Visitors from all over the world flock to the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino to experience the unique blend of antiquity and modernity found in the country’s quaint towns and villages, bustling cities, and countless medieval dungeons and archaeological sites. In addition to a plethora of historical and cultural attractions, these islands boast a staggering number of beautiful beaches that dot their tremendous coastlines. Malta’s beaches with their astonishing azure waters are an ideal holiday destination, perfect for those who value time spent basking in the sun and dipping their toes in calm, inviting waters.
Malta’s shores include both sandy bays and rocky cliffs. The waters surrounding the islands are among the clearest in the Mediterranean, with many of the beaches having earned the coveted Blue Flag designation for meeting stringent standards in areas such as environmental protection, visitor safety, and infrastructure upkeep. The abundance of exciting diving areas, thrilling watersports activities, and traditional feasts of fresh fish and other local specialties send travelers into a frenzy. As anticipated, the country’s most famous spots are often booming with beachgoers. The good news is that there is still a profusion of stunning alternatives for those who prefer to avoid the madding throng. Here is our take on the six best-hidden beaches around the Maltese islands.
1Ix-Xatt L-Ahmar, Ghajnsielem
Situated on the island of Gozo, Ix-Xatt L-Ahmar (which translates as “red beach”) gets its name from the reddish-brown soil in the terraced fields that slope down to the bay. The wreck of the historic Malta-Gozo ferryboat ix-Xlendi, which was sunk intentionally as a diving attraction, can be found in the depths just outside the bay.
This picture-perfect cove is well-known for its pristine waters and breathtaking scenery. It’s frequented mainly by locals, and the place is rarely busy — perhaps because of the challenging winding road that gets you down there from the village of Ghajnsielem.
2Mgarr ix-Xini, Xewkija
Mgarr ix-Xini served as a haven for knights’ galleys, and in 1551, during the biggest attack of the islands’ history, it was used by the conquering Turks to load captured Gozitans aboard their vessels. Fast-forward about 450 years: The bay became an overnight sensation due to its prominent role in the 2015 film By the Sea, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Nowadays, a small pebbly beach sits at the mouth of the bay, providing a gradual slope into the water. Locals often prefer to use the small cliffs on the edges as a platform from which to impress their peers with their diving prowess. Mgarr ix-Xini is rarely crowded, making it an ideal site for travelers to immerse themselves in local culture while also experiencing historical significance firsthand.
3Qarraba Bay, Mgarr
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds yet still be close to Mgarr’s striking scenery, water activities, and historical sites, Qarraba Bay is your best bet. Many people refer to this as the nude beach, and although public nudity is forbidden in Malta, the remote location allows for an unfettered environment filled with peace and tranquility. Getting there requires about a 20-minute trek through rocky terrain, but once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a calm environment perfect for sunbathing or swimming in the bay’s pristine waters.
4Coral Lagoon, Mellieha
In the northern part of Malta lies the Coral Lagoon, commonly referred to by locals as Dragonara Cave. The lagoon is a paradise for swimmers and divers alike and is widely considered one of Malta’s most magnificent spots.
Thanks to the grotto’s exposure to natural light, the water temperature within is somewhat higher than that of the surrounding waters. This stimulates underwater biodiversity, which is excellent news for anybody who enjoys snorkeling or scuba diving and appreciates colorful marine life, including dozens of varieties of starfish and magnificent corals.
Reaching the Coral Lagoon requires traveling a bit off the beaten path, but the payoff is well worth the time and energy. The beach is close to the Chapel of Immaculate Conception and is a somewhat walkable distance from Armier Bay Beach.
5Dahlet Qorrot, Nadur
Dahlet Qorrot is not officially a beach but a fisherman’s port. A few local fishermen still utilize the cove, having converted caves at the foot of the cliffs into boat homes and warehouses for their fishing equipment. No traveler should miss the opportunity to observe the islanders at work on their colorful boats and traps, especially since it is a piece of Maltese culture that seems to be slowly fading away with time. #6 St. Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk Favored by both locals and visitors, this swimming spot is at the end of Delimara Point, not far from the tall chimney tower that overlooks Marsaxlokk Bay.
A large flat slab surrounds this natural pool, making it an ideal spot to soak up some rays. Go for a leisurely swim in its calm, crystal-clear waters or indulge in a couple of daring dives. Snorkeling is the ideal method of exploring St. Peter’s Pool and discovering the unique aquatic flora and fauna. There is an unofficial parking lot close to the bay, and expect a bumpy ride getting there.
Those who prefer to skip the off-road experience may be better off taking public transportation, with the nearest stop only a 30-minute stroll away. The pebble-studded beach is inaccessible by public transport. Having your own rental car is ideal, as the road leading down is relatively well maintained, and decent parking space is also available. For those who do not, there is a clearly marked circular route that begins and ends in Nadur. It leads to the peak of Il-Qortin Isopo, where the Ta’ Sopu Watchtower may be visible facing the sea, flanked by a spectacular
6St. Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk
Favored by both locals and visitors, this swimming spot is at the end of Delimara Point, not far from the tall chimney tower that overlooks Marsaxlokk Bay. A large flat slab surrounds this natural pool, making it an ideal spot to soak up some rays. Go for a leisurely swim in its calm, crystal-clear waters or indulge in a couple of daring dives. Snorkeling is the ideal method of exploring St. Peter’s Pool and discovering the unique aquatic flora and fauna. There is an unofficial parking lot close to the bay, and expect a bumpy ride getting there. Those who prefer to skip the off-road experience may be better off taking public transportation, with the nearest stop only a 30-minute stroll away.