This is a guest post by Edward Lansink, the founder and editor of Malta Uncovered, a travel guide for curious travelers looking to discover Malta.
Being surrounded by the Mediterranean sea, it’s only natural for the Maltese Islands to boast some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. With the islands’ mild winters, and the heat of summer, you’re most likely going to find yourself on a beach while in Malta.
Here are my tips for some of the best beaches that the Maltese islands have to offer, based on local knowledge.
Best Family Friendly Beach: Golden Bay
Even though the Maltese Islands are surrounded by beautiful crystal clear seas, the coast is generally a very rocky one, making for a limited number of sandy areas to soak up that summer sun. Having said that, you can find a few sandy gems scattered along the Maltese coast which make up for their scarcity.
One of the most popular sandy beaches is the aptly named Golden Bay. Found along the island’s northwestern coast, this beach’s wide curve of orange-gold sand slopes gently into the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It is flanked by dramatic, rocky cliffs and the striking Għajn Tuffieha tower on one side, whilst the luxurious Radisson Blu Resort & Spa overlooks the other end of the bay.
This is a beach in which you can lie down on the soft, golden-colored sand and just enjoy the summer rays. You can rent an umbrella and deck chair on the beach and if you’re into water sports, there’s a variety of activities and boat trips you can take up. There are a few beach hut cafes where you can grab a bite to eat or have a drink or two, but if you’re looking for something more upmarket, just walk on up to the five-star Radisson for a variety of dining options, either casual or more refined
Being a Blue Flag certified beach (European standard for beach quality), life guards patrol the area during the summer months and the beach has a system of flags signaling where it is safe to swim. The beach is easily accessible by car, with a few public parking areas nearby. It’s also serviced by a regular bus service.
Best Sandy Beach: Ghajn Tuffieha
If you prefer a more quiet sandy beach, head on towards Ghajn Tuffieha (Maltese for ‘Apple’s Eye’, also known as Riviera by the locals); located a 15 minute walk south of Golden Bay. It is flanked by dramatic clay slopes and rocky cliffs and boasts a narrow strip of beautiful orange-golden sand and clear azure waters and is accessed by descending a tall fight of (over 100) steps.
You can rent sun beds and umbrellas from a kiosk located on the side of the beach, which also offers some fairly decent snack options and there is a regular bus service to the area. Bus routes with destination Golden Bay all pass from there. You can also find a parking area at the top of the steps, but be warned, car spaces in the lot are rarely vacant as people visiting Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay use this area, as well as the main access road for parking and it does get pretty busy during the summer season. Having said that, Ghajn Tuffieha generally offers a more quiet and peaceful setting than Golden Bay, with a more natural atmosphere and less crowds.
Best for Snorkeling: Wied il-Ghasri
A unique spot and a popularly-photographed spot, Wied il-Ghasri in Gozo is definitely worth a visit for those who love snorkeling. This little gem of a beach is actually a coastal chasm at the end of a valley that opens to the sea through a river-like channel in between the rocky cliffs.
You can access the beach via a rocky staircase carved into the valley, although you’ll need a car or bike to get here since there’s no bus stop nearby. Snorkeling here is pure joy, with lots of nooks and crannies carved into the rocky ledges of the cliffs surrounding the inlet. It’s an absolutely stunning location to swim and snorkel at, although not the best place to sunbathe. The beach itself is small and covered in pebbles, which adds to the beauty but doesn’t make for a comfortable spot to lie down on.
Other fantastic snorkeling beaches worth a mention are Mgarr ix-Xini (also located in Gozo) and Ghar Lapsi and St. Peter’s Pool, both found in the southern part of Malta.
Most Rugged Beach: Fomm ir-Rih
If you’re looking for a remote, secluded beach, Fomm ir-Rih is definitely the one for you. Located along the northwest coast of Malta, just outside the village of Baħrija, this beach is Malta’s most remote and probably least accessible beach. It’s a bit of a challenge to get down to the sea, with a tricky 20 minute trek through some rough and steep terrain, but it’s worth the effort.
The coastal views here are magnificent, the water crystal clear with some great snorkeling opportunities, and you might just have the whole beach to yourself for the day! Imgiebah Bay in Selmun, Mellieha is another, easier to access (and sandy) alternative to Fomm ir-Rih, although there’s still a 30 minute walk to get there from the nearest bus stop.
Most Unique Beach: The Blue Lagoon (Comino)
Accessed only via ferry boat, the Blue Lagoon is located on the tiny islet of Comino, found in the strait between Malta and Gozo. An extremely popular summer spot, the Blue Lagoon is often overcrowded, a true shame, but for good reason. Boasting bright, crystal clear, turquoise waters and some of the most unique and stunning views of the Islands, Comino is truly a unique place to visit. The lagoon itself is a small inlet of inland sea ringed by rocks and lined by gleaming white sand. The beach in itself is extremely small, but there are a large number of large, flat rocks dotted about which are perfect for sun bathing. Swimming in the warm, azure waters of the Blue Lagoon truly feel like paradise, especially on days which are less crowded.
For even greater access, and guaranteed private moments, you could stay overnight at Comino’s sole hotel (quite pricey considering it’s not the most updated place), or even camp on the island if you’re feeling more adventurous! Of course, there are many other special beaches around Malta, all offering their own unique landscape and charm. A few noteworthy mentions are San Blas Bay and ir-Ramla l-Hamra in Gozo, and Mellieha Bay and Ghar Lapsi in Malta.
Thank you Ed for giving us some great beach options in Malta. You can learn more about traveling in Malta through Ed’s website, Malta Uncovered and check out his ebook, Valletta: An Insider’s Guide to Malta’s Capital.