Sliema in Malta: Top Things to See and Do

Sliema in Malta

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Sliema in Malta is a vibrant town that will not disappoint. Sliema has yoga classes and scuba diving. It also has delicious food and stunning views of Valletta.

Malta has been my home since 2011. Currently, I live in St. Julian’s, a 20-minute walk from Sliema. Before I lived in Sliema itself.

I know that planning a trip to a new place can sometimes feel overwhelming with so many options to consider. You might be curious about whether Sliema is a worthwhile destination, or if staying in Sliema itself is a good choice. But here I am – excited to share my local insights with you to ensure you have a great vacation in Malta.

In this post, I have highlighted Sliema’s must-visit attractions, things to do, and also some of my tested and tried places for food and drink.

Quick Facts About Sliema in Malta

  • Sliema is one of Malta’s most populated towns. It has around 22,000 residents.
  • This town has 3.5 km of coastline. Plus, you can swim anywhere.
  • It’s known for its mix of old and new architecture, with traditional Maltese townhouses next to high-rise apartments.
  • Because of tourists and expats, Sliema is very multicultural. Sliema’s most common languages are English, Maltese, Italian, and Spanish.

Sliema: What to Know Before You Go?

Is Sliema Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! You have to visit Sliema in Malta. It’s a coastal town that has something for everyone.

The promenade is fantastic for a morning stroll or a sunset walk and offers the most incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. Plus, a long rocky beach is perfect for a swim and a chill barbecue at night with friends.

In addition, you will be able to find tasty eats or shopping spots in Sliema.

And if you’re into architecture, explore the smaller streets of Sliema. The Maltese buildings, with their doors and balconies, are stunning.

An illuminated Church of Sacro Cuor with intricate architectural details against the dark night sky. The church is located in Sliema, Malta.
Parish Church of Sacro Cuor in Sliema, Malta

Is Sliema a Good Place to Stay During Your Holidays?

Staying in Sliema during your vacation is a great choice. I love taking morning walks along the promenade and enjoying a coffee in the morning sunlight. The town has a relaxing and charming vibe, making it easy to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Sliema is also a convenient base for exploring other places, such as Valletta, Comino, and Gozo. There are many buses that can take you to other towns easily. You can also find the Sliema ferries harbor where boats depart for Comino and Valletta.

But what makes Sliema truly special is its vibrant and lively atmosphere in the evenings. The town has a fantastic selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it the perfect place to spend your evenings after a day of sightseeing.

Lastly Sliema offers a wide range of accommodation options from boutique hotels to self-catering apartments. Click here for the best deals.

Does Sliema have a Beach?

Even though Sliema isn’t a beach town in the traditional sense, there are still plenty of places to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea.

There is a small sandy beach in Balluta Bay, on the border with St. Julians. Yet what makes Sliema unique is the rocky coast along the entire town. You can swim and sunbathe anywhere along the coastline, and ladders help you get in and out of the water.

I love snorkelling, and I prefer Sliema’s rocky beach. The water is clear, and you can see lots of fish. Once, I even saw a turtle there. Check out my complete guide to Sliema Beaches.

a rocky beach bathed in sunlight, with rugged terrain extending towards the calm sea. In the distance, buildings can be seen along the coastline in Sliema, Malta.
Rocky Beach in Sliema

What is the Best Way to Get around Sliema?

Sliema is a small coastal town that’s easy to explore on foot. However, there are other options for getting around, depending on your needs. One of the most convenient ways to travel is by ferry, which takes you directly to Valletta in just 15 minutes.

Public transport is also convenient and frequent, with many buses running through Sliema to other parts of the island. If you prefer to drive, on-street free parking is available in Sliema, although it can be challenging to find a spot at times.

You can also park at private parking lots. Click to see a map with car parks in Malta.

You will need a car if you intend to stay longer and want to enjoy nature and the remote areas of Malta. For an affordable rental car, try Discover Cars. Also, here’s my guide to renting a car in Malta.

What is the Nightlife like in Sliema?

Sliema is not known for its nightclubs, but there are still plenty of options for those looking to have a fun night out. Many bars in Sliema stay open late so that you can enjoy a drink with friends.

If you are up for some dancing, you’ll find lively nightlife in Paceville. It’s just a 10-minute taxi ride away. So, you can easily hop over to Paceville for a night of dancing and fun.

Places to Stay in Sliema

D Townhouse: Modern, spacious suites with rooftop access and terraces. Book here.

Hotel Verdi: Stylish rooms bathed in natural light, featuring modern amenities and private balconies with views of Valletta’s skyline. Book here.

Land’s End Boutique Hotel: Prime waterfront location on Sliema Bay, close to dining options. Highly recommended for sea-view rooms. Book here.

Brief History of Sliema

Sliema’s history dates back to the Great Siege of 1565. The Knights of Malta occupied the area after the Turks were defeated.

During the second half of the 19th century, Sliema became a popular summer resort for wealthy Valletta residents. The quiet, inland streets were lined with elegant villas and townhouses.

Three kilometres of sea promenade overlook rugged rocks and Victorian buildings. As the town grew, a new church dedicated to Our Lady Star of the Sea (“Stella Maris”) was built. By 1878, the religious authorities declared Stella Maris Church a parish.

After WWII, Sliema underwent extensive development, with Victorian houses on Tower Road replaced by modern apartment buildings and hotels.

Insider Tips on Things to Do in Sliema

Take in the Sights and Sounds of Sliema’s Promenade

One of the top things to do in Sliema is to stroll along the promenade. You can start your day early and join the joggers who enjoy the fresh sea air in the morning. Or, you can visit in the evening to catch the beautiful red skies during sunset.

While on the promenade, enjoy a cup of coffee to-go at one of the many coffee shops. If you prefer a more relaxing experience, sit on one of the benches and enjoy the sea view. Or else observe the people walking by the promenade. It’s a great spot to unwind and soak up the local atmosphere.

Chill on Sliema’s Rocky Beach

When the sun sets in Sliema, one of my favourite places to unwind is the rocky beach close to the Exiles. It’s always buzzing with people having barbecues, picnics, or enjoying a cold beer and a takeaway burger.

There’s a great vibe here, and what makes it even better is the music coming from the nearby Exiles bar

I love spending summer evenings on this rocky beach, having snacks and a drink, enjoying the sea sounds, and watching the stars.

A rocky beach in Sliema which is illuminated by artificial lights during the night. People are gathered on the beach, some sitting around small fires, and buildings line the coastline in the background.
Rocky Sliema’s Beach at Night

Swim at Sliema’s Beaches or Roman Baths

You can swim anywhere in Sliema except the harbour area. On the rocky beaches, getting into the water is accessible with ladders. You can even rent an umbrella near the Exiles if you want shade.

Sliema’s rocky beach is also an excellent place for snorkelling! Sea creatures hide among the rocks, waiting for you to discover them.

There is also a unique beach in Sliema called Roman Baths. The baths were carved out of rocks and have been used for swimming for hundreds of years. Although they are called Roman Baths, they date back to the Victorian era. That’s when people in England started heading on vacations to the seaside for fun.

The image depicts Roman baths in Sliema. These are structures cut out in the limestone and partially submerged in water, with algae covering some surfaces. In the background, the sea stretches out towards the horizon, with a ship visible in the distance.
Roman Baths in Sliema, Malta

Baths were made by carving holes in the rocks and adding steps so people could climb into and out of the water. They’re only three feet deep, so you can still enjoy the water even if you don’t know how to swim.

Take in the Breathtaking Views of Valletta from Sliema

Next, you should go to Tigne Seafront and look at the magnificent view of Valletta. It’s the best place to see Malta’s capital city from a distance.

You can see Valletta across the blue sea that separates the two cities from there. The yellow limestone buildings and city walls make the view even more impressive. You can take some nice pictures there.

For a unique experience, consider taking a ferry from Sliema Ferries to Valletta. I love it! Despite living in Malta for more than ten years, I still feel excited every time I take the ferry to Valletta. It feels like a bit of adventure. Plus, you get to see amazing views. It’s worth a visit!

If you want to understand Malta’s history well, take a walking tour in Valletta. Look at my guide for the best Valletta walking tours.

Get Fit with Outdoor Classes

Take a yoga or Zumba class in the Independence Gardens in Sliema if you want to stay active. Nothing beats exercising outdoors, with fresh air and sunshine energising you.

Also, a refreshing dip in nearby waters will help you cool off after your workout. Check out Facebook events for classes in the area. 

SUP yoga is offered in the summer on Manoel Island (it’s 15 mins from Sliema). No prior yoga or SUP experience is required. Book it here:

Discover the Underwater World: Scuba Diving in Sliema

Try scuba diving in Sliema for an exciting adventure! There are several diving centres in Sliema that offer scuba diving experiences for beginners. You can start with a test dive and dive in the shallow sea.

Even on your first dive, you can spot some marine life. Trust me; it’s way more exciting than learning in a pool.

I learned to scuba dive at Dive Systems and it was amazing! They will teach you all the basics and safety guidelines, so you don’t have to worry if you have never dived. Plus, they have a small shipwreck close to the Exiles that you can explore during your first few dives. It’s such a unique experience!

Are you planning to visit Blue Lagoon in Comino? Check out my guide to the best Blue Lagoon boat tours.

My Top Recommendations for Food and Drinks in Sliema

As a local, I often get asked for recommendations on the best places to eat and drink in Sliema. So I want to share my top recommendations with you, so you can enjoy some tasty meals and drinks without falling into a tourist trap.

So, without further ado, here are my top recommendations for food and drinks in Sliema.

Best Coffee – La Crema in Balluta

If you’re a coffee lover, you should check out La Crema in Balluta. This Sicilian café offers fresh brioches in the morning and delicious pizza in the evening. They also serve sandwiches, salads and other lunch food.

A cup of coffee and a pastry bag from La Crema in Sliema. The table setting suggests a cosy cafe ambience, inviting customers to enjoy a delightful coffee break.
La Crema in Sliema

They have a wide variety of coffee drinks, from strong and bold to smooth and creamy. I often visit this place for my morning coffee, and it never disappoints. Coffee is always fresh and delicious, and the staff is so friendly that they know the regulars by name.

Best Pub – Simon’s Pub

Located just 5 minutes from Balluta, Simon’s Pub is an English-style pub that has been open since the 1980s.

The pub offers a wide range of craft beers to choose from, and what sets it apart is the owner, Simon. He is friendly and loves interacting with his visitors, sharing stories, and providing travel tips. Simon is a traveller himself and has some fascinating travel stories to share.

The pub also has a cosy terrace where you can enjoy drinks and relax.

The exterior of Simon's Pub in Sliema. Various signs and decorations adorn the pub's facade, including beer advertisements, hot dog signs, and other colourful displays. A heater and an umbrella can be seen in the foreground, indicating an outdoor seating area.
Simon’s Pub

Best Street Food – Kebab ji

Discover Kebab ji for a taste of the Middle East. The staff is friendly and attentive. Enjoy standout dishes like Falafel, Taboulé, and Chicken Wrap. Everything is fresh and made right before your eyes. I like taking food from there and enjoying it by the seaside.

Sliema: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sliema Malta worth visiting?

Sliema is an awesome place to visit in Malta. It has a beautiful seaside promenade that stretches for 3 km, perfect for long walks and enjoying the view. The town is always lively, with lots of shops, restaurants, and fun activities like yoga classes and scuba diving. You’ll never run out of things to do in Sliema!

What is Sliema known for?

Sliema is famous for its long promenade along the sea, called the Sliema Front. It’s a great spot for walking, jogging, or just taking in the view. The town is also known for its many international shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a popular place for both locals and expats. Sliema’s rocky beaches are perfect for swimming and snorkelling too.

Which is better, Valletta or Sliema?

Both Valletta and Sliema are fantastic places to visit in Malta, but they have different vibes. Valletta is the capital city. It is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and cultural attractions. Sliema is more modern and lively, with a focus on shopping, dining, and fun activities. The best part is that these towns are just a quick 10-minute ferry ride apart, so you can easily visit both in a day!

Does Sliema have an old town?

Sliema doesn’t have a traditional old town like Valletta. But, you can still find some beautiful historic buildings and architecture throughout the town. Check out the Art Nouveau Balluta Buildings. Also, wander through the narrow streets of Sliema. You can see charming old townhouses with colourful windows and doors.

Is Sliema cheaper than Valletta?

Generally, Sliema is a bit cheaper than Valletta when it comes to accommodations, dining, and shopping. Sliema also has cheaper options. For groceries, there’s the Lidl supermarket. And, for quick meals, plenty of street food vendors.

Is Sliema expensive?

Compared to some other parts of Malta, Sliema might seem a bit pricier, especially for accommodations and eating out. But don’t worry. You can still find affordable hotels, apartments, and casual eateries. If you want to save some money, spending an evening with friends on the rocky beach, enjoying a few snacks and drinks, is a great budget-friendly option.

Does Sliema have a beach?

Yes, Sliema has several rocky beaches along its coast that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkelling. While you won’t find long sandy stretches, there’s a small sandy beach at Balluta Bay. There are also some beach clubs (called lidos) where you can rent sun beds and umbrellas, and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink by the sea.

Sliema is a vibrant and exciting destination with plenty to offer. Its central location also makes it the perfect base for exploring other parts of Malta. So, if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful island, be sure to put Sliema on your list. 

If you liked this post, also check out my other guides to Malta’s towns – Valletta, Three Cities, Gzira, Ta’Xbiex, Marsaskala, Naxxar, Mellieha, Bugibba and St. Julian’s.

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