa Maison Garden.
Gardjola Tower

Opening times: 7 am to 7 pm

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps 

Herbert Ganado Garden

The Herbert Ganado Garden is a small terraced garden overlooking the Grand Harbour. This site before was called Kalkara Garden. It got its name from the former Kalkara Gate, one of the gates enclosing the walls of Floriana. The gate was later demolished.

Herbert Ganado Garden with various trees and plants alongside a walkway. The sea is visible in the distance.
Herbert Ganado Garden

During the 19th century, the British fortified Floriana. They built barracks and used large buildings for military purposes. Also, they laid out several gardens, including the Kalkara Gardens.

During World War II, the garden housed British servicemen. In the 1990s, the park was renamed after lawyer, author, and politician Herbert Ganado.

The gardens aren’t famous, and they require better care. But, despite that, they have amazing views. Actually, the views are like in the Upper Barrakka garden. But, a few people visit this park so that you can enjoy peace.

Views from Herbert Ganado Garden - a fortress overlooking the sea with clear blue skies.
Views from Herbert Ganado Garden

Opening times: all-day

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps 

Hastings Gardens, Malta

Valletta’s Hastings Gardens are on the west side of the City Gate. The gardens have a rich history. There is a monument dedicated to Lord Hastings, a former governor of Malta. Legend has it the gardens were built in four hours, showing how hardworking the Maltese are.

Many people don’t know about Hastings Gardens, so it’s a peaceful escape. You can take your time admiring the views of the harbour, Manoel Island, the Triton fountain, and the bastions. 

A serene pathway lined with trees under a bright blue sky in the Hastings Gardens, Valletta.
Hastings Gardens

The garden is in great shape and offers a peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy a stroll among the olive trees or relax on one of the benches. Additionally, there are a few cannons in the park. Anyone seeking a peaceful escape and panoramic views of Floriana should visit this place.

Opening times: all-day

Entrance fee: Free

Location: Google Maps 

Well, there you have it – a peek into the lovely world of Malta’s gardens. From the elegant Argotti Botanic Gardens to the charming Sa Maison Garden, these green spots are a must-see for anyone who loves nature. These beautiful spaces show off the island’s lush scenery and make great settings for beautiful photos.

But there’s more magic to discover in Malta! If you want to explore the island’s history and culture, check out my guides on top historical sites, Valletta and the Three Cities, and the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For adventure lovers, my trekking guides to Malta and Gozo will take you to the islands’ most breathtaking natural wonders.

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