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 Where to stay in Malta & Gozo, a quick guide to avoid surprises.

Malta is less than 50Km from top to bottom, but still you don't want to find yourself in a residential area where it's all dead by dark. This guide will hopefully help you make the best choice, depending what you're looking for.

Beaches, sun, country side & fresh air?

Then find something in the north. You've got the busy side and the quiet side. Read on to learn more...

Bugibba / Qawra, the busiest of the lot, with no Sandy beaches but with over 2km of rocky beaches. Here you will find bars, pubs, discos, restaurants, hotels, all in large numbers. Bugibba & Qawra can be classified as commercial tourist areas, ideal if you're looking for a lazy holiday. You'll find direct buses to most parts of the Island from here.

St.Paul's Bay, mostly known as a fishing village. Not many hotels but it is 5 to 10 minutes walk from Bugibba so you can consider it part of Bugibba. In actual terms, Bugibba & Qawra form part of St.Paul's Bay.

Xemxija, meaning sunny in Maltese. Truly sunny and bright! Xemxija belongs to the St.Paul's Bay region. You will find a variety of Restaurants in Xemxija, a pretty promenade which has just been revamped and a fantastic country walk with lots of historic sites to explore. Look for the 1000 year old tree, called "il-Harruba ix-xiha" and caves that were used by ancienty Maltese to raise there families and watch pirates landing in Xemxija Bay. Xemxija is also a perfect starting point for nice long country walks.

Riviera Bay - 3km west from Mellieha
Riviera Bay - 3km west from Mellieha

St. Paul's Bay
St.Paul's Bay - Culture & Heritage

Mellieha - view from the Village
Mellieha, 4 Km up north from Bugibba. Mellieha is much quieter, surrounded by the best sandy beaches on the Island and tons of country side on all sides. I live in Mellieha myself. The village itself is on a hill, about 2km away from the coast. If you want to be closer to the beach choose Mellieha Bay instead. The easy to reach beaches are normally quite busy, but if you are of the adventurous kind, you can look for some ideallic hidden beaches and you'll have them all for yourself! Mellieha is ideal if you like walking, exploring, good views & fresh air. You will find less restaurants in Mellieha, but most of them offer better quality and service than the touristic ones in Bugibba. There isn't much night life though, so if you have teenagers with you, go to Bugibba or St.Julians instead.
Selmun, Golden Bay, Marfa & Cirkewwa are all situated in Mellieha, however they are somewhat cut away and far from the village center and all amenities. If you plan to stay in any of these last four localities, it would be a good idea to hire a car.

Clubs, cafes, trend, fashion & shopping?

Sliema is the top for cafes, shopping & fashion. It is about 30 minutes away from Bugibba by car. You still have rocky beaches and lots of sun but but that's not why you would choose this area. You'll find a very long coast road full of restaurants, cafes and sky high buildings. If you would ask me, it's too hectic, but if you're young and full of energy, then this might be the choice. Sliema can be a little more expensive than Bugibba & Mellieha.

St.Julians / Paceville, probably one of the best night life spots you'll find in Europe. What makes Paceville special is that you have around 70 clubs, bars & restaurants all next to each other. The best clubs in Malta are here and on any summer night its busy until the late hours of the morning. House, R&B, Techno, 80's, Jazz, Rock, mention it and you'll find it. Paceville is 20 - 40 minutes walk from Sliema.

St.Andrews / Ibragg / Pembroke , these are the newer areas. You won't find much here since they are mostly residential areas, but you can hop on a bus and be in Sliema in 10 minutes.
Sliema coast
Sliema coast
History & Culture?

The top two spots for history & culture are Valletta & Rabat. However, you won't find many hotels in those areas. Unless you're not really into culture, choose another location to stay and get the bus when you want to be cultural!


Gozo is the second largest island in the Archipelago, with nearly 30,000 inhabitants. If you're looking for a very quiet relaxing holiday, then Gozo might be good for you. However, for some people it can be too quiet, and two weeks in Gozo might also be too much. You have a little of everything in Gozo; beaches, unspoilt country side, culture, restaurants, a few bars and cafes, hotels, cinemas, and so on.

Renting a car in Gozo is a must since by bus you won't appreciate much. Then rent a flat, doesn't really matter where since Gozo is quite small, but make sure you have some good views. Better than a flat, you can rent a converted farm house with a swimming pool, something Gozo is famous for. Spend the day discovering the Island and those hidden spots, then try out the exquisite Gozitan restaurants, not the commercial ones, but the older traditional looking ones like Riccardos in Citadella where you can feast on wine and Gozitan specialities.

Gozo is worth a holiday, but if you're not sure you would like it, go to Malta first and visit Gozo for a day. If you fall in love like I did, then you'll know where your next holiday will be!
Sliema coast
Azure Window, Dwejra - Gozo
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