St. Julian's city guide

St. Julian’s is an enchanting little city located on the island of Malta. It’s 7km north from the capital Valletta, but it all feels like one area and not as separate municipalities. Some people still seem to think it’s a part of Italy, but it’s a republic of its own. Malta is like that “most interesting man on earth” meme. There are structures thousands of years older than the Pyramids in Egypt. It used to be a nursing place for soldiers fighting in both world wars. It was a base of operations for the allied troops. You can check the Lascaris War Rooms out if you want to learn more. The last proper battle of the Crusader Knights was the Siege of Malta, which was the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Empire. All that and more on an island the size of 10 landing strips. It has become a popular travel destination lately, even though few travel guides cover it. People recognize the name but where from? The Maltese dog? The new Yorkshire terrier? The Chihuahua of 2019? You never know with these small breeds; will they cuddle or will they bite your balls off. Those vicious little beasts have been around since 500 BC. The breed is literally older than Jesus. St. Julian’s is like that: tiny, beautiful, ferocious, lots of fun and love.

Arial view at St. Julians and Sliema in Malta

St. Julians in Malta: named after the legendary medieval saint, this seaside town and Malta's nightlife hub is even more popular than Sliema due to the Paceville area, the so-called Mecca of entertainment

Buildings on the island are built from limestone, of which there has always been plenty of around the Mediterranean. Everything looks like a sand sculpture and it’s great. There are actual government regulations that buildings need to be of a certain colour to match the old architecture. It seems that developers and investors found a way to bypass those rules. Now they’re raising these malls and office buildings that don’t fit in. The Portomaso Business Tower is the perfect example, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s big and ugly. The only good things about it are the nightclubs and the balconies with the most amazing view of Malta. But who am I to judge? “Money talks”, right? There is a lot of money in St. Julian’s. Malta is a tax haven for many a European businessman and Mafioso. It’s not Sicily from the Godfather but it still had its fair share of scandals. Remember that Trump election controversy? How the Kremlin had some dirt on Hilary Clinton? Yeah, that came from a Maltese professor who, since then, miraculously disappeared.

All that aside, St. Julian’s and Malta as a whole, make the perfect vacation spot. A place to spend a romantic weekend with a significant other. Malta is beloved by moviemakers, masterpieces such as Troy, Gladiator, parts of Game of Thrones and many others were shot on this iconic island. People tend to complain about local beaches. How the sand is grey and coarse instead of silky smooth and golden. I swear people would bitch about Garden of Eden; how there are too many snakes, or that the apples are sour. I much prefer these charming, cameral spots to more popular, overcrowded beaches. The ones around the Spinola Bay are the best ones in St. Julian’s.

Carmelite Church, aka Balluta Parish Church, bathing in sunlight at St. Julian's

The neo-Gothic Carmelite Church, also known as Balluta Parish Church, in St. Julian's seems to hang over the Balluta Bay, adorning the entire coast of the bay

Everyone speaks English and it’s pretty cheap, compared to most of the countries within the Eurozone. You can buy a full dinner of local goodies with a glass of wine for a price of McDonald’s Big Mac Menu. Make sure you try some of their delicious rabbit dishes. St. Julian’s is quiet, almost serene during the day. But the evenings are an entirely different story. Paceville is The Nightlife Spot on Malta. It feels like the entire archipelago groups up in this one place, for better or worse. Yes, there are amazing bars, yes there are 72 shots for €24 deals. And yes, you can get your teeth kicked in by a bunch of drunken kids. Paceville is what happens when you take the Ibiza crowds and compress them into two blocks. They even nicknamed it “Partyville” and I have to say it fits perfectly. The crime rates here are five times the average on Malta and drugs are more than common. With some of the lowest prices for drinks in the EU, you’d best keep an eye on your glass. Getting roofied and waking up in an ice bath, missing a kidney is not the best way to spend your summer vacation. Stay away from bars and clubs with groups of loud, barely legal kids. Even better: go on a group pub-crawl. You know already: safety in numbers and all that.

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