It is not always easy to make decisions based on the information you find online. Any holiday website tends to focus on the sales elements of a location – such as reviews of hotels – but that isn’t all the information required to make a decision.
This site aims to answer as many of those “useful to know” questions that will help you make a decision as to whether or not to visit St Julians Malta.
Where Is The Best Place For Your Maltese Islands Vacation?
There are many types of possible visits to Malta, but for anyone wanting some life and lots of options, St Julians is probably the best place to stay. If you are desperate for your Maltese Islands vacation to be quiet and peaceful, St Julians probably is not the place for you, but if you want anything else, then you really ought to pay it a visit!
The Maltese islands are really geared up for tourism and it is one of the most important business sectors in the country. For this reason, almost every area has at least one hotel, and AirBNB rentals are popping up everywhere, but, not all areas are good for tourists.
For example, I once met an American couple that had opted to stay in a tiny village in the south of the country. It is actually quite a nice peaceful little village. But, they found that there was no bus service in and out and the village had one restaurant that was also the local bar and just one shop. They were basically stranded there for a week. You don’t want that happening to you, do you…?
What Is St Julians Malta Like?
The area itself is on the sea and your holiday is most likely going to be spent near the sea front. Most of the hotels have a sea view, as do all the best apartments.
There is a main road that runs in between the sea and most buildings. This road also has a long promenade, from Spinola Bay at one end, to Tigne Point in Sliema at the other. This is a great place for a stroll, especially in the evening. On the other side of the promenade are rocks and then the Mediterranean Sea. For perhaps six months of the year, you will find people sunbathing and swimming in these areas.
Dotted along this road is a wide range of shops, bars and restaurants. At the Spinola Bay end there are literally dozens of places to eat and drink, all of them pretty good. In the middle is Balluta Bay. This is a slightly lower key area, but there are also a number of decent places to go to.
Just past the Spinola Bay end of St Julians are two areas worth a look. The first is Portomaso. It is a relatively new development that includes a five star hotel, a marina, a number of restaurants, a business tower and a casino. It is fairly up-market and you can easily spend all your budget in this area if you choose.
Beyond this is a slightly inland area called Paceville. This is the entertainment and nightclub heart of the country. Through the summer weeks of July and August Paceville is open for about 20 hours each day. The party goes on late into the night and there will be bars and clubs open until 5 and 6am most days. Nightlife central!
In recent years it has become rather seedier than it used to be. There are now a surprising number of gentleman’s clubs – not exactly strip bars but pretty close – and their girls will be outside touting for business.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no brothels and no prostitutes, but this is not an area in which I have expertise in. I’m not going to post any photographs of Paceville or the girls 😉
What Is The Weather Like?
When the weather is good in Malta, it is literally the best! May and early June and October are widely regarded as the nicest months because the humidity is low and there is usually a gentle breeze. However, when it is windy in Malta, it is very, very windy!
It also needs to be pointed out that in the height of summer, when it is hot, it is very, very hot! The temperature rarely goes above 35 degrees in the shade, but out in the sun, it will feel much hotter than that. With that said, I have experienced a few days when the shade temperature was more than 40 degrees – you know when you are in that kind of weather!
Does St Julians Have a Beach?
Yes. Maltese residents have become used to describing the rocks at the waters edge as “the beach” because there aren’t many. However, St George’s Bay has a small and relatively nice beach. St George’s Bay sits on the other side of Paceville and has a number of hotels nearby. It is worth noting that the Intercontinental Hotel is close by and they run a bar and beach restaurant here that are very nice with excellent food.
There is also a tiny piece of sand in Balluta Bay, but it would be a giant stretch to call it a beach.
How Expensive Is St Julians Malta?
It is one of the most expensive locations in the country. This is especially true of the Portomaso complex. Perhaps the other most expensive area in the country is Tigne Point in Sliema. Both areas have some high-end shops with all the best brands, some nice bars and restaurants and some very highly priced real estate, both rentals and for sale.
However, in most places a pizza or a salad will cost around 10 euros and pasta or rice dishes will be between 8 and 15 euros. In that regard, while St Julians Malta is more expensive than most of the rest of the country, it is not all that expensive. It is certainly much cheaper than most of northern Europe, which is where the visitors come from.
It is possible to visit very cheaply. Malta operates a large number of private English schools, teaching students from across the world. Needless to say, these students manage to visit, party and relax on very low budgets. Who knows, they might even learn something!
With regards to drink prices, most of the bars are very affordable. Depending on the offer, it can often be cheaper to buy a tray of shots than just the two that you were planning on! Paceville likes to party!
You ought to be warned though, it is no longer a cheap place to live in. Back in 2010 or so, a one bedroom apartment on a back street might have cost around 350 euros per month to rent. The problem is that Malta has become a much stronger economy – partly because of membership of the European Union – and that has attracted lots of people to come and live and work. That is great! The issue is that most of those jobs are based here or in Sliema, so everyone wants to live in these areas. That one bedroom apartment is more likely to cost 750 euros per month in 2016. Rental prices keep on rising.
Are There Any Casinos?
Yes, in the Portomaso complex and also attached to the Westin Hotel in Dragonara. I have not been in either, so can offer no guidance to how nice they may be.
What Are The Best Attractions?
To be totally honest, St Julians Malta does not really have any great attractions. There are no places of genuine historical significance. No amazing palaces. No wildlife or water parks.
This makes it sound bad. The reality is that it is the area where everyone is and where most things are. When you want to visit somewhere quiet you go to Gozo and when you want to see some history you go to Valletta. St Julians is really a very good base for a visit and then you go to the other places that attract you each day.
Where Is The Best Party?
In your author’s humble opinion, Bedouin Bar is the best location and one that tourists love – if they get to see it. Bedouin Bar only runs for about 10 weeks per year, every Friday night in summer. It is outdoors on a concrete jetty, next to the sea at the Westin Hotel in Dragonara.
A few years ago it was a very stuffy event with lots of aspiring upper class Maltese there to show off. These days it seems to be full of Nordics that work in gaming. It is much more fun now and full of remarkably attractive girls.
It is also worth pointing out that the country is very religious and each church has it’s own feast or “festa”. Both Spinola and Balluta Bays are turned over to their respective festa’s for a week in summer and the Friday and Saturday evening events are usually very popular with Maltese and tourists alike. Highly recommended.
Where Is The Best Restaurant?
This is tougher to call. My own personal favourites are Wigi’s on Balluta Bay, UBistrot which is also on Balluta Bay and a Argentinian steakhouse called Meat on Spinola Bay.
Probably the most popular cafe is Cafe Cuba on Spinola Bay. Everyone loves it!
Where Is The Best Bar?
If you like high-end, I would recommend Tiffany’s Champagne Bar in Portomaso Marina. At the weekends, regulars will also be found in Level 22, a nightclub at the top of the Portomas Tower.
There are two very popular Irish pubs – Corks and the Dubliner.
If you want an outdoor feel, Juuls and Me Lounge, both on Spinola Bay, can be nice in summer.
Where Should You Stay?
The answer to this question obviously depends upon your personal requirements and budget.
However, here are a few tips…
If money and your budget is of no concern to you, then the Hilton Hotel at Portomaso is probably the best place. Very close by is the Westin Hotel at Dragonara, which is also very nice.
There are other nice hotels. For example, the Juliani in Spinola Bay and the Corinthia at St George’s Bay.
In the mid range, there are some just about acceptable three star locations around Balluta Bay – for example the Carlton Hotel.
At the lower end there are a few hostels. You might like to search for Hostel Malti, Hostel Jones (actually in Sliema) and Boho Hostel (at the top of a brutal hill – so only for younger visitors).
Should you wish to rent a private apartment, from airbnb for example, look for something very close to Spinola Bay.
Is St Julians Malta Hilly?
Needless to say, the sea front is pretty flat – it is at sea level after all. But, if you go back into the residential areas, then yes, St Julians specifically and Malta more generally are both very hilly. When combined with the summer heat, you will want to take some suncream, a hat and a drink whenever you go anywhere.
How To Get To St Julians From Malta International Airport?
The airport is located on the far side of the country. It is actually only around 8 or 9 km from St Julians, but it is not easy to get to. There are really only four ways:
1) know someone that can collect you with their car
2) catch the bus
3) get a taxi
4) use a transfer service
Sadly, Maltese bus services are not the most efficient or reliable. It will take much more than an hour to get to St Julians from the airport by bus!
A number of years ago the taxi services were brought under more regulation at the airport. As with everywhere else on earth, tourists were being ripped off by the drivers as soon as they landed in Malta.
There is now a window from which all rides are bought and paid for (in cash) at a set rate. A taxi from Malta airport to St Julians will cost 20 euros. If the traffic is low, then the journey will take around 20 minutes.
Did You Decide?
I hope that I have just made a good case for you to come to Malta and if so that you will enjoy your stay. Now all you need to do is book your flights and hotel and you are ready!