Sliema & St. Julian's
Once a peaceful village, Sliema is today Malta’s most bustling urban city offering several attractions. Sliema, located on the northeast coast of Malta, is the major commercial centre of the island with an array of accommodation sites, restaurants, cafeterias, shopping centres and other leisure establishments. The area is particularly busy in the peak season (summer) but everything still remains open in the off season being the main area of entertainment for locals. Strolling around the main shopping streets, one will come across big international brands. Bisazza Street is the main shopping street. One can enjoy long promenade walks along the coastline from where one gets a wonderful view of Valletta in an area known as The Strand. The latter is characterized by tall, not so attractive buildings; however one will find more beautiful buildings in other parts, notably the Ta’ Stella Maris area. Quite notable is the beautiful facade of the 200 year old Capua Palace, now turned into a hotel.
Other beautiful quarters include the lazy corner quartier (the bridge over Manuel Dimech street and the adjoining streets, most notably St. helen's street) with its different style and small shops. A walk around Ghar id-Dud is also relaxing. Along the road one can also admire the Old Sliema Point Battery, a fortification built in the 19th century, which today has been converted into a restaurant. Another one on the same road is the St.Julian’s tower built by Grand Master de Redin to act as a watch tower. Another interesting fortification is Fort Tignè, built in the 18th century. The area has been developed recently into a leisure centre but the fortification is still there and is currently being restored. Sliema is home to wonderful gardens, amongst which the Independence Gardens. Modern buildings front these gardens, which were previously abandoned farms. The gardens situated on the large promenade have also a playground for children. These gardens overlook the Sliema coastline which is a popular swimming area with locals and tourists alike. Needless to say, Sliema is also quite heavy in traffic and parking spaces are difficult to find.
A walk to the north by the Sliema Front, will take you to the beautiful Balluta square in St.Julian's, a major place of interest. This is a nice area to spend an evening by the sea with an excellent selection of restaurants and cafeterias nestled in the bay. The area is perfect for a stroll while enjoying nice views of the surroundings. It is situated in the heart of the entertainment centre with many nightclubs within walking distance yet far enough to enjoy a quieter surrounding. Check out the facade of the Balluta buildings built in the 1920s, structured in Art déco style and decorated in Art Nouveau style.
It is difficult to distinguish the crossing point between Sliema and St.Julian’s, because they seem to be part of the same city. Further to the north of Sliema, lies St.Julian’s, the nightlife hub of the Maltese islands. Originally a fishing village, St.Julian's is today a major international area and most modern hotels are located here. As a result, Sliema is a more interesting alternative to stay for many tourists. Paceville is the mecca for nightlife with all kind of entertainment venues. The area is very popular with the younger crowd. Worth visiting is the Spinola Palace situated on a hill overlooking Spinola Bay. The palace is closed to the public but the area around it and its gardens are beautiful. A walk by the Portomaso yacht marina is also recommended.