Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay are a conglomeration of seaside towns in the northeast of Malta. In St. Petersburg (a funny abbreviation for the Russian ear, isn’t it?), for the most part, the Maltese live, and in Bugibba and Aura, the suburbs of St. Petersburg, there are tourists and local residents who have summer apartments (an analogue of summer cottages).
St. Paul’s Bay translates to “St. Paul.” It was here that the ship carrying St. Paul to Rome for judgment. In Malta they like to refer to a passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which confirms this version. The population of St. Petersburg is approx. 13,500 people. According to petwithsupplies, Bugibba is one of the largest cities in Malta.
Appearances are often deceptive: St. Paul’s Bay only looks young, but in fact the area where it is located has been inhabited since the Neolithic (ruins of megalithic temples have been preserved). In the Bronze Age, fortified villages stood here. To the shore in the bay of St. It was convenient to molest Paul, and therefore it was popular with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans (fragments of anchors, shards of pottery, etc. have survived). Arabs molested on the same shore to capture Malta for 300 years. The Knights of St. John fortified this part of the island by building watchtowers, batteries, land mines, and redoubts. However, this did not save them from the invasion of Napoleon’s troops, who landed in the north of Malta and damaged several chapels in the area (in one of them they slaughtered cattle, for example). The British, who replaced the French, began to build residences and villas here. During the Second World War, the coast turned into one big rehabilitation center. Nowadays, St. Paul’s Bay and especially its suburbs – Bugibba and Aura – the largest resort area in Malta. Many Maltese have summer apartments here, which are often willingly rented out to tourists. Poor couples buy their first home here. There are also many hotels, which are much cheaper than in Sliema and St. Julian’s, apartments, and English language schools.
SPB is one of the largest areas (locality) in Malta. It includes both Aura (Qawra), Bugibba (Buġibba) and St. Paul’s Bay (St. Paul’s Bay), as well as less touristy Bidnija – part (Bidnija), Burmarrad (Burmarrad), San Martin (San Martin), Vardia (Wardija), Shemshia (Xemxija).
The main sights of Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay
- Wignacourt Tower. Located in Petersburg. It was built by order of the Grand Master of the Order of the St. John Wignacourt in the 17th century. This is the first of the coastal towers of Malta. It was restored by the non-profit organization for the protection of ancient monuments Din l-Art Ħelwa. Open for visits from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 13.00 and on the first Sunday of the month. Closed on Tuesdays.
The tower is looked after by Din l-Art Ħelwa volunteers, and the organization does not always have enough of them. Therefore, do not be surprised that it can periodically remain closed.
- Watchtower Ta’ Fra Ben (17th century) Located in Aura. It was built during the reign of the Grand Master of the Order of John Laskaris.
- Coastal battery Arrias (Arrias Battery) (18th century). Now it houses a fish farm.
- Land mine (18th c.) located in Salina.
Palaces and villas
- Pescatore Palace (Palazzo Pescatore) (2nd half of the 19th century)
- Bird Sanctuary Simar (Simar Nature Reserve / Bird sanctuary). Located in Shemshiya. This is a swamp, which in itself is a rare eco-system in Malta. In 1995, its territory was officially recognized as a protected area. Migratory birds fly here (ducks, herons, etc., more than 120 species). Mostly they stay here for a short rest, but some even make nests.
This reserve is open to the general public from November to May on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 16:00. Every hour there are free tours (they talk in detail about plants and birds). The property is non-smoking and pets are not allowed. Bring binoculars with you to watch the birds.
- History trail in Shemxija (Xemxija Heritage trail). This is a rather curious and easy route for a walk, during which you can get acquainted with the inconspicuous, but no less interesting sights of the north of Malta – an old apiary, Punic graves, a once inhabited cave, etc.
- Salt pans. They were built in the 16th century. by order of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John of La Valletta. Located in Salina (Salina, Qawra).
- Megalithic temple (on the territory of the New Dolmen hotel). 3000 – 2500 BC e. Located in Aura.
- The ruins of a Roman villa next to the chapel of St. Pavel Mil’i. Located in Burmarrada.
- Fountain Ain Razul (Għajn Rażul fountain) Located in Petersburg. According to legend, in this place St. Paul struck the stone, and a spring gushed out of it.
Churches and chapels
- Parish Church of Our Lady of Sorrows parish church (built in the 20th century, given to the Franciscans). Located in Petersburg. Sunday masses are held in English (beginning at 11:00 am)
- Church/Sanctuary of Paul tal-Ħġejjeġ church/sanctuary (built in the 17th century, destroyed in the Second World War, rebuilt in 1957). Pavel and his comrades allegedly made a fire. Located in St. Petersburg.
- Church of the Virgin of Mount Carmel (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church) (19th century) Located in Petersburg.
- Chapel of the Immaculate Conception (Immaculate Conception church) (16th century) Located in Petersburg.
- Parish Church of Francis of Assisi parish church (built at the end of the 20th century, given to the Franciscans). Located in Aura. Sunday masses are held in English (beginning at 11:00 am)
- Church of Massimiliano Kolbe (Church dedicated to St Massimiliano Kolbe) (built at the end of the 20th century). Located in Aura.
- Chapel of St. Paul Milqi Chapel (17th century) Located in Burmarrad. Allegedly, this place was the house of Publius, the ruler of Malta, whom Paul converted to Christianity.
Usually every year in February, excursion tours are organized in this chapel dedicated to the feast of the Shipwreck of St. Paul. You need to follow the dates additionally – on the official website of the Malta Tourism Authority, on the website of the Malta Cultural Authority, or even in The Times of Malta newspaper, which gives a schedule of cultural events on the islands.
- Church of Margaret (St. Margaret church) (17th century) Located in Burmarrada.
- Parish Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Immaculate Heart of Mary parish church) (built at the end of the 20th century, given to the Franciscans). Located in Burmarrada.
- Chapel of St. Simeon (St. Simon chapel) (19th century) Located in Vardia.
- Chapel of Our Lady of Grace chapel (19th century) Located in Vardia.
- Chapel of St. George (St. George chapel) (17th century) Located in Vardia.
- Chapel of John the Baptist (St. John the Baptist chapel) (earlier 17th century) Located in Vardia.
- Chapel of the Virgin of Abandoned Souls (Our Lady of Abandoned Souls chapel) (17th century) Located in Vardia.
- Chapel of St. Anne (St. Anne chapel) (17th century) Located in Pwales (Pwales, Paul’s Bay).
- Chapel of Joseph the Worker chapel (20th century) Located in Shemshia.
- Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart (Burmarrad) – last week of June
- Our Lady of Sorrows (Petersburg) – the third week of July
- Francis of Assisi – second week of September
Hotels in Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay
The BAS conglomerate of cities is the second largest resort area in Malta (after Sliema and St. Julian’s). Hotels are simpler here, and there are enough apartments for rent.
- 4* hotels: Canifor Hotel, Club Riza Aparthotel, Club Salina Wharf, Dolmen Resort Hotel, Gillieru Harbor Hotel, Hotel Santana, San Antonio Hotel & Spa, Soreda Hotel, Suncrest Hotel, Sunny Coast Resort Club, Topaz Hotel
- 3* hotels: Bugibba Holiday Complex, Clover Holiday Complex, Mavina Holiday Complex, Palm Court Hotel, Primera Hotel, San Pawl Hotel, Sunflower Hotel
- Pensions: Winston Aparthotel
(Classification and data taken from the website of the Malta Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association)
How to get there
Buses No. 48, 49, 51, 70, 86, 157, 427, 449, car.
Cuisine and restaurants of Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay
Cafes, restaurants, pizzerias, bars are located both along the promenade and in the depths of the cities. Descriptions of some restaurants can be found on the Webstarmalt resource, and reviews of some of them can be read in the LJ community dedicated to Maltese restaurants.
- Restaurants of the 1st category: Delphi Brasserie, Ristorante Michelangelo, Gillieru Restaurant
- Category 2 establishments: Batubulan Restaurant, Bonaparte Restaurant, Café Delos, Costa Restaurant, La Mentha Restaurant, La Sibylle Restaurant, Le Pavillion Restaurant, Moire’ Restaurant, Tal-Kaptan Pizzeria, The Menhir Restaurant, The Owl & The Pussycat, Village Square Restaurant Vintage Wine Bar
- 3 category establishments: All Saints Restaurant, Angelo II Restaurant, Chez Gaetano Restaurant, David’s Tavern, Fisherman’s Cave Restaurant, Geranium Restaurant, Sans Souci Restaurant, Solair Bar & Restaurant, Ta’ Cassia Restaurant, Watercolours Restaurant, We 5 Bar & Restaurant, Woodhut Restaurant
- Eateries 2 categories: Pizza Hut (Bugibba)
(Classification and data taken from the website of the Malta Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association)
Locals go to shops in the depths of the city, and not on the promenade – the traditional “tourist” area. There is a Piscopo Cash & Carry supermarket at the entrance to St. Paul’s Bay, as well as smaller grocers, greengrocers, and a fish shop.
Where to buy everything else
Shops on the boardwalk.
- HSBC (bank branch, ATM, automatic currency exchange and deposit office) are located at Misrah il-Bajja, Bugibba. Opening hours: Mon – Thu from 08:30 to 13:30, Fri from 08:30 to 16:30, Sat from 08:30 to 12:30
HSBC (bank branch, ATM) are located on St. Pauls Street, St. Paul’s Bay. Opening hours: Mon – Thu from 08:30 to 13:30, Fri from 08:30 to 16:30, Sat from 08:30 to 12:30
- HSBC ATMs are also located at Oracle Casino (Bugibba), Dawret Il-Qawra, (St. Prls Bay).
- Bank of Valletta (BOV) (bank branch and ATM) are located at 15, Islet Promenade (+ currency exchange) and 85, Paul’s Street, St. Paul’s Bay. Opening hours: Mon – Thu from 08:30 to 14:00, Fri from 08:30 to 15:30, Sat from 08:30 to 12:30
- BOV ATMs are also located at/at Coral Reef Restaurant and Horatio Nelson Street (Qawra).
The beaches of Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay
Perched Beach, bathing areas along the boardwalk from Qawra to St. Paul’s Bay.