Fort Saint Elmo

This historic fort in Valletta, Malta is part of a collection of forts which have protected the island from invaders for centuries. The history of this one in particular is impressive though and its buildings are also the home to the Malta National War Museum. We loved this mix of history you can walk around and history you can explore through artefacts, displays and audio visual shows.

Fort Saint Elmo has evolved over the years after being constructed as an original star shaped structure (pictured below) in 1552. Since then, extra bastions have been added and in the run up to WW2, the fort was extensively developed as Malta became a key position in the Mediterranean. The fort’s biggest battle before WW2 was when the Ottoman Empire tried to storm the island of Malta in 1565. Such were Fort Saint Elmo’s defences that the invaders were repelled for a month before the fort finally fell.

The stamp of the WW2 years is still evident when you walk around the fort today. In fact, the first bits you see are the concrete WW2 gun positions around the Victoria Gate. This leads to an area between the old fort in the centre and the newer ‘bastions’ on the outside. We particularly enjoyed the one bastion which is fully open to explore. It’s called the Abercrombie Bastion and is named after a British war hero. You get to see the lower areas complete with bunks and then climb on top to the WW2 lookout and gun towers.

Within the original Fort St Elmo structure, there is a huge courtyard surrounded by the former barracks, offices and even a small chapel. It’s inside these buildings that the National War Museum displays are laid out in several ‘galleries’. The areas dedicated to WW2 were particularly impressive with some clever audio/visual displays. The one about the mission to bring aid to Malta on a fleet of merchant and military ships was stunning.

We also liked the video show which is projected on to the walls of the ‘Cavalier’ with actors playing soldiers from across the years. Fort Saint Elmo is open from 10am to 6pm daily. Adult admission is 10 Euros (2024 prices).


Address: Fort St Elmo And National War Museum, Valletta, Malta
Contact: +356 21233088


Fort Saint Elmo – Visit Malta
Fort St Elmo – Wikipedia
Hotels in Valletta –
More Things To Do In Valletta – GetYourGuide