It's definitely one of those go-to places when visiting Malta.
From fishing village and summer resort to where it’s all happening
Today, Sliema is an affluent area and one of Malta's main hubs, a must-see for any visitor to Malta. It began however, as a quiet fishing village, and remained so right up until the colonial period, when the British lined the coast with elegant Victorian houses with bay windows, of which, alas, only a few remain. Since Sliema is now Malta's main coastal resort, luxury residential apartments and tourist accommodation hug the coast, but you can still spot a few architectural gems sparsed in between - see if you can find them!
It’s one of the best places for shopping
The area around the Sliema Ferries and the famous Bisazza Street has attracted commerce of all kinds. You'll find everything from well-known brands to bookshops and hole-in-the-wall silver shops nestled among the cafes, gelaterias, restaurants, shopping malls and ferry stalls. It all comes together as shoppers, tourists, businessmen and the affluent bring them to life.
You can take a ferry to Valletta
Sliema is the best place to enjoy the charming Valletta skyline. Reaching it across the water is an experience in itself. Not only is it memorable, it is practical too. The Sliema ferries run a service across Marsamxett Harbour, granting you a delightful experience in exchange for taking the longer way by bus!
The Promenade runs all the way from St Julian's to Msida
The Sliema Promenade is most certainly one of the main attractions of the location. Several parts of it have been embellished over the years, while direct access to the coast is still possible almost all the way. It makes a lovely walk that stretches all the way to St Julian's heading north and Msida via Gzira and Ta’ Xbiex headed south, bringing you on Valletta's doorstep. Everything you need is right here, on this extraordinary walkway.
There are several swimming spots all along the front
Along a coastline merely 5km long, you will find various specifically named spots, such as Quisisana, Font Ghadir, Surfside, Exiles, Balluta Bay and Spinola Bay. Each of these stretches of coast has some distinct characteristics, and all of them make for marvellous swimming and snorkelling by picturesque rocky beaches. I can't help but imagine that the specific names for these stretches, each barely a hundred metres long, was probably a clever way to ensure you did meet your friends at the beach before mobile phones were a thing.
You can stay everything from hostels to luxury hotels and apartments
With so many attractions concentrated in one area, Sliema also attracts plenty of visitors, from the luxury tourist to the independent traveller and the backpacker. There is a style of accommodation to suit every taste and budget, as well as plenty of AirBnb options. Whatever you go for, expect to be charmed.
You can take a cruise around the harbours
Sliema has access to Marsamxett Harbour and the Grand Harbour lies just on the other side of Valletta. Seeing the fort at Manoel Island, the capital city of Valletta and The Three Cities close up from the sea is not a thing to be missed. Several companies run Two Harbour Cruises; a history class in the best scenario imaginable.
It is worth getting off the coast and into the village core
While the Sliema coast is where it's all happening, the village core is where tradition carries on, undisturbed by it all (except for the parking issues, nowadays!) A stroll along Sliema's narrow side streets will reveal quaint houses with traditional Maltese balconies, an oddly placed church here and there, and a few other curiosities. Do take the time for this, because this is the Sliema of the Slimizi, the residents.
Sliema has tradition, innovation, commerce, entertainment and the opportunity for a beautiful time by the sea. Staying here is highly sought-after, however, don't be tempted to spend all your time in Sliema!