Malta, being compiled of several islands is filled with a beautiful selection of locations by the sea. From rocky to sandy, inland sea, sea inlet, bays, and beaches in Malta, Gozo and Comino, there is practically any kind of seaside scenery that one can find on the islands.
One of the things anyone notices as they approach Malta by boat or plane is the deep and surreal colours of the Mediterranean Sea. All the Maltese Islands have beaches along the perimeter of the islands. There is also plenty of water sports equipment that can be rented on most beaches, such as jet skis, dinghy sailing, windsurfing, paddleboats, kayaks, and many others.
All photography in this article belongs to Alex Turnbull.
Beaches in Malta
Manikata – Ghajn Tuffieha, Golden bay and Gnejna bay
Manikata is a village in Malta, which isn’t highly developed with buildings and is mainly made up of fields, two very popular sandy beaches, and a third beach which is popular for those who are looking for a quiet beach setting after trekking with stunning views. There is a tower, Ghajn Tuffieha Tower when you reach the end of the road by car, and from that tower when facing the beautiful open sea, you have Golden bay on your right and the Ghajn Tuffieha bay on your left. Golden bay is easily accessible and has the Radisson Blu Resort located right next to it. The bay does experience strong currents from North West winds, so it is important to stay in shallower waters when a red flag is signalled.
Ghajn Tuffieha bay is one that many recognize due to the 200 steps one must walk down to get to the beach. Despite the number of stairs one must walk down and then up, it is a very popular beach. The same as with Golden bay, if the red flag is signalled, it is best to stay in the shallow waters. Above Ghajn Tuffieha bay, you can notice a trekking path which many use for a nice walk that leads you to a piece of land that is across to the Ghajn Tuffieha Tower. On the left of the land is Gnejna bay. To get to this bay, there is quite a steep clay and limestone slope from the trekking path which leads you to the bay. The bay may be not as full of people due to the walk one must take to get to it, as well as the minimal amount of sand found on the bay. It is also a bay that is popular amongst the occasional nudists so just a heads up.
Wied Iz-Zurrieq sea inlet
Adjacent to the Blue Grotto is the Wied Iz-Zurrieq or the Zurrieq Valley. The easiest way to enter is with the use of a small boat. The water is quite deep and during the summer season, this area can get quite busy with several boats docked. Wied Iz-Zurrieq is another popular place as a dive site as there is the Um El Faroud wreck as well as it is an incredibly beautiful spot for those who enjoy underwater photography.
Mellieha / Ghadira bay, Slugs bay, Coral Lagoon and L’Ahrax
Mellieha bay which is also known as Ghadira bay is the largest beach in Malta. It is a sandy beach and for those who don’t like depth, this beach is perfect. One must walk for quite a while until reaching deep-sea levels. Mellieha bay hardly experiences rough seas and does not have any underwater currents. The shallow water of the beach also makes it very popular amongst families. The beach is separated into 3 parts, the middle part being the widest and with the longest stretch, from the three sections. There is also a big selection of water activities which you can enjoy, such as canoeing, windsurfing, water-skiing, and many others.
In close proximity to Malta’s largest beach, is a remote beach called Slug’s bay. Above this bay are the L’Ahrax tal-Mellieha cliffs. It has a natural swimming pool which leads to the beautiful open sea. Although it is mainly sandy, there are also rocks found on the bay. Many locals with boats, also find it easier to access this beach with their boats and to leave the boats just off the coast.
When standing on the cliffs of L’Ahrax tal’ Mellieha, there are also two campgrounds. Campground Ahrax Tar-Ramel and Campground Ahrax Tat-Tunnara. Further on, or rather opposite Slugs bay towards Armier, you find a stunning dive site called Coral Lagoon. It is a hole that was the former ceiling of a cave. Many dive and jump inside this hole to enter the cave. There is also an opening which those that jump in, use to swim out of it. The hole leads you into the open sea, from which then you climb up the rocks onto land.
St. Peter’s Pool
St. Peter’s Pool is a stunning natural swimming pool that is closely located to Marsaxlokk. This rocky beach has become one of everyone’s favourites due to its clear crystal waters. It is also a great place for those who enjoy snorkeling. One thing to note is that are no facilities surrounding St. Peter’s Pool, so anyone who goes there always makes sure to get everything they may need with them. It is also not the best place for small children.
Mistra bay and St. Paul’s Islands
Mistra bay is an enclosed bay found between Mellieha and Xemxija, but on the side of Xemxija bay. The bay starts off as sandy but as you walk further into the sea, it turns into a pebbled surface. It is advised to wear water sandals as the surface of the pebbles can be slippery.
Closely located to Mistra bay is the St. Paul’s Islands, also known as Selmunett. The St. Paul’s Islands have been uninhabited since World War 2 and are considered to be the largest uninhabited islands on the island of Malta. Before 1575, these islands were called Isola Salomone and Isola Salomonetto, after the Salomone family who owned land in Mellieha. The origin of the current name, St. Paul’s Islands, refers to the story of Paul the Apostle and his story of getting shipwrecked on, what is written to be Malta while on his way to Rome, in chapter 28 in the Acts of The Apostles in the bible.
Beaches in Gozo
Dwejra, Gozo Inland sea, tunnel, and Fungus Rock
In Gozo, Dwejra, where once stood the Azure window, is also a site that simply must be experienced. Just before approaching Dwejra, you can notice a huge aqueduct, after which you will notice on the right, the inland sea. In the inland sea, there is a cave that leads you to an opening and just deep and crystal-clear waters. Further on the right, are the ruins of the iconic Azure window and on the left, you can see the Fungus Rock. You can also admire the gorgeous cliffs of San Lawrenz.
Ras Il-Hamra, Gozo
Ras Il-Hamra translates to Red Beach, also called Ramla bay. It got its name due to the sand’s exquisite orange-red colour. Surrounding the beach are rocky cliffs and a beautiful valley and this beach is definitely one of the most unique beaches in the Maltese Islands. Many use this area not only for swimming but also for hiking. Calypso cave overlooks Ramla bay, as well as does Mixta cave.
Another small quiet sandy beach is Marsaforn bay, Gozo. It is safe to swim in, even though it is connected to a small harbour on one side. The bay is protected from winds, has shallow waters, and is safe for children. It is a great location for a swim as well as for those who enjoy snorkeling.
An all-around popular sandy beach in Gozo is Xlendi bay. Very popular amongst swimmers as well as those who enjoy snorkeling and diving. Surrounded by charming greenery which you can enjoy by walking up the cliffs. The bay is good for families with children as the beach is shallow. You also have several points of entry to the sea, both from the sand as well as from flat rocks on the side.
Mgarr Ix-Xini, Gozo is a pebbled and secluded beach that is popular amongst divers and those who enjoy snorkeling. Mgarr ix-Xini bay has a selection of surfaces such as the pebbled side as well as the rough and high rocks. It is also popular amongst underwater photographers. You can also enjoy a walk to the tower which was built in 1661, as well as a walk around the valley surrounding the bay.
Ghasri Valley – Wied Il- Ghasri
Ghasri Valley or Wied il-Ghasri is a truly breath-taking and picture-perfect narrow creek. The narrow cove is about 300 meters long with a winding inlet, surrounded by impressive high cliffs from both sides. The crystal-clear water comes from Dbiegi Hill and goes all the way into the open sea.
The Wied il-Ghasri bay is a small pebbled beach that is quite popular with divers and those who enjoy snorkeling, especially due to the underwater caves and the well-known Cathedral cave which is located between Reqqa Point and Forna Point, which is perfect for those who are into rural tourism and adventure.
Dahlet Qorrot bay
Dahlet Qorrot bay is a charming small pebbled beach that is found just below Nadur and Qala. The bay is pretty quiet and has beautiful clear waters as well as the surrounding nature. There is a small sandy beach, in combination with rocks and a concrete platform used by sunbathers. This is also a popular bay for those who enjoy snorkeling and diving.
Sans Blas is a sandy beach located near Nadur. Like Ramla bay, it too has beautiful orange-red sand, but unlike Ramla, it is much smaller. It is also surrounded by fertile valleys with no buildings around. Getting to the beach can be a little tiresome as you have a little walk to get to the sand. The closest parking is about 2 km away, however, the crystal-clear waters are worth the walk.
Blue Lagoon in Comino
Comino or Kemmuna and the Blue Lagoon is simply a must to anyone visiting the Maltese Islands. There is just one hotel and the population is the family that runs the hotel. Comino is perfect for those who want to get away from today’s busy life, with no roads, cars, and when off-season, no people. It’s perfect for those who like trekking, diving, snorkeling, or just simply swimming.
It has been seen by far more people than expected because many people have seen it without ever visiting Comino. One of the most renowned films, Troy was filmed in the Blue Lagoon. Its fascinating shades of blue and crystal-clear waters surprise visitors of Comino, even if they have been there several times before.