Bugibba and Qawra are small towns on the North coast of Malta, adjacent to the town of St. Paul’s Bay. Bugibba and Qawra are popular locations for tourists and are busiest in the high season while relatively quiet during the winter months. Although the shoreline is mostly rocky, a few locations are suitable for swimming.
Bugibba’s main square, located along the seaside promenade, is the center of activity in the area with a few pubs, nightclubs and restaurants attracting people of all ages to enjoy summer nights. Besides pubs and nightclubs, Bugibba and Qawra also offer a bingo hall, a cinema and a casino. For those who prefer a quiet night out, the location’s seaside promenade is ideal for a leisurely stroll.
Bugibba and Qawra are known mostly to form one of the busier tourism resorts during the summer months, when the area comes to life with the buzz of nightlife and numerous tourists enjoying a drink and entertainment provided by the various hotels in the area. The area doesn’t offer much more than that, however. No genuine Maltese feel, no specific activities other than sunbathing and only few shops lining the seaside promenade.
Having said that, Bugibba and Qawra are great locations as a home base for a holiday of exploring the rest of Malta. Accommodation is good and relatively cheap and the rest of the island is easily reached by public transport. From the Bugibba bus terminus you can find routes to various places in Malta, and also get to Cirkewwa to catch a ferry up to sister-island of Gozo. So if you’d like to add a little culture to your holiday, or spend time at the beach rather than the swimming pool, it’s easy to catch a bus or take your hired car out for a short drive to wherever you fancy.
History of Bugibba and Qawra
Bugibba and Qawra were virtually uninhabited until the 1960’s, when only a few watchtowers had been erected by the Knights of Malta back in the 17th century. The area consisted mostly of open fields with crumbling rubble walls when in the 1960’s a few entrepeneurs opened a few hotels in an attempt to attract tourists. When these ventures proved to be successful, Bugibba and Qawra developed at an astonishing rate in a virtual gold rush of investment. High-rise buildings were developed, with little attention being given to aesthetics or architectural consistency and design was simply an afterthought. During the 1990’s the appearance of Bugibba and Qawra was hugely improved with the development of the seaside promenade, the Bugibba square and neatly constructed pavements.
Beaches in Bugibba and Qawra
An artificial sandy beach can be found on the shoreline close to the New Dolmen Hotel and a natural beach with pebbles is located at the tip of Qawra (also referred to as Ta` Fra Ben). Although most of the Bugibba/Qawra shoreline is rocky, there are flat surfaces that are suitable for sunbathing. Finding entry/exit points can be tricky but simply watch the locals and you’ll be fine. Beware of black sea urchins – although not large in numbers they inhabit rocky shorelines.
If you prefer sandy beaches, both Ghadira (Mellieha) Bay and Golden Bay can be reached fairly easily by bus, from the Bugibba bus terminus (see below for more info).
Nightlife in Bugibba and Qawra
- Plenty of nightlife activity during the summer months with a number of bars, nightclubs and karaoke bars providing entertainment
- Mostly concentrated around Bugibba Square but good options in other areas just the same
- Main nightclubs are Amazonia (seafront, near Oracle Casino and New Dolmen Hotel) and Fuego (near Qawra Palace Hotel)
Bugibba and Qawra facts
- Transit time from airport: 45-60 minutes
- Ideal for family holidays
- Compromise between the very quiet (Mellieha) and busy (St. Julian’s) in summer months
- Nightlife is limited but entertaining
- Rocky coast with limited swimming opportunity. If you prefer beach life you’ll have to catch a bus. Golden Bay/Ghajn Tuffieha (pron. aajn tuffee-ha) and Ghadira (pron. a-deera) are around 30 minutes away
- Thinking of renting a car? Unless your accommodation offers free parking, be aware that finding space to park can be a real headache in Bugibba and Qawra, mostly during the summer months
Annual Festa’s in Bugibba and Qawra
Bugibba and Qawra do not celebrate any traditional village feasts, however, neighbouring St. Paul’s Bay (within walking distance) celebrates their festa in the 2nd/3rd week of July.
Read more: Maltese village feasts or festa
Popular Bus Routes
Route 49, to:
- Mosta (20 min)
- Valletta (50 min)
Route 652, to:
- Golden Bay (35-40 min)
Route 48, to:
- Mellieha Bay (40-45 min)
Routes 70 and 645, to:
- St. Julian’s/Paceville – Malta’s center of nightlife. (30 min). Regular service until 10pm, with limited night service. Expect to take a taxi back or route bus when regular service resumes the next morning. (30 min)