A Valletta vs Sliema Standoff, Across the Harbour

Malta cherrylsblog.com 20191203_071624

Waking up to views of a Valletta sunrise, not a bad way to start the day!

A Valletta vs Sliema standoff, where did I get this notion from then? Why would anyone portray them like this? 

Valletta vs Sliema Standoff

When you look out into the harbour from either side, Valletta stands face to face with Sliema, separated only by water. Each side stares almost nose to nose, neither backing down, like opponents waiting to get into the ring.

You’d be forgiven for thinking they were two completely different islands, siblings that couldn’t  more different.


Valletta could well be the Vatican’s little brother, while Sliema seems like the Manhattan of Malta.

A sand blasted kingdom of domes, spires and steeples, Valletta is an ancient fortress – standing proudly in its history.

Military ships, huge cargo vessels and countless boats float all around the harbours, like an elaborate boat show.

Malta Views of Valletta cherrylsblog.com DSCN0064

Malta Harbour Cruise cherrylsblog.com DSCN1190

Valletta Malta Lighthouse Cherrylsblog.com DSCN9682

Malta Valletta cherrylsblog.com DSCN0738


Polar opposites at first glance, though Sliema still retains some of its ancient Maltese charm, hidden in its back streets, which you’ll see if you venture beyond the Sliema strip, (The Strand waterfront).

With Valletta, what you see is what you get, from the outside and deep within. Beautifully mature, growing old gracefully, beaming with character, digging its heels in tradition – staying loyal to its much loved historical buildings.

Sliema Stands Tall and Proud

Sliema’s city skyline offers tall white buildings, tightly packed, all in a row, with more under construction. Old buildings continuing to give way to new builds, Valletta’s loyalty to its old buildings isn’t shared by Sliema. Sliema is a modernist, eager to move with the times and capitalise.

On a sunny day the bay is blue, dotted with white and colourful boats.

A Room with a View in Sliema

The Yacht Yard across the way hoards hundreds of boats – large, small, some flashy others modest, ready for their owners to collect in the summer perhaps. Tall white mast poles stand sturdy like spears ready for battle.

Both day and night Sliema sees joggers, dog walkers and idle wanderers walking the sea front, up and down the curve of Sliema’s strip, The Strand.

Never ceasing traffic whizzes in both directions, keeping the city alive beside the still waters, framed with its high-rise cityscape, benches and palm trees.

Beeps, horns and pedestrian crossing sirens are the music of the city, yet each morning the sound of nearby church bells still resound along the strip.

Sliema looks like a white mountain compared to low rise Valletta directly opposite

As I relax on my hotel balcony, a pair of birds I can’t identify fly below me, grey and black, side by side in perfect unison, winged city dwellers.  

The sun begins to set behind the strip, and a familiar December chill fills the air – out comes my fleecy hoodie and a nice cup of tea!!

The sky is still blue with milky swirls and cotton wool fluffy clouds, occasionally interrupted by a passing plane.

Into the night

As dusk falls, the lights of Valletta being to turn on in the distance and the city lights of Sliema reflect on the water below, glistening as the night grows darker.

Boats moving further into the horizon become visible by their moving lights, as the sea and the night sky merge into one.

Malta Sliema The Strand cherrylsblog.com DSCN9296

Red break lights begin to cluster as thick traffic moves up in the direction of St Julian’s. Yellow headlights stream along the opposite side in the direction of Valletta.

Malta Sliema The Strand cherrylsblog.com DSCN9297

Sliema looks on, all fresh and modern with it’s ongoing face lift of modern hotels, high rise apartments and new builds. The brights lights of the city, and its streams of fast cars, restaurants and people – stare out at Valletta from across the water, admiring the contrast.

Later in the night, a firework display sparkles over the Valetta skyline, not to be confused with the flashing lights of nearby cranes.

Polar opposites at first glance, but if you venture beyond the Sliema strip, (The Strand waterfront) and take a short walk you’ll spot dilapidated and charming buildings – the rustic kind, like those in Havana Cuba.

Neon lights of Sliema

Malta is rapidly evolving, with more and more examples of the modern and the traditional rubbing shoulders.

Valletta Stands Firm

Malta Valletta Cherrylsblog.com DSCN0195

Malta Valletta cherylsblog.com DSCN9322

Cruise the shared Harbours

A harbour cruise is a great way to see the main harbours and get shots from the sea looking inland. It’s approximately 2 hours long, with both a day and night time option.


Malta Harbour Cruise cherrylsblog.com DSCN1188

Malta Harbour Cruise cherrylsblog.com Valletta DSCN8356

Malta Harbour Cruise cherrylsblog.com Valletta DSCN8393

Malta Harbour Cruise cherrylsblog.com lighthouse DSCN8346

Malta Harbour Cruise cherrylsblog.com Sliema DSCN8409

The Valletta Vs Sliema Standoff 

Sliema to the left – where we are now, Valletta to the right. Who wins? You decide!!!

5 thoughts on “A Valletta vs Sliema Standoff, Across the Harbour

  1. Pingback: A Walk Behind the Scenes: Sliema Malta -

Leave a Reply