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Spotlight on: St.Julian's

Spotlight on: St.Julian's

Saint Julian’s, or as the locals refer to it, San Ġiljan, is a town located in the central region of Malta and as of mid-2020, is home to almost 14,000 people. The town is mostly known for being a hub for nightlife, new and luxurious accommodation locations, restaurants and nightclubs. For this reason, St Julian’s is popular with both locals and tourists alike, especially during the busy summer months.

The town is named after its patron saint, Julian, who is widely known as Julian the Hospitaller and Julian the Poor, whereby he is the patron saint of hunters. Before the reform to the calendar of saints, the memorial to St Julian was on 27 January. Today, however, it’s celebrated on the 12th of February and an additional feast is celebrated on the last Sunday of August.

History tells us that people dwelled within the town of St Julian’s many years ago. In fact, in the 20th century, Roman tombs were discovered in Balluta, where one may find the chapel of the Sacred Heart Convent today. In 1693, a large earthquake on the Maltese islands caused considerable damage to a number of buildings, one of which was the Lapsi Church, originally built during the time of the Knights of St John. Following a rebuild, requests were made for the church to become a parish. At the time, the town was a small fishing village, surrounding Spinola and Balluta bays, with very few buildings apart from Spinola Palace, the old parish church, a few fisherman’s huts and some farmhouses scattered around the area. In fact, around the year 1845, there were just 50 families living in the area; a number that increased to approximately 1000 during summer.

By 1891, the Lapsi church was declared a parish and Dun Gużepp Xerri was appointed chaplain. The town then grew considerably and a new church was built in 1961. St Julian’s is now divided into fourn informal districts: Paceville, Ta’ Ġiorni, Tal-Għoqod and St Andrew’s, as well as the regions surrounding St George’s Bay, Spinola, Balluta Bau and il-Qalliet cliffs.

SOME SPOTS IN st.julian's worth visiting

Spinola Palace

Spinola Palace was built in 1688 by Fra Paolo Rafel Spinola, a knight of the Order of St John. It was occasionally the summer residence of the Grandmaster, generally for the celebration of the Ta’ Lapsi feast, a tradition that went on till the expulsion of the Order. The palace was adaptively converted to a military hospital, serving between 1860 and 1922, and was known as the Forrest Hospital. It later served as a post-World War II shelter for the homeless, a museum of modern art and the even, the ministry of tourism. From late 2007 till the present, the building actively hosts the headquarters of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.

Church of our Lady of Mount Carmel

The church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or as referred to by the locals, Carmelite Church, is a neo-gothic Roman catholic parish church, located in Balluta bay. The church, which is a prominent landmark in the town, dates back to the early to mid 20th century. The original Carmelite church was constructed in 1859, based on plans by Giuseppe Bonavia, a Maltese draughtsman and architect. The church was rebuilt by Emanuele Luigi Galizia in 1877, who kept the two towers on the front elevation, a favourite feature of the traditional baroque Maltese church. The result harmonised perfectly with the low terraced buildings on either side, while its polychromatic touches complemented the waterfront scene it overlooks.


Paceville is a small district in St Julian’s, known for its bustling nightlife and several clubs. The area traces its origins back to the 1910s and 20s, when prominent lawyer and developer Dr Giuseppe Pace built a handful of seaside residences in the area now known as Il-Qaliet, the small bay between Portomaso and the Dragonara Pensinsula. Today, Paceville offers a great selection and variety of bars, nightclubs and restaurants, as well as a bowling arena, cinema complex, shopping complex, several hotels and even a beach called St George’s Bay. Looking for great nightlife and entertainment? Paceville is the place to go.

Portomaso Marina

Portomaso Marina has been operating since 1999 and is an eco-friendly complex, with several high-end hotels, casinos, restaurants and apartments, overlooking its three basins. The marina, a luxury residential and business complex, has around 110 stern-to-berths, which regularly service luxury yachts throughout the year. The marina is around a 10-minute walk from several landmarks including Spinola Palace and the Portomaso Business Tower. The marina also offers a relaxed and sheltered walk, with beautiful views of the sea and berthed yachts. Should hunger strike, the marina boasts a number of cafes and restaurants, offering both indoor and al fresco dining.