Bugibba, Qawra & St Paul’s Bay

The architecture does not inspire, but Bugibba is probably the cheapest place to stay on the island. Although somewhat cut off from Valletta and from other main parts of the island, its facilities are such that many of its visitors are happy to stay put.

The emphasis is on bars, pubs, discos and restaurants (mainly of the pasta, pizza and hamburger variety). A lively promenade offers bathing and a variety of water sports, including paragliding. On summer evenings the streets teem with people and music blares from late-night bars.

Daytime activities include boat trips to the islands of Comino and Gozo. Another popular tour is the Underwater Safari; as you steam around St Paul’s bay portholes below sea-level allow you to view the world of marine fauna and flora, as well as a couple of shipwrecks.

Qawra

Together Qawra and Bugibba now occupy almost the entire peninsula on the east side of St Paul’s Bay. More or less merging with Bugibba, Qawra is more restrained than its noisy neighbour, with a choice of slightly more superior accommodation. Hotels and apartments have been mushrooming here since the 1970s. Among the hotels here is the New Dolmen, named after the prehistoric remains which stand, somewhat incongruously, in its gardens. Like Bugibba, there are plenty of bars, caf’s and restaurants. The rocky beach as a restaurant and plenty of facilities for watersports enthusiasts. The Qawra Tower at the far end of the peninsula was one of the many fortress towers erected by Grand Master Martin de Redin in the 17th century.

St Paul’s Bay

Several sites around this bay recall stories of St Paul’s sojourn in Malta, among them Ghajn Rasul (Apostle’s Fountain) on the coastal road which is said to be the spot where St Paul struck a rock which promptly spouted water; and the parish Church of St Paul Our Lady of Sorrows) which is supposed to be the site of the spot where St Paul shook off a viper into the fire. St Paul’s itself sprawls inelegantly along the main coastal road. Though it is not as blatantly tourist-orientated as Buggiba, it has lost its former fishing-village charm and its older buildings look somewhat forlorn. The prettiest spot is the harbour, though even here the view of fishing boats is gradually giving way to one of construction.

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