Discovering Malta

Bugibba Malta

In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea sits the beautiful island of Malta, just 50 miles south of Sicily and 175 miles east of Tunisia in North Africa. It is actually the Republic of Malta and is somewhere that we have wanted to visit for a very long time.

Map of Malta

Qawra and Bugibba

Our hotel, the AX Seashells Resort at Suncrest, was located in the north of the island in the resort of Qawra which is part of the district of St Paul’s. A long rocky outcrop stretching into the sea contains the resort of Bugibba on the north western edge and Qawra on the south eastern and has evolved over the years into probably the biggest tourist area on the island. Lots of hotels, nightclubs, and bars fill Bugibba with just a few in Qawra but it looks like it could be seriously tourist-busy in the summer months.

We were there out of season though so the hotel was more relaxed and the whole area fairly quiet which is just the way we wanted it. With a little sunshine thrown in if possible.

Seashells Resort Qawra
“View from the balcony out over the Mediterranean Sea”

Once we’d checked in we headed out for a walk around the headland to get our bearings and some fresh air. Battling the heavy wind we wandered up to Qawra Tower by Qawra Point Beach. This seemed to be where Bugibba started, difficult to tell, and was also where the Malta National Aquarium was located.

Qawra Point Beach
“Someone struggling against the wind at Qawra Point”

We weren’t interested in going in the aquarium but it looked pretty good, very modern and a lovely restaurant. We wandered round the shop though and used the toilet so I suppose that is going in isn’t it?

Bugibba Storm Damage

On the 24th February this year Bugibba was hit by Malta’s worst storm for nearly forty years and suffered serious damage to lots of historical sites and many hotels. Apparently over 180 tons of debris was collected by the authorities in the following days. As we walked, or rather as we got blown, down the coast towards Bugibba Bay Square we passed so many damaged buildings that it almost looked like a war zone.

Bugibba storm damage
“Remains of a hotel pool on the Bugibba coast”

It’s not actually as bad as I’ve painted it with only the pools and bars right on the rocky beaches being a little wrecked, the rest of the town looks okay as usual. Bugibba is known as a real party town with all of its clubs and bars which I’m sure still get going after dark (when we are well tucked up in bed). Taking a sneaky shortcut back to Seashells we did cross the main shopping/restaurant/bar street which is very helpfully called Tourist Street, or Triq it Turisti in Maltese. Weird huh?

Bugibba Bar
“Lots of great little bars line the coast in Bugibba”
Bugibba
“Bugibba coast, still a mix of rebuilding and holiday resort”
Bugibba Shops
“High end Bugibba shops for high end visitors (we walked right past)”

Ambassador Cocktails

We were excited to be heading back as we’d been invited to a Reception Cocktail Party in the Ambassador Lounge. How posh! We’re not really cocktail people but being a reception the drinks were gratis so we couldn’t say no could we? Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as upmarket as we expected and a tall glass of something bright blue was handed out to everyone whilst the Customer Services girl tried to shout above the music. Funnily a few of the guests weren’t English so had absolutely no clue what Miss Shouty was going on about and a few others just didn’t fancy the nuclear cocktail. We, however, loved it and sat back enjoying the amusing Carry-On type of show unfolding before our very eyes. Very very funny.

A fabulous dinner in the Coral Cove Restaurant followed which included as much local wine and beer as you wanted. After slightly overdoing it on both food and drink we agreed that we had to be very careful with this half-board nonsense to prevent putting on several unwanted stomach inches.

Meeting the Captain and Jazz

Next morning we headed back to one of those tourist shops that advertises trips and excursions, you know the ones I mean. There is usually a local fella outside trying to sell you a speedboat trip somewhere you really don’t want to go. We’d seen one in Qawra and were welcomed by a friendly local girl. When I say local, she was local to south London so in minutes we were getting on like a house on fire and she was fascinated by our JWalking lifestyle. She looked like she might be called a hip and trendy name so in our minds became Jazz. The hard-selling completely disappeared as we were just after leaflets and info but she did introduce us to her Maltese boss who we dubbed Captain Morgan after all the boating posters.

The Captain told us all about the boat trips and also all about his obsessive gambling addiction. How if we booked anything he would just spend the cash we gave him in the betting shop as soon as we left. Jazz on the other hand just told us about her three children, their various fathers, and her troubled life in Streatham, South London. What a treat!

Qawra Bay
“Still a little windy at Qawra Point but improving ….”

Bugibba and St Paul’s

As the weather was better and the crazy wind had dropped a bit we retraced our steps round Qawra Point to see Bugibba in the sunshine. It’s all part of St Pauls which is the biggest town in northern Malta and it’s population actually triples during the summer months with all the tourists wanting to visit. Much nicer and interesting to see more historical sights such as St Pauls Shipwreck Church.

St Pauls shipwreck Church
“St Paul’s Shipwreck Church in Saint Paul’s”
Bugibba
“Looking down into St Pauls Bay from the Shipwreck Church”

Founded in memory of Saint Paul being shipwrecked on these very rocks the coast continued round to the impressive Wignacourt Tower. Also known as St Pauls Bay Tower, it is the oldest surviving watchtower in Malta built in 1610 as a defence against the Ottoman Empire. Variously used as a police station then a post office it is now a museum. Looked amazing in the afternoon Maltese sunshine.

Wignacourt Tower in St Pauls
“The Wignacourt Tower in Saint Paul’s”

St Pauls Wignacourt Tower

St Pauls

At the end of our first full day we wandered back to the hotel before a more sensible evening meal and soft drinks. We planned to enjoy the food on offer and not go too crazy like a few of our fellow glutenous guests. With the weather improving and forecast to be even better we decided we quite liked Malta and were looking forward to more exploring over the coming days.

Malta Map

15/03/2019

Discovering Malta

30 comments

  1. Malta certainly has its mixture of good and not so good! Why do they insist on spoiling these beautiful places with streets of bars and clubs that you could get in any city across the world, and probably a stones throw from your own front door. Ii’ve never been there, and would like to go, perhaps I’ll make it an out of season trip to avoid all those irritating and probably very drunk tourists!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hope you get over to Gozo. We visited in 98, just had hand luggage and had nowhere booked to stay. We managed to find an apartment at Marsalforn on Gozo that cost us the equivalent of 5 pounds a night it was fab. We visited a fair in the middle of the island where raffle prizes included live goats and chickens and the major spin the wheel prize was a cow. We also found a bar where the owner had previously been on the construction team for the Tescos in Stafford (where we lived). We got on so well that every round we bought, he gave us the same amount back in change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like an amazingly memorable trip Andy. Getting your money back with every round is a real result. Gozo looks fabulous though, far too good to miss.

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  3. Love your blog! I’m a Maltijja from Malta (born and bred) and am glad you like it here. It’s not a perfect country and like every other place has its pros and cons, yet I cannot help but be in love with it (maybe cause I’m biased too hehe). The line between natural beauty and modern development is a fine one, especially when a country is so very small and has such a high population density, yet our Baroque architecture and historical heritage seem to bridge the two.

    Hope you have time to take a look at the prehistoric temples both in Malta and Gozo!

    Let me know should you need any tips or suggestions on where to visit! Have a nice stay 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. Love the island and actually the north east development is okay as it has been confined to one place, much better than a lot of other countries. Most of the island is natural and unspoilt. Beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A great recount of this area of Malta. Have always wanted to visit here. We actually tossed up going at the end of the year as we will be in Sicily visiting family but reconsidered and thought it would be better to go in the warmer weather and enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean water.
    How long are you guys there for?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our first trip as a married couple was to Malta many years ago in August. Being English we had taken long sleeved shirts and cardigans. We also hired a motor bike because we were too young to hire a car. Helmets were not compulsory and I thought as the bike leaned I should lean the other way…… I haven’t been on the back of a bike diner. So we have fond memories of Malta.

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  6. We were there over 20years ago. Had a Christmas and New Year there which was different! I remember the wind now, my son decided to go for a paddle and the wind blew one of his trainers off the rocks and into the sea. It was last seen heading towards Sicily. I would def like to go back for another visit though, when it’s warmer. We all enjoyed it there but it was cold as it was December/January time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can imagine it might be a little chilly and breezy in the winter but a warmer trip would be great. We love it and would love a return already, lots to see. Think it’s one of those places that really changes in the summer.

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  7. When you finished the blog with ‘at the end of our first full day’ it came as something of a surprise as from reading the blog I thought you were describing your whole week! Impressive discipline not to go all in with the food and booze. I think we both know a few people that would struggle. Top blog mate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mayo, it was seriously hard not to just go for it with the food but we managed to pace ourselves. Harder with breakfast than dinner I think.

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  8. It’s great that you’re having a holiday, just for you two. No workX and no house sitting. My in-laws went to Malta years ago and didn’t like it at all. It was probably peak season, and if they stayed where all the bars are that would explain why. That wouldn’t have been their scene at all. The area you stay makes all difference, and it sounds like you’ve managed to get yourselves in the right spot.

    Liked by 1 person

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