The smallest member of the European Union, Malta, is known for its low taxes, left-hand traffic, barren vegetation, rocks and cliffs. But on the three inhabited islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, there are also very beautiful sandy beaches. Many are not and most are not particularly large, but that is exactly what makes the archipelago so attractive.
The main island's natural sandy beaches are mostly in the west. There is also one in the east with Pretty Bay, but this was artificially created and offers the best view of the largest container port on the island. So whether you want to go on a beach holiday in the immediate vicinity of a huge harbor is up to you.
The beaches presented in this article are just a selection. Of course there are others, some of which are very easy to reach and others require a short hike. Therefore, only places are presented that are easily accessible by public transport for the average tourist.
Ramla Bay (Gozo)
The Ramla Bay (Gozo) is one of the largest beaches on the island of Gozo and is located in the north. The peculiarity is that the sand is colored reddish, which creates an optically very interesting contrast. The water is crystal clear and normally there are neither sea urchins nor jellyfish. In the summer of 2020 there was a sensation from a Maltese point of view, because for the first time in over 80 years sea turtles could be seen laying their eggs. The affected areas of the stall were therefore temporarily closed to protect the eggs.
Parasols and deck chairs can be rented on site at a price of five euros per day. Free toilets are also available. The showers and changing rooms were temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 measures. Incidentally, this also applies to the outdoor showers, which have simply been removed.
When it comes to catering, nothing is missing here, because numerous snack and beverage stands on the street have offers ready during the holiday season and there is also a small canteen with a grill. The price level is fair and not excessive. Lifeguards are present during the official opening times.
Tip: In the direction of the sea, the left side of the beach is much more pleasant, because there are few or hardly any stones in the water. On the right side it is much more challenging, because there you have to deal with a lot of stones and small rocks lying on the sand in the water.
Arrival: Bus routes 302 (from Victoria) and 322 (from Mgarr Ferry Terminal) go to the “Ramla” stop. Then just walk straight on the small street for about two minutes and you are already in the middle of the sand of the beach. As a rule, parking spaces are available on the edge of the small street.
Those who prefer to sit in a café or restaurant directly by the sea, but also want the option to take a dip in the cool water at any time, are in Xlendi right. The small fishing village is located in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape and has a small beach. The bay is extremely shallow and free of stones and rocks. Also ideal for bathing with small children. There are hotels right by the sea that have their own terraces. You can linger comfortably on these. However, there is no rental of deck chairs in Xlendi. At the exit of the bay it is much deeper. There you can swim by the rocks and jump into the sea. Lifeguards ensure safety. The price level in the pubs of Xlendi is that of normal restaurants in Malta and thus slightly below the average that is demanded in Austria and Germany. Toilets are both public and private in the bars.
Tip: In Xlendi there is also a grotto that you can go through in a boat for little money. There is also a viewing platform that can be reached via a very long staircase. Despite the summer heat, the great view makes up for the effort.
Arrival: Xlendi can be reached by bus from Victoria on lines 306 and 330. The Xlendi station is located directly behind the hotels or restaurants in the parking lot. The walking time is less than a minute. Drivers should bear in mind that some of the parking spaces for motor vehicles are chargeable.
The Inland Sea does not have a sandy beach and is therefore out of competition. However, it is a geographically unique place that you should definitely visit on Gozo. Of course you can also swim there and the location is even extremely popular with divers, but the beach is made of gravel and it is better to wear bathing shoes, because otherwise the way in and out of the water is quite a challenge. There are two small restaurants on site with affordable prices. The Inland Sea is also a popular meeting place for the locals. The location is often also the location of movies. Public toilets are located in the parking lot to the left of the chapel. Theoretically, showers would also be available, but these are temporarily blocked due to the corona measures.
Tip: Take your time, because just to the left of the Inland Sea there are also interesting bathing places and a lot to discover. Unfortunately, the Azure Window collapsed a few years ago. Furthermore, you should definitely let the impressive backdrop of this region work on you. Enjoy the time with fresh fish from the grill.
Arrival: The 311 bus takes you directly to the Inland Sea from Victoria. Get off at the “Dwejra” stop. There is a large, free car park for drivers.
More tips for Gozo day trips:
- The Gozo Channel Line runs with high frequency between Ċirkewwa (Malta) and Mgarr (Gozo). The return ticket costs only 4,65 euros for pedestrians.
- You do not need a ticket for the outward journey. You only pay when you return to Mgarr. This also applies if you use the ferry by car.
- The two ferry ports are extremely easy to reach with the regular buses. If you have to change trains in Victoria (Gozo), just use the waiting time to visit the city with its impressive buildings. There is really a lot to see just a few steps from the bus station.
- Victoria has a fruit and vegetable market on certain days of the week. Here you can stock up on delicious fruits and juices directly from the farmer. The prices are cheap and the quality is excellent.
Comino: Santa Maria Bay
Not many people live on the island of Comino. It is characterized by sparse vegetation and some ruins, because there used to be a lot on this island. But that was a long time ago and today it is for them Blue Lagoon known. There is no sandy beach there and the whole area is a tourist hotspot, to which a large number of people are brought by excursion boats. The prices at the stalls are very high by Maltese standards. It is much quieter and more beautiful on the other side of the island: Santa Maria Bay offers a small sandy beach and public toilets as well as jetties for boats. But that's about it, because apart from a police station and lifeguards there is exactly nothing there. Umbrellas cannot be borrowed due to lack of availability. The bungalows attached to the Comino Hotel, which is located in the neighboring bay, have been closed. This is independent of the corona pandemic, as the buildings are getting on in years and are to be completely refurbished. The consequence of this is that it is extremely quiet at Santa Maria Bay and rather locals frequent the place with their boats.
Tip: Be sure to take enough drinks and snacks with you, as there is no way to buy anything at Santa Maria Bay. If you want to stay overnight, you will even find a campsite in what feels like the middle of the island. If you swim a little bit away from the beach, you will see seaweed. Young fish like to stay there and watch them.
Arrival: Comino Ferries Co-Op offers a ferry service from Cirkewwa. Both the Blue Lagoon and Santa Maria are approached. Due to the corona pandemic and the resulting low number of tourists, the frequencies to Santa Maria have been greatly reduced. From the Blue Lagoon, Santa Maria can be reached on foot in around 15 minutes. The ticket price for the boat is 13 euros (return).
More tips for Comino day trips:
- Always keep your eyes open, otherwise you could miss an exciting encounter with a rare bird or a small reptile such as a chameleon. The chances are pretty good.
- Explore the island on foot. It is not particularly big, but has a lot to offer the eyes, especially in the area of the ruins.
- Remember to pack enough drinks, snacks and sunscreen. The prices at the stands in the Blue Lagoon are very high.
By far the largest sandy beach on the main island is located in Mellieħa and is Ghadira Bay called. The bay is extremely shallow, so you can go very far into the sea. The fine sand is clearly a lot of fun for children. Lifeguards and public toilets are of course available. Renting a deck chair including a parasol costs 7,50 euros per day. The prices at the food stalls and in the restaurants are fair.
Tip: Għadira Bay is an ideal place where children can splash around in a sheltered bay with little swell and at the same time you can relax. Several bus stops are located directly above the beach.
Arrival: Various bus routes serve numerous stops along the beach. Using public transport is strongly recommended as there are only a few parking spaces for cars.
One of the most famous beaches is the Golden bay. However, this is very much shaped by the Radisson SAS Hotel. Almost all the characteristics of a typical tourist beach can also be found there. Various water activities are offered for a fee and even the toilets are chargeable. Loungers and umbrellas together cost ten euros per day. The small beach bar is reasonably priced. Rest and relaxation is also difficult here, as the water activities are sometimes loud and loud music is occasionally booming from the hotel. However, the bay is quite beautiful and you can go very far into the sea on sand.
Tip: Find a cozy place as far away from the hotel as possible. You then have to do without the free WiFi, but it is much quieter. By the way: even for the shower, if it is running, you have to pay money on this beach.
Arrival: There are some parking spaces for drivers, but these are often occupied quickly. The stand can be reached by bus routes 101, 223 and 225. The stop is called “Ferh”.
Almost within sight of the Golden Bay is the Riviera Bay. It is much quieter here and the sand is reddish. To get to the bay you have to go down a long and steep staircase. A beautiful sandy beach, crystal clear water, a small restaurant and a wonderful view await you there. This bay is also very shallow, so you can go very far into the sea. The reddish sand also means that it can get particularly hot. There are drinks and food in the restaurant, although the prices are rather high. Toilets are also available free of charge. Loungers and umbrellas cost eleven euros per day.
Tip: Swim a little further out, because you can catch great views of the two neighboring bays. Take enough drinks and a snack with you, because the prices on this beach are high by Maltese standards.
Arrival: There is sufficient parking space for cars. Bus routes 44, 101, 223 and 225 serve the beach. The stop is called Riviera. From there it is about a two-minute walk to the stairs.
More tips for the island of Malta:
- For bus trips, it is better to use the Tallinja Card, which is available at the bus stations and at the sales counter at Luqa Airport. The ticket is of course also valid on the island of Gozo. You save money compared to single cash tickets.
- Most places can be easily reached by bus. There is an inexpensive shuttle service to the hotels from Luqa Airport. This costs around five euros each way and takes you to the hotel.
- Aviation enthusiasts can marvel at some exhibits from the Second World War in the Malta Aviation Museum.
- The cities of Sliema and Valletta are rather expensive, the further west you book your hotel, the cheaper it will be.
- The National Aquarium in Qawra is definitely worth a visit.