Sliema is a modern town on the north-eastern coast of Malta and just north of Valletta, the island’s capital city. As home to some 15,000 inhabitants, Sliema is a bit of a playground for locals and tourists alike, offering all sorts of amenities including many hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars. It’s the Maltese go-to shopping hub, a tourist’s centre of activities and, all in all, Malta’s premiere resort destination.
The development of Sliema as a town in its own right really took off in the latter half of the nineteenth century, progressing from a fishing village to a summer resort for the wealthy residents of Valletta. As a result, elegant villas, town houses and other Victorian buildings flourished across the town, both in the quiet inner streets and along the seaside promenade. That said, the more recent development of Sliema as Malta’s main commercial centre has simultaneously signified the demise of such buildings as an unfortunate by-product. However, a few still survive, mostly in the inner streets of Sliema just off the promenade. A quiet stroll through Sliema’s back alleys allows you to take in some of Sliema’s glorious past while also escaping the beating down of the hot summer sun for a few moments.
Stretching over some 3km from the point of Tigne to St. Julian’s, Sliema is a place to visit at any time of the day and on any day of the year. The town’s numerous shops, fashion boutiques, banks and shopping centres create a space for the Maltese and visitors to mingle side by side. For tourists Sliema is also a base for many sightseeing activities. A large part of the town is built around the creek opposite Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour and this is where several boating and island cruises set sail, including the short ferry trip to Valletta. Sliema also has a large array of lunchtime cafes and evening restaurants, offering everything from quick snacks to full-blown meals.
The town’s coastline is an excellent place to enjoy the clear blue Mediterranean Sea during the summertime. The flat limestone coast is ideal for sunbathers and the water is particularly inviting for snorkelers and those wanting to explore the Maltese waters. The promenade running along the coast of Sliema is full of activity at any time of the day but it really comes alive in the evening. When the summer sun has floated past the horizon, the Sliema promenade welcomes the strollers; those wanting to quietly pace along the coastline probably picking up an ice cream or two from the gelaterias along the way.
It is therefore a very social affair, with many families and other locals pacing up and down and gathering in the beach clubs for a beer and an evening chat. Later into the night the promenade is also the place for long romantic walks and the little lounges and bars scattered across the coast towards St. Julian’s make Sliema’s seaside an ideal place to enjoy a glass of wine.
A summer holiday in Sliema would not be complete without visiting one of the annual summer feasts that take place there. The feasts, particularly the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart feast in July and the Our Lady Stella Maris feast in August, are prime occasions to experience local traditions and to simply have a good time in an atmosphere rife with food, drink and music.
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Diplomat Hotel, Kennedy Nova, Park Hotel, Plaza & Plaza Regency Hotel, Plaza & Plaza Regency Suites, Preluna Hotel & Spa, ST Bayview Hotel, ST Blubay Apartments, The Palace Hotel, Victoria Hotel, Waterfront Hotel