Sliema, the shoppers’ mecca of Malta, the high-rise array rising up from the sea, dwarfing smaller structures with her imperious heights. It is hard to imagine that one can find peaceful spots in this bustling city, with its constant flow of traffic and its myriad of shoppers and businesses. Yet if you look closely enough, and if you know where to look, Sliema might just surprise you with her underlying charm, and provide you with some truly awe-inspiring views and experiences. Ready to deviate from the beaten track and embark on an off-road journey of Sliema?
1. Fort Tigne
No typo there – we are talking about Tigne – yet it is the solitary fort which catches our eye. Engulfed by the gigantic apartment buildings and the shopping centre, Fort Tigne mostly goes unnoticed. Yet this quaint fort has been a stronghold since 1792, when it was built by the Knights of St John. One of its first tasks was defending Malta against Napoleon’s attack in 1798, and it was then put to use by the British, during their 200-year rule of Malta. It is now being restored to its original state, and offers unobstructed views of Valletta’s iconic skyline. It takes a while to find, but it’s SO worth it.
2. Take in the Views from the Skyroom Bar at Preluna Hotel
The Preluna Hotel had in itself been a landmark for a substantial part of Maltese history, being the highest building in the area for many years. It has now been surpassed by many other buildings, yet the view from the Skyroom bar on the 13th floor is still jaw-droppingly beautiful. Sip on some cocktails at sunset and snap away to your heart’s content as golden hour veils over the city – be careful not to look down if you’re afraid of heights!
3. Escape the crowds at an Escape Room
Sliema can feel a little too crowded sometimes, and the best way to beat the crowds is to engage in a fun activity which will also give your brain a workout, all in the company of your friends. While you’ll be trying to escape the room in an hour or less, you will also be escaping the scurrying crowds outside. It is also the perfect solution to a rainy day or even a stifling hot day! There’s nothing an escape room adventure can’t fix.
4. Roam the backstreets of Sliema
While Sliema puts up a modern and futuristic façade, its heart and soul lie in its backstreets – the quiet Sliema of olden days. You can start exploring any backstreet you wish, however, we do recommend finding Freres Street and then getting lost from there. You’ll be surprised at the sheer amount of picturesque Maltese balconies that can be found here, as well as narrow little streets which wind down maze-like. It is actually surprising that a quiet break from Sliema lies just beyond its main streets, yet few people actually bother to look.
5. Cuddle with cats at Independence Garden
If you crave some feline attention, head to Independence Garden, where perched on one of the sheltered benches you’ll find a small cat haven. These cats are regularly fed and have cosy blankets and cushions to sleep on, and are blissfully happy with a cuddle or two. When life gets a bit too much, it Is always helpful to cuddle a furry friend; whether you are feeling lonely or sad, or you just want to spend a few playful minutes (or hours, we won’t judge) in the marvellous company of cats. You’ll recognise the garden by the Egyptian-like statue of a colourful cat perched over the garden’s wooden gazebo.