Malta and Gozo’s top swimming spots

30/01/2019 16:07

Written by Juliet Rix

There are some wonderful places to swim in Malta, but the brochures do not always give a very honest impression of what to expect. You may be promised a ‘private beach’ and find a rocky foreshore. Nothing wrong with swimming from rocks – unless you were expecting to build sandcastles. The following should help you choose where to go. 

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Comino by © www.viewingmalta.comComino's Blue Lagoon is a beautiful stretch of turquoise sea over perfect white sand © www.viewingmalta.com

Malta’s most sought-after swimming spot – the target of flocks of tourists each day in summer – is actually on its neighbouring island: the Blue Lagoon on the coast of Comino. This is a glorious area of clear blue sea over white sand perfect for swimming and neighbouring a stretch of fish filled seaweed ideal for snorkelling, all surrounded by picturesque caves. Note that it has little shore and what there is gets horrendously crowded in summer.

Ramla Bay

Ramla Bay Gozo Malta by Visit Malta This is arguably the islands' nicest beach © Visit Malta 

This lovely red sandy bay is arguably Malta’s nicest beach and unsurprisingly it’s Gozo’s most popular. Known locally as Ramla il-Hamra (‘the red sandy beach’!), this blue-flag beach gets quite crowded on summer weekends but it is large enough to cope. There is a fairly gentle slope into clear blue water ideal for swimming, with rocks at the margins and further out for snorkelling. 

San Blas Bay

San Blas Bay Gozo Malta by www.viewingmalta.comSan Blas is a beautiful red-sandy cove surrounded by cliffs and greenery © www.viewingmalta.com

This beautiful red-sandy bay is at the end of one of the most fertile valleys in Gozo. A mini Ramla just along the coast from its larger neighbour, San Blas is more enclosed by cliffs and greenery. It used to be kept sparsely visited by the very steep (repeat, very steep) track you had to walk down (and then up!) to get to the beach. Now it is often possible in summer to get a jeep to take you back up. Like Ramla there can be rip currents here and there is no flag system to warn you so check with locals, especially if the weather has been windy, and keep young children and weaker swimmers in their depth. You can park at the top of the steep track and there is a small snack bar at the bottom.

Paradise Bay 

Paradise Bay Malta by © www.viewingmalta.com This is easily the nicest beach on Malta's northern coast © www.viewingmalta.com 

On the other side of Marfa Point (at the tip of which is the Gozo ferry terminal), lies Paradise Bay, accessed down a flight of stone steps. It is sandy with clear blue water and a thatched bar and restaurant – easily the nicest beach along this coast. 

Mġarr ix-Xini

Mgarr ix-Xini Gozo Malta by www.viewingmalta.com This a long, secluded inlet is ideal for swimming © www.viewingmalta.com

Down a narrow, pot-holed road along a fertile valley leads from Sannat or Xewkija to this steep-sided rocky inlet (only attempt the final ramp if you are sure you car will make it up again!), Mġarr ix-Xini (pronounced imjar ish shini) is a lovely place for a swim, snorkel or dive. It is also the location used to represent the south of France in the 1970s in Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s 2015 film By the Sea. The tiny interior of the mainly outdoor fish restaurant at the head of the creek was used as the village shop and the décor and a few props remain. Until recently right off the beaten track, Mġarr ix-Xini and its restaurant have recently become popular with main-island Maltese so this once-quiet inlet can get quite busy with boats and diners on summer weekends.  

Peter’s Pool 

Peter's Pool Malta by © www.viewingmalta.comThis spot is rarely overcrowded © www.viewingmalta.com

On the Delimara Peninsula (near Marsaxlokk on Malta), this has insalubrious wider surroundings, but is itself a delightful rocky cove, rarely crowded because it is not on a bus route and is a few minutes’ walk from the nearest available parking. It is deserted on spring and autumn weekdays, and even in summer, Peter’s Pool is rarely overcrowded. Be warned: it is not safe to swim here if there is any swell or choppiness. It is blissfully free of any commercialisation so you will need to bring your own water and refreshments.

Għar Lapsi

Ghar Lapsi Malta by www.viewingmalta.comThis is one of southern Malta's best swimming locations © www.viewingmalta.com

On the coast south of Siġġiewi is this popular place for swimming on windless summer days (it isn’t safe when there are waves). The rocks here form protected little lidos and, despite the length of concrete shore, it is an inviting place to enter the clear blue water. It can get very crowded with locals (and a few tourists) on summer weekends. 

Mellieħa Bay

Melleiha Bay Malta by www.viewingmalta.comThis classic white-sand beach is the longest in Malta © www.viewingmalta.com

This is a classic white-sand beach, the longest in Malta (about 800m) with a lovely gentle slope into clear blue sea, making it great for families. There are sunbeds and umbrellas galore, snack bars and watersports facilities. It is a shame about the busy main road that runs its full length and the ugly buildings at either end, but the beach itself is pleasant and was awarded a blue flag for the first time in 2012.  

Għajn Tuffieħa

Ghajn Tuffieha Malta by www.viewingmalta.comThis is one of Malta's less-crowded beaches © www.viewingmalta.com

The long flight of steps that leads down from the car park to the bay means that this lovely narrow red sandy beach does not get as crowded as Mellieħa Bay. Awarded a blue flag for the first time in 2012, the beach has a snack bar and small watersports and sunlounger outlets. It is not built up and is managed by GAIA Foundation, a conservation NGO. This is a thoroughly pleasant place to relax and swim. 


Start planning your trip to Malta and Gozo with our comprehensive guide:

Malta and Gozo the Bradt Guide by Juliet Rix  

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