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Malta Beaches

 

 

 

 

The Top 10 Best Beaches in Malta (+ tips and FAQs!)

 

Malta is known for having some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, with some of the cleanest waters in the EU.

If you’re planning to go on holiday in Malta, this article offers a helpful guide to the best beaches that Malta has to offer, with info on what each beach is like, what the facilities are, how to get there, etc.

 

 

Most beaches around the Maltese islands are recognised as having some of the cleanest bathing waters around the EU, with a 100% evaluation of excellent quality, placing Malta shared first among EU states (Check out the 2014 EEA Report on European bathing water quality here – PDF download).

A few beaches are also Blue Flag certified, which means such beaches adhere to standards for sustainable development, environmental management, safety and other services.

Although what makes a great beach varies from person to person, I’ve compiled a top 10 of the best beaches around Malta.

Fear not, I’ve done my best to outline the pros and cons with each beach, to help you pick your sunbathing and swimming spots on your next holiday to Malta.

 

 

Beautiful locations, clean beaches

10. Ta’ Fra Ben (Qawra Point)

Ta` Fra Ben Bay is named after its watchtower that overlooks the area. Although mostly rocky, the water is clean, the view is great and it doesn’t tend to get very busy here. The bay is a little sheltered which means it’s rarely affected by the swell of the open sea, in summer at least. It’s also a great spot for snorkelling with some interesting underwater life.

If you’re staying in the Buġibba / Qawra / St Paul’s Bay area this is an obvious first bathing location to check out. Much more so than the perched artificial sandy beach that’s located along the coastline at Buġibba. Having said that, if you prefer sandy beaches look elsewhere for better options!

Pros

 

  • Easy to reach, easily accessible
  • Great views, clean water
  • Good place for snorkelling enthusiasts
  • Amenities and kiosks
  • Umbrellas and sunbeds rented out here
  • Blue Flag certified beach
Cons

 

  • Rocky and relatively small beach  – not great for those looking for sunbathing, unless you’re in time to rent a deck chair for the day.
  • Although the bay is a family-friendly place to swim (and OK for kids), the water gets deep pretty quickly

9. Armier Bay and Little Armier

Armier Bay is located in the far North of Malta, close to the tip of the tail (if you creatively picture the island as having the shape of a fish). The bay has two beaches, one known as Armier for short, the other as Little Armier. (You guessed it, it’s the smaller of the two!) Neither of these beaches get crazy busy in summer, although they’re quite popular among the Maltese some of whom set up camp (tent and all) for the day with the family.

Both beaches are considered to be rather remote and unless you’re hiring a car you can expect a bit of a walk to get there from the nearest bus stop. Although several bus routes pass through the area on their way to Ċirkewwa (the place where the Gozo ferry operates from), you need to be pretty fanatical to take the challenge to walk to Armier in the scorching hot summer sun.

A refreshing swim will be a great reward, nevertheless. As far as the beaches themselves go, they’re family-friendly, relatively clean and safe, and amenities are available at both Armier and Little Armier. The shoreline is also pretty shallow so a good location to swim with kids.

Pros

 

  • Sandy beach
  • Beautiful location
  • Clean, clear water
  • Family-friendly, though only with own transport
  • A popular beach among locals, less touristy
Cons

 

  • Difficult to reach without a car. Closest bus stop is 20 minutes’ walk away
  • Part of the beach reserved for sunbed and umbrella rental operators
  • Not the best-kept beach in terms of cleanliness (summer season)

8. Ġnejna Bay

Ġnejna is a rare little gem of a beach on the West coast of Malta, which is sandy and fairly secluded and not very popular among tourists as a result. It’s good proof that being a little more adventurous and exploring your holiday location can pay off.

Being the “go to” beach for the Maltese living in the nearby village of Mġarr, it’s a nice alternative to some of the other, busier beaches. A few kiosks and public convenience sit on the edge of the beach and it’s considered to be a family-friendly beach with a fairly shallow shoreline, but not necessarily easy to reach if you’re not driving there yourself.

7. Paradise Bay

Paradise Bay is located near Ċirkewwa in the Northern most part of Malta, where the ferry to the neighbouring island of Gozo departs. The beach is set in a natural cove and is quite secluded and peaceful, surrounded by high cliffs, with great views of its rugged landscape and of the nearby islands of Gozo and of Comino.

Paradise Bay is a small beach in the far North of Malta.
 

It’s a small sandy beach with crystal clear water that is considered to be family-friendly with easy entry to shallow water that gradually becomes deeper. Paradise Bay generally attracts a younger crowd among locals and sometimes parties are organised here on weekends. Part of the bay is very much suited to snorkelers, with some nice underwater features and several species of fish and other sea life around.

6. The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a stunningly beautiful inlet on the small island of Comino. It is sheltered and has dazzlingly azure waters. Access to this fascinating inlet is by boat trip from Gozo or Malta. There are two white sand beaches, one on either side of the crystal clear water: the bottom of the inlet also consists of white sand.

The rest of the bay is rocky: here visitors can sunbathe or jump into the refreshing water. Snorkelling is popular due to the clarity of the water as well as the presence of several caves. No boats are allowed, so it is an especially peaceful setting.

It’s not higher up in my personal top 10 of beaches because 1) There’s no real beach and it’s more of a tour stop and 2) It’s a tourist hotspot, meaning it’s swarming with people during the summer months. Nevertheless, it’s a must-visit place in Malta, but something you should plan a day trip for.

The Blue Lagoon is a popular tourist hotspot in summer.

Pros

 

  • Absolutely stunning location, one of the pearls of the Maltese islands
  • Clean, clear water like you’ve never seen before
  • Great place to spend the day in summer
Cons

 

  • Not exactly Malta’s best kept secret – Gets very busy in summer!
  • Only reachable by boat, unless you’re actually staying in Comino
  • Not really family-friendly
  • Treacherous undercurrents not uncommon outside of the summer season

Hidden, more secluded beaches – off the beaten path

5. St. Peter’s Pool

St. Peter’s Pool is a pool-shaped bay on the East coast of Malta, nearby the fisherman’s village of Marsaxlokk. There’s no beach as such, although there’s enough room to spread out your beach towel on the flat rocky surface around the bay.

It’s not a very popular beach, mostly frequented by the locals, and it’s a beautiful alternative to some of the more touristy beaches around. Getting there can be a bit of a challenge in terms of navigation, but if you’re the type who likes to get out of their comfort zone this is a hot tip.

Pros

 

  • Gorgeous (rocky) bay, crystal clear, azure waters.
  • Rarely gets busy
  • Space for sunbathing, despite being sandy
  • Great for snorkelling
Cons

 

  • Not very easy to reach
  • Not considered to be family-friendly
  • No amenities

4. Imġiebaħ Bay

Not very easy to reach but well worth the trouble getting there, Imġiebaħ Bay is a little gem that’s undisturbed by man. A small sandy beach is surrounded by the rocky shore and although small in size, it rarely gets busy here. It’s located in the North of Malta, beyond Selmun Palace (nearby the village of Mellieħa and clearly designated from main roads). The minute you see Selmun Palace there’s a left turn that takes you down a long winding road.

Unless you’re a highly skilled and confident driver (especially in reverse) it’s highly recommended to park in the vicinity of Selmun Palace and make your way down to the beach on foot (15 min walk), since the road was never intended to be used by cars coming from opposite directions.

Pros

 

  • Small sandy beach
  • Raw nature, untouched by man
  • Quiet and peaceful – never really gets busy
Cons

 

  • Tricky to get to. You’ll want to park near Selmun Palace and make your way down to the beach on foot.
  • No amenities
  • Dead seaweed often washes up and isn’t cleaned by the authorities. Not a big con for me personally – part of nature

My personal top 3 beaches

3. Mellieħa Bay / Għadira

Mellieħa Bay (also referred to locally as Għadira Bay) is the largest sandy beach on Malta and one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. It is by far one of the most popular of Malta’s beaches and with a surf that remains shallow for a good distance out and easy access, this spot is a firm favourite for families with children, who tend to set up camp for the day, mostly on weekends.

Mellieħa Bay is located in the North of Malta (near the village of Mellieħa, seen below up on the hilltop) and is very easy to get to, with a number of bus routes stopping at the bay on their way to Ċirkewwa (where the ferries to Gozo berth).

Mellieha Bay / Ghadira in the North of Malta
Pros

 

  • Largest (sandy) beach
  • Family-friendly – Easily accessible and shallow water
  • Facilities nearby – Several restaurants/snack bars and two hotels
  • Easy to reach with public transport
  • Water sports and windsurfing
  • Beach management (June – Sep) – lifeguards, First Aid clinic, maintenance
  • Sunbed & umbrella hire
  • Blue flag certified
Cons

 

  • Sunbed & umbrella hire – Great facility to have when desired, though providers can be rather pushy and control designated areas.
  • Gets crowded quickly despite its size, particularly on Sundays, which also means it’s difficult to find (free) parking.

2. Golden Bay

Golden Bay is located on the Northwest coast of Malta, right next to Għajn Tuffieħa (the next beach on the list) and is a popularly visited beach which was one of the first to earn Blue Flag status.

Easily accessible and reachable with public transport, this beach offers plenty of amenities and is the perfect location for families to enjoy some sunbathing. Although the North cliff is taken up by a large hotel, the rest of the beaches surroundings are largely unspoilt and make for a great view. Golden Bay is also a popular location for barbeques, mostly on Friday and Saturday evening.

Golden Bay is a sandy beach on the west coast of Malta.
Pros

 

  • Sandy beach, Blue Flag certified
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Amenities, kiosks and good restaurants
  • Easy to reach by public transport and car
  • Family-friendly
  • Great for evening barbeques and admiring sunsets
  • Reasonably easy to find parking if you don’t mind a brief walk
  • Water sports and windsurfing
Cons

 

  • If the wind’s blowing inward the water isn’t very clear. Not dirty, just a little murky
  • Not quite untouched by man with a number of developments, including a large hotel sitting on the Northern cliff’s edge
  • Can be very busy in summer, particularly on weekends.

1. Għajn Tuffieħa (my absolute favourite beach)

Għajn Tuffieħa is my favourite beach in Malta, with some of the best scenery and sea you’ll encounter around the Maltese islands. To me, this beach is a perfect balance between being in raw nature and yet having facilities to be comfortable at the beach.

Yes, it’s a popular beach, yes, it’s a favourite among tourists as well and can get busy, but the stunning beauty, its panoramic views and clean water are just amazing. This is a must visit and well worth a bus ride from wherever it is you’re staying in Malta.

Għajn Tuffieħa is my favourite beach in Malta.
Pros

 

  • Perfect balance between raw nature and man-made facilities
  • Sandy beach with clean water, great for sunbathing as well as swimming
  • Family-friendly (although it’s not the easiest beach to access – see Cons)
  • Sunbed and umbrella hire. Kiosk on the side of the beach
  • Easy to reach by public transport and car
  • Blue Flag certified beach
  • Amazing sunset views. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Cons

 

  • Quite a challenge to get back up the hill if you’re not in reasonable shape – you’ll need to ascend a long flight of stairs
  • Parking can be difficult to find, especially on Sundays and public holidays
  • This beach is notorious for strong undercurrents during the colder months of the year.
  • Kiosk on the beach sells overpriced food and drinks.

Overrated beaches mentioned in travel guides

Pretty Bay

There’s no doubt that Pretty Bay, near the Southernmost village of Birżebbuġa, was once a great location for swimming. The construction of Malta’s Freeport in the 1980s kind of spoiled the location. The locals do swim there still but as a beach, it’s not always well maintained unfortunately either.

Buġibba Perched Beach

The Buġibba Perched Beach is a man-made beach that serves a popular tourist area of which the coast is mostly rocky by nature. Although convenient as a location perhaps, entry to the water isn’t particularly easy and the real thing (natural sandy beaches) are worth taking a bus trip for. If you’ve already booked your accommodation, Buġibba is alright as a location, but there are better places to stay in Malta.

Handy beach tips to keep in mind

  • Most bays have a clearly marked swimmers’ zone, outlined by buoys. Keep inside of this zone to stay safe.
  • A bit of an obvious one: Use sunblock with a high protection factor whenever you go sunbathing. The Maltese authorities usually recommend avoiding the sun in summer between the hours of 11am and 4pm because of the high levels of UV radiation.
  • For your own safety, never swim alone.
  • Sea water temperatures (as well as daytime temperatures above water) remain relatively high until well into October usually.
  • Always keep an eye on the flag system at popular beaches (see further down below) that indicate what the current conditions are like. If you see a single or double red flags, stay out of the water no matter how inviting the sea looks. It’s not the first time people get caught out by undercurrents, usually off season.
  • Parking can be hard to find, particularly at the height of summer. Either time your visit to the beach to be early on in the bay, or expect to park a fair distance away and make your way to the water on foot.
  • In terms of how busy beaches get. Weekends, and in particular Sundays, are the most popular swimming days for the locals. Also, during the week of August 15th (the locally celebrated Feast of Santa Marija) most locally-owned companies will shut their doors for the week and I reckon that’s probably the busiest part of the year for beach visits.
  • Some parking areas in Malta, some of which near beaches, are overseen by a parking attendant, who is licensed by the local authorities to help manage the parking area and ask for gratuities. Be aware that you are not obliged to pay the parking attendant (they’re civil servants, licensed and paid a modest wage), although it’s kind of accepted to tip 50 cents or 1 Euro or so. Some of these guys can be rather pushy, however, helpful parking attendants aren’t unheard of. I tip myself, but only if they’re actually helpful rather than just sitting around in the shade. If you get hassled, you can easily report them to the local authorities (there’s a road sign containing details at most public parking areas).
  • Petty crimes are relatively rare in Malta, although pickpocketing on busy beaches is gradually becoming more common. Therefore, think twice before leaving valuables on the beach while you go for a swim. Take only your essentials with you and if need be, you could try asking one of the locals to keep an eye out – just be polite and ask nicely!
  • Even though sunbed and umbrella hire is common in the more popular bays, keep in mind you always have the option to find a spot outside of the zones that are dedicated to these guys.
  • Although there’s a small nudist beach which is sort of ignored by the local authorities near Ġnejna Bay, nudity is frowned upon by the Maltese and is actually illegal.
  • Gentlemen, if you’re not on the beach, please wear a shirt. Bare chested visits to nearby restaurants or shops isn’t socially accepted in Malta either, despite the warm weather.
Thanks to maltauncovered for this tip!

 

 

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