Buġibba (Malta): Tourist Info, Travel Tips and Things to Do
It’s one of the most popular tourist destination in Malta and attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. Although Buġibba isn’t a typical Maltese village and offers little in terms of culture and history, it’s a good location for those looking to combine holiday comfort with exploring the country.
It’s also a good option if you’re looking for a place to stay on a family holiday with kids in Malta.
Being well connected with public transport bus routes, it’s easy to reach other parts of the island from Buġibba. You can take direct bus routes to various larger beaches as well as more popular points of interest and places to visit like Mdina and Valletta.
There’s an artificial “perched” sandy beach, placed on an otherwise rocky shoreline. It’s a clean beach that’s popularly frequented by tourists staying in the area, although it pales in comparison with some of the naturally formed sandy beaches that Malta is known for. Another option for bathing in the open sea is Ta` Fra Ben beach, at the tip of the neighbouring village of Qawra (and lies within walking distance).
- Popular tourist destination in the North of Malta
- Good location for family holidays
- Has artificial sandy beach
- Well connected with public transport (bus routes)
- Transit time from airport by bus: 45-60 minutes
- Nightlife is limited to pubs and bars mostly. Paceville area (clubbing centre of Malta, part of St. Julians) easy to reach by (night) bus, however.
- Renting a car? Parking can be a real headache here, particularly in summer.
What’s Buġibba like and should I stay there?
Being a popular village among tourists, Buġibba is a relatively quiet place during the winter months and busy (for local standards) during the summer months.
With the vast majority of tourists in Malta being UK citizens, you’ll find a number of English-style pubs and bars in the area.
Because Buġibba and Qawra are so similar in character and adjacent to each other, it doesn’t really matter whether you stay in one or the other.
It’s a popular destination for families with children and couples of all ages. For younger couples especially, St. Julians (and its nightlife area called Paceville) are likely to be a better option. For travellers seeking serenity and looking to be closer to Malta’s best beaches, Mellieha and its surroundings are a more popular choice.
Buġibba and the wider area of St. Paul’s Bay aren’t super interesting if you’re looking to explore Malta. Have a look at my suggestions for other places to stay in Malta. Nevertheless, its location and good public transport connections mean Buġibba is a decent location to stay if you’re trying to balance a traditional holiday with some cultural/historical exploration.
Hotels in Buġibba
Being a popular tourist destination, Buġibba offers a variety of hotels to suit different budgets, with the exception of luxury hotels. The area is a favourite among holidaymakers and value packages can easily be found among hotels here.
Here are a few of the more popular choices:
- db San Antonio Hotel + Spa is a fairly modern, 4-star hotel and is currently one of the better choices if you’re not on a tight budget. Due to high demand you’ll have to be early to get the best rates.
- Seashells Resort at Suncrest is a mainstay hotel in the Buġibba area and is a solid option for a family holiday
- A similar famiy-friendly option, found in the same road on the Qawra side of town, is the Parklane Aparthotel
- If you’re looking for something a little smaller, the Parklane Aparthotel gets great reviews consistently.
How to get there
Via public transport
Using Malta’s only type of public transport (the bus) you’ll find that various routes can take you to Buġibba from various places on the island. Buġibba has its own bus terminus. Getting to Buġibba from the airport will take you roughly 45-60 minutes.
Main bus routes:
- From the airport: Route X3 (1h)
- From Valletta: Routes 31, 45 and 48 (45 mins)
- From Sliema and St. Julians: Routes 203, 212, 222 and 225 (45-60 mins)
- To Mdina: Route 186 (30 mins)
- To Golden Bay and Għajn Tuffieħa (popular beaches): Routes 223 and 225 (30 mins)
- To Mellieha Bay (popular beach): Routes 42, 221 and 222 (30 mins)
The road signs to follow are those pointing to St. Paul’s Bay, which is the name of its neighbouring village and the municipality of which Buġibba forms part of. Getting to Buġibba from the airport by car (or taxi) usually takes 30-45 minutes.
By airport transfer
Getting a one-way transfer from Malta International Airport to Buġibba costs around €25-30 for a private taxi and around €14 (two adults) for a shared shuttle bus.
I usually recommend Suntransfers.com for the lowest rates. They never let me down.
Map of Buġibba
Things to do and places to go in Buġibba
Within the area of Buġibba itself, there aren’t an awful lot of points of interest. If you’re looking for major attractions and points of interest, you’ll need to venture outside the area to see the really interesting stuff.
Being located within walking distance, you can find more to see and do at Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay.
- The artificial sandy beach can be found along the promenade, opposite the Dolmen Hotel
- Next to the beach, there’s a waterpark for kids – a good place for them to cool down during the hotter months of the year
- For boat trips and tours to Gozo and Comino and its Blue Lagoon a few operators can be found at the small harbour of St. Paul’s Bay.
The nightlife in Buġibba consists mostly of pubs and bars, concentrated around the main square, which you can find along the promenade.
- One of Malta’s few cinemas is located in Buġibba: Empire Cinema
- You can try your luck at the Oracle Casino, adjacent to the Dolmen Hotel
- On the seaside at Qawra (within walking distance), you can find Cafe del Mar, which is a lido during the day and hosts parties during the evenings in summer.
Drinks & bars
- The Amazonia lido (part of the Dolmen Hotel) is a good place for enjoying a drink and a snack while sunbathing by the pool, during the day.
- Rookie’s Sports Bar, around the corner from the main square, has a number of large screens and TVs throughout to follow your favourite live sports while having a pint and a snack.
- Fat Harry’s, around the corner from Buġibba main square, has a distinct English feel to it and serves a good selection of beers, ales as well as pub food. In the same area, O’Reilly’s Irish Pub is a similar option with a good atmosphere.
Buġibba’s short history
Buġibba was virtually uninhabited until the 1960s when only a few watch towers had been erected by the Knights of Malta back in the 17th century. Between 1920 and 1950 a small prehistoric temple was discovered and excavated, which is currently located on the grounds of the Dolmen Hotel.
The area consisted mostly of open fields with crumbling rubble walls when in the 1960s a few entrepreneurs opened a few hotels in an attempt to attract tourists.
When these ventures proved to be successful, the area developed at an astonishing rate in a virtual gold rush of investment. High-rise buildings were developed, with little attention being given to aesthetics or architectural consistency and design were simply an afterthought. During the 1990s, the appearance of Buġibba was improved with the development of the seaside promenade, the Buġibba square and neatly constructed pavements.
How far is Buġibba from Malta International Airport?
A bus trip (route X3) usually takes around 45-60 minutes, while driving there yourself or taking a taxi will take 30-45 minutes).
How do you pronounce ‘Buġibba’?
In English it would sound something like ‘buh-ji-bah’.
Where do I find supermarkets in Buġibba?
The only place considered a supermarket (there are few properly-sized supermarkets in Malta) is called Trolees and is located on the Qawra side of Bugibba, in one of the side streets of Triq it-Turisti (a long road that runs through Buġibba and Qawra). See the map below for its exact location. You can find smaller, so-called ‘mini markets’ in various spots for basic groceries.
If you’re renting a car, there’s a bigger supermarket located in the nearby village of Burmarrad (main road leading to Mosta), called Scotts.