Sliema is a small seaside town on the eastern coast of Malta and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It’s been a favorite with locals and tourists alike since ancient times and it’s still packed with historical sites, beautiful churches and plenty of bars, restaurants and shops that line its streets. Whether at night time or during the day there are lots of things to do in Sliema.
1. Take a stroll down the Strand
The Strand is the wide promenade that runs along the sea in Sliema. It’s a popular place to walk and jog, but also home to many restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels. It’s easy to spend an entire day here people-watching while taking in the sun and enjoying some of Malta’s finest food.
This 1km stretch of beachfront is where you’ll find Beach Road: with its countless restaurants serving up delicious seafood dishes or local favourites such as rabbit stew cooked in red wine (ħobba tal-forn).
2. Go for a swim
Swimming is a great way to relax and let the stress of life go away. In Sliema there are lots of places where you can go for a swim. There are also water sports available like jet skiing, parasailing and speed boating. A popular place to swim is Exiles which offers a variety of activities. If you are looking for something more leisurely, then Balluta Bay is your best bet as it has crystal clear waters that will make you feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem!
3. Visit Fort Tigne
Fort Tigne is a 16th-century fortification built by the Knights of Malta. It is located on Sliema’s waterfront, opposite Valletta and close to the Grand Harbour (Valletta).
The fort played an important role in defending Valletta from attacks by sea, especially during the Great Siege of 1565. In fact, it was here that the Turks, under Dragut Rais landed their troops while they laid siege to Malta.
It was also used as a prison during World War II where many people were kept before being deported to concentration camps in Germany and Italy. Today it is open to tourists who can visit this one-of-its-kind place with its large cannons pointing towards Marsamxett Harbour (where all ships coming into Malta anchor).
4. Go shopping
Sliema is a great place to shop. It has lots of shops, and you can find some good deals there as well. The Point mall in Sliema is one of Malta’s biggest malls, with an excellent selection of shops. Bisazza Street is also a popular place to go shopping in Sliema; it’s full of small boutiques selling everything from clothing and jewelry to home goods and souvenirs.
5. Get to know the local cuisine
Malta’s cuisine is a melting pot of different cultures. The most popular ones are Italian, Arabic, and English. There are also some local dishes you can try out like rabbit stew or Maltese sausage.
- The food at Cafe Mediterranean is great! It’s a small place hidden in a residential area but the locals love to hang out here because they serve the best croquettes in town. They also serve amazing pasta dishes and meatballs made fresh daily by their chef Anthony who has lived on Malta for over 20 years now!
- If you’re looking for something sweet after dinner then head over to Sarpa Pastry Shop where they make all their pastries with fresh fruit! Their speciality is mouzaka (mousse cake) which comes with custard cream on top but I recommend ordering their zalabia (fried doughnuts) instead since it tastes better than any other doughnut I’ve ever had before!
- If you want something light then stop by Bar Butty Bar & Grill which serves traditional bar food like burgers as well as international cuisines such as Mexican fajitas or Lebanese falafel wraps (6 euros per person). The bar has live music playing every night from 8pm until late so it’s perfect for those who want an evening out without having too much alcohol 🙂
6. Have a drink on the Sliema Ferries
While the Sliema Ferries are primarily used for transportation, it’s also a good spot for a drink. The bar is open to the public and features a drink from the tap at a very reasonable price. The restaurant on board, Guadalupe’s Bar & Restaurant (named after one of Malta’s patron saints) has a beautiful view of Sliema and can be great for people watching!
The best part about drinking on these ferries is that you can take your beer/wine with you when you’re getting off in Valletta or Floriana!
7. Get lost in the narrow streets of Sliema
It’s a narrow street, with its arched ceilings and subtle colors. The sun is shining in through the windows; the sky is blue and clear.
This is Sliema architecture at its best. After all these years of being exposed to a vast range of styles, from classical Greek columns to postmodern concrete buildings, there’s nothing better than walking through Sliema’s streets to find yourself transported back in time—to somewhere more authentic than what you normally experience when walking in Malta’s capital city or elsewhere on the island.
8. Get a Ferry to Valletta or a Tour to Gozo and comino
- Take the ferry to Valletta.
The ferry across to Valletta is one of the easiest ways to get there, and it’s a great way to see some of Malta’s incredible coastline. You’ll pass by several other islands as well as Sliema, so pack your camera!
- Go on an island tour.
If you’re looking for something more than just a boat ride, try taking a day tour around Gozo or Comino Islands. These are two of Malta’s smaller islands (and therefore feel less touristy), and they offer incredible views of both Malta and Sicily across the sea.
9. Chill out at the beachfront bars and restaurants in Sliema
Sliema’s promenade is a great place to eat, drink and relax. In fact, if you just want to sit back with a cold beer or glass of wine and watch the sunset over the bay, we wouldn’t blame you for staying on this side of Valletta all day long. The restaurants in Sliema offer some amazing choices, whether you’re looking for local Maltese cuisine or something from farther afield like Chinese food, Italian pizza and kebabs. Here are some of our favorite places:
- The Zeffirino was once voted one of Malta’s top 10 bars by TripAdvisor users (and it doesn’t disappoint). They serve up a wide range of cocktails including mocktails if there are any designated drivers in your group.
- Located at Gzira Roundabout near St Julian’s town centre. Serving up North African cuisine as well as Asian dishes such as Thai curries and Malaysian noodle soups.
10. Relax at the Sliema promenade with your pooch!
Sliema is home to one of the few dog friendly beaches in Malta. The Sliema promenade is a great place to sit and relax with your pooch and enjoy the sea breeze, especially during those hot summer months. While dogs are allowed on the beach from 9am to 7pm, it is important for owners to clean up after their dogs as there are signs prohibiting people from feeding dogs or allowing them onto restaurant patios. Dogs are also not allowed into cafes or bars with outdoor seating areas.
Sliema is one of the most popular destinations in Malta, and for good reason. It has a lot to offer tourists looking for fun and relaxation during their stay on the island. From entertainment spots like bars and restaurants to historical sites such as Fort Tigne, there’s something for everyone here! If you want to know more about what else Sliema has in store then just follow our guide (or take one of our walking tours!)