Many visitors to Malta like to base themselves in the St Paul’s bay area. This area encompasses St Paul’s Bay, Qawra and Bugibba. There are plenty of things to do in St Paul’s Bay and the areas around. There is accommodation to suit all budgets, plenty of restaurants, and easy access to some of the best things to do in Malta.
How far is St Paul’s Bay from the Airport?
If you take a bus from Luqa Airport, it will take around 45 minutes. You need to use the X1 or X3 bus. The buses are extremely cheap. It will only cost around 2 euros to get from Luqa Airport to St Paul’s Bay by bus. However, the bus only runs from early morning until around 11pm.
If you want to take a taxi from the airport, it will save a little time. It will take around 35 minutes by car, but in Malta, everything depends on the traffic! When you arrive at the airport, head to the taxi stand. There is a coupon system for using the Taxi’s, which is really handy. It measn you wont get scammed, and it is a flat rate of 25 euros.
Is St Paul’s Bay safe?
People do tend to worry about safety when going on holiday. I lived in St Paul’s Bay for about 8 months. I am a solo female, and I always felt safe. The Maltese people are very helpful and kind. As with any destination, be careful at night, and do not do anything you wouldn’t do at home. During low season, it can be very quiet out on the streets. However, during peak times, the biggest issue is the amount of tourists.They sometimes get a bit loud and rowdy, but it is more annoying than unsafe in my opinion!
Where to stay in St Paul’s Bay?
Malta is pretty well known for package holidays, There can be some incredibly cheap deals from UK airports. If that is the kind of holiday you like, you will find plenty of hotels in the St Paul’s Bay area. Some of the more popular and well known hotels include Seashells Resort, the Dolmen and San Antonio. For those who enjoy a more low key holiday, try a local guesthouse. You will find plenty of traditional family owned BnB’s in the area. For longer stays, or those who like the independence, there are lots of great Air BnBs! Think breezy apartments with sea views! Use my air bnb discount code here for great rates!
In terms of location, Qawra, Buggiba and St Paul’s Bay are all great. These tiny towns are so close together, you can easily walk between all 3. Even if you want to stay elsewhere in Malta, thanks to the tiny size, you can always visit St Paul’s Bay. Sliema is probably the most popular place in Malta for tourists to stay. If you stay here, just hop on a bus to enjoy a day out in St Paul’s Bay.
Where to eat in St Paul’s Bay?
Less than 500 miles from Italy, the influence on Maltese cuisine is easy to see. Some delicious, authentic pizza and pasta can be found in St Paul’s Bay.
Portobello restaurant has a great terrace where you can eat whilst looking out to sea. Pasta and wine are brilliant here, as is the friendly service. Another great restaurant, in a small side street in St Paul’s Bay, is Made in Sud. This no frills, traditional pizzeria serves incredible food. The place is small, with a traditional pizza oven in the middle of the room. Watch your pizza being prepared from start to finish! I really recommend making a reservation as it gets so busy, and is popular with locals and tourists.
For amazing gelato in St Paul’s Bay, you can’t miss Sottozero. Just a few minutes from the main square, Sottozero always has a queue! There are so many flavours, including sorbets and vegan options. Many are permannet classic like chocolate and strawberry, but they also rotate in some guest flavours. Personal favourites of mine were vegan Black Orange and Kinder Sorpresa!
If you fancy seafood, then St Paul’s Bay has a huge array of options. Walk along the promenade and check out the special’s boards. Many restaurants will have Catch of the Day type specials, depending on what the local fishermen have an abundance of. These restaurants on the promenade tend to be no fuss, no tablecloth type places, with the focus being on the food and the sea views!
St Paul’s Bay Nightlife
St Paul’s Bay has an awful lot of bars for such a small town! From the huge tourist traps in the square, to the tiny local bars down side streets, there is something for everyone. For those looking for the main hub and most of the action, the square is the place to be. Fat Harry’s and the few pubs around it are always busy. It gets absolutely crammed is there is a big football match on. Fat Harry’s actually does quite nice food too, and staff are friendly.
For a more polished, Instagram worthy experience, head to Cafe Del Mar. Not too far from the Aquarium, they regularly host club nights. During the day, beautiful people lounge around the pool and take endless selfies. In the evening’s, DJ decks come out and the party starts. Cafe Del mar is an acquired taste, and caters to a very specific individual.
For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, let me share a wonderful secret with you! My favourite bar in St Paul’s Bay was a tiny little kiosk! If you walk from the main square towards the aquarium, you will find Harmony Kiosk. This unassuming little hut is easy to miss. However, grab a beer, and head into the little garden behind. In the day, you get a lovely little sun trap with ocean views. And in the evening, the fairy lights get turned on, and often live music starts!
Does St Paul’s Bay have a beach?
Malta is certainly famed for it’s lack of beaches. Some people even believe it does not have a single sandy beach – simply not true! In St Paul’s bay, you can find a couple of man made beaches. Buggiba Perched Beach is a nice little stretch of sand. Otherwise, head up to the aquarium to Qawra point. Here, you have a lovely stretch of sand and some interesting rock pools. It is also sheltered from winds so the the sea is lovely and calm.
If you are craving a real beach experience, hop on a bus to Ghajn Tuffieha. Here you find Golden Bay, but be warned, locals love Golden Bay on the weekend!
Watersports in St Paul’s Bay
For those who prefer a bit of adrenaline, St Paul’s bay offers some great water sport options. You can easily rent a jet ski, ride a banana boat, or even parachute whilst getting pulled by a boat! Plenty of the cheap gift shops sell snorkel masks, Buy one of those and head to Qawra point if you fancy seeing some fish. For those who are certified, or want to learn, Malta is known for Scuba Diving. There are many Dive Centres on the island. It is a great place to learn to dive, as the sea is calm and nearly always crystal clear. For those already certified to dive, Malta is infamous for shipwrecks.
Boat trips around Malta and Gozo
Head to Buggiba slipway to catch a cruise. The long concrete jetty here is the starting point for many boat trips. many have itineraries that take in Comino, Gozo, and even snorkelling in caves. You can choose a party boat trip, or a more family friendly affair! Check what is included in your tickets, as some include food and drink. In high season, you will be approached by ticket sellers all along the promenade. If you are thinking of buying tickets, definitely ask for a discount, particularly if you are a group! Try to plan any boat trip to Comino as early in the day as possible. The blue lagoon at Comino is beautiful, but gets very busy.
Things to do in St Paul’s bay when it rains
Luckily, Malta is an extremely dry country! But, when it rains, it tends to pour for hours! If you need to find indoor activities, you can always try shopping. There are some great gift shops selling souvenirs. There are also lots of jewelry shops with great quality pieces. If you are interested in cars, the take a look around the classic car museum. If the rain continues on into the evening, there is always the cinema too!
Day trips from St Paul’s Bay
As mentioned above, the most popular trip is the boat to Blue Lagoon. However, if you fancy something else, there are so many options. Malta is so small, that you can get anywhere in a day. Renting a car will give you flexibilty and the option to get off the beaten track. If you are not confident though, you can always use the cheap bus service!
If you are staying in St Paul’s Bay, take at least a day to visit Valletta. Malta’s tiny capital is full of wonderful architecture and is very walkable. It is a former capital of culture, and has a beautiful church.
I also highly rate Mdina as a wonderful day trip. Known as the Silent City, Mdina is a lovely little walled citadel. Many scenes from Game of Thrones were shot here. The city is steeped in history and is a maze of winding, cobbled streets.
Getting around Malta
The most cost effective way of getting around Malta is the bus system. St Paul’s Bay has many bus stops, so no doubt you will find one near your accommodation. If you want face to face bus information, you can go to the main bus terminal in Buggiba. It doesn’t matter where you go on the bus, the journey is always 2 euros! Buses are great, but can be overcrowded in summer. Also, roads in and out of Valletta get very congested, and the journey can take hours.
Renting a car is easy and convenient. Car rental starts as low as 30 euros a day. As always, make a note of any scrapes or scratches on the vehicle before renting it! In Malta, you drive on the left. Driving here is pretty easy, as there are no huge motorways and everything is sign posted in English. The biggest issue with driving in Malta is the impatient driving of the locals! They tend to under use their indicators, and overuse their horns!