ST.  PAUL'S  BAY,  BUGIBBA  AND  QAWRA

Qawra, Bugibba and St Pauls Bay are three adjoining villages in the North of Malta.  Till fifty years ago Qawra had just a few farmhouses and one bar, All Saints,  Bugibba was practically non-existant and St Pauls Bay  had a few fishermen`s houses and villa`s which were the summer residences of the wealthy.  Gradually, building spread to Bugibba  as many Maltese were looking to buy or rent summer residences in the area

Later still guest houses , hotels and apartment blocks were constructed  by entrepreneurs who realized the potential in the area to accommodate the ever increasing number of tourists ………. and the rest is history.  Now, a number of Maltese are choosing Bugibba/Qawra as their main residence so quite a number of shops are opening up.

Basically nowadays Bugibba and Qawra  attract people looking for a good time in a holiday atmosphere. 

Bugibba is `invaded` by tourists (local and foreign)  in Summer  all enjoying the panoramic sea front promenade or having a drink in one of the many bars and pubs.   It is still  a relatively inexpensive resort that  caters for the whole family with numerous bars, pubs, disco`s,  restaurants, diving schools, tour and car agencies and all the other amenities a tourist would appreciate. There is still a small bay with colourful fishing boats at the end of the Bugibba Promenade near the Gillieru Hotel.  It was a small hotel  before the war and many couples chose it for their honey moon. 

Many of its restaurants and cafes cater for British tastes and you`ll find popular British food and tea, pizza/pasta , salads etc everywhere.  It`s not  really fine dining  but  satisfies the wishes of the clientele.  There is a Mac D with a children`s play area on the water`s edge . Recently  some good restaurants have opened in St Pauls Bay; Tarragon is one of them. 

The Dolmen Hotel has a quiet wine bar – Vintage Wine Bar . There are also cocktail and lounge bars and other  quiet spots but most of the bars are lively with a holiday atmosphere and some karaoke.  You will also find a modern cinema, a casino and a bingo hall. There are also some disco`s and clubs for those who are keen to party. The centre of the entertainment area is Bugibba Square and side streets. Two of the most popular are Amazonia in Bugibba and Fuego in Qawra.

www.visitmalta.com is the official Malta Tourist Authority. On the site under Views and Downloads you`ll find video clips including some on this area.

The hotels in the area also offer good entertainment in the evenings.

For those who are serious clubbers, then the place to go is Paceville in St Julians.  There are direct and night buses (www.atp.com.mt  or www.maltatransport.com  or http://www.visitmalta.com/transport).  http://www.maltabybus.com/ is also good. It`s about 20 min bus ride away along the coast road.

It`s hard to say where Qawra begins and Bugibba ends. Qawra has its share of hotels and apartments but is quieter than Bugibba with less bars, pubs etc . It doesn`t have a central square like Bugibba and many people choose it for their holiday for precisely that reason  After all, it`s just a few minutes walk to the centre of Bugibba.  It has a promenade but it`s narrower.

The Bugibba/Qawra Promenade has lovely views of the open sea and the land across the bay and St Paul`s Island.   The shore is rocky, but there are smooth places which are ideal for sun bathing and there is easy access to the sea.  Recently a man made sandy beach has been built.  There are also lido`s and resort clubs with pools and all amenities.  The whole area has all kinds of water sports available including diving schools.  Less than 10km away are the best sandy beaches of Mellieha and Golden Bay (among others). There is a regular bus service from Bugibba but remember that the buses do not have a/c.  You can also find cruise boats to Comino and fishing tours.  It is about 30 min bus ride to Sliema where there lots of cafes and shops. Also  Harbour Cruises and Hop On buses. It`s a pleasant bus ride along the coast line. 

The Xemxija Bay area of St Pauls Bay  has seen strong tourist and residential related development but the village core round the Church is largely unspoilt.  It gives visitors a chance to see what Maltese villages were like.  Fishing boats are still  to be seen in the bay.  Also popular is the Sirenes Water polo Club.

All in all, the whole area is that of a holiday area.  Malta is small so nowhere is really far.  Buses are cheap and nowadays, Bugibba Qawra and St Pauls Bay are connected to the main spots of Malta so travel isn`t a problem.  Even though it might be tempting to spend your holiday just relaxing, do make an effort and see and appreciate what Malta has to offer.

If you go to www.visitmalta.com you'll find an interactive map which is very useful . There are also video clips under 'Views and Downloads"  Another good site with video clips is www.eurocities.eu .