The Top Things to do in Sliema
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Discover the top things to see and do in Sliema Malta!
A place where history meets luxury, the town of Sliema, Malta, is a destination bursting with charm. From the honey-coloured buildings draped in pretty blossoming trees, to the old fishing boats along the natural coast, to the modern design shops in the centre – Sliema has evolved in many ways since its humble beginnings. What was once a quiet fishing village on the peninsula looking out towards the Marsamxett Harbour, has now been regenerated into the island’s leading commercial district. Exquisite restaurants, high-end shops, and 5- and 4-star hotels can all be found in this old town. But, if you’d like to explore the older parts of Sliema, then take a walk along the seaside promenade and explore the winding backstreets, where you’ll inevitably stumble upon historic buildings and street names emerging from the British period!
As a matter of fact, the old fishing village grew exponentially during the British period in Malta. Sliema became the summer destination for the upper-class residents of Valletta, who would travel to their summer house across the harbour by the ferry service from Sliema to Valletta. Nowadays, although Sliema is characterised by the island’s hustle-and-bustle, visitors become encapsulated by the seemingly opposite quality in the tranquil parts of the town. In reality, Sliema represents the best of two worlds. One is never far away from any type of entertainment, but peace and quiet can also be found in different corners of the town. Here are the top things to do during your stay in Sliema.
Beaches and water activities
Being a resort town located on the east coast of Malta, Sliema is well-known for its abundance of bays. For those who love to swim in the sea, Sliema’s rocky coastline, on the northern side of the town, is the place to go. During the summer, both locals and tourists flock to the sea in Sliema, and you’ll find people spending long days unwinding under the sun at one of the rocky bays on this side of town. Exiles and Surfside are two hot-spots that tend to get quite busy. These are located near quirky bars and restaurants that are usually overflowing with sun-seekers during the summer.
If you prefer sand beaches, however, you may want to head toward the small sandy corner of Exiles, or to the man-made beach at Balluta Bay. Alternatively, there are direct bus routes towards other sandy beaches in Malta, such as Golden Bay or Mellieha Bay. It goes without saying that, since the sea can be accessed so easily, there are a number of water sports and scuba diving centres operating in this town. Sliema is a popular destination for divers, as the rocky shores provide easy access to the sea and the waters boast a wide diversity of marine life.
Activities and entertainment
The Sliema to St Julian’s promenade is a 2km path, stretching from the tip of Sliema at Tigné Point all the way to Spinola Bay. On one side, the promenade is lined with cafés, bars and restaurants, while the other side offers picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea. At any point in the year, you’ll find people strolling along the promenade, going for a morning jog, stopping for a bite to eat or simply taking a dip in the sea. If you like keeping fit during your holidays, there’s no better way to do so than by going for a run along the promenade. Pack your trainers and get ready to feel the fresh sea breeze as your run. Alternatively, you could schedule a workout session at one of the gyms in Sliema, or go swimming in one of the indoor or outdoor pools located at AX The Palace or AX The Victoria Hotel!
Sliema is also the best place for shopping in Malta. The town is home to many shops, ranging from high-street brands to designer boutiques. The Point Shopping Mall – Malta’s largest shopping complex at Tigne Point – is where some of the island’s best-loved brands can be found, all under one roof. You’ll also find brands you adore on Tower Road and Bisazza Street in Sliema. If you’re looking for something different, explore the backstreets and you might come across unique shops to suit your taste.
Drinking and dining in Sliema
If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that you won’t go hungry in Sliema. Around every corner, you’ll find top-notch restaurants, bars and cafés to satisfy your taste buds. From Asian to Maltese, or Lebanese to Italian – Sliema’s culinary scene has it all! For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, we suggest heading to Talk of Town Café in Sliema, famous for its royal afternoon tea and its outdoor patio. Other breakfast spots include Copperfield’s Restaurant at AX The Victoria Hotel and The Tabloid High STReat at AX The Palace. If you’re a fan of buffet dinners, these two restaurants serve up fantastic themed nights every day of the week, as well as a luxurious Sunday lunch!
For a charming date night, why not combine exquisite food with romantic views by dining at TemptAsian, located on the 9th floor of AX The Palace, or at the famous Chophouse? For a more casual evening, head to Penny Black Bar, or taste fine local cuisine at Il-Merill. For the best nightlife in Sliema, head to ‘The Strand’, where you’ll find many bars packed with people every day of the week! Make the most of happy hour here, then head to the neighbouring town of St Julian’s if you want to keep the party going till the early hours of the morning!
History & culture
During the Knights of St John’s rule over Malta, Sliema was used by Turkish troops when they attempted to invade the islands and use them as a military base. The Knights of St John later built Fort Tigné at the tip of Sliema, from where they could guard the islands from attempted invasions. Nowadays, one can find remnants of the British period in Sliema. Firstly, the town got its name during this time, from the Maltese word ‘Sliem’, which means peace. Many churches were built in Sliema, such as the Our Lady Star of the Sea (Stella Maris) church and the Parish of St Gregory the Great. There are different religious feasts that take place during the summer to celebrate the patron saints of each church, which consist of street parties, marching bands and firework displays.
In recent years, the town of Sliema has become increasingly sought-after by couples planning a destination wedding. With locations such as the 200-year-old AX Palazzo Capua, located in the quiet heart of the bustling city, the town differs from other wedding destinations. The romantic palazzo is a popular venue for all kinds of events, having several halls and suites that can be adapted to meet different needs.