Sliema started out as a tiny fishing village but developed into a small town during the 18th and 20th century and become the home to many wealthy British settlers. It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malta, with its 10km promenade that runs along the north eastern coastline, It is a key commercial district. Although it is famed for its shopping and exquisite café’s and restaurants there is much more to see and do. Here we will discuss the top 10 things to do in Sliema.
Sliema-Valletta ferry service
Although the ferry journey from Sliema to Valletta only takes a few minutes it gives you a unique perspective of the spectacular harbour views. Only costing around 3 Euros at the time of print to cross, it is by far the most affordable method of transportation.
Marsamxett Ferry Services runs two ferries an hour until the late evening. Although the ferries no longer operate by steam the sites along the way are as impressive as ever.
Manoel Island is located in the centre of Marsamxett Harbour and connected to the mainland via a small stone bridge. The Island houses a yacht yard and marina with 350 berths. Yachts and catamarans as large as 80meters can be viewed here.
There are many sites of interest scattered across the island but one of the most impressive is Fort Manoel, built in the 18th century by the order of St John, it has been occupied by many people most notably by the British Military who owned it from 1800 to 1964, during this time it was known as HMP Phoenicia. The Island is now often used as a filming location including for the TV series Game of Thrones.
Christine X Art Gallery
Christine X Art Gallery (formerly known as Artittude) opened in 2004 and focusing on showcasing local and international emerging artists whose pieces will become investment pieces in the future.
They exhibit abstract, landscapes and figurative works within the petite gallery space. The owners often run specialist exhibitions or showcase a single artist for a period, as well as showcasing work from their resident artist. This is a must visit attraction for any art enthusiast.
Another historical site with British heritage Tigne point was built on the former Tigne Barracks, it is now home to high-rise architecture, luxury apartments and real-estate including hi-tech officer and the main draw for tourists is the country’s largest Shopping Mall – The point. Tigne Point is the result of the countries largest re-development projects in the last decade.
The whole area is pedestrianised and to get to The Point you have to cross a bridge covered in small padlocks in a homage to the Pont Des Arts Bridge in Paris.
The oldest Theatre in the area it was built in 1907 by Philanthropist Alphonse Maria Galea as a classical proscenium-arch theatre it has evolved over the years and now has several performance areas including a depression era style speakeasy.
It was restored and reopened with ambitions to become one of the county’s cultural focal points and with it’s combination of classical shows, live music, contemporary art exhibitions and plays it have exceeded those expectations. Art work by the Maltese born painter Giuseppe Cali decorate the walls of the Salesian Theatre.
The promenade Walk
The promenade follows Tower road along the coastline and boasts 2km of unbroken sea views, the longest uninterrupted promenade in Malta. The walk itself is peaceful and offers spectacular views and scenery. Along the walk you will past The Fortress restaurant which used to be a military installation, a 117th century watchtower, historic churches and many unmissable ice cream parlours and cafes.
Your walk will end at Balluta Bay where you can view the cluster of post card perfect Art-Deco terraced townhouses that sum up the style of Malta.
Fond Ghadir – The Roman Baths
No holiday is complete without a bit of pampering and Malta will not let you down. Although the area is lacking in sandy beaches you can still enjoy a swim along the coastline in the Roman Baths.
The baths are cut into the rock beneath the idyllically located Surf-side restaurant and have been equipped with pool ladders for safety. Although they are named the Roman Baths they are thought to only date as fat back as the Victorian era, but they are still just as enjoyable.
The Back Streets
Everyone should try and get off the beaten track when visiting a new place, this will give you a chance to see the real Malta. Starting at Sir Adrian Dingli Street you can wander around for hours viewing the houses featuring fancy colonnades, splashes a colourful Maltese balconies and breath-taking Art-Deco and Art-Nouveau facades that used to symbolise the area.
These features may be missing from the main tourist areas, but they are still visible if you know where to look. You will also find local businesses such as Café Berry a vegan Cake and Coffee shop that you just can’t walk past, as well as dozens of quaint shops and boutiques and churches dotted around.
Stella Maris Parish Church
Malta is an important place in many religions but is one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, so it is no surprise that it is famous for its churches. It has the highest density of churches per square kilometre in the world. Stella Maris Church was built in 1853 and is one of the most remarkable on the island, those who are interested in religion or architecture should tour the churches. The oldest religious building is the Chapel of Our Lady of Graces, built in 1802.
Nearby you will find the neo-gothic Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the sacred heart and St Patricks church. If you are visiting between July and September, you will be able to see the Churches fully decorated for the annual village feasts which is a sight to behold.
Self-Drive Boat Hire
Those looking for a little more adventure and freedom, one of the best things to do in Sliema is to hire a Self-Drive Boat. This is a great way that will allow you to view the island from a whole new perspective, as well as explore the islands stunning coastlines, bays and historic sites.
You can rent a boat directly from Sliema’s coast or view our luxury section for the top luxury yacht rentals in Malta.