On the island of Malta and north of the capital Valletta, visitors can find the town of St Julian’s – or San Gilijan – famous for its fun-filled daytime activities and a hotspot for nightlife. Though the town is small, with a population of about 8,000, its Paceville area abounds with luxurious hotels, a variety of restaurants and many trendy nightclubs. In addition, the superb summer weather ensures that visitors enjoy long walks on the seafront Promenade. On the last Sunday in August, both local people and tourists enjoy the annual feast of St Julian’s, after whom the town is named. Standing at 98 metres and the tallest building in Malta, the Portomaso Tower dominates the landscape.
History and Background
The Roman remains in nearby Balluta indicate the history of invasion and conquest on this area of the Maltese coast. Because of this, old and historic buildings fill the town, including fishermen’s huts. In the surrounding countryside, you can see old farmhouses. Most significant of all is the Old Parish Church, built in 1580 and dedicated to the patron saint. Possibly because of more recent fears of foreign invasion, the town remained insignificant until the building of the Spinola Palace in 1688. Built for public entertainment, this Baroque piece of architecture is privately owned today, though visitors can access the garden in front. The Palace is significant in that it gives its name to the bay in front of the town.
What to do and what to see
A holiday without eating out and enjoying local food and wine is unthinkable. The good news for visitors to St Julian’s, is that its many restaurants and eateries offer international cuisine, steaks and fresh, locally-caught seafood. And dancing the night away or just enjoying music is no problem since visitors have access to a variety of clubs, casinos and bars with bands performing live. Of course, daytime activities abound also.
The famous Promenade connects the town to Sliema and, in turn, takes the visitor to Spinola Bay and Balluta Bay. Begin your trek by joining the other walkers, joggers and cyclists at the St. George’s Bay beach. Go at your own pace and stop when you need a break or you just need time to take in the view.
Not far from the town is Balluta Bay. Visitors and local people alike take part in a variety of water sports, including swimming, diving and snorkeling. For gentler activity, absorb Balluta’s distinctive architecture. In addition to the art nouveau buildings and the Georgian terraced houses, is the Carmelite Church. Built between 1859 and 1877, it is a fine example of neo-gothic architecture, which was popular during the nineteenth century. Or take a boat trip about the Bay, the ideal way to appreciate it and its beautiful surroundings.
For romance, you cannot beat Spinola Bay. With its view of traditional Maltese town houses and arched boathouses surrounding the old church, even walking upon the overlooking hill is a delight. Better still, observe it as the sun sets and the lights of the town twinkle like stars on the surface of the water. Honeymooners must not neglect to take photos in front of the Love monument, the letters “LOVE” spelled out in glittering Travertine.
For an extraordinary day out, visit Portomaso near St Julian’s. The amenities of this exclusive residential and pleasure development include a yachting marina and a shopping mall. For eye-watering goods – and their eye-popping price tags – do not miss it.