St Julian’s has the reputation of being Malta’s party capital. It’s not unusual for bars and clubs to open for 20 hours straight through the heady days of summer.
For those of you looking to do more than party, St Julian’s does offer a number of alternatives.
Here are some suggestions where you can #eat #drink #explore #shop & #stay in St Julian’s without burning the candle at both ends.
Welcome to St Julian’s.
#explore – On Foot!
St Julian’s, like much of Malta, is best explored via 2 feet or 2 wheels (see Nextbike – “Malta: Sliema & the Sea!).
Aside from the wonderful views of the Mediterranean, there are magnificent architectural and artistic points of interest.
Malta’s Street Art.
Sliema, St Julian’s, White Rocks, Pembroke and Baħar Ic-Cagħaq are all towns you’ll encounter as you follow the coast. At times you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in an outdoor art gallery.
Artivists (artist/ activists) display their talent and opinions on external building canvases, both abandoned and occupied.
Unlike many countries, Malta encourages street art, including it in the school curriculum. Harnessing and developing talent without restriction, James Grimaud, a well-known street artist himself teaches students to prepare murals, make stencils and take command of the spray can.
Malta arts council’s, Sandra Borg believes street art “engages with numerous communities and contributes directly to urban regeneration.”
The Mediterranean Tunnel (Regina Car Park. Tower Road (Triq-It-Torri) Sliema)
World famous, French-born, mixed media artivist, MTO’s The Mediterranean Tunnel begins on the wall of Regina Car Park at the top of Tower Road (Triq-It-Torri).
Based on Malta’s pragmatic immigration laws, this piece travels 480 km from Sliema to Sapri, Italy. The journey highlights the tiny island of Malta’s inability to accept growing numbers of migrants. Their boats are met by motorboat and towed to the south-western Italian town of Sapri.
Abandoned coastal buildings abound in White Rocks.
Next to a beautiful woman kissing the world, the man from the Monopoly board rides a cart driven by four oxen followed by the scales of judgement.
Further on, a crumbling brick wall has the likeness of Donald Trump’s face crumbling with it.
Make of these works what you will, there’s no denying the talented artivist’s abilities.
Churches, Palaces, Monuments.
Malta is known for its churches. At last count, there were 359 on the island and by adding the churches on Gozo there’s more than enough to visit a different one every day of the year.
The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Knisja tal-Karmnu) (281 Tower Road. (Triq-It-Torri) St Julian’s)
On the coastal walk into St Julian’s from Sliema this church, in particular, stands out. The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Knisja tal-Karmnu) overlooks beautiful Balluta Bay.
The church was built in 1859 by the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Valletta. In 1877 it was rebuilt and given to the Carmelite friars. The friars rebuilt it in 1900 and again in 1958 after it was all but destroyed during WW2. In 1974 it became the parish church of the locality.
The imposing façade opens to a cavernous interior and welcomes the public. Mass is celebrated six times daily. Wedding parties on the steps of the church can be seen from the beach and nearby restaurants.
St Julian’s Old Parish Church. (Lapsi Street (Triq Lapsi), St Julian’s)
Built in 1580, this church is dedicated to the patron saint of hotel keepers, travelers, and boatmen, Saint Julian. With the popularity of picturesque St Julian’s growing, in 1854, the 600 residents appealed to the church authority to make it a parish. The appeal was denied and wasn’t granted for almost 40 years in 1891.
Much fuss is made by organ enthusiasts of St Julian’s Old Parish Church organ and can be heard during the Malta International Organ Festival from November 15th until December 7th.
Spinola Palace & Gardens (Church Street (Triq Il Knisja) St Julian’s)
Built, in 1688, by Fra Paolo Raffaele Spinola, a knight of the order of St John, Spinola Palace has worn a few guises. Initially, the palace was the knight’s home with the gardens open for the public to share. Spinola’s nephew inherited the property and enlarged it in 1733.
The French occupation of Malta in 1798 saw the crown on top of the palace’s façade destroyed symbolising the fall of the Order of St John.
Restored in 1826, the palace was later acquired by the Roman Catholic church who, in 1860, leased it to the British military for £20 a year. They, in turn, converted it into a military hospital predominantly for the treatment of venereal diseases.
Today, Spinola Palace is a museum with panoramic vistas across St Julian’s and Spinola Bay.
Love Monument (St George’s Road (Triq San Gorg) Spinola Bay)
At the water’s edge in the heart of St Julian’s, Richard England’s Love Monument requires a second glance. Designed to reflect in the bay, remember to checkout the reflection while attaching padlocks and taking selfies.
#eat – local produce!
Who can say no to a delicious meal with water views? St Julian’s takes in Balluta Bay, Spinola Bay, Portomasa Marina and St George’s Bay, miles of coastal restaurant strips where water views abound.
Scruples Kitchen & Bar (34 Main Street (Triq Gorg Borg Olivier) Balluta Bay Ph: +356 2132 4870)
Housed in an art nouveau building, it’s the al fresco seating across the road on the square’s edge you’re after. Here you’ll have views of Balluta Bay and the historical Balluta Buildings.
Sitting a little back from the water’s edge, you’ll still sense the sea in the fresh shellfish spaghetti or your char grilled swordfish steak.
Fabian and his team make you welcome, hospitality coming naturally to the Grech family having had this restaurant for almost 100 years.
GuLuLu Maltese Kitchen (133 Spinola Bay. St Julian’s. Ph: +356 2133 3431)
Proudly serving a full Maltese menu, no frills Gululu specialise in ftira. This flattened bread has a hole punched through the centre allowing even baking on the wood-fired oven’s stone plate.
Ftira‘s crisp outer and soft centre are perfect as a base for locally sourced toppings. Try their Ftira tal-Qaliet – Grilled eggplant marinated in basil, sundried tomatoes topped with dried ricotta and mozzarella. Yummo!
GuLuLu’s menu is extensive. You’ll find all the “must try” Maltese dishes and more.
They also offer a set menu or ikla mal-ħbieb. For €25 you’ll share a range of starters; dips, ftira and traditional Maltese fritters.
A middle course of pasta with minced pork, onions, parsley and parmesan.
Mains are served with roasted vegetables in rosemary oil and baked potatoes with fennel seeds. There’s rabbit in garlic & white wine, meat balls simmered in red wine & bay and ‘suffocated chicken’ – juicy chicken thighs pot roasted with onion, lemon and coriander seed.
Of course, there’s dessert and, wait for it….. free flowing wine, beer & water until dessert is served. You’re welcome! 😉
#drink – til the wee hours!
The variety of establishments to wet the whistle in St Julian’s will delight the most hard core partiers among you. To get the night started, here’s a cross section.
The Bedouin Bar (The Westin Dragonara Resort, Dragonara Road. Ph: +356 2138 1000)
This very fancy bar has a sensational view of St Julian’s lit up of an evening. Open through summer only, it attracts the see and be seen. Great cocktails, a house/ lounge DJ soundtrack and those views, did I mention the views?
The Dubliner (George Borg Olivier St, (Triq Gorg Borg) Spinola Bay. Ph: +356 2136 7106)
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’ll always find an Irish pub and The Dubliner is St Julian’s. Actually there’s more than one but The Dubliner is easy to find and offers everything you’d expect – Guinness on tap, live music performed regularly, sport on TVs and a hearty pub food menu.
Hugo’s Terrace (St George’s Road, (Triq San Gorg) Paceville. Ph: +356 2137 6767)
When you reach Paceville you’ll understand St Julian’s reputation. It’s a fun area with more than enough venues to keep you busy. Hugo’s is a popular brand in the area with Hugo’s Terrace the flagship.
Two decent bars and a dance floor provide plenty of entertainment while a rooftop bar offers a breath of fresh air.
#shop – at your front door!
Mobile Grocers (Found here and there in residential streets)
While wandering the streets of St Julian’s, you’ll spot grocery vans set up near high traffic areas. Mainly selling fruit and vegetables, bread and smallgoods, but often with household items too. Perfect if your accommodation is a self-catering Maltese Townhouse.
Bay Street Shopping Centre (Bay Street. St George’s Bay)
Right in the centre of St Julian’s, Bay Street’s shopping hub caters for more than retail therapy. Cinemas, outdoor events and dining add to the allure and all at the feet of be.Hotel.
Open from 10 am – 10 pm every day, there’s plenty of time to get your retail fix.
#stay – In luxury!
While St Julian’s party reputation may deter some of you, hostels and budget hotels are many. However, if you’re keen for a little luxury, you could do worse than Le Meridien St Julian’s Hotel & Spa.
Le Meridien St Julian’s Hotel & Spa (39 Main Street, Balluta Bay, Ph: +356 2311 0000)
At Le Meridien, the views are spectacular. Each room has a balcony overlooking beautiful Balluta Bay. The rooftop, with indoor/ outdoor pool, is also the place to indulge in al fresco dining taking in views from the top of Tower Road to Spinola Bay.
Le Meridien is centrally located to the venues of Paceville or the quieter establishments of Spinola and Balluta Bays. SPG members receive their regular 20% saving on food & beverage and special rates depending on the membership level.
Check Malta’s Immigration website here and see if your city is listed in the countries offering direct flights to Malta International Airport.
Australia, USA and most of Africa, Asia and the Middle East will have at least one stopover.
Emirates Airline flies daily to Malta via Cyprus with a one hour stop over.
Purchase an ExplorePlus travel card online and it can be posted to you at home, sent to your accommodation in St Julian’s or collected from the Sales and Information office in the arrivals hall at Malta International Airport.
The ExplorePlus travel card provides unlimited public transport for 7 days including direct services from the airport to St Julian’s. Use the TD2 bus that goes directly from and to St. Julian’s (26 min).
Taxis from the airport are plentiful. Register your destination at the booth, pay the fare and be allocated a driver. €20 includes 4 people plus 4 suitcases.
While in St Juian’s, book taxis through eCabs (+356 2138 3838) or Malta Taxi Service (+356 2135 3838 firstname.lastname@example.org).
When to go.
Travelling to Malta during a glorious European summer is ideal if you’re happy to share the experience with thousands of like-minded travellers.
Accommodation can be scarce unless you’ve booked far in advance and prices reflect availability. If it’s at all possible for you to travel outside the high season it is highly recommended.
April/ May and October/ November may not have you in the core of the swimming and sunbaking season but the timing is ideal for exploring, visiting museums, and getting to know the locals.
Malta’s largest Wi-Fi network, Melita WiFi, has more than 75,000 hot spots around Malta. Search and log on to MelitaWiFi and receive 10GB for €10. For further info follow this link.
Whether you’re after a delicious meal, a drink with a view, or an all night party, St Julian’s provides them all. A slower pace and a lot of wandering will reward with wonderful vistas, historical architecture and a view into the day to day lives of St Julian’s residents. Exploring St Julian’s: it’s a thing we love….
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