Qawra (Malta): Travel tips, Things to Do and Where to Stay
Qawra is similar to Buġibba and the two villages kind of blend into each other (it being hard to tell whether a particular street is part of Qawra or of its neighbouring village). Qawra is also a popular tourist destination although perhaps a little quieter, having more seaside accommodation.
The village is known for its salt pans, referred to as is-Salini (and the area of Salina). Forming the tip of the wider St. Paul’s Bay area, there’s a historical watch tower that overlooks a small bay which is a popular bathing area, even though it’s mostly rocky. Apart from being a swimming zone, Ta` Fra Ben beach is also a great spot for snorkelling enthusiasts.
The seaside promenade that runs alongside the coastal area of Qawra stretches out over 3.5 kilometres past Buġibba and ends in St. Paul’s Bay.
- Popular tourist destination in the North of Malta
- Suitable mostly for family holidays
- Well-connected to other parts of Malta through the nearby Buġibba bus terminus
- Offers a few places of interest, also just outside its village borders
- Ta` Fra Ben beach is a great spot for swimming and snorkelling.
- Transit time from airport by bus: 45-60 minutes
What’s Qawra like and should I stay there?
It’s a popular location for tourists, both for families with children as well as couples of all ages. For younger couples, as is the case with Buġibba, the St. Julians area may be a more suitable holiday location. Mellieha is usually the preferred option for those seeking peace and quiet and enjoying some of the best beaches in Malta.
If you’re the type of traveller who wants to explore a country or city, Qawra may not be the most interesting place to stay. Have a look at my suggestions for other places to stay in Malta. Nevertheless, if you want a good balance of exploration with a traditional holiday, it’s not a bad place to stay thanks to good public transport connections.
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.
How to get there
Via public transport
Qawra is pretty well-connected to the other parts of Malta through the nearby bus terminus at Buġibba, which is within walking distance from most parts of Qawra. A few routes can take you directly to major points of interest and attractions directly, without any transfers.
Main bus routes (that start and end at the Buġibba bus terminus):
- 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)
By airport transfer
Getting an airport transfer by private taxi costs around €20 and a shared shuttle bus around €14 for 2 adults (both one-way prices).
Qawra forms part of the wider area of St. Paul’s Bay, to which most road signs point to. It usually takes around 30-45 minutes by car (or taxi) to get to Qawra from the airport.
Map of Qawra
Things to do and Points of interest in Qawra
Although bus connections to other parts of Malta are good and you can certainly set out for day trips, there isn’t an awful lot to see and do in Qawra itself. Then again, it’s also not the kind of destination that culture-seekers usually go to.
Here’s what’s around:
- Ta` Fra Ben beach is a great place to go for a swim, although there’s no sandy patch. You can rent deck chairs and an umbrella, though. It’s also a great place for snorkelling with crystal clear water and interesting underwater views of local marine life.
- The National Aquarium is located nearby Ta` Fra Ben and is a fairly recent addition to the area. You can see some local (and foreign) sea life here and enjoy some lunch/dinner at its restaurant.
- If you like cars, perhaps the Malta Classic Car Museum is worth a visit. It’s not uncommon to come across antique cars that still drive around in Malta and the museum’s collected a number of models for permanent display.
- On the edge of Qawra, towards the South of the wider area of St. Paul’s Bay you can find Salina National Park and Kennedy Grove.
- Nearby, you can also find the salt pans (is-Salini) and a Bird Park. While the salt pans aren’t really worth a visit as such, the Bird Park does house a variety of local bird species.
- In Buġibba you can find the Oracle Casino for when you feel lucky and one of Malta’s few cinemas (called Empire cinema).
The nightlife in Qawra consists mostly of pubs and bars and only has one nightclub that doubles as a lido during the day. Cafe Del Mar, part of the National Aquarium complex, is a popular establishment that serves as a lido during the day (drinks by the infinity (!) pool, with a view of the open sea and St. Paul’s island) and often hosts parties during the evening.
If you’re into clubbing but decide to stay in Qawra, you can easily catch a (night) bus to/from Paceville, part of St. Julians, which is where you’ll find a number of clubs and bars. If you’re a little more adventurous and looking for something a little different, consider partying at one of Malta’s open air nightclubs like Gianpula or Numero Uno.
Drinks and Bars
Various bars and pubs can be found in the area, most with an English or Irish feel. The wider area crossing over into Buġibba is dotted with small bars and pubs, often showing live sports on large screens and having small terraces outside.
On the Qawra side of the area, these are a few bars/pubs to check out if you’re staying nearby:
- You can find a good selection of ales and lagers at Murphy’s Irish Pub, located towards the end of the main road Triq it-Turisti
- There’s a quirky little bar with a small outside (but sheltered) terrace overlooking Ta` Fra Ben beach called the Ta` Fra Ben Reggae Bar. You can enjoy a pretty chill atmosphere there, as you can imagine.
How do you pronounce ‘Qawra’?
The Q in the Maltese alphabet is silent, which means in English you’d pronounce it as our-rah.
Where do I find supermarkets in Qawra?
In one of the side roads of the main street Triq it-Turisti, there’s a small supermarket called Trolees and you’ll find a few others next door to the Santana Hotel in Triq il-Maskli.
For those renting a car, there’s a larger supermarket called Scotts which is located in the nearby village of Burmarrad, on its main road that leads to Mosta.
How far is Qawra from Valletta?
It takes roughly 45 minutes to get there by bus and around 30 minutes by car.