The archipelago that is Malta is in the central Mediterranean, sandwiched in between Sicily and the North African coast. As with most Schengen countries, Malta is in the Schengen zone as well as the European Union. Travelers who do not require a Schengen visa to visit Malta may need an ETIAS visa. Check the ETIAS application and ETIAS requirements if in any doubt.
Why the name Malta? Probably from the ancient Greek word Melite which means honey-sweet. Voyagers from Greece could have associated the island and the sentiment because of the island’s endemic species of bees that are responsible for the country’s unique production of honey.
The Maltese islands have the benefit of a balmy Mediterranean climate with over 300 days of sunshine in a year. This makes the beaches in Malta along its diverse coastlines the place to be almost every day of the year. Near the capital city of Valletta are the resorts of St. Julian’s and Sliema. The Malta beaches here are narrow, rocky, and not all that striking in comparison to the more attractive, beautiful sandy beaches such as those along the northwest coast.
Malta has an interesting number of historic sites that exist because of the succession of rulers it has fallen under over the centuries. Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French, and British have been among its eleven foreign rulers over the last 2000 years or so. Traces of all these influencers are easily found around what is now the independent republic of the Maltese islands which is a member of the Commonwealth. Those in the know actually say that Malta was one with the mainland of Europe about 17000 years ago when the Maltese islands formed the mountaintops of a landmass that connected what is now Malta to Sicily and mainland Italy.
Besides the beaches in Malta and not to be held back by its diminutive size, the country also boasts ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are Valletta, the Megalithic Temples of Malta, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Victoria Lines Fortifications, Grand Harbour, Mdina, Maltese Catacomb Complexes, North West Coastal Cliffs, and Cittadella and Dwejra on the island of Gozo.
But the Malta beaches are a matter of pride in and of themselves. This archipelago’s beaches are sometimes rocky shores and at others golden sands, with a spectrum of beach in between. The varieties are intriguing and about as individual as the people who take a preference. Malta best beaches offer variety and the best of island relaxation, sun, sea, and sand.
Ghar Lapsi, Southern Malta
The Maltese word ‘ghar’ means cave while ‘lapsi’ means ascension. Ghar Lapsi literally translates to Cave of the Ascension and for good reason. A shrine had pride of place in one of its caverns which was dedicated to Jesus’s ascent into heaven following his resurrection after being crucified on the cross.
This is one of the Malta beaches preferred by locals rather than a popular hangout spot for tourists. That fact in itself speaks volumes for this Maltese beach. This place on the south coast of Malta that connects Siggiewi and Qrendi is one of exploration, shallow dive sites, swimming, snorkeling, and rock climbing where towering cliffs give way to caves full of wonder. With some 44 yards or 40 meters in extent of caves offering a lengthy system of cracks, holes, reefs, and rock walls, strong currents are not unheard of. The caves even have interesting names such as Finger Reef, Middle Reef, Black John), and the Crib which is an underwater nativity scene.
Ghar Lapsi happens to be where locals went to escape the grimness that came to Malta with the advent of World War II. Under constant threat of invasion, Malta’s coast was lined with barbed wire and anti-personnel mines, depriving the locals of their island pleasures. Ghar Lapsi was opened up as a spot for peaceful bathing where locals could forget the horrors if even only for a brief respite.
Golden Bay, Northwest Malta
A popular beach of golden sand to the north of the island stands beside the Golden Sands resort hotel. This is of the beaches in Malta that offer facilities for water-skiing and windsurfing, among other water activities. It is ideal for snorkeling thanks to the rocky shoreline. Set in largely unspoiled surroundings, the beach offers kiosks and good restaurants among its many amenities. Lying next to Għajn Tuffieħa, it is known for its red sand and the dunes that have naturally formed on the surrounding slopes. It is family-friendly and a great place to admire the sunset and enjoy an evening barbecue.
Ghajn Tuffieha, Western Malta
This red sandy bay does not see nearly as much activity as Golden Bay, thanks in part to visitors having to ascend a lengthy stairway adjoining the beach to the road. A conservation Non Governmental Organization manages this peaceful beach which boasts basic facilities during the season including the option to hire a sun-lounger, a watersports outlet, and a quaint little snack bar. Stick to visiting here on calm days to avoid the dangerous undertow present when the weather has been rough.
Mellieha Beach, Mellieha Bay or Għadira Bay
The yellow-white sand of Mellieha Beach extends an entire kilometer, or 0.62 miles, rendering it Malta’s longest sandy beach. A family location ideal for little children with its shallow water, convenient facilities, and sandy slopes that dip smoothly into the waters of the ocean.
Mgarr Ix-Xini, Gozo
Mgarr Ix-Xini is more of a rocky inlet cut into Gozo’s north coast with a small shingly beach. Smugglers of old have now given way to divers, swimmers, snorkelers, and day-trippers attracted from the main island. The shack-kitchen fish restaurant is a great attraction very near the water’s edge.
St Peter’s Pool, Delimara Peninsula
This cute little rocky bay with splash pools between the boulders was a local secret in a previous life. It’s a secluded spot, a few minutes stroll from the road. Although this is not a safe swimming spot when the sea is choppy, this natural swimming pool is an ideal place to get away from it all on a calm summery day when the waters are clear. Snorkel the azure, crystal clear waters or sunbathe in the shelter of the high rocks. Access the sea by ladder or be adventurous and take the opportunity to just free dive right in.
The Inland Sea, Dwejra, Gozo
The Inland Sea is exactly that, water surrounded by land. Rent a sunbed to sunbathe on the shingle beach which remains calm no matter the weather. A huge cave without a roof connects to the open Mediterranean thanks to a cave tunnel with a vaulted gothic nave-like roof.
Of the attractions of Malta, best beaches are a definite drawcard. Malta is made up of a selection of islands. The Island of Gozo has a charming rural landscape with a coastline edged with long stretches of sandy beaches, farmlands, and hidden coves. The Island of Comino is the tourist mecca. There is a beach for every preference in Malta.