“You’re heading to Malta? There aren’t any sand beaches you know, just rock.”
I heard this statement over and over as Kasha and myself planned our escape to the central Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, courtesy of my ‘modelling’ for lowcostholidays. While lazing on the beach forms only a small part of what I like to enjoy on my holiday, I endeavoured to prove this statement wrong. Even as we peeked out of the plane window on our approach we spotted some golden shores draped along brilliant turquoise water, and my mission was finalised.
I will admit that the best beaches are spread out across the island, with very few located in the central areas, but nonetheless they are there and well worth the journey to discover. To help you find that perfect stretch of sand to flop on and get suitably bronzed (or red) here is my detailed guide to some of the best beaches in Malta.
Gozo, Ramla Bay
Some of the finest, and quietest, beaches can be found on the second largest Maltese island, Gozo. Northeastern Ramla Bay is one of the cleanest and most popular beaches, boasting particularly striking golden orange sand (think Wotsits/Cheetos dust). Less crowded than some of the mainland beaches, it’s a little out of the way with hardly any nearby resorts overlooking it.
It’s a good spot for families as there may be a little more space for kids to run about. Couples will enjoy a little more privacy with no overlooking apartments. Most of all this beach is for sunbathers looking for a quiet spot to relax.
The water isn’t too rough here, but there are a lot of rocks as soon as the water starts. This makes it difficult for even able bodied people to get into the water without donning some super cool sea shoes.
There is a great little café serving reasonably priced hot food, on tap Cisk and local wine. There are bathrooms and another bar that may be open earlier in the day but was closed by the time we arrived.
Oh Gozo, I shan’t miss your public transport system. Unlike the rest of Malta, this island has far fewer connections, so buses only run once an hour. This can be frustrating if you miss your bus, but an easy way around this is to check the times on the returning bus stop before you head to the beach. For drivers, there is plenty of space to park, but peak season means you will get blocked in by other cars arriving later. If you are planning on leaving the beach early, park further from the shore.
Surrounded by hotels full of English and European tourists, this large stretch of sand is one of the most popular beaches in Malta. It will get incredibly busy in peak season, due to its relatively easy accessibility from Valletta and the surrounding areas, but the calm clear water more than makes up for it.
Families will undoubtedly love this area due to its clear calm and shallow water. It’s also a great place for anyone staying further south in search of sand and sea.
Hell yes! The soft white sand dips slowly into the water, making it a paradise for swimmers and those looking to float in the water for a bit.
Food, ice cream, toilets, restaurants you name it they are in spitting distance wherever you lay your towel. There are plenty of sun loungers to rent here too, but when the sand it so soft what’s the point?
There are frequent buses heading to central destinations (such as Valletta/Sliema) leaving from the three bus stops dotted along the beach. In peak season, these buses fill up VERY fast, so to avoid the pain of seeing three full buses drive by your stop, head home earlier/later or walk to an earlier bus stop. If you are driving in, there are parking bays along the road, which are likely to get busy early.
Camino, Blue Lagoon
If you walk along the promenade anywhere in Malta, you will be offered the opportunity to go for a day trip to the gorgeous island of Comino. This tiny landmass covers just 3.5 squared kilometres but features one of the most striking lagoons in the country. It gets massively busy on the weekends, during peak season and when its sunny, we avoided this by going on an overcast day which then cleared up. Start with a trek across the island to the Santa Marija Tower and by the time you get back that water will be soothing as hell.
This is definitely one for couples, young and old, rather than families. The actual beach is tiny, so families will be on top of one another during peak season. For a bit more privacy (note, slightly) head slightly around the side where there is another very small beach among the rocks.
You would be really missing out if you didn’t get in the lagoon. The water is calm, reasonably warm and so sparkling and inviting on a warm day. There are no rocks to worry for here, but keep an eye on the current if you head deeper out.
The drop off point has plenty of cheap fast food places selling burgers, baguettes and tasty ice creams. There are also toilets a short distance away.
You can choose to arrive at Camino via the ferry, which leaves daily or you can get the impossibly fast, exciting and painful speedboat by Supreme Power Boats Malta which departs from Sliema, St Julians and St Paul’s Bay. My back still hurts but it may well have been the most fun thing we did in Malta.
Set within a cliff face in north west mainland Malta, this is another extremely popular beach with visitors and locals alike. Overlooked by a 5 star hotel and few fancy restaurants, it’s the second most visited stretch of sand after Mellieha Bay. While I can see this getting busy in peak season, it still has lots of room, a warm atmosphere and plenty to enjoy.
You can easily make your visit here a day trip as there is so much in the area, so families and couples alike will love it.
You can swim at Golden Bay, but the water is a little rougher than many of the other beaches. It’s reasonably shallow for a long while into the water but the waves can get a little high; if you are swimming keep your eyes peeled for the red flag which will signal strong undercurrents.
Fine dining (yet still reasonably priced) restaurants, barbeque pits, bars, volleyball and market style stalls selling everything from flip flops to thongs. If you get bored of the beach, you can also grab a speedboat to explore nearby Popeye’s Village.
Slightly closer than Mellieha Bay, there are regular buses heading into the main cities like Valletta. There is parking available, but it’s very limited, and prepare to get blocked in if it gets busy.
Glorious sand, clear water and Mediterranean sunshine draw people around the world to this stunning country; and now I can personally see why. While the beaches in Malta are perfectly pristine, there is so much more to this charming archipelago than just its sand. Check back soon to find out some of the best things to do, places to eat and must see activities.