A Guide of What to See in Northern Malta

Bugibba, Northern Malta

For those looking to escape the city of Valletta and its surrounds, Northern Malta is often the popular choice. This part of the island is far less busy or built up than around the Maltese capital and offers visitors a quieter getaway. The style of tourism here may not appeal to everybody, as it lacks much in the way of cultural and historical sites. Instead it tends to cater to British holidaymakers looking for familiarity, but still I was able to find a few spots that held my interest.

Despite much of it being the kind of places I tend to avoid, I found visiting Northern Malta to be an interesting experience. The parts that I enjoyed during my time there made up for the rest. With that in mind, here’s what there is to see in Northern Malta.

 

Mellieha

Parish Church of Mellieha, Northern Malta

Situated on the top of a hill, the town of Mellieha is gifted with superb views across much of Northern Malta. Besides its views of the countryside and coast, the town has a number of sights worth seeing. The town features the impressive Parish Church of Mellieha and also some old Air Raid Shelters.

Mellieha would be my choice for where to stay for those looking to spend some time in Northern Malta. It’s also only a short bus trip down the hill to the beach that rests on Mellieha Bay. The beach did look to be one of the nicer I saw on Malta, even in winter.

Mellieha View, Northern Malta

 

Selmun Palace

Selmun Palace, Northern Malta

Having first spotted Selmun Palace from across St Paul’s Bay, I was curious to visit given the chance. So when I was across the bay, I decided to walk out to see it up close. Located just outside the town of Mellieha, this tower-like palace was built in the 18th century by an anti-slavery institution the Monte della Redenzione degli Schiavi. 

For a time it was part of a hotel here, but has been abandoned for a few years now. While a nice looking building, there is ultimately very little to do there now. It is surrounded by quite rural countryside and some examples of historic village life.

 

Fort Campbell

Fort Campbell, Northern Malta

If abandoned places interest you, or you’re after some stellar views, then Fort Campbell is worth a visit. Sitting on the point of the Selmun Peninsula across St Paul’s Bay, this large former British fortification lies on the same road past Selmun’s Palace. Now just a pile of ruins, it’s still quite interesting to wander about and definitely has a bit of an eerie atmosphere.

Northern Malta Landscape

Particularly worth noting is that from the fort you can get the best views of St Paul’s Island, which lies just off the coast. It is here that local folklore says St Paul washed ashore after his shipwreck. There are also some great views back along the farmland on the peninsula and of course over to the town of St Paul’s Bay.

St Paul's Island, Folklore of Malta

 

St Paul’s Bay

Bugibba, St Paul's Bay, Northern Malta

Made up of the Bugibba and Qawra neighbourhoods, St Paul’s Bay is the largest town in Northern Malta. I have to be honest, St Paul’s Bay is not my kind of place. My idea of a good time in Malta isn’t being surrounded by Brits, Irish Pubs, Indian restaurants and nursing homes. Nothing about that screams Malta to me. Instead it feels like it’s been designed to be as familiar as possible for British tourists.

The town also looked like it had seen better days. As for attractions or sightseeing spots, there really aren’t many. There are a few cute marinas and an old foritified tower; that’s about it. My favourite place there had to be the rocky coastline along the bay and its view to the unusually modern Malta National Aquarium.

Malta National Aquarium, Northern Malta

 

Popeye Village

Popeye Village, Northern Malta

The story behind the Popeye Village, one of Malta’s most popular tourist attractions, is a strange one. It’s out of the way and its history is relatively brief. You may, or maybe not, know about an 1980 live-action Popeye movie starring Robin Williams as the popular cartoon character.

Well for the movie, a small set village was constructed on a small bay, its over-the-top design true to its cartoon origins. After the movie was finished with it, the set was left behind and turned into a theme park of sorts. I knew it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but I went anyway to say I’d seen it. Thankfully, you can see the entire village from the cliffs opposite, it like me that’s all you’re after. Entry costs 10.5€ for adults.

Popeye Village, St Paul's Bay

 

Western Cliffs

Western Cliffs, Northern Malta

If, once you’re done with the Popeye Village, you’re looking for something to do then I suggest exploring the nearby cliffs. From the cliffs opposite the village, you follow the path towards the coast and it will soon bring you to the cliffs along Malta’s west coast. From the barren cliff tops, you get superb views looking both along the rocky coastline as well as north to the cliffs of Gozo, another island of Malta. I think it’s a special reward for such a short walk.

 

Tips:

  • St Paul’s Bay, Mellieha and the Popeye Village are all accessible by Malta’s bus network;
  • Visits to Northern Malta as a day trip from Valletta are certainly doable, but while it may seem only a short distance, remember that travel takes longer on the island’s roads;
  • Your best bets for accommodation in Northern Malta are in St Paul’s Bay and Mellieha. You’ll find quite a range, including very affordable budget accommodation.

 


Have you had the opportunity to visit Northern Malta? Where were your favourite places? Otherwise, which of these places most appeals to you?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission, but at no extra cost to you. 

Why Not Pin It for Later

Whereas the area around Malta's capital is quite popular with tourists, there are still plenty of sights around places like Mellieha and St Paul's Bay in Northern Malta. via @travelsewhere Whereas the area around Malta's capital is quite popular with tourists, there are still plenty of sights around places like Mellieha and St Paul's Bay in Northern Malta. via @travelsewhere

 


This post is part of The Weekly Postcard over at Caliglobetrotter. Please head on over for more great posts.
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15 Comment

  1. We have never traveled to Malta. The next trip to Sicily we will definitely need to go across to Malta. Looks awesome 🙂

  2. galanda23 says:

    Your pictures from Malta are so beautiful! I wanted to see this place since I was in high school. Now I’m way past that age and still didn’t make it there. Your post reignited my desire to go. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. I arrived in Malta with a cruise ship some years ago and unfortunately didn’t have the time to see any other than Valletta. Your post is a good guide to find out more about Malta.

  4. When we finally get to Malta, we will be staying at least for a week, two hopefully haha because I want to see everything, including the Popeye Village! Pinned! 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  5. Some lovely images, it sounds like you’ve captured the best of the region. Although I must admit the Popeye Village does look a little bit fun…
    #theweeklypostcard

  6. Midori says:

    wooow! I’m totally in love with Popeye village!!!! Didn’t know it was in malta! so beautiful

  7. paulandcarolelovetotravel says:

    Great guide to northern Malta, didn’t know that about the Popeye Movie, thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  8. oneadventuretraveler says:

    Great Photos! Malta looks like a fascinating place to visit especially the Parish Church of Mellieha and Selmun Palace. I also did not know the Popeye Movie was filmed there 🙂 #feetdotravel

  9. Vlad says:

    I loved my time in Malta, but sadly, this is the part of the island I’ve missed. Despite being such a small country, there are a lot of beautiful places to see. Next time I want to make this area my base for the trip. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  10. Lyf&Spice says:

    Popeye village sounds interesting. I love the Western Cliffs too. Cheers!! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  11. Malta looks beautiful! I like visiting abandoned structures and am always on the lookout for stunning views, so Fort Campbell looks right up my alley!

  12. siddharthandshruti says:

    Malta looks so charming. Popeye village is adorable! Selmun Palace and the Western Cliffs are also stunning.

  13. You find the quirkiest places, Popeye Village being one. I think Malta will have to move up a few places on my list.

  14. Admittedly, it would just be to say we’ve been there, but we’d totally stop by Popeye’s Village. 😉 Selmun Palace is more our cup of tea. Do you know why it’s deserted? It seems like a great building. While Malta has never been too high on our wish list, we’ve certainly learned a lot about the country following your travels! Thanks again for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  15. Garth says:

    I think we’ve decided on Malta for next year, especially after all your useful posts, so thank you! Gotta stop by that Popeye Village!

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