Situated on the north-eastern coast of Malta, bordering Gzira and St. Julians, Sliema is a bustling town overlooking Marsamxett Harbour, Manoel Island and Valletta on one side of the Tigne peninsula, and the open Mediterranean Sea on the other.
With a residential population of almost 13,500, the town is also a popular tourist resort with numerous hotels, bars and restaurants. Shopping in Sliema is centred on Tower Road where there is a wide variety of local shops, international high-street and designer outlets and a choice of supermarkets. Many of the hotels and cafes line the harbour along a stretch of road known as The Strand.
The boats moored on the waterfront here offer a selection of excursions. These include harbour cruises, day and evening trips to Comino and The Blue Lagoon and days out sailing around Malta and Gozo. There is also a regular ferry service across the harbour to Malta’s capital city, Valletta.
The town’s motto is “Celer ad Oras Surgo” (hastily from the coast arisen), which refers to the fact that Tas-Sliema map grew rapidly as a residential area in the late 19th century. Once known as il-Qortin, the burgeoning town’s Stella Maris church was declared a parish in its own right in 1878, when it was separated from that of Birkirkara. Wealthy Valletta residents built summer houses in Sliema Malta around this time, and some survive to this day.
Accommodation caters for both the holiday and business traveller, with a variety of 3 and 4 star hotels including The Preluna, The Park and The Metropole. In addition there are two 5-star hotels, The Fortina Spa Hotel near to Tigne Point and the Palace next to St James Capua hospital. Both the 5-star and some of the 4-star establishments offer a range of gym and spa facilities, as well as massages, facials and other beauty treatments. All the hotels have good dining outlets; some have a wide choice of restaurants providing a variety of cuisines including Japanese, Thai, Indian and Mediterranean. Most Sliema hotels offer Sunday buffets, especially popular with families.
At Tigne Point, a large project is underway to build a luxury integrated leisure, retail and residential complex. Office space will also be available and this contemporary development will also ensure the restoration of Fort Tigne, built in 1792 and one of the few defences built by the Knights that attempted to block Napolean’s invasion in 1798.