The Breakwater Bridge, which is also known as St Elmo Bridge, was first constructed out of limestone and concrete in the early 20th century. The aim was to protect Grand Harbour from the rough seas, with the smaller arm of the bridge linking to Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara.
The bridge came under attack from Italian forces in July 1941. The span collapsed under the attack, with much of the remaining bridge work being demolished after the work. For a long time, the breakwater itself and the lighthouse at the edge were only accessible by boat.
Despite the dangers, the spot became a popular diving point for local teenagers, who’d climb the surviving part of the stone stairway to dive off the highest point. Needless to say, this wasn’t a particularly safe or clever endeavour, but the risks failed to deter the youngsters.
In 2007, the regeneration plan for Valletta was announced with the Breakwater Bridge forming part of the plans, together with Renzo Piano’s City Gate and Parliament Square and the Barrakka Lift. Today, a single-span bridge echoing the designs of the original graces the entrance to Grand Harbour.
Breakwater Bridge – best vantage points
You might wonder where you can get the best view to admire the Breakwater Bridge and to take photos of it. If you view it from higher ground you will be able to admire it in its entirety, appreciating the context around which it was built. Locations like Fort St Elmo and the promenade opposite the Mediterranean Conference Centre will allow you to take 180-degree landscape shots incorporating Sliema and Fort St Angelo in the background.
However, the Breakwater Bridge is certainly worth a closer look, and if you take the time to walk down to the shore line underneath the fortifications you will be rewarded by an entirely different perspective and ample original angles for your shots. All you need to do is take the stone stairwell opposite the main entrance of the Mediterranean Conference Centre. When you get to the bottom, simply keep walking left across the two smaller bridges.
Alternatively, you can also reach it from the inlet known as Il-Fossa, via the tunnel right under Auberge de Baviere. In this case, walk right underneath Fort St Elmo and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the rock-hewn coves and the impressive fortifications.