This summer I recommend the charming city of Sliema in Malta for those with a passion for culture. In addition to the high profile attractions, it is the perfect place for leisurely strolling the streets and getting a feel for the town. It also has a lovely climate!
Sliema is a quiet residential coastal town with a rich history to uncover. It was once the home of Malta’s aristocracy and developed into an upmarket residential area with beautiful villas, town houses and British Victorian buildings lining the promenade. Seeing the potential for tourism, the town underwent a huge development and is now a major commercial area whilst retaining its original charm.
History, cultural activities, impressive architecture, a stunning coastline, beautiful weather and friendly locals – Sliema has it all.
Be sure to check out these attractions, all of which are very leisurely and provide an opportunity to speak to the locals (a key part of any holiday!):
1. Ride the Valetta Ferry
The Valetta Ferry is a wonderful opportunity to get out at sea and see the town and surrounding area from a different perspective. The ferry services run until late so consider a romantic trip at sunset – alternatively, hire a self-drive boat for your own independent tour! Just remember to bring a nice bottle and some food to enjoy.
2. Manoel Island
Sitting in the middle of Marsamxett Harbour is the picturesque and history-laden Manoel Island. You can reach it on foot with a lovely stroll over a small stone bridge from the neighbouring locality, Gżira. The island itself features the Knights of Malta’s 18th century Fort Manuel and a Lazaretto (isolation hospital) which hosted the famous British Romantic poet Lord Byron. Game of Thrones fans may recognise the fort as the Great Sept of Baelor in season 1 – it is the location where Ned Stark lost his head!
Arts & Culture
Sliema is a superb destination for art and culture lovers. The best place to get your fix will be the Salesian Theatre – It was restored and reopened and is now one of the main cultural points in all of Malta. Here they host regular contemporary art shows, live classical music and pop music. The building itself is quite the sight to behold as the only century-old theatre in town, whilst the interior features stunning stucco ornamentation and an amazing wall painting by Gifseppe Cali.
Insider Tip: The theatre is located near the coastal promenade, so plan a leisurely walk by the sea before stopping off for a show. Speaking of the promenade…
A Stroll Along the Seaside
The 2km promenade and mesmerising views out to sea are one of Sliema’s greatest features. Take your time to walk the entire stretch and soak up the fresh sea air and views. The walk will also take you past a fortress, churches, a British military installation and a 17th-century coastal watchtower. There is also a cluster of impressive Art-Deco townhouses once you reach Balluta Bay. I suggest stopping off for ice cream at one of the many parlours and taking your time to take in all the sights. Perfect.
Explore the Back Streets
Sliema has many winding back streets where you get to see the heart and soul of the town. Start at Sir Adrian Dangli Street and explore the surrounding area where you will see Art-Deco architecture, colourful balconies and elaborate colonnades. The back streets also have many inviting cafes, restaurants and boutiques that create an intimate atmosphere. This is authentic Sliema and a great way to see how the locals live.
How to Get to Sliema
There is only one airport in Malta, but due to the small size of the island you are never too far from your final destination. Flights from the UK to Malta Airport (MLA) take just under three hours and flights are available from carriers including easyJet, Ryanair and Monarch.
Sliema is then just a 20-minute drive from the airport. Pre-book a Shuttle Direct transfer and one of our local drivers will be waiting at the airport for you upon arrival – you can sit back, relax and enjoy the views.
Where to Stay
Palazzo Violetta – These modern apartments have an outdoor pool and terrace area, as well as spacious rooms with a kitchenette and 40 inch TV. They are perfect for relaxing in after a long day and provide the option of eating in. There is a continental breakfast available and a cool bar as well. Previous guests have commented on the convenient location, as you are merely a 10-minute walk from the sea. Bike hire is also available.
Palazzo Capua – Palazzo Capua is one of the most prestigious historic buildings in Sliema. It may be a small building, but this creates an intimate setting inside and the suites are surprisingly spacious and luxurious, with separate living and sleeping areas. There are also banqueting facilities on the ground floor. It is in a convenient location just 200 yards from the seafront, so getting out to explore each day is a breeze.
The Palace– Next door to Palazzo Capua is the 5-star hotel The Palace. Here you can enjoy a rooftop spa with infinity pool which looks out over the Med. There is luxury dining available in two stylish restaurants with Asian and Mediterranean cuisine on offer. The large air-conditioned rooms come with a Smart TV, mini-bar, tea and coffee making facilities as well as free Wi-Fi. Most come with a balcony providing views of the harbour and Valletta.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is one of Europe’s most trusted transfer providers. We pride ourselves on our reliable, affordable and efficient service providing transfers to and from hotels, airports and other areas of interest throughout the continent.
Use our simple online booking form today and we will take care of the logistics.