Being on business in Malta can be a glamorous affair. With grand castles, historic forts, beautiful palazzos and luxury yachts creating striking meeting spaces, the island attracts many business people each year. As well as being an inspiring place to work, Malta also has plenty to offer visitors during their leisure time. From taking a walk along the Sliema promenade to exploring Upper Barrakka Gardens and visiting St John’s Co-Cathedral, here are the top things worth squeezing in between meetings.

Relax at Upper Barrakka Gardens

Chances are, if you’re on business in Malta you’ll be based in the capital Valletta for at least part of your stay. Upper Barrakka Gardens is one of the city’s most charming attractions. Escape from the bustling streets with a walk through the lush collonaded garden and enjoy some of the best views over Grand Harbour from the balcony. Don’t be shocked by the loud bang at midday and 4 p.m.– it’s just the ceremonial cannon being fired.

Book a Grand Harbour cruise

If you don’t have the time to explore the city on foot, see the capital (and catch some sun) from the water with a short cruise around Grand Harbour. A number of companies offer sightseeing trips, usually lasting 60 or 90 minutes, which include an educational commentary tour from a local expert.

Visit St John’s Co-Cathedral

Whether you’re religious or not, a trip to St John’s Co-Cathedral is a Valletta highlight. As well as being architecturally striking, the Baroque building is home to a priceless art collection, donated by ancient knights and grandmasters. Look out for Saint Jerome Writing, a praised oil painting by Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Explore the National Museum of Archaeology

Malta’s National Museum of Archaeology is one of the most impressive of its kind in the world. If you find yourself with an hour or two to kill between meetings, a visit to the museum is a reliable way to learn about the archipelago’s fascinating history as far back as the Bronze Age.

Discover the charm of Vittoriosa

If you can’t devote an afternoon to exploring the medieval city of Mdina, visit the historic town of Vittoriosa instead. Reachable via water taxi from Valletta, the fortified settlement played an integral part in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Nowadays, it is home to the preserved Fort Saint Angelo – a striking hilltop fortification previously run by knights.

Seek out Malta’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

If in need of some inspiration, Malta’s stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites should do the trick. The ─Žal Saflieni Hypogeum in Paola is an enormous underground structure which, when excavated, brought to the surface a wealth of significant archaeological artefacts. Visitors with an interest in history and an afternoon to spare can also explore the ancient Mnajdra and ─Žagar Qim temples on the south side of the island.

Walk along Sliema promenade

If work takes you to Sliema, make sure to ring-fence some time to stroll along the coastal Sliema promenade. A great spot for people watching, grab an ice cream from a café or seaside van and watch the world go by as the waves lap on the beach and Valletta casts a beautiful shadow over the water.