Despite the fact that it’s Malta’s most populous area, many of those travelling to this small Mediterranean archipelago tend to skip over the lively and bustling city of Sliema in lieu of Malta’s other cities and attractions. This, however, is a shame as Sliema has a lot to offer travellers, from beautiful seaside scenery to a great cafe and restaurant scene. There are a number of things to do in Sliema and it can be hard to know where to start! Follow this guide to ensure your visit to Sliema is a great one.
How To Get Around
Sliema is fairly small and you can easily get on foot…in fact, we would recommend it! Sliema is quite walkable and it can be very picturesque to get lost in its hilly back alleys.
If you’re looking to get out of Sliema and explore other areas of Malta, the bus system is quite extensive and there are multiple stops throughout the city. It is worth noting, however, that the busses can get packed in the warmer months and the drivers won’t always stop when you flag it down so sometimes you have to be patient if you’re relying on public transport.
Things To Do In Sliema
In recent years, Sliema has become a massive hub for expats and digital nomads seeking the high quality of life, great weather, and affordable prices. Because if this, Sliema has the feel of a big, bustling, vibrant city while still possessing some small-town charms. There are a number of cool things to do in Sliema — here are some of our favourites:
Walk Along The Promenade
Sliema is situated on its own peninsula just across the bay from Malta’s capital of Valletta in the north and the residential city of St Julian’s to the south. And the wonderful Victorian seaside promenade is Sliema’s crown jewel — stretching for three kilometres surrounding the entire peninsula, it leads all the way to St Julian’s.
Taking a leisurely stroll and enjoying the beautiful views of the Mediterranean along the promenade is one of the best things to do in Sliema. The promenade is also lined with gelato shops and many cafes, so there are ample places to take a rest if the Maltese heat starts to get to you. It also comes alive in the evening, where locals and tourists alike flock there to enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine in hand.
This is no joke. All along the promenade, it is possible to climb down the steps and splash around in the water. In the summer months especially, the water in Malta is very warm and swimming can be a welcome break from the sweltering heat.
The swimming areas are very well marked and there are also barricades both to prevent you from going too far out and to prevent boats from going to close. So if you don’t feel like venturing to the north of the island to find a sandy beach, going for a swim beneath the promenade can be one of the best things to do in Sliema.
Take Advantage Of Happy Hour
Malta really embraces the Southern European drinking and eating culture, and this becomes especially evident in Sliema. After just a quick stroll, you will see that most cafes offer great happy hour deals — many where you can get a free appetiser with the purchase of a drink. This can be an appealing option, especially in Sliema’s many wine bars. Malta has an emerging wine industry and makes some fantastic reds and whites and they can be really great to enjoy with a traditional meat and cheese platter!
Even if a cafe or bar doesn’t have a free appetiser to entice you to purchase an alcoholic beverage, most places will have fantastic drink deals which is great if you’re visiting Malta on a budget! So find a place that appeals to you and enjoy the sunset hours with a discounted drink in hand!
One of the things that we were incredibly impressed by in Malta was the quality (and value for money!) of the food. The local cuisine is delicious and there are myriad fantastic restaurants where you can sample it. There is also a great cafe culture in Sliema that is worth trying out. Here are some of our favourite Sliema restaurants and cafes:
This Kiwi cafe is located close to the promenade and makes excellent coffee and freshly squeezed juices. They also serve some great vegetarian sandwiches, salads, and cakes so it can be a great option for a late breakfast or lunch. It’s a pretty big hangout for the digital nomad and expat communities because it has both comfortable indoor and outdoor seating and fast wifi. Even if you’re just popping in for a flat white, be sure to head to Mint when you’re visiting Sliema.
St Maxim’s Cafe
This is a fantastic little bakery to stop by and get breakfast. They make every variety of pastizzi and also a number of other great baked goods — both sweet and savoury. They also serve smoothies and freshly squeezed orange juice. This is definitely more of local spot compared to Mint and is definitely worth stopping by!
Located on the Promenade, this might be the best place for an all-around experience. They have a good happy hour deal, a fantastic dinner menu, and a shisha specialist to keep you chilling out there all evening. We spent a wonderful evening there, sampling some local craft beer and eating a delicious octopus salad. It’s also a great location to smoke a hookah while looking out at the sea or watching the people stroll along the promenade while out for the evening.
This is absolutely one of the best Sliema restaurants. Situated in a rather unassuming alleyway, this place has a homely atmosphere and amazing food. It’s worth keeping in mind that the portion sizes here (and most anywhere in Malta) are absolutely massive so maybe don’t order an entree and a main per person unless you’re really hungry! Some great things to try are their octopus in garlic (a local speciality) and their seafood pasta. The fish is as fresh as it could be and you can definitely taste it! This is absolutely the place to have dinner in Sliema.
Where to Stay in Sliema
Where to Stay in Sliema
Because Sliema is the largest city in Malta and is arguably the best place to base yourself on the island, there are numerous accommodation options to choose from that will suit any budget. If you’re struggling to find the best place to stay, have a look at our suggestions:
Two Pillows Hostel — This small boutique hostel is a fantastic place to stay if you’re travelling solo or on a budget. This clean and comfortable hostel had a number of rooms (both dorm and private), a great location in Sliema, and a friendly and helpful staff. Click here to see their latest prices
Mr Todd Hotel — This small hotel located is located in the heart of Sliema and only a stone’s throw from the swimming areas that line the promenade. They offer clean and air-conditioned rooms, 24-hour reception, and a helpful staff to ensure your stay in Malta is a great one. Click here to see their latest prices
Airbnb — If you’re looking for a different sort of accommodation or want to befriend some locals while in Malta, then Airbnb can be a great option. There are a number of properties available in Sliema, from private rooms to entire apartments/houses. If you’re new to Airbnb, you can click here to get up to $40 off your first stay!
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Sliema!
Though Sliema isn’t filled with many tourist sites and activities, it is a lively city with many cool things to do and great places to eat!
Are you planning on visiting Sliema? Have you been? Let us know in the comments!