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Bird's eye view of Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, Malta
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The 9 best beaches in Malta

Get to know Malta's loveliest beaches – sandy and not-so-sandy – across the country’s three seductive islands

Ally Wybrew
Written by
Ally Wybrew

Malta’s coastline is a delightful mix of craggy cliffs, pebbled coves and sandy inlets, many of which have been deemed picturesque enough to feature in blockbuster movies. And, while its undulating edge often consists more of boulders, stones and sloping rock ledges than sand, there are a few golden gems to dig your toes into. What’s more, with 12 Blue Flag beaches and seriously sizzling summer temperatures (Malta regularly hits the mid-to-high 30s) the archipelago’s clear, warm waters draw visitors in their droves. So remember, wherever you choose to catch some rays, always, always, get there early. Alternatively, you could always visit in winter, when crowds are thinner – despite the mild weather.

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Malta’s best sandy beaches

Mellieħa Bay
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1. Mellieħa Bay

This approximately 800-metre-long waterfront on Malta's main island is the pièce de résistance of Malta’s beaches. With jet ski and sunbed hire, plus lifeguards, food stalls and facilities, Mellieħa Bay is equipped for everything from a family day out to a quick dip. The golden bank lies along the main road on Malta’s north-east coast en route to the Gozo Ferry terminal, so it’s easy to find – though parking is scarce, so consider pulling up nearby and walking. Like birds? Check out the Għadira Nature Reserve, which backs onto the beach.

Ramla Bay
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2. Ramla Bay

Gozo sports some of the islands’ most beautiful features, including this sandy stunner. Nestled at the bottom of a protected valley, Ramla Beach’s surroundings are pleasantly undeveloped, so you can enjoy its sizable dune in relative peace. Toilets, food trucks and a decent restaurant line the road leading up to the entrance, and it’s easily accessed via car or local bus. If you've got energy left, consider hiking up to nearby Ta Mixta or Calypso Caves for some epic views across the bay.

Blue Lagoon
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3. Blue Lagoon

An icon of the Maltese shores, the Blue Lagoon is the islands’ most popular sun-lounging spot – and with good reason. Its turquoise waters are unmatched by most Med standards, and its wide, shallow strait between Comino and Cominetto makes for an irresistible swimming spot. While a handful of small ‘beaches’ exist, most people enjoy the Lagoon from sun loungers on staggered rock ledges. Since this is the destination for tourists, cruise ships, ferries and row boats moor up from 8am, so the importance of arriving early cannot be overstated. The upside? A great supply of food and cocktail trucks.

Għajn Tuffieħa Bay
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4. Għajn Tuffieħa Bay

Flanked by smooth clay slopes and backed by acacia and tamarisk trees, this charming bay on Malta's main island is truly postcard-worthy. One of three adjacent beaches that dot the north-western coastline, Għajn Tuffieħa (meaning ‘Apple's Eye in Maltese) offers auburn sand and superb sunset views, though it exacts a price for enjoying them: visitors must tackle over 100 steps to access it. Luckily, there’s a beachfront restaurant to sort you out once you (finally) reach the sand.

Golden Bay
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5. Golden Bay

This aptly-named neighbour to Għajn Tuffieħa on the island of Malta is the golden boy of the coastline’s triumvirate. With easy access, generous parking and a ton of facilities – including multiple restaurants and beach clubs, a watersports centre, lockers, showers, shops and an ice cream parlour – your only task is finding your spot on the sand and settling in. As the evening draws in, do as the locals do and enjoy a barbecue as the sun sets. Bliss.

Malta’s top beaches: the best of the rest

St Peter’s Pool
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6. St Peter’s Pool

Cliff jumping is big business in Malta and St Peter’s Pool, on Malta's main island, is the sport’s spiritual hub. A (roughly) 20-foot drop into the crystalline waters thrills adrenaline junkies, while flat stone ridges stagger down to shallower waters for the snorkelers and sunbathers (beware: there’s no shade whatsoever). Other than one bar open in the summer, facilities are few, and there are no lifeguards, so bring your own snacks and look after yourself. Keep in mind that getting there requires negotiating a few rough backroads.

Mgarr Ix-Xini
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7. Mgarr Ix-Xini

If Brangelina honeymooned here, it must be good, right? Well, in this case, we think so. This small but perfectly formed pebbly beach at the end of a meandering valley on Gozo’s south coast is the stuff of romantic novels. Get there via a well-laid lane running along the valley’s edge from the village of Xewkija, before descending very steeply to the beachfront. Overlooked by a couple of hillside villas, and with an iconic battery tower perched at the valley’s entrance, the views are arresting whichever way you lay your towel. A small cafe serves drinks and snacks and locals can often be seen taking early morning dips or touching up their luzzus by the water’s edge.

Dwejra Bay
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8. Dwejra Bay

While not a beach per se, this stretch of Gozo's coastline earns a spot on the list for its multitude of excellent coastal offerings. Not only does it boast the Inland Sea, a shallow pool that connects to the ocean via a fissure in the cliffs, but also the Blue Hole, a much-lauded snorkeling and diving site. Throw in fantastic views of Fungus Rock, seriously stunning sunsets and beautifully clear stargazing skies, and you have yourself a winner. Plus, with good parking, a better-than-it-should-be restaurant (the Azure Window Restaurant) and decent facilities, it’s a superb spot to spend the day.

Wied il-Għasri
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Wied il-Għasri

This lovely cove is so well hidden it’s easy to miss. Sheer cliffs line a deep, winding gorge cut into Gozo's mainland which ends in a narrow stony beach. Accessed by a series of stone steps, it’s a secluded, serene spot, great for lazy snorkelling or enjoying some quiet time. Get here before 8am to have the beach to yourself, and if you're here all day, you can retreat from the sun in the caves carved into the surrounding rock walls. If driving, use GPS, as the farm roads leading up to Wied il-Għasri branch off frequently and the location itself is not well-signposted.

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