The Idyllic Resort where Past, Present and Future Embrace.
St. Julian’s is almost unrecognisable from the little sheltered fishing village it once was; it is now one of Malta’s busiest and most popular resorts. Most of it is new or upgraded, but one little spot, the real heart of the village that wraps around St Julian’s Bay, hasn’t changed for centuries. Here the picture-postcard scene is just captivating, with its relaxing atmosphere and old world charm. It is a quaint, cosy little harbour, an eyeful of idyllic beauty. The little bay is awash with colour and activity. Anchored and weaving gently, are a little flotilla of traditional ‘Luzzu’ fishing boats, that always seem to be painted a more vivid red, blue and yellow here, than anywhere else around the island. Tucked away in the far corner, under the road level is a little ancient boat repair workshop, still busy serving the fishermen, as it has done for many decades. Around the perimeter, at water level, are a myriad of restaurants and cafes booming with business, serving hundreds of diners sitting around open-air tables.
Of course, much of the development of St. Julian’s is modern, trendy and upmarket. The new resort-style development is Portomaso, an exclusive complex on the east coast of Spinola Bay.
Dominating everything there is the giant ‘Portamaso Tower,’ a massive blue and terracotta office block, Malta’s only skyscraper, and a landmark that is visible over a wide area. The world famous Hilton Hotel, with its extensive Conference Centre attached, occupies a prime location, and alongside is the state of the art marina, full of luxury yachts, indicating the attraction this area has for the wealthy elite. No less exclusive, is the complex of fashionable apartments, chic, stylish and expensive, no doubt, owned and occupied by millionaires, because this is a development designed to attract the mega-rich, and I get the feeling that the promoters have succeeded spectacularly.
Just a short walk up town to a maze of narrow streets full of cafes, bars and disco clubs is the area known as Paceville, the nightlife capital of Malta. This is the village that never sleeps, where the youth from all over the island congregate every night, especially at weekends, dine, wine and dance to loud music ‘till the small hours, sometimes antagonising the settled community with their exuberant partying, and occasionally attracting the attention of the police, who strive valiantly to maintain peace and order which they generally succeed in doing.
A little further north is the picturesque St Georges Bay. In contrast to the high octane and boisterous mood of Paceville, this is a quiet, peaceful and cosy village surrounding a delightful little sandy beach and flanked by several upmarket hotel developments. This little gem is tucked away in a corner of St Julian’s and it took me quite a few years to discover it. I now pay a visit every year, spending a few hours basking in the sunshine, always leaving happy and refreshed.
From ‘IN LOVE WITH MALTA’ (The Hidden Treasures)
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