This is a list of my favourite and most spectacular coastal hikes in Malta. This guide is complete with hike details, sightseeing stops and important tips to keep you safe and happy and the trail.
Malta’s main appeal is in its beaches, spectacular historical sights and mediaeval towns. But Malta is also a great hiking destination with some of the most spectacular coastal walks in Europe.
I lived in Malta for 2 years and hiked much of the three islands. So I’ve decided to list 6 of my favourite and, in my opinion, most spectacular coastal hikes in Malta that will leave you in awe and let you discover the face of Malta that not many tourists dare to discover.
Malta is one of the smallest countries in Europe with the smallest capital. It’s an archipelago consisting of 3 islands and most visitors come here to enjoy the glorious sea and sun, but also to discover the incredibly rich history and sights that speak for it.
Malta isn’t skimping on wonderful beaches either and, with over 300 days of sunshine a year, is a popular destination for both tourists and ex-pats.
But I think if you can dedicate at least one day to walking along its shores, discovering awestriking cliffs and some of the most beautiful sunsets in Europe, your visit will be even more incredible.
And if you’re a keen hiker, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Table of Contents
Is Malta a Good Hiking Destination?
Malta is a great hiking destination for walkers of all ages and fitness levels. While you won’t find adventurous hikes comparable to those in the Alps or the Andes, I believe you can find a hike that will satisfy any hiker’s wanderlust.
So why write about coastal hikes in Malta?
Yes, there are many other hiking trails in Malta, but the coastal region is what really sets this small country apart!
There are no mountains, rivers or natural lakes in Malta. At first glance, Malta doesn’t seem like a place to go for a walk to discover incredible nature and landscapes. Nothing could be more deceptive.
Yes, Malta is different. You won’t find lush green valleys or challenging peaks. But you’ll find incredible and dramatic coastal views, an authentic countryside where time has stood still, ancient temples older than the pyramids of Giza, hidden coves and secret beaches, salt pans and so much more. Let Malta surprise you!
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6 Most Spectacular Coastal Hikes in Malta
Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto
It’s hard to pick one. But if I had to recommend just one of the best coastal hikes in Malta, it would be the Dingli to Blue Grotto hike.
This hike simply has it all. The variety, the adventure, the beaches, the historical sights and even activities. But most of all, it is one of the most beautiful hikes on this list and it doesn’t cease to amaze, from start to finish.
You will start at the spectacular Dingli cliffs, which are worth a visit in themselves. A good starting point is the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Chapel, perched on the cliff.
Then you will walk along the coast, either on a rugged or paved path, in some places following the road, but this part of Malta is hardly busy. You will have the opportunity to admire the panoramic views but there are also many incredible stops along the way.
You can stop at Ghar Lapsi for a refreshing swim, or visit the Bronze Age settlement Wardija ta’ San Gorg or the temples of Ħaġar Qim, but you need to book the tickets in advance. You can explore the Blue Grotto Canal but be sure to touch on Xaqqa Cliffs – my favourite part of the hike.
And at the end, you will reach one of Malta’s signature sights – the spectacular Blue Grotto. Here you can take tonnes of photos, walk down into the valley for a good meal or refreshments, or even take a boat trip to the Blue Grotto cave.
It’s a spectacular coastal hike in Malta and I couldn’t recommend it more.
How to get to Dingli Coastal walk:
If you are travelling by public transportation, you can take bus 51 from Valletta to Rabat and then either walk (45 minutes) or take bus 201 from Rabat to Dingli. At the Blue Grotta side, you can take a return bus nb 74 from this point, back to Valletta.
If you are travelling by car, this might be a bit tricky as it is a point-to-point walk. One option is to park the car in Dingli and take a taxi back, but for this particular hike, I recommend using public transportation.
I know it sounds like a chore, but trust me, it’s worth it.
It’s a full-day trip, but you can easily combine it with other attractions in the area. You can start the day by exploring Mdina (which you want to do early in the day anyway) and then go ahead and walk the trail. And towards the end, you can even take a boat trip into the Blue Grotto. If This wouldn’t make for a great day out I dont know what would!
- Type of Hike: Point-to-Point
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Mainly due to the length of it rather than complexity. The path is easy and often follows a path or road with no challenging parts.
- Length: Between 15 to 22 km depending on the stops
- Time: 3 to 5 hours depending on stops. 6 hours if you stop for a swim at Ghar Lapsi.
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Marsaxlokk to Marsaskala via St Peters Pool and St Thomas Bay Cliffs.
Okay, this one is a real hidden gem. It’s definitely not an official trail, I sort of made this one up, but it covers so many Maltese landmarks and is full of so many surprises that it’s one of my most recommended coastal hikes in Malta.
You can start with a morning in Marsaxlokk, the most charming village in Malta, where you can start with a healthy breakfast or stroll around the market. From there, you can walk or break things up, and take a water taxi to St. Peter’s Pool. I know this part doesn’t qualify as a hike, but who makes the rules anyway?
You can always walk from Marsaxlokk to St. Peter’s Pool. I walked it and while it’s a pleasant walk, it’s not mind-blowing. Opt for a boat ride instead.
After refreshing yourself in the crystal clear waters of St. Peter’s Pool, set off towards St. Thomas Bay. This is a beautiful walk with stunning cliffs that really not many tourists know about. They’ll take your breath away.
Continue towards Marsaskala, where you can end the day on the beach or at one of its great restaurants.
En route, you can take a few awesome stops and slight detours. Ta Kalanka Beach and then the Sea Cave are both definitely worth a visit. But the cliff views of St Thomas Bay and Munxar are definitely a highlight of this hike.
How to get to Marsaxlokk to Marsaskala hike:
Start the day at Marsaxlokk where you can get to by bus nb 81 from Valetta or by car. If you choose to travel by bus I recommend making it a point-to-point hike. From Marsaskala you can take a return bus to Valetta.
If you travel by car you can opt for an out-and-back type of hike. You can also park the car at St Peter’s Pool.
- Type of Hike: Point-to-Point or Out-and-Back
- Difficulty: Easy
- Length: Between 7 and 10 km depending on the stops and whether you walk from Marsaxlokk or St Peters Pool.
- Time: 2 to 4 hours depending on stops.
Riviera Bay to Fomm Ir-Rihh / Best coastal hikes in Malta
This is one of the most challenging walks and one that was the most adventurous for me. I could easily call it a beach hopping hike because you pass some of the most beautiful beaches in Malta – famous ones like Ghajn Fuffieha and completely remote and wild ones like Fomm Ir-Rihh.
For this hike, I recommend you wear comfortable shoes with good grip. But also a bathing suit.
You can start this Malta coastal hike in Ghajn Tuffieha (Riviera Bay). This is my absolute favourite beach in Malta and it’s stunning early in the morning. Walk up to the Qarraba Bay viewpoint and walk towards Qarraba Bay. Here you can walk down a steep path to Qarraba Bay beach, but be aware that it’s a steep descent and you have to walk back up. It’s very much worth it though.
Follow Ta’ Lippija trail towards Gnejna Beach. This is the only part of the trail that can be somewhat challenging, as the path leading there can sometimes be gravelly and steep. However, it’s doable for anyone with average mobility and good footwear.
Gnejna is a wonderful local beach that is quite remote therefore never too busy. Here you can go swimming and have a rest.
From here, take a countryside path towards what is one of the wildest and most beautiful beaches in Malta – Fomm ir-Riħ Bay.
This bay is something special. The views are incredible and the area is so remote that few travellers stray here. You can walk down to the beach, but yet again, keep caution and take good shoes because the path can be steep and gravelly.
How to get there and how to return from FommIr-Rihh:
It’s very straightforward to get to Ghajn Fuffieha. There are regular bus connections from Valletta, Sliema and Mellieha.
Fomm ir-Riħ Bay is a totally different story.
Now, this place is remote.
The nearest bus that can take you back to Valletta is an hour away. If you plan to walk back, make sure to account for that in your time planning.
I, on the other hand, walked further to Mdina. It is an additional 2 hours walk but you will pass the Chadwick Lakes and the beautiful Maltese countryside and it’s a very pleasant walk. If your legs allow it, I recommend this route.
You can also take a taxi from Fomm ir-Riħ Bay, but be sure you have Bolt or Uber downloaded and have enough data to order it.
I told you that this is the most adventurous coastal hike in Malta!
- Type of Hike: Point-to-Point
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 7km Riviera Bay to Fomm Ir-Rihh. 17km to Mdina.
- Time: 2 hours Riviera Bay to Fomm Ir-Rihh. Additional 1 hour to Mgarr and 2 hours to Mdina.
Malta Marfa Ridge Hike
This is an easy and very picturesque coastal hike in Malta that can be done as a whole or in small increments. Along the way there are many points of interest, viewpoints and small beaches, so you can start and finish the walk at any point.
This hike will take you to some hidden beaches, secluded coves and stunning cliffs. It’s a loop hike that you can start and finish in Mellieha at Ghadira beach. It circles the hummer-like upper part of Malta, but you can also hike just one side if that’s too much for you in one day.
This hike although often mentioned, isn’t really marked and can be done in several ways.
You can start by heading east towards Slugs Bay, Coral Lagoon and Armier Bay or west towards Red Tower. Both sides are very scenic, but the east side has more interesting sights to see. I highly recommend Slugs Bay and Coral Lagoon!
When I walked this hike I got off the trail quite a few times as it is not marked at all, but you don’t have to worry about this at all. It is very easy to find your way back – this area is very much an open space and it’s hard to get lost around this part of Malta.
How to get to Marfa Ridge hike in Malta:
Head towards Mellieha. If you are driving you can leave the car parked near the beach and if you taking a bus get off towards the north end of the Ghadira beach.
To start with you will have to walk up the hill following the road for around 15 minutes. From there you can make a choice. You can either turn left towards Red Tower and continue around the ridge, or turn right towards Slug’s Bay and Coral Lagoon.
- Type of Hike: Loop
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
- Length: Between 10 and 18km
- Time: 2 hours on each side, 4 hours total. 5 hours with Paradise Bay
Selmun Coastal Hike
North of St. Pauls Bay, you can take a very different coastal hike in Malta. This was one of the first off-the-beaten-path hikes I did in Malta, and it took my breath away. The beaches you will pass are all so different from each other, some completely secluded, all extremely beautiful.
The walk is very pleasant and again, you can either walk it all or just pick the points that interest you.
Selmun is a special area in Malta. Mistra Bay is very picturesque and little known, and if you continue walking along the coast of Selmun, with the island of St. Pauls across the water, you will find this part of the coast somewhat mysterious. At least I did.
Along the way, you’ll pass Selmun Palace and Fort Campbell. You can also take a detour towards Mgiebah apiaries or the Għajn Ħadid Tower.
Last but not least, finish your walk at Imġiebah Beach – one of the most beautiful bays in Malta. On a sunny day, the bay shimmers in shades of blue and green. It offers spectacular views and almost unspoiled swimming opportunities. You can’t miss it!
How to get to the Selmun area in Malta:
To get to the Selmun area in Malta take bus 222 from Sliema or 41 or 42 from Valletta and get off just after the St Pauls Bay, at the bus stop Mistra. It’s a there-and-back type of hike so you will be returning the same way.
If you are staying in Mellieha or around Cirkewwa you will be catching the same busses just in the opposite direction.
- Type of Hike: Out-and-Back
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
- Length: 8 km
- Time: 2 -3 hours
Gozo Coastal Walk - Marsalforn to Wied il-Mielah Window
Finally, I couldn’t leave Gozo behind. It was my favourite hiking spot – yes the whole island!
I had to choose one coastal hike in Gozo for this post so I decided to choose a hike that not only is beautiful and interesting but also will give you a good insight into what Gozo has to offer while going slightly off the beaten path too.
The hike starts in the typical fishing village of Gozo, then leads to the famous salt pans and on to a hidden gem of Wied il-Mielaħ – the lesser-known natural rock window. You will have the opportunity to admire the incredible and dramatic coastal cliffs and views that will leave you speechless.
The first time I visited this part of Gozo, I was on a quad bike and I loved it so much that I returned the next year. This time hiking.
Start in the charming town of Marsalforn, where you can have a delicious breakfast or even go for a swim. Then walk along the coast for about 40 minutes until you reach Gozo salt pans.
If you do not feel like walking too much, you can return to Marsalforn from here, but I strongly recommend that you continue on that hike.
As you continue walking you will pass more salt pans of different structures, perched over the sea, and finally reach Ghar ir-Rih – the secret cave hidden in the rocks. It is a really great spot, not many travellers know about and it is not easy to find, but it is definitely worth exploring. Since it is a cave, a head torch and comfortable shoes with good grip are recommended.
Next, you will pass the small secret beach hidden in the canyon – Wied il-Għasri. You can use the rock stairs to walk down for a refreshing swim.
After a short break at Wied il-Għasri beach, you will continue to Wied il-Mielaħ, the natural rock arch. The views as you walk along, will be incredible. High cliffs and caves, crystal blue water, ships and boats passing by and majestic vastness – it is one of the most beautiful places in Gozo.
This whole walk should take you around 2 hours depending on how long you are going to stay at various spots. From here you can walk back to Marsalforn or if you are feeling adventurous continue towards Gharb or even Inland Sea and Dwejra Bay. If you decide to do that, be sure to allow a whole day for this trip. From Dwejra Bay you can take a bus back to Victoria.
If you decide to walk all the way to Dwejra the walk could take anything between 4 to 6 hours depending on the stops you take and your pace.
How to get to Marsalforn, Gozo:
First, you need to get to Gozo by ferry from Cirkewwa. Once in Mgarr, where the ferry alights, you will have a few options. If you rent a car, you can drive all the way to Marsalforn and park your car there.
If you are travelling without a car you can take a direct bus nb 322 from Ferry station in Mgarr to Marsalforn.
Best time to go hiking in Malta
You can hike in Malta all year long but you need to keep few things in mind.
Summers are hot in Malta so choose to walk early in the morning or opt for sunset walks if the time allows it. Otherwise, make sure you pack plenty of water, rest in the shade often, and apply sunscreen.
Winter is a great time for hiking in Malta, yet try to choose a sunny day. Weather can get pretty crazy in Malta during winter with ferocious storms and strong winds. On a clear day, winter is an excellent time to enjoy hikes in Malta.
Spring and fall are true hiking seasons in Malta as the weather is mild yet warm and sunny, you can still swim in the sea but the heat isn’t as oppressive as during the summer months.
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Tips for hiking in Malta
Given the majority of the best coastal hikes in Malta are point-to-point, I recommend taking advantage of the country’s extensive bus network. Each journey costs €2 and it will allow you to decide where you want to end your walk.
Malta isn’t a big country. You’ll feel safe walking and if you get lost, there is always someone who can help you find the right direction. It’s a bit hard to get lost in Malta though. Yet there are still a few things you should keep in mind and safety rules you should follow:
- Carry plenty of water and snacks for your trip. Malta can be quite remote in some parts and it can be difficult to find a shop. Also, take some cash with you as some village corner shops may not accept cards.
- Download Google Maps offline. And take a power bank too. In case you get lost or need more time to get back, you want to be able to check the map and maybe even order an Uber or Bolt. I’ve ordered Bolt a few times from places so remote (after a day hike) that they called me once to find out if I was serious and really there lol.
- Most of the hiking trails in Malta aren’t official and you’ll hardly find any signage. Follow Google Maps. Plan ahead and always allow yourself some time for wanderings.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Maybe the terrain in Malta isn’t extremely challenging, but it can be gravelly, steep and rocky at times. I usually hiked in good trail runners or even hiking sandals during the summer months.
- Clifftop trails are not very well marked and can be exposed to strong winds, so be extra careful on these routes, especially during windy winter months.
- If it’s an all-day hike, consider packing a headlamp. Do you think this is overkill? Hear me out. On my all-day hike from Ghajn Tuffieha to Fomm ir-Rihh, I underestimated the length of the trail and didn’t consider that there was no public transport from my destination. I ended up walking all the way to Mdina, which dont get me wrong, was a great adventure, but part the last part of the hike I walked in the dark. It was a less popular path and at night there wasn’t much light. I had to use my phone’s torch. Dont be me, have a head torch with you or at least a power bank so you dont run out of battery.
There are tonnes of other great coastal hikes in Malta and even more inland hikes to consider. It wasn’t easy to select just six. But those are my all-time favourite.
I am aware that some of them are a bit lengthy but any of those hikes can be shortened or you can just take a small part of it.
But take at least one of those coastal hikes in Malta, and you will not regret it!
Let me now in the comments if you did! And which one was your favourite?
Until then, happy travels and stay free!
Are you wondering if Comino and Blue Lagoon are worth visiting? Read this post to find out!
If you are planning a trip to Gozo, this guide is all you need!
Finally here is a full list of all the great things to do in Malta and if you are travelling soon don’t miss this list of all the important tips and information about Malta you should know before your trip.
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Useful Malta Travel Resources and Travel Tips:
Check how to get the ExplorePlus travel card here! It will give you Unlimited Travel for 7 days, 2 free trips on the Valletta Ferry from Sliema or the Three Cities, 2 free trips on the Tallinja Bike and a few sightseeing options.
Take a free walking tour in Valletta! It’s an amazing way to learn the history of the city and Malta as a whole!
Keep some cash on you. Although in bigger cities you will be able to pay by card in the majority of establishments there are still a few smaller, privately owned shops that will only accept cash.
Check out the Malta events calendar here!
All the timetables you will ever need:
Gozo and Comin Ferry from Sliema / Hop On Hop Off