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St Julian's Balluta Bay offers clean waters for swimming

© Creative Commons / makoekis

St Julian's beaches

The resort of St Julian's is the biggest and liveliest holiday area in Malta. St Julian's Bay includes the smaller bays of Balluta Bay and Spinola Bay, the new marina of Portomaso and the quieter district of St George's Bay. While the bays are very picturesque, the area is heavily developed with several large 4- and 5-star high-rise hotels alongside residential and business blocks. In season the main roads are choked by traffic. St Julian's is also home to the island's principal nightlife district of Paceville ('par-chay-ville').


At Balluta Bay a very small but pretty man-made sandy beach is created in summer. It can disappear overnight however, washed away by storms. There are two summer lidos at Dragonara Point owned by the Westin Dragonara Resort hotel. One of these, the Reef Club, is open to non-hotel guests for a small fee and includes a small sandy cove and access to watersports. There is another summer lido open to the public at the Corinthia San Gorg hotel in St George's Bay. Both lidos get very crowded.

Beyond the beach

There are no visitor attractions as such in St Julian's. However there is an IMAX Cinema which also shows 3-D films and the Eden Superbowl (St George's Bay) is a state-of-the-art 10-pin bowling centre in. In neighbouring Sliema several boat trips depart from Sliema Ferries (3 km/2 miles south east). The Grand Harbour cruise is highly recommended, as is a cruise to the island of Comino, preferably on a weekday out of season. A 10-minute ferry ride links Sliema to Valletta. The tiny capital, built in the mid 16th century, is one of the architectural gems of the Mediterranean and a walk though its golden-sandstone streets and around its fortifications is time very well spent. Valletta is also home to numerous visitor attractions, most connected with the fascinating history of the island. Must-see attractions are St John's Co-Cathedral and the Grand Master's Palace. Watersports can be enjoyed from the Portomaso Marina, next to the Hilton hotel and at the public lidos.

Family fun

There are no visitor attractions as such in St Julian's. Bay Street has a lively programme of events, many of which are aimed at families. Mediterraneo Marine Park and Splash & Fun Water Park share a site on the coast road at White Rocks, 6.5 km (4 miles) northwest of St Julian's. Both parks are very small though the Marine Park, which features dolphins and seals, does offer the chance to swim with dolphins at a very reasonable price. While visiting Valletta, The Great Siege of Malta (Republic Square) is a lively special effects-laden audio-visual exhibition of Malta's romantic history that is designed to appeal to all the family.

Exploring further

Malta is a very small island and it's possible to visit anywhere quite comfortably within a day from St Julian's. Once you have ticked Valletta off your list visit Mdina, the ancient capital; the Hypogeum, a fascinating prehistoric underground temple; the neighbouring island of Gozo.

Splashing out

With so many 5-star hotels in the immediate area it's not hard to choose a place for a blow-out meal or a state-of-the-art spa treatment. The Blue Elephant in the Hilton is a romantic treat while the 5-star Le Meridien St Julian's, offers a Champagne Lounge and a Michelin-starred chef serving contemporary Mediterranean cuisine in its stylish Villa Brasserie. If hotel bars and lounges are not your thing head a few doors down to The Bar @ Balluta, another classy drinking joint in beautiful old Classical-style buildings. Le Meridien is also home to a beautiful spa, the state-of-the-art Lotus, open to non-residents.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.