Firstly, I should mention that most people would have put this tip in aBugibba page but it is one of those quirks of the VT database that the atraction in question is technically in Qawra. In truth both these places are the same and it is hard to tell which one is a suburb of the other.
I should explain the title, as well. In the UK, and elsewhere, the expression "petrolheads" refers to those who are really into all the various forms of the internal (should that be infernal?) combustion engine. I have always liked motorcycles but am not a great car enthusiast and indeed do not even hold a car driving licence even at my advanced age! I had, however, read about the Classic Car Museum in Qawra / Bugibba and having declined the Friday afternoon quiz in the local British expats bar was looking for something to do here. Frankly, off season the options are limited. Accordingly, I went to the Museum and was extremely glad I did so as it really was fascinating.
This place calls itself a Car Museum but it is in effect a whole lot more than that. Certainly, there are more classic cars than you could wave a stick at but there is so much more as well, a fairly eclectic collection it has to be said. As well as the cars, there are some superb examples of motorbikes and scooters, old jukeboxes, vintage clothing, radios and TV sets, a cinema showing vintage motoring movies, pinball machines (a particular passion of mine) and just about anything else you could imagine. It really is superb.
The collection is housed in a most unlikely building, basically the basement of what looks like a block of flats. Entering through a shop and coffee bar (not apparently open this far off season) you descend the stairs past a neon sign proclaiming "Down Memory Lane" and that is exactly what you do. You are immediately transported into another age, one I partially remember from childhood.
What is effectively a huge underground garage has been transformed into the attraction you see in the images here. Obviously, I can only include five but I shall construct one or more travelogues as time permits to do full justice to the place. I had not really thought about it as time was on my side bit I suppose if asked previously I would have said I might have spent an hour there. In the event I spent about three, it really was that fascinating and this, as I say, for a man with a very limited interest in cars. It certainly surprised me and if you have the money, some of the exhibits are actually for sale!
To the logistics now. It is easy enough to get to the Bugibba / Qawra buss station. A #12 will take you from either Valletta or the more touristy St. Julian. The Museum is open Mon - Fri: 9.00 - 18.00 and Sat: 9.00 - 13.00. I am glad to report that the place is fully accessible for wheelchair users and there is an accessible toilet. Luckily for me, photography is allowed throughout.
I need to get a few things out of the way here. I am not against older people travelling, I am one! The concept of the "grey-pounder" is well-established now and, indeed, an area that travel agents, websites, journalists et al are targetting. Rightly so. I love meeting older people on the road. Th title of this tip, therefore, should not be misconstrued.
I visited Malta in the very, very off-season (February / March 2013) and it was frankly like visiting Northern England. The place was absolutely full of "Brits" spending a bit of time in the winter escaping the incresingly appalling British weather. I don't blame them and I was doing exactly the same, my proposed North Africa trip having been scuppered by terrorist activity in that region. However, I got off the bus as Qawra (named Bugibba 2) and fancied a coffee and so I basically walked into the first place I saw which happened to be Hanah's Bar. Well, I might as well have walked into a Northern English Working Man's Club.
Thre was not so muh as a whiff of Maltese influence here, it was British staff, British food, British beer and a pub quiz (Friday afternoon mind you) run by a man with a very Yorkshire accent. I declined the quiz on the principle I am not too clever and don't need a quizmaster to prove it to me, and satisfied myself with a coffee and a beer. Located just off the very appropriately named Triq it-Turisti (Tourist Street) and with a plethora of Brit bar / restaurants to choose from, this is as good as any. Clean, friendly, spotless toilets and the service was quick and pleasant. No complaints at all. I'm just not sure it is why I travel though.
259 Reviews and Opinions
Qawra Road | St. Paul's Bay, Qawra, Island of Malta SPB 1905, Malta
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
If you are travelling to Qawra from Valletta or the popular tourist ares of Sliema or St. Julians you will need the #12 bus which is a very regular service going about every ten minutes in the day. Be aware though that the service drops significantly at night so don't stay too late or you oculd be in a bit of bother. You will arrive at the fairly new bus station pictured which is on "Tourist Street" in Qawra and an easy walk to all the tourist places, bars, shops etc. The much less frequent #222 or #202 will also take you but start in Sliema and don't return all the way to Valletta. It is about 30 minutes from Sliema and an hour from Valletta denpending on traffic which can be bad on that road.
As anywhere on the bus system on Malta, pay no attention to the dot matrix boards on the stops, they are a complete work of fiction and I have to say that Qawra station was the only place I found a genuinely unhelpful member of the bus staff but he was maybe having a bad day. The attached website is good.
For more general information on the bus system on Malta, please see my Malta page.