The Three Cities (Senglea, Vittoriosa and Cospicua) sprawl over two peninsulas jutting into the harbour just across from Valletta. Enclosing two creeks (French and Dockyard) this was the heart of Malta's naval glory.
This is where the Knights built their fleet that raided the central Mediterranean, and where Britain based the headquarters of its Mediterranean Fleet in World War Two. Heavily bombed during the conflict, Senglea was pulverised into virtual oblivion.
Most individual attractions today are in Vittoriosa, home of Malta's oldest fort, Fort St Angelo and the somewhat macabre Inquisitors' Palace where the Catholic inquisition imposed its rule of terror.
Just about anywhere in the Three Cities makes for an atmospheric wander, especially the Collachio (the Knights' exclusive quarter) and the seafront with its wooden boats. The Margarita Lines and Cottonera Lines are - to many - more impressive than Valletta's fortifications.