In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily and east of North Africa, Malta boasts secret coves, unspoiled stretches, rippling azure waters, and a fascinating seafaring history. Modern cinema has even popularized the island, with the stunning archipelago, made up of Gozo, Comino, and Malta itself taking a starring role in countless movies and TV shows.
Malta has no shortage of inviting stretches of sand, so grab a towel and your bathing suit, and find a slice of paradise on one of these 16 top Malta beaches.
Golden Bay Beach, Mellieħa
One of Malta’s best beaches, Golden Bay, awarded a Blue Flag by the European Union for its cleanliness and water quality, is a gorgeous cove sandwiched between rocky headlands in the northern enclave of Mellieħa. Golden Bay Beach has it all: soft amber sand, wonderful ripples of aquamarine sea, and excellent facilities on hand.
Join a boat ride run by the beachside operator. Rent a jet ski, paddle board, or kayak, take a diving course, or splash in the water at your leisure. A handful of restaurants and bars are dotted around the bay, too, offering an all-day food and drinks service.
St. George’s Bay, St. Julian’s
Traditional colorful Maltese houses line one side of St. George’s Bay, while hotels and condos frame the opposite side, making for a buzzy beach atmosphere on this broad strip of golden sand. The calm water of St. George’s Bay, another Blue Flag Malta beach, is ideal for swimming, while the shore offers plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas for bathing, and a kiosk selling sodas, water, and ice cream.
You can also sign up for a one-day dive with one of the bay’s two dive schools, which offer thrilling underwater excursions to some of Malta’s best dive sites. Diving is especially good around Malta thanks to the steep drop-offs and the astonishing clarity of the water, and you’ll see dive boats heading out every day.
Blue Lagoon, Comino
If you’re invested in seeking out Malta’s best beaches, put the Blue Lagoon on your radar, on the tiny Maltese island of Comino. Its location is as dreamy as its name suggests, with turquoise water extending to the horizon. Blue Lagoon is perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling, thanks to the clear, shallow water surrounding the beach.
A regular taxi boat service operates from the main island to cumin-scented Comino (wild herbs, particularly cumin, grow around the island) every day, which takes around 15 minutes from the north of Malta.
This not-so-hidden gem has become one of the most sought-after beaches in Malta in recent years. Go early to beat the crowds, and don’t forget your camera to capture the blue hues of the water clashing with the sandy cliffs as you’re ferried to and from Comino.
Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, Mellieħa
Greeted by a gleaming strip of reddish sand, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay is one of Malta’s best beaches.
You’ll find the water warm and suitable for surfing, swimming, and snorkeling. Surrounded by hiking trails through herb-scented wild scrub, the untouched stretch on Malta’s northeast coast is harder to reach than the nearby beach of Golden Bay, accessed via 186 steps, which also means it’s less busy.
Follow the curved cove and walk to the 1637-built Għajn Tuffieħa Tower for magical views of the bay and beyond.
St. Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk
Head to this natural rock enclave on the south coast of Malta, just 8 1/2 miles from Valletta, and you’ll find the water as calm as a lake. Explore the rock pools and lay a towel on the flat, limestone ledge, joining locals diving from the rocks into the azure waters of St. Peter’s Pool. You can also climb into the sea via the ladders built into the cliff face.
There’s a small kiosk selling sodas and snacks, though sunbeds, parasols, and bathroom facilities are not available at St. Peter’s Pool. Access is via steps, making it difficult for wheelchair users to approach the beach.
Save time to explore the pretty seaside village of Marsaxlokk. The harbor here is crammed with brightly painted Maltese fishing boats and lined palm trees, and plenty of cafes and bars with outside seating.
Ġnejna Bay, Mgarr
A pristine west coast Malta beach with buttermilk-yellow sand, Ġnejna Bay is the antidote to some of the Mediterranean’s flashier tourist resorts, and a popular beach for watersports. Rent paddle boats, kayaks, water skis, and stand-up paddle boards.
Pull on a snorkel and mask and head below the water to explore the remains of Dornier Wal XI, a World War II plane wreck. The wreck lies at a depth of roughly 16 ft, making it an easy dive for beginners and even with just a mask and snorkel, you can see its shadowy form on the seabed.
Explore the coastal area around Ġnejna Bay by renting a self-drive boat. On land, hike to the former military fort Lippija Tower, designed by the same master architect, Vincenzo Maculani, as the nearby Għajn Tuffieħa Tower, which overlooks Ġnejna Bay.
Imġiebaħ Beach, Mellieħa
This secluded stretch exemplifies the best of Malta’s beaches. The sand is as soft as talcum
powder, and the horseshoe bay is primarily frequented by locals rather than vacationers. There are very few facilities on the beach, but this only amplifies Imġiebaħ’s serenity and charm.
Pack plenty of water and a picnic to enjoy on the shore. The area, in the northeast of Malta, is also famous for its hiking trails. Wear sturdy walking shoes if you plan on a scenic ramble.
Mistra Bay, Xemxija
Lying on the northeast shore of Malta, pebbly Mistra Bay is one spot where you’ll rarely encounter crowds. Loved by locals for its off-the-beaten-track feel, Mistra Bay is one of Malta’s best beaches.
Take off on a headland walk to explore the rocky, scrub-covered coastal path. On the northern tip of the bay, you’ll stumble across the 18th-century Mistra Battery, built as part of a series of coastal forts around the island.
Soak up the scenery from the water by joining the smattering of fishing boats and small yachts that bob in the bay’s emerald water. When you’ve finished, head to Margo’s, a delightful pizzeria by the beach, to tuck into a heavenly plate of antipasti and pizza flavored with homegrown herbs.
Ramla Beach, Xaghra
Ramla is a blissful beach on the north shore of sleepy Gozo. Getting here is an adventure in itself that takes roughly 90 minutes from Valletta, including a 25-minute ferry crossing. Ramla Beach, also known as Ramla l-Ħamra, meaning “red beach” in Maltese, is surrounded by grassy dunes, with sun loungers, striped parasols, public bathrooms, and water sports on offer.
Despite Gozo’s growing popularity, Ramla Beach remains undeveloped, except for a single restaurant. The area around Ramla Beach is known for its caves, including Tal-Mixta and Calypso cave.
If you’ve rented a car for the day (the ferry carries passengers on foot and by car), drive up to Tal-Mixta, where the cave mouth forms a rocky frame for shots of blue Ramla Bay below.
Għadira Bay, Mellieħa
Bright parasols line the sandy shore of Għadira Bay, also known as Mellieha Bay, on Malta’s north coast. Sink into a sun lounger and let the glistening crystalline water draw you in. Water sports options are abundant, too, including kayaking, windsurfing, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Behind the beach, you’ll find the seven-hectare Għadira Nature Reserve. The protected park offers salt marshes and a rich habitat for around 140 species of migrating birds. Pack your camera and follow the reserve’s trails to observe redshanks, sandpipers, and egrets, among a rich array of flora, including pretty sea daffodil, golden samphire, and fragrant sea lavender.
If you’re visiting during spring, you may even see a coral-plumed greater flamingo feeding in the marshy saltwater.
Buġibba Perched Beach, St. Paul’s Bay
Another of northeast Malta’s best beaches, Buġibba, in St. Paul’s Bay is a lively spot with honey-colored sand. There are facilities all around the beach, including water sports for hire, cafes, bars, restaurants, and stores selling souvenirs and essential items.
Swim out to the inflatable Quattro Water Park Bugibba, with fun giant slides and a bouncing obstacle course, roughly 320 ft from the shoreline. Reserve a table to enjoy a lazy, long lunch at Nine Lives, a chic venue overlooking the beach. Order the decadent shellfish platter, piled high with braised octopus, mussels, shrimps, deep-fried calamari, and langoustine, or zesty ceviches and fresh sushi dishes for a meal to remember.
Paradise Bay, Mellieħa
If local residents hesitate when you ask for directions to Paradise Bay, it’s because they’d rather keep this Malta beach top secret. A low-key hideaway located on the island’s northern tip, roughly 18 miles from Valletta, Paradise Bay is a perfectly formed cove made up of a picturesque swathe of fawn sand.
Other than blue sun loungers with matching umbrellas, there are limited facilities on Paradise Beach, which is all part of its appeal. Grab an ice cream or soda from the cafe by the beach and relax on the soft sand.
Pack your snorkel and dip your head below the cyan water to explore the cornucopia of marine life. If you’re an experienced diver, consider exploring the P29 wreck. This former minesweeper was scuttled in 2007 to create a dive site just off Ċirkewwa harbor, under a mile north of Paradise Bay.
After a nourishing swim, grab an alfresco table at The Beach at Paradise Bay. Kick back with a cooling glass of Maltese white wine—the citrusy Meridiana Wine Estate’s Isis Chardonnay is a solid choice—paired with fresh fish, Mediterranean salads, pasta, or barbecued specials.
Balluta Bay Beach, St. Julian’s
Tucked into St. Julian’s Bay, just north of Valletta, Balluta Bay Beach is one of the easiest beaches to reach from the capital. Hop on the number 22 bus from Valletta’s waterfront or jump in a taxi for the short ride to Balluta Bay.
This small, glamorous patch is one of Malta’s best beaches, flanked by a row of traditional Maltese buildings, including the pretty early 20th-century, neo-gothic Carmelite Church.
Remember to pack a towel to lay on the sliver of sand (there are no sun loungers or parasols on the beach). The azure water is gloriously calm. Take a walk on the waterfront promenade and pick up a creamy gelato before it’s time to leave.
Hondoq ir-Rummien Beach, Qala
A pleasant one-and-a-half mile coastal walk from Gozo’s main harbor, Mgarr, Hondoq ir-Rummien is a sheltered beach and coveted snorkeling bay with views of Comino island. With its intensely turquoise water and creamy-white sand, embrace the Zen energy of this laid-back cove. There are water sports on offer and a casual thatched beachside café bar serving welcome refreshments of chilled sodas, water, local beers, and ice creams.
Pretty Bay, Birzebbuga
An attractive beach in the resort of Birżebbuġa, in Malta’s southernmost cove, Pretty Bay lives up to its name. The vast, crescent-shaped beach gently shelves into the gently lapping Mediterranean Sea, making it perfect for paddling. Pretty Bay is a family-friendly beach with plenty to do, including a fun playground and water activities.
Once you’ve felt the silky sand between your toes, wander the palm tree-lined promenade, which wraps around Pretty Bay, and admire the traditional balconied buildings, stopping for a leisurely coffee or cocktail in one of the many cafes or bars.
Read: Insider’s Guide to Valletta, Malta
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