Where to Stay in Malta

There are various places to stay in Malta, some quieter than others, with easy access to nearby beaches or else providing a quiet and relaxing location from where to explore the island.

Figuring out which locality suits your Malta holidaying needs isn’t easy when you’re confronted with place names you know nothing about. Below is an overview of the more popular places to stay in Malta and each locality links to a full page of info for further detail.

Already visited Malta and holidayed in one of the below locations? Leave a comment with your observations and/or recommendations!

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Bugibba and Qawra

Bugibba and Qawra are located adjacent to each other and are considered to be one of the larger tourist resorts in Malta. Located on the North shoreline of the island, Bugibba and Qawra offer a variety of hotels and self-catering apartments (mostly privately rented) and host various bars, clubs and other places of entertainment such as a bingo hall as well as a cinema.

Bugibba and Qawra are a good compromise between staying in more central and busy places (such as St. Julian’s and Sliema) and spending your holiday in more remote places such as Mellieha, or Golden Bay. Having a bus terminus, Bugibba and Qawra are an easy holiday base to visit other parts of the island with public transport.

Pros:

  • Good for family holidays
  • Compromise between busy and peaceful
  • Good nightlife: (Sports) bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas and a casino
  • Choice of accommodation – Hotels but also self-catering apartments

Cons:

  • Relatively few bathing areas
  • Very little culture and not really offering a feel of life in Malta
  • Busy during summer months

Recommended for:

  • Couples of all ages
  • Family holidays

Read more about Bugibba and Qawra

St. Paul’s Bay

St. Paul’s Bay is located adjacent to Bugibba and Qawra and is a relatively quiet alternative, still in walking distance from the hustle and bustle of its neighbouring villages. St. Paul’s Bay offers a few places to swim, along its rocky shoreline but lies within short distance of the island’s largest sandy beaches.

Other places in Malta are also easy to reach, with good public transport connections to St. Paul’s Bay. Nightlife is limited to quiet bars and restaurants, though Bugibba and Qawra nightlife lies within walking distance.

Pros:

  • Quiet, yet close to nightlife as well as sandy beaches
  • Great for snorkeling and diving
  • Easy to reach other parts of Malta

Cons:

  • Hiring a car? Expect parking problems during the summer months
  • Limited choice of hotels
  • Nightlife limited to bars and restaurants

Recommended for:

  • Couples of all ages

Read more about St. Paul’s Bay

St. Julian’s and Paceville

If you want nightlife to be an important part of your holiday, St. Julian’s (and neighbouring Paceville, the island’s center of nightlife) is your best bet. The area is jam-packed with pubs, bars and nightclubs which are easily accessible and offer relatively cheap nights out. St. Julian’s isn’t just about nightlife, however. There are plenty of restaurants around, offering a mix of good value food but also some very fine dining opportunities waiting to be discovered. Moreover, the bustling nightlife is concentrated in Paceville, whereas the village of St. Julian’s is quieter and can be enjoyed as a nice evening of wining and dining with a stroll along the promenade which leads you into Sliema, an adjacent town (also popular among tourists).

Pros:

  • Nightlife
  • Dining and relaxed nights out
  • Choice of hotels – from value to 5-star deluxe
  • Central – easy to reach other parts of Malta

Cons:

  • Not very child-friendly
  • Swimming opportunities limited
  • Little culture/history
  • Busy – not recommended for those seeking peace and quiet

Recommended for:

  • Teenagers
  • Couples of all ages

Read more about St. Julian’s and Paceville

Sliema

Sliema is one of Malta’s most popular locations for tourism, being located along the Northern coast of Malta, neighbouring St. Julian’s. With its central location, Sliema is a good option for those who wish to visit other parts of the island but at the same time be close to the sea and enjoying going out for dinner and drinks in the evening.

Possibilities for swimming are limited, though if you don’t mind rocky beaches (perfectly suitable for sunbathing) you can still enjoy bathing in the crystal clear waters along the shoreline of Sliema. There’s a good choice of bars and restaurants around, offering entertainment and inexpensive food and drinks for fun nights out.

Pros:

  • Good choice of hotels
  • Plenty of entertainment around
  • Very charming character
  • Long walks along the seaside
  • Good for shopping
  • Easy to reach St. Julian’s and Valletta

Cons:

  • Rocky beaches only
  • Direct bus routes to sandy beaches available, but up to 1 hour commute
  • Hiring a car? Expect traffic and parking problems
  • Not much culture/history around, though little travelling required for this

Recommended for:

  • Couples of all ages
  • Culture seekers – as a base for further exploration

Read more about Sliema

Mellieha

Mellieha is travel destination which offers more of a peaceful Malta holiday experience, with its slightly remote location in the North of Malta and giving almost instant access to Malta’s largest sandy beach at Mellieha Bay. The village has a little nightlife and a handful of clubs, though Mellieha is considered to be a destination for those seeking peace and quiet rather than the hustle and bustle of popular tourist locations.

Having good access to public transport, Mellieha is a good base for exploring the rest of Malta although commutes will be longer, with a bus ride to Valletta taking 1 hour and 15 minutes, for example. Renting a car is always quicker, obviously, but if you’d like to explore Malta above anything else there are more centrally situated locations that might be a better choice.

Nevertheless, Mellieha is an excellent choice for families with children, and for those interested in spending time in Gozo and at Comino then this location is definitely recommended as well.

Pros:

  • Great for beach holidays
  • Good choice of hotels
  • Easy access to Gozo and Comino
  • Catch a glimpse of village life in Malta
  • Not overly touristy

Cons:

  • Limited nightlife but several bars and a few clubs offer a good experience nevertheless
  • Rather remote – not ideal for exploring the rest of Malta, especially without own transport
  • Early booking required – less beds available

Recommended for:

  • Couples of all ages
  • Family holidays
  • “Sun and Sea” travellers
  • Culture seekers – Maltese village feel (though a little remote to explore the rest of Malta)

Read more about Mellieha

Valletta

Malta’s capital city Valletta was built by the Knights of Malta, who intended for it to be a “city for gentlemen” which becomes apparent in the intricate detail with which its buildings were adorned. Many historical buildings still feature prominently in the streets of Valletta, giving the city a genuine feel of awe. Although relatively quiet in the evenings, Valletta is a great location for those who want to avoid a typical sun and sea holiday. Centrally located, other parts of Malta are easy to reach (especially considering the main bus terminus is located at its doorstep) and there is  plenty of history and culture to be soaked up.

Be sure to visit the Valletta Waterfront in the evenings. There are some good wining and dining options available here with beautiful views of the Grand Harbour. Find more must- visit locations in the extended article on Valletta.

Pros:

  • Centrally located
  • Good holiday base to explore Malta’s history and culture
  • Good choice of restaurants and (wine) bars
  • Shopping

Cons:

  • Choice of hotels limited
  • Limited nightlife, although renovation of the Valletta Waterfront has improved this
  • No sandy beaches nearby – requires a trip by bus

Recommended for:

  • Couples of all ages
  • Culture seekers – Valletta itself, but also as a base for further exploration of Malta

Read more about Valletta

2 Responses to Where to Stay in Malta

  1. paul 12 March 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I found this concise Guide to Malta a great help, never having stayed in Malta before. Thank you.I think Sliema would suit us best. Now to choose a hotel !

  2. Jeff 26 January 2014 at 1:07 am #

    This is extraordinarily helpful information. Thank you very much!

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