This is your ultimate guide to all beaches in Malta. Beautiful sandy and rocky beaches as well as those hidden gems that only locals enjoy. Your best guide to finding the best beach that suits your taste for your next glorious Malta trip.
The length of the Maltese shoreline is 136.8 km and I hiked a big part of it in order to prepare this guide. Not in one day, of course, but I visited, on foot, many hidden corners of this country and created this list of all the beaches in Malta for you.
I have lived in Malta for a little over 2 years and I was determined to discover all the hidden gems that this island has to offer. What can I say? I really enjoyed this challenge!
Note: This guide covers only the beaches of the main island of Malta. For a detailed guide to Gozo and its equally (if not more) stunning coastline, please visit my Gozo guide.
Malta, an archipelago country located in the Central Mediterranean, consists of three inhabited islands and is abundantly full of wonderful beaches and coastal walks. Due to its warm Mediterranean climate, the waters are gloriously warm and you can dip in the sea as early as April (even though some locals would think you are completely crazy if you did so).
Tourists visiting Malta are spoilt for choice when it comes to sightseeing and entertainment, but possibly the beaches here are some of the most spectacular and often unusual.
Beaches in Malta are both sandy and rocky. And although the sandy beaches are most popular and conventional, I personally think the rocky lidos are far more charming and picturesque, with the sea often being much cleaner.
In Malta, there is a beach for everyone: large sandy beaches ideal for lazing all day and enjoying water sports, crystal blue lagoons, rocky lidos ideal for snorkelling and adventurous hidden beaches and bays.
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Mellieha Bay (Għadira beach)
Located on the outskirts of Mellieħa, Għadira beach is the largest and probably most popular beach in Malta.
The town of Mellieha is a very popular tourist destination in the northern part of Malta, so unsurprisingly the beach gets very busy in the summer months. It is a blue flag beach and also very family-friendly with fairly shallow waters so if you are on family vacations this is probably one of the best beaches in Malta.
I like to visit slightly outside of the season, yet it is a really beautiful and picturesque beach at any time of the year.
I like to visit slightly outside of the season, yet it is a really beautiful and picturesque beach at any time of the year. Plenty of facilities are available around the Mellieha beach, including several water sports like floating banana rides or kayaking. Around the bay you will find plenty of restaurants, bars and shops, so it is also a great place to spend the whole day chilling.
This is just your typical holiday beach and it is one of the reasons I like it. Also, this is one of the best areas in Malta to stay on your vacation – with Mellieha being a charming village located on top of a hill, surrounded by fertile valleys providing beautiful panoramas but also being a great base due to excellent transport links.
Bonus Tip: In case you wanted to stay around Mellieha bay but craved some more remote bathing experience I have a secret spot for you. Walk along the shore towards Santa Maria estate (behind Nora’s Lounge Diner) and you will find a few hidden staired inclines to the water. Bring your water shoes and enjoy: )
Golden Bay / Guide to all beaches in Malta
Golden Bay is a large sandy beach located in the far north of the island and another of the very popular beaches in Malta.
A wide stretch of golden sand that gently leans into turquoise blue water and nestled within a cliff face in North West Malta offers some of the most spectacular sunset views and a great sunbathing experience.
Għajn Tuffieħa (Maltese for ‘Apple’s Eye’, also known as Riviera bay)
Gájn Tuffieà is my favourite beach of all time in Malta.
This somewhat more remote bay located right next to Golden Bay, can only be accessed by a long flight of steps, hence it is less crowded and hosts slightly more of an adult crowd. It is a stunning beach, if not one of the best beaches in Malta.
There is a slightly bohemian feel to this beach, with its red sands, quirky restaurants with comfortable loungers and swings and little fires and BBQs lit in the evening by the locals.
It is a pretty large sandy beach and on any given day I will choose this one over Golden Bay. You will find a lovely restaurant/bar located there with a pretty decent menu and great cocktails – ideally located for admiring the sunset. So if you don’t mind the stair climb, there is nothing to dislike about this beach.
Riviera Bay is also surrounded by tranquil Maltese countryside perfect for a walk if you get tired of too much relaxation.
Paradise Bay / beaches in Malta
Paradise Bay is a very close candidate to be one of the best beaches in Malta.
Located in the far north point of Malta, nestled in a natural cove and circled by secluded rocky slopes, this fairly small sandy beach, accessible by a flight of stairs and is one of my favourites!
It’s beautifully located and the sand is velvety soft here. The beach is surrounded by caves and rocky inlets, making for some excellent snorkelling opportunities.
In the high season, it is served with all the necessary beach facilities and on higher decked levels sunbeds are available as well as restaurants and bars.
For some reason, this beach gives me a slight boho feel, yet I mostly visit out of season and stay until the sunset. I could not recommend it enough – it is definitely a must-visit!
St. Georges bay
Located in the heart of the Entertainment Mecca – Paceville, St. George’s Bay is particularly popular with tourists visiting during the summer months.
Surrounded by hotels, restaurants, clubs and language schools, it is a typical city beach, therefore not on top of my favourite list. St. George’s Bay is, however, very conveniently located and it is also one of the few sandy beaches in St Julians/Sliema.
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Buġibba Perched Beach
Situated directly on the Buġibba promenade it is a man-made large sandy beach with some remaining natural rock formations. For this reason, the beach is somewhat unusual – with sandy surfaces created for comfortable sunbathing but a rocky, pool like entrance to the sea.
What is interesting about this beach is that when the sandy conversion was being considered, this beach was actually planned to be totally reversible. So if there was need – the rocky coastal stretch would return to its original form, with no harm to local marine life.
The beach has been awarded blue flag certification and facilities on this beach range from a bar, diving instruction, hire of equipment, parking, toilets and a variety of water-sports. Waters as fairly deep here, and bridges and ladders are provided for easier access. It is a very pleasant beach in an ideal location.
Balluta Bay / beaches in Malta
Balluta Bay is a small sandy beach located at the foot of St Julian’s and offering a good option if you don’t fancy getting out of town, but the rocky beach is not your thing.
The only issue is that this beach has its own disappearing act. Due to winds and tides, the sea often reclaims the sand and although at the beginning of the tourist season it goes through a sand replenishment project and stayed this way throughout the summer, the winter winds and storms caused the beach to disappear again.
I do believe that it will get continuously replenished in years to come as this is a really conveniently located swimming spot. You might as well visit and see if you are lucky 🙂
South of Malta has very few sandy beaches and Pretty Bay located in Birzebbuga is one of them.
It is an artificial and quite large beach, and it is nice enough as the water is clean and swimming here is quite pleasant. There is also a small park and playground, making it an ideal place for families.
It offers all the necessary amenities and restaurants are located nearby. Unfortunately, the views are far from amazing, because there is a harbour directly opposite the shore, so I would say it’s a nice and convenient beach for a chilled afternoon yet not at the top of my list.
St Thomas bay beach Malta
This beach, known as ‘Ir-Ramla’ to the locals, excites me much more (in comparison to the above). It is not only a lovely ‘locals’ beach but also offers wonderful hikes with some most incredible views in Malta.
The beach itself is located in the village of Marsascala. I classified it as a sandy beach given it offers a variety of small and shallow sandy beach parts, as well as flat rocks and concrete platforms ideal for the sand-free experience.
It overlooks the Munxar Cliffs, and if you venture to take a walk there, you will not be disappointed. The views from this point are breathtaking. It is a great beach to spend a day. There are a couple of open-air restaurants and a bar, and the views, as well as the sea around here, are wonderful.
Best Rocky Beaches in Malta
Sliema beach Malta
I really like this long stretch of rocky beach which runs just under the Sliema promenade all the way up to the foot of St Julian’s.
It’s a city beach and in the summer gets pretty busy, however, given it stretches for so long, you will always find a free spot here.
It was always my go-to beach during the week when I didn’t have much time for a longer trip.
Sliema beach is also home to the Victorian ‘Roman Baths’ – a series of rock-cut pools, sheltered from the open sea. The water is crystal clear and with the view over the Mediterranean with boats and yachts swimming by it can offer and nice relaxing afternoon stretching into the nice evening if you decide to have dinner or cocktail in one of the many bars spread across the promenade.
The rock formations create flat plates, suitable for sunbathing and if jumping into the sea is not your thing, you will also find many step ladders as well as natural rock stairs. I also started liking the fact that I could get off the beach without a collection of sand in my bag and in my hair.
Tigne Point beach / Sliema
This small rocky beach at the top of Sliema coast offers spectacular views over to Valetta with boats and yachts sailing into the sunset.
Popular among the local crowd living and working in the area for sunbathing and BBQ’s as well as great views. No facilities are available here, so bring your own picnic and towels.
St Peter’s pool and Kalanka
The reason why I’m pairing those two beaches is because they are pretty similar and placed right next to each other. The latter, however, is a bit less known, hence more off the beaten track.
Located near Marsaxlokk fishing village (around 30 minutes walk) St Peter’s Pool is not your typical beach. For this, however, is it really worth visiting. I truly believe that the unusual rocky formations created some of the best beaches in Malta.
Tourists and locals come to the pool of St Peters to jump into crystal clear waters and relax far away from the crowded cities. The rocks are smooth and flat enough for sunbathing, however, no facilities are on offer here so you will need to bring your own towels, sun loungers and picnic.
The round rocks form a ‘pool’ deep enough to be safe for diving into, and this is one of the main attractions of this beach. As well as amazingly clear, azure and light green colours of the sea. If you are not adventurous enough to jump into the water – ladders are available to access the sea.
Kalanka, on the contrary, located further down the same peninsula, is not to be found on major tourist information guides.
There is enough room for sunbathing and even some shady areas along the smooth curves of limestone. It is also an excellent place for snorkelling. This beach is a little wilder than the St Peters pool and officially jumping into the water is not recommended. People jump, though, but I would definitely recommend exercising extreme caution.
For this type of beach experience, I recommend getting water shoes. Rocks can get slippery and could possibly hurt your feet. Water shoes can be purchased anywhere across the whole of Malta.
Blue Grotto – Zurrieq Valley sea inlet
Blue Grotto is a very popular site across visitors and locals and Zurrieq Valley inlet offers excellent swimming opportunities. Entry into the water is from small rocky docks and the water is deep here, therefore only recommended for those who know how to swim well.
It is a great area offering lovely views of the islet of Filfla and many viewing points spread along the coast. Wied iż-Żurrieq is also well known for its good restaurants. Therefore, I must say it is an ‘all in one’ kind of destination. Swimming is not the biggest attraction in the area, yet I wanted to mention it because of its unusual surroundings.
Best Secluded Beaches in Malta (Hidden Gems)
Gnejna Bay is a secluded beach a little further down north from Għajn Tuffieħa Bay.
Nestled between clay slopes and limestone cliffs, this charming and picturesque sandy beach is mostly popular among locals over the weekends, so for a truly secluded feeling, visit during the week.
There are great hiking trails around and in fact, this is how I came across this beach – hiking from Gáajn Tuffieēa. This is a bit tricky hike but one of the most spectacular in Malta. The beach itself is mainly sandy, but if sandy beaches aren’t for you, there’s a stretch of natural flat limestone rock on the right side of the beach. During the high season, you may even be able to rent a kayak and explore the nearby bays.
Between Ghajn Tuffieha and main Gnejna beach – you will find a super secluded little stunning beach with a very tricky hike down.
Armier and Little Armier beach
Two neighboring sandy beaches in Armier Bay, located on the north end of the island are very popular amongst locals, therefore, have a less touristy feel in comparison to Mellieha or Golden Bay. The water is crystal clear here and the beach is considered to be family-friendly.
Few bars, lidos and small restaurants can be found in the area and during the summer months, in some parts of the beach, you will find sun loungers and umbrella rentals. Beach features stunning views over to Gozo and Comino Islands and if you fancy a bit more of a local feel this site is definitely worth visiting.
Mistra Bay and the surrounding Selmun area
This is an excellent hiking spot in Malta with many bays and secluded beaches.
If this post were about my top three best beaches in Malta this tiny, extremely well hidden beach in Malta would certainly make a cut.
Fomm Ir-Rih Bay is a remarkable wild beach found near Bahrija is probably one of Malta’s most remote and difficult to reach beaches. Favourite among snorkelers, divers as well as random hikers looking for off-the-beaten-path sites.
The only way down to Fomm Ir-Rih Bay is by a rough and sometimes steep and slippery path. Consequently, only confident hikers with good balance and at least an average fitness level should attempt the trek.
Offering fantastic views of cliffs, valleys, the deep blue Mediterranean Sea as well as the Maltese countryside, this site is definitely worth a visit.
Even if you decide not to climb down to the actual beach, the area is striking enough so you won’t be disappointed.
Further north of Selmun Palace, settled in the beautiful valley, is one of the best beaches in Malta – Mgiebah Beach.
This beach is heavenly, gorgeous and peaceful and it is more of a pebble beach with few sandy spots. Come during the week and it is possible you will have the whole beach for yourself. A true gem in my eyes. There is parking right on top, but you can also park at the Selmun Palace and take a half an hour stroll down the valley.
Ghar Lapsi beach
A hidden natural swimming pool situated around 1 km away from the Blue Grotto, nestled below a stretch of Dingli Cliffs, Ghar Lapsi is a unique and hidden little bay very popular among local swimmers. It is strictly ‘swim and go’ kind of area with no sunbathing area, hence you will not find many tourists around here. Yet if you if you are taking a hike around this stretch (very recommended) it is a great place to cool down during the hot summer months.
This is a great snorkelling spot but in recent years has also become increasingly popular with divers for its reefs that stretch for 200 meters. There are snack bars popping out during the warm summer months while there is also a bar and restaurant open all year round.
Things to be aware of when visiting beaches in Malta
- Be aware of the jellyfish. It was in Malta where I was first stung. It’s not life-threatening, but unpleasant enough. Jellyfish are present in the waters only during certain times so you can use this ‘jelly radar map’ I used when living in Malta.
- Public nudity in Malta is illegal so refrain from sunbathing topless. Also please do not enter shops and bars in bikinis and shirtless.
- Be careful when swimming on secluded, unguarded beaches. Some areas are known for strong currents. Preferably, do not swim alone. Most bays have a clearly marked swimmer zone, which is outlined by buoys so please stay within this zone.
- Beaches in Malta get very busy on weekends. Choose a popular beach during the week and explore the more secluded beaches during the weekend. Thank you later!
Many first time visitors are not aware of the amount of beautiful and unusual beaches spread across the coast of Malta. The same is often true for some of the island’s residents, although Maltese people themselves are very proud of the beauty their country has to offer.
It is really worth getting out of your main resort and experiencing the boundless variety of Maltese nature and coastline. I enjoyed my “beach trips” a lot and I must admit – swimming in Malta is one of the best in Europe.
As always, I am looking forward to your comments and stories. I hope you enjoy the best beaches in Malta as much as I do.
Are you considering moving to Malta? Check out this post I have written detailing all the pros and cons of living in Malta.
Also, check out this guide to the Malta off the beaten path destinations!
And if you are planning your first solo trip, visit this post where I provide all the tips and hacks for solo travellers and backpackers.
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My favourite Travel Resources
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- I booked most my tours via either Get Your Guide or Viator. I also use TripAdvisor when I spot a good deal. You can also book locally, but I advise you to ask around and follow the local recommendations. For cooking classes and workshops, consider checking out Eatwith.
For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!