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, waters here are gloriously warm and you can dip in the sea as early as in April. Below you will find a comprehensive guide to the best beaches in Malta.
This guide only covers the best beaches in Malta main island. For a detailed guide to Gozo and its equally stunning coastline please visit my Gozo Guide 🙂
The length of the Maltese shoreline is 136.8 km and I walked 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 best beaches in Malta for you.
Tourists visiting Malta are spoilt for choices when it comes to sightseeing and entertainment. Still, beaches here are some of the most spectacular and often unusual around the whole of Mediterranean.
Beaches in Malta are both sandy and rocky. And although the sandy ones are most popular and mainstream I personally think the rocky lidos are far more charming and picturesque with the sea often being much cleaner.
As there always are two sides to the story there are also two main sides to Malta – South and North. But, as they say, the truth always lies somewhere in the middle thus I divided Malta into 3 main parts. Mainly to simplify this already long post as much as possible.
This does not make things extremely accurate – definitely not from the geographical perspective. I thought however, it will make it easier for you to decide which beach to visit depending on where are you located.
Also please note: Most of the pictures taken below were shoot out of season so they don’t always show the extend of tourist invasion in the summer. Yet I believe that you will be able to see the true beauty of these sites and I am pretty sure crowds of tourists are easily imaginable. I will mention which beaches are most crowded in the summer and which are a bit more remote. Yet if you visit in a high season it will be hard to have any of those sites just for yourself. Nevertheless, the warm and crystal clear waters paired with glorious weather definitely outprice the inevitable presence of crowds.
North of the island is home to the largest number and, in my humble opinion, most beautiful beaches in Malta. Hence it is a very popular destination for holidaymakers with Mellieha being the main tourist hub. Also, you will find some hidden gems around here if adventure is what you are after.
More family-friendly resorts are located on this side of the island but also wonderful country walks are just behind the corner. A friend of mine visited and stayed in Mellieha and had no difficulties travelling and exploring the whole island from this one point only.
Best Sandy Beaches In North of Malta
Mellieha Bay (Għadira beach)
Located on the outskirts of Mellieħa, Għadira beach is the largest and probably most popular beach in Malta.
The neighbouring town of Mellieha is a very popular tourist destination in the North 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 quite shallow waters. If you are on family vacations this is probably one of the best beaches in Malta for you
I like to visit slightly outside of the season yet it is a really nice and picturesque beach. Plenty of facilities are available around the edge of the beach including several water sports like kayaking, waterskiing or floating banana rides.
This is just your typical holiday beach and it is one of the reasons why I like it. Also, this is one of the best areas in Malta to stay on your vacation. Mellieha is a lovely village located on top of a hill. Surrounded by fertile valleys providing beautiful panoramas the town is also 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 by the shore towards Santa Maria estate (north shore) and there you will find few hidden staired inclines to the water. Bring your water shoes and enjoy 🙂
This large sandy beach located in the far North of the island is definitely one of the most popular beaches on the island. A wide stretch of golden sand sloping gently into turquoise blue water is nestled withing a cliff face in North West Malta and offers some of the most spectacular sunset views.
It is a second most popular beach in Malta after Mellieha bay, offering a variety of water sports and entertainment whilst also being a blue flag awarded beach.
Beach is located around quieter, more unspoiled Maltese countryside giving you the opportunity to take some walks and explore the area.
It’s very easy to reach by public transport and car, although parking can be a challenge on the weekends.
Għajn Tuffieħa (Maltese for ‘Apple’s Eye’, also known as Riviera bay)
Għajn Tuffieħa is definitely one of my top three best beaches in Malta. The slightly more remote shore located right next to the Golden Bay can be only 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. The way I see it, there is a slightly bohemian feel to this beach, with its red sands and little fires and bbq’s 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 lovely cocktails are on offer – ideally located for admiring the sunset. So if you don’t mind the stair climb there is nothing to dislike about this beach.
Secluded beach a little further down north from Għajn Tuffieħa Bay with great parking and charming setting. Ġnejna Bay is located close to the rural village of Mġarr. This beach offers both – a nice stretch of quiet sandy beach as well
There is no direct transport link to Ġnejna Bay. The best way to get there is either by car ride or a hike from neighbouring Ghajn Tuffieha. The hike from Ghajn Tuffieha can be a bit tricky at times so make sure you put on comfortable shoes. It is truly awsome hike though!
Between Ghajn Tuffieha and main Gnejna Beach – you will find a super secluded little stunning beach with a slightly difficult hike down. This stunning little bay is commonly known as a nudist beach even though nude and even topless sunbathing is illegal in Malta.
Tricky to get to and with no facilities – this one is a destination for those more adventurous yet very worth the venture. Absolutely stunning little spots.
Armier and Little Armier Beach
Two neighbouring sandy beaches of Armier Bay, located in the north end of the island are very popular amongst locals, therefore, have 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. At some parts of the beach, you will find sun loungers and umbrella rentals. You can also rent a kayak here for on-water explorations.
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.
A very close contender to be one of the best beaches in Malta.
Located at the far north point of Malta, nestled within a natural cove and circled by secluded rocky surroundings this fairly small sandy beach is accessed 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 restaurant 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!
Buġibba Perched Beach
Situated directly on the Buġibba promenade it is a man-made large sandy beach with some remainings of natural rock formations. For this reason, the beach is a bit unusual – with sandy surfaces created for comfortable sunbathing but 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 should there be a need – the rocky coastal stretch would return to its original form, with no harm to the local marine life.
The site has been awarded blue flag certification and facilities on this beach range from a bar, diving instruction, hire of equipment, parking, toilets and variety of water-sports. Waters as fairly deep here and bridges and ladders are provided for the easier access. It is a really pleasant beach in an ideal location.
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 nearly for yourself. A true gem in my eyes.
There is a car park right at the top but you can also park at the Selmun Palace and take half an hour stroll down the valley.
Rocky beaches of North of Malta
Mistra Bay and surrounding Selmun area
This is an excellent hiking spot with many bays and secluded beaches.
Starting from Mistra Bay you can take a nice walk all the way to St Paul’s island viewing point which will uncover entirely unknown Malta in front of your eyes. Not very popular around visitors, yet very popular amongst locals and campers Mistra is a pebble beach. A great spot for quiet and relaxed sun and sea experience.
Keep walking by the shore towards the St Paul’s island viewing point and you will find yourself on a lovely stretch of rocky beach – fantastic for both sunbathing and swimming. I love this spot myself! It gives an opportunity for an excellent hike and lovely views of Maltese unspoiled nature plus literally unspoiled sunbathing experience.
If this post was about my top three best beaches in Malta this tiny, extremely well hidden beach would definitely make a cut.
Found in the L-Ahrax area in Mellieha it is really just a tiny inlet nestled around the cliffs of the Marfa Ridge and overlooking Mellieha with beach part so small that maximum three people could sun lounge there. Large rocks and boulders are scattered around giving some additional lounging spots.
This is one of the quietest and most secluded parts of Malta therefore well worth a venture. Not easily accessible and pretty hard to find but absolutely worth the effort.
South-East of Malta
This is where the popular destination of St. Julians and Sliema are found as well as Malta’s capital city of Valetta. This is also a great starting point for further exploration with superb transport links to literally every part of the country. Mind you, this part of the island is also most crowded and very popular amongst the younger crowds thanks to the abundance of bars, restaurants, shopping outlets as well as a vibrant nightlife.
Best Sandy beaches
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 town beach therefore not on top of my favourites list. It is however very conveniently located and it is also one of the very few sandy beaches in the area thus I wanted to include it in this guide. You will find plenty of bars and restaurants just around the corner as well as all amenities on offer including sun loungers, toilets and lifeguard during high season.
It is a small sandy beach located at the foot of St Julian’s and offers 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. Although at the beginning of last summer season it went through 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 really conveniently located swimming spot. You might as well visit and see if you are lucky 🙂
Best Rocky beaches
I really like this long stretch of rocky beach which runs all the way just under the Sliema promenade up to the foot St Julian’s. It is a city beach and in the summer pretty busy however given it stretches for so long you will always find a spot here.
It is also home to Victorian ‘Roman Baths’ – 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 beach day. Stretch it into the evening and have a dinner or cocktail in one of 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 can get off the beach without sand collection in my bag and in my hair.
Tigne Point / Sliema
This little rocky beach right at the top and of Sliema coast offers spectacular views over to Valetta with boats and yachts sailing into the sunset.
Popular amongst the local crowd living and working in the area for sunbathing and BBQ’s as well as great views. No facilities are on offer here so bring your own picnic and towels.
Spinola Bay located in Saint Julian`s is one of the most vivid and popular Maltese resorts featuring lovely picturesque bay dotted with traditional Maltese colourful boats. It is a long promenade that is ideal for relaxing walks. At the northern end, you will find a small spot of rocky plates and a little beach ideal for an afternoon or morning swim. It is not an immediately obvious spot but a surprisingly nice little piece of beach in the middle of the town.
Best Beaches in South of Malta
Best Sandy beaches in South of Malta
South of Malta has very a few Sandy beaches and Pretty Bay located in Birzebbuga is one of them. It is a man-made and quite large beach and it is nice enough as the water is clean and swimming around here is considerably pleasant.
There is also a little park and playground area for children so this is an ideal spot for families. It provides all the necessary amenities and restaurants are located nearby.
Unfortunately, views are far from amazing as just across the shore a cargo port is located obstructing the sea views. I would say it’s a nice and convenient beach for a chilled afternoon yet not on the top of my list.
I was not sure if I want to place this beach on this list at first yet I can see the appeal for those with smaller children looking for a large sandy beach with entertainment and nearby facilities. You can probably sense that I’m not overly excited but please don’t get me wrong. It is a nice enough spot. If you are in the area but I would not make my way here all the way from the other part of the island.
St Thomas Bay
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 beaches as well as flat rocks and concrete platforms ideal for the sand-free experience.
It overlooks the Munxar cliff 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
Coral Lagoon and camping site
The Coral Lagoon (also known as the Dragonara Cave) Is well known as one of Malta’s Natural Wonders -a rocky hole, very popular amongst the divers and swimmers.
It’s a pretty hidden bay and to get to the actual hole/cave you will need to walk up the rugged surface. You can also rent a kayak at Little Armier Bay and swim inside the cave, or you can rent a self-drive boat.
As you can see it is not really a beach as such, however at the bottom of the rocky hill a campsite and a small bay are located. You can come by car, bring a picnic and have a swim in a less adventurous and more peacfull environment.
This is a remarkable wild beach found near Bahrija- 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. Like me 🙂
The only way down to the Fomm Ir-Rih Bay is by a rough and sometimes steep and slippery pathway. Consequently, only confident hikers with good balance and average fitness should attempt the trek.
Offering fantastic views of cliffs, valleys, deep blue Mediterranean Sea as well as surrounding Maltese countryside this site is definitely worth a visit. And even if you decide not to climb down to the actual beach the area is striking enough. You won’t be disappointed.
St Peter’s Pool and Kalanka
The reason why I’m pairing that 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 path.
Situated near Marsaxlokk fishing village (around 30 minutes walk) St Peter’s pool is not really a typical beach. For this, however, is it really worth visiting. I truly believe that rocky unusual formations around the island are the best beaches in Malta
Tourists and locals alike come here to jump into the crystal waters and relax far from the crowded cities. Rocks are smooth and flat enough for sunbathing however no facilities are on offer here. You will need to bring your own towels, loungers and picnic. What a great way to spend a day!
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. This is also a great snorkelling spot. This beach is a bit wilder then St Peters pool and officially jumping into water is not recommended. People do jump, however, but I would definitely recommend exercising extreme caution.
For this type of beach experience, I do 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 sea inlet offers excellent swimming opportunity. The entry to the water is from small rocky docks and the water here is deep thus 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 with the coast. Wied iż-Żurrieq is also well known for good restaurants. I must say it a ‘all in one’ kind of destination. Swimming is not the biggest attractions of the area yet I wanted to mention it due to its unusual surroundings.
Ghar Lapsi Beach
Ghar Lapsi is a unique and hidden little bay very popular amongst local swimmers. This hidden natural swimming pool situated around 1 km away from the Blue Grotto. It is nestled below a stretch of Dingli Cliffs. It is strictly ‘swim and go’ kind of area with no sunbathing area hence you will not find many tourists around here. If you taking a hike around this stretch (very recommended) it is a great place to cool down during hot summer months.
This is a great snorkelling spot! In recent years has also become increasingly popular with divers for its reefs that stretch for 200 metres. There are snack bars popping out during the warm summer months with a bar and restaurant open all year round.
Many first time visitors are not aware of the amount of beautiful and unusual beaches spread across the country. 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 experience the boundless variety of Maltese nature and coastline.
I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘beach trips’ and I must admit – swimming in Malta is one of the best in Europe.
As always looking forward to your comments and stories. I hope you will enjoy the best beaches in Malta as much as I do. Happy swimming 🙂
Also take a look at my Malta off The Beaten Path post if you are interested in exploring more of this beautiful country.