We did not take the hop-on hop-off or any excursions. We took Bus number 1 that leaves outside the port and takes you to the center of the city. From there, we walked to the cathedral, castle and shopping district. Most of the folks on the ship ended up taking the bus.
We reached there on Christmas and assumed that nothing would be open. We had not booked an excursion, however, there were hop-on hop-off tours running that day. We went to the Crafts Village, Mdina and Mosta - we finally got off at La Valetta from where we walked back to the ship.
This is a port where you could simply explore on your own - walk through the streets and enjoy the culture.
The ship docks in the city. There are plenty of tour options at the dock itself. We took a horse carriage tour of 20 folks (costed us just 10 Euros per person) that took us into the Capello and drove through panoramic views of the Sardinia.
Since the ship docked for only half a day, we were able to complete the horse carriage tour in less than 2 hours, did some shopping on the port and reach back in time for lunch in the ship.
The city in itself has a lot of culture but is also extremely dirty with garbage filling the streets
We strolled through the city at our pace and did not find it too appealing. Also, it is an extremely unsafe city. In broad daylight, we saw a motorist zoom past one of our fellow passengers on the road, pull her handbag and drive past before anyone could catch him. She was left in absolute tears and was a horrid experience.