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.
Malta’s most sought-after swimming spot – the target of flocks of tourists each day in summer – is 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.
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 your car will make it up again!), Mġarr ix-Xini (pronounced imjar ish shini) is a lovely place for a swim, snorkel or dive. It gets a bit more crowded than it used to – mainly on summer weekends – since main-islanders discovered its fish restaurant and Angelina Jolie filmed here, but it remains a lovely place to swim and snorkel.
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.
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.
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.
© Günter König, Wikimedia Commons
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.