St. Paul’s Bay, located in the north of the island, is Maltas’ largest tourist resort, and is popular with all types of holidaymaker, from families and couples, to single travellers and groups. Originally a small picturesque fishing village, St. Paul’s Bay has now developed to include the neighbouring resort towns of Bugibba and Qawra, and offers a good choice of nearby sandy beaches. St. Paul’s is famous for being the spot where the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked, bringing Christianity to the island of Malta.
The village of St. Paul’s is quiet and traditional, retaining an authentic charm with its’ colourful harbour filled with boats, and the residential Old Town. Its’ sister resort of Bugibba is a hive of tourist activity, with plenty of high-rise accommodation and a thriving seafront promenade, whilst Qawra next door is slightly more upmarket and home to newer hotels and apartments, and an array of smart shops. Facing St. Paul’s is the quieter up-and-coming resort of Xemxija, with great views over the bay and the surrounding countryside, and a popular resort for the locals. There are no beaches along the rocky coastline of St. Paul’s itself, just beach clubs and lidos, but some of the best sandy beaches on the island are close by. The largest sandy beach on Malta, Mellieha Bay, is a few kilometers away, and is family-friendly with shallow blue waters and lifeguards on duty, as is Golden Bay, with its’ reddish sand and watersports on offer.
St. Paul’s Bay has retained a lot of its’ original charm, with the pretty harbour offering some great fish restaurants. Most of the facilities for tourists are centred around the bustling resort of Bugibba, where there are a wide range of shops, bars and restaurants, and some nightclubs and cinemas. Whilst holidaying in St. Paul’s Bay, interesting sites to visit include the 16th century church and the underground catacombs, and, for the children, the Splash and Fun Park, and Popeye Village, where the film with Robin Williams was made.
St. Paul's Island is a flat islet (or better St. Paul's Islands as they are two of them, well separated, when the sea is more rough) laying in St. Paul's Bay on the island of Malta. It is uninhabited now as the sole farmer abandoned his tiny dwelling and fields decades ago.
In 60AD, the Roman Governor of Palestine Porcius Festus allowed Paul of Tarsus passage from Caesarea Maritima to Rome to stand trial for heresy before the Emperor Nero. So he was put on a merchant galley, under armed guard, together with many other people, including his friends Luke the Evangelist and Aristarcus, and the long journey began. Even after they boarded a bigger ship, near island of Crete, the weather became really bad, the sea rougher, and everyone was afraid, but Paul reassured them saying, "for fourteen days you have not eaten anything. Always waiting for the tempest to stop, today you must eat, an Angel of the Lord told me that no one will be lost and that all will lain safely on a certain island." He himself began to eat so as to set a good example. And so it happened - as the Acts of the Apostles relate that, when they had come very near to land, some jumped into the water, and the others held on to some planks or woodwork and swam to the shore, "And when we had reached land," we read in the Acts " we knew that the island was called Melita and the inhabitants took great care of us." No life was lost, all 276 passengers were saved.
St. Paul's Island was most probably the place of that shipwreck - but it is still disputed. The Islands of St. Paul or St. Paul's Islets, which are in effect only one island during low tide, are in the northeast of Malta. Saint Paul of Tarsus is believed to have been shipwrecked on or near these islets on the way to Rome in the year 60 AD.