St Julians is a buzzing seaside town on the northeast coast of Malta. It used to be a small fishing village (and its atmospheric 17th-century watchtowers still stand) but now the bays and marinas are circled with glittering modern hotels and restaurants. The town is known for its thriving nightlife, but it also has a quieter side: you can wander along its long promenade and feast on fresh seafood with a waterfront view.
Many hostels in St Julien's make the most of the Maltese weather, with large sun-drenched gardens. At the end of a long day, find hostels with a whirlpool to relax in or join other travellers for a communal barbecue as the sun sets. Some hostels organise island-hopping tours or have bikes for their guests to rent during the day. Since the town itself is compact, most of St Julians' hostels are a short walk to the Paceville district, where you'll find bustling bars.
There are four main areas to visit in this quirky town. To the south there's the St Julian's Bay area. Here, you can swim at Balluta Bay while admiring views of the gothic Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, or watch small fishing boats bob in Spinola Bay. Only a few minutes up the promenade, you can take in the sights of the upmarket marina at Portomaso Bay, where yachts and boutiques abound. And to the north is St George's Bay, best known for its turquoise waters.
Spinola Bay is a bustling area where you'll find plenty of places to sit with a drink, looking at the fishing boats and the reflections of the street lights in the water. By day, perhaps with a gelato in hand, stroll up the hill, past traditional townhouses with quaint shuttered windows to Spinola Palace, a large house once built for an Italian knight. You can also follow the promenade through Pembroke to White Rocks. This ghost town has been covered in graffiti murals that stretch across the sides of buildings.
Everything is within easy reach in Malta, including Malta International Airport at Luqa. Hop on a bus at arrivals – the TD2 direct service takes only 20 minutes to reach St Julians, while the X2 takes about an hour. Once in St Julians, you can either walk everywhere or just jump back on a bus as Malta has a well-connected network. You can even get to the capital Valletta in under half an hour.