Over the years, the town has become an area offering well-priced hotels, bars and restaurants, making it one of the most affordable localities to stay in during a visit to Malta. While the construction of holiday accommodation has dampened its superficial attraction, the town’s local charm still pervades ensuring an affordable and pleasant holiday in the Mediterranean sun.
Venturing back a century or so, St. Paul’s Bay used to be a traditional fishing village along the southern shore of the bay, a village that has now developed into a town of the same name. The name of the bay – and therefore the town – refers to the event of the shipwreck of Saint Paul. The biblical tale recounts the moment when, on the voyage from the eastern Mediterranean to Rome and with a storm raging, Saint Paul’s ship ran aground on Malta. St. Paul’s Island, a tiny uninhabited islet at the mouth of the bay, is thought to be the site of the shipwreck. So began the Christian tradition in Malta, a tradition that has grown over the centuries into a lifestyle that is uniquely Maltese. Saint Paul is memorialised throughout the Maltese Islands as a result, but nowhere more so than in the town of his namesake.
While the shoreline along St. Paul’s Bay is rocky and not as comfortable for sunbathing as the sandy beaches on the west coast of Malta, the sea in St. Paul’s Bay is ideal for swimming and snorkelling due to its clarity and rocky bottom. In fact, St. Paul’s Island at the entrance of the bay is one of the favourite dive sites on the Maltese Islands, and scuba diving centres offering dives here can be found in St. Paul’s Bay as well as in towns of Bugibba and Qawra nearby. Though scuba diving might not be to everyone’s tastes, a refreshing dip into the rich blue waters of the bay never goes amiss.
The area around Wignacourt Tower is especially suited to bathers due to its flat limestone shoreline and its points of easy access to the sea. The Tower itself was built in 1609 as the first in a series of towers built across Malta by the Knights of St. John as coastal defence posts. The Tower is now looked after by volunteers and is open daily to visitors before lunch and in the evenings.
St. Paul’s Bay hosts a wide array of accommodation from which to choose. Most of the old fishermen’s houses have now been converted into vacation homes belonging to local holidaymakers, which can sometimes be rented as self-catering accommodation. Otherwise, hotels and guesthouses are easy to find both in the town, and in the neighbouring resorts of Bugibba and Qawra.
Hotels in St Pauls Bay, Malta:
Ambassador Hotel, Gillieru Harbour Hotel, Porto Azzurro