Valletta is one of the world's largest natural harbors. It may not be the largest but it's definitely the most dramatic. Whether you know a bit of the history of the Crusades or not, you can't help but feel impressed and even a little intimidated by this island fortress—just as invaders would have felt all those centuries ago.
A boat or cruise is the perfect way to approach this harbor, and if you can find one that will take you in at dawn, so much the better. When the captain told us we should get up at 6am to enjoy the sight of dawn rising on the ancient walled city of Valletta, I knew it would take a profound effort to rouse myself from my slumber. I am so glad I did. As the city loomed into view from the horizon, we saw the early morning rays turn it first pink and purple then a gorgeous amber. The city seemed hewn from the rock and, as we got closer, we realized that's because it was.