The beautiful coastal town of Sliema in Malta may be just what you’re looking for. Previously a popular holiday destination among older British tourists, the coastal town has re-invented itself as a cultural hotspot attracting young, working expats who move to Sliema.
Malta is already well-established as one of the most popular European holiday destinations, but it’s now quickly becoming well-known as a wonderful place to live too – recently being ranked third in a survey of 15,000 British expats as the most liveable foreign country.
Sliema is home to a population of around 17,000 people, and sits just over the Marsamxett Harbour from Valletta, Malta’s capital city. The peninsula town boasts pristine views across the bay and out to the Mediterranean.
With a wide range of cultural attractions, natural wonders and a variety of work opportunities, there are plenty of reasons why many people decide to move to Sliema – and why you should too.
A low cost of living paired with a high quality of life
Like many Europeans, the Maltese know the value of a great quality of life. From wandering along the promenade in the sunset, enjoying a coffee and pastry or cheering on the Sliema Wanderers – the country’s most successful football team – the lifestyle will be a welcome change.
As is traditional in Maltese towns, Sliema celebrates annual parish feats. The most popular are held in honour of Our Lady Stella Maris and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. This sense of community is integral to the Maltese way of life, with neighbourly and family ties being an incredibly important part of the lifestyle.
There’s plenty of support for the sizeable expat community, with a number of groups both for newly-arrived and long-term immigrants. These provide support with residency issues, as well as local trips and regular social activities to help expats settle in.
The cost of living in Sliema is lower than many European cities. Monthly rent in the city centre is around €800, whilst enjoying a coffee and pastizzi will only cost you around €2.
The variety of natural and manmade wonders
The abundance of both natural and manmade wonders in the islands are one of the biggest attractions of Malta for both tourists and expats alike.
The smallest island, Comino, is just a short ferry ride away. The island is only 3.5-kilometre-square; car free and home to just one hotel and a few farmers. Stories of pirates hiding in the seaside caves litter the history of this island. Comino also hosts one of the country’s most famous swimming spots, a small sheltered inlet known as the blue lagoon.
If you enjoy swimming, there are more wonders to be had at Gozo, the second-largest island. Gozo is a popular diving site, full of caverns and underwater passageways. Back on land, the Ġgantija Temples are an ancient collection of UNESCO Heritage listed sandstone structures, with over 5,000 years of history to explore.
On the mainland, the capital city of Valletta has plenty to please the eye, with a series of beautiful squares, churches, cathedrals and grandiose palaces, giving plenty of interest to both tourists and expats alike. Forts and bastions line the coast line, and more ancient fortresses can be found as you wander around the city’s streets.
A wide range of work opportunities
From teaching English, hospitality work in the many restaurants and bars, or working for an overseas company, there’s plenty of choices when it comes to finding work in Sliema.
The town is particularly opportunistic for English speakers, and especially qualified English teachers. Sliema attracts many foreign English language students, and teachers for these students are hired in large numbers by the local Maltese academies.
The low overheads, low tax rates and wonderful weather have also drawn many overseas companies to Malta – and so there are a variety of jobs available in the online gaming, finance, informatics and pharmaceutical industry.
For those looking for a different schedule and hoping to soak up some extra sun during the day, there are a wide range of bars and restaurants and a thriving nightlife scene offering further work – whether it’s a neon-lit bar on the waterfront in nearby Paceville, a local restaurant or a hole in the wall bar tucked away in Sliema’s inner streets.
The mouth-watering food on offer
Sliema has plenty of culinary options to keep any foodie happy. The Maltese cuisine includes many fresh and filling dishes, infusing Sicilian, English and Mediterranean flavours.
Being an island, seafood plays a large part in many restaurant’s offerings. Soft shell crab, salted cod, lampuki (dolphinfish) pie, and the Maltese version of Bouillabaisse fish stew are all widely served, fresh from the day’s catch.
Rabbit, known as fenek, is also a popular choice – fenek stew is said to be the archipelago’s national dish. A medieval protest against hunting is said to be part of the reason for this, and the dish to this day retains a huge popularity locally.
No foodie tour of Malta would be complete without sampling the famous pastizzi. Sold up and down the waterfront, the savory pastries are stuffed with ricotta cheese or peas.
The thriving nightlife scene
The variety of nightlife options in Sliema makes it almost impossible to get bored! Whether it’s relaxing with cocktails and a wonderful view, people-watching in an English-style pub or partying the night away, there’s a bustling social scene to keep everyone happy.
Sliema and its surrounding old towns – Mdina, Birgu, Attard and Balgan – are the places to go for live-music and a glass or two of wine. These towns have seen a surge of fashionable wine bars in recent years, many of which host jazz performances. The Maltese love live music, and intimate acoustic gigs spring up regularly in tucked-away bars and lounges.
For the party animals, Paceville – just ten minutes up the road from Sliema – is the party capital of the island. It’s easy to get to for a weekend night out and boasts a huge amount of bars and clubs, attracting revellers from around Malta. Even if you’re not a party animal, Paceville is an island institution and unmissable for those looking for an all-around experience of Malta.
So with the huge variety of sightseeing, food, varied nightlife and job opportunities – the Maltese way of life is a huge attraction and gives expats many reasons why they choose to move to Sliema.