The sprawling, rapidly developing town of Mellieħa (mell-ee-ha) perches picturesquely atop the ridge between St Paul's Bay and Mellieħa Bay. Because of its distance from the beach, Mellieħa escaped the tidal wave of development that blighted Sliema and Buġibba in the early days of Malta's package-holiday boom. There are now several large hotels in town, but Mellieħa retains a certain elegance, and is home to some excellent restaurants. A 15-minute walk leads down the steep hill to Mellieħa Bay (also known as Għadira Bay), the longest and most popular sandy beach in the Maltese Islands. It's not especially scenic, as it's backed by a small road, but it's a great place for family fun.