The best beaches in Malta and Gozo

Photo of Tamara HinsonPhoto of Tamara Hinson
By Tamara Hinson

27 August 2021 | Updated 30 April 20248 min read

Blue Lagoon, Comino This famous swim spot is a must-visit for any beach bum in Malta.

Malta’s coastline is seriously diverse, with everything from endless curves of golden sand to hidden bays surrounded by towering cliffs.

Some of our favourites are tucked away on hidden corners of the island making them perfect for anyone keen to avoid the crowds, though there’s no shortage of easily accessible beaches ideal for families and watersports junkies, too.

Whether you fancy sprawling on a sun-lounger or heading below the waves during a snorkelling session, find your perfect stretch with our guide to the best beaches in Malta and Gozo.

Best beaches in Malta

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

Blue Flag Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (meaning Apple’s Eye) is on the island’s northwest coast, near the pretty village of Manikata. Although it’s less accessible than many of Malta’s beaches (you’ll need to scramble down more than 100 steps), a visit is well worth the effort.

Its glass-clear waters are framed by steep cliffs, and the sand is famous for its rust-red hue. There are sun-loungers and umbrellas to rent for a small fee, and a snack bar for when hunger strikes.

A word of warning, though – during certain times of year, there can be strong undercurrents, so keep an eye out for the flags warning swimmers when they’re likely to occur.

Paradise Bay Resort Hotel

  • Cirkewwa, Malta
  • 5 October 2024
  • Room only
  • From Gatwick

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Ghar Lapsi Bay

First things first: this is definitely more of a bay than a beach, but it’s too beautiful not to leave out.

Despite its lack of sand, it’s still a popular swimming spot, partly because of the rocky ridge that forms a barrier and creates a natural pool. This is where you’ll find some of the clearest water in Malta, and the presence of a healthy coral reef is the reason it’s a magnet for snorkellers.

The lack of space on land (there are only a few, slightly rocky places to lay out your towel) means it rarely gets crowded, and steps carved into the stones make access a breeze.

Golden Bay

One look at this beach explains how it got its name. A long, wide crescent of beautiful golden sand with a stunning backdrop of rambling dunes and jagged cliffs, it’s easily one of Malta’s most spectacular beaches.

You’ll find it on Malta’s west coast, just a short walk from Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, and the facilities are fantastic – there are jet-skis and boats to hire, and lifeguards during peak season. Keep an eye out for turtles as, in late 2023, rehabilitated turtles were released here in a bid to boost the species’ numbers.

You’re also just a short walk from some of Malta's best attractions, including Il-Majjistral Nature & History Park, which is the island’s only national park.

Mellieha Bay

Also known as Ghadira Bay, this large beach is popular with families thanks to shallow clear water and affordable sun-loungers costing just a few euros a day. It’s also within walking distance of several other beautiful beaches, including Paradise Bay, a sandy beach with great views of Gozo, and Slugs Bay, a secluded beach that's another of the island’s popular diving spots.

It’s a great spot to try out some watersports – windsurfing, kite surfing and waterskiing are all possible at Mellieha Bay, and there’s now an inflatable floating obstacle course just off the beach.

Mellieha village itself is a great base if you want to experience local life while still having easy access to Malta’s best bits. It’s just a short walk from the departure point for ferries to Gozo and Comino, and close to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha, famous for its 17th-century oil paintings.

Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa Malta

  • Mellieha, Malta
  • 28 December 2024
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Gatwick

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Armier Bay

Head to this beautiful beach in Malta’s far north for unbeatable views of Comino and Gozo and crowd-free sunbathing.

Comprising two beaches (Armier Beach and Little Armier Beach), it’s a superb family-friendly stretch – the water’s not just beautifully calm but fantastically clear, too – and there are banana boats, jet-skis and sun-loungers to rent.

Although it’s possible to get to Armier via bus, you’ll ideally have your own transport and it’s worth stocking up on supplies before your visit. If you're doing Malta on a budget, Little Armier has more space to lay out your own sun towel so you don't need to fork out for a sun-lounger.

St George’s Bay

One of Malta’s most popular beaches, St George’s Bay can quickly become crowded during the height of summer – but it’s still worthy of a spot on your radar.

You’ll find this Blue Flag beach in the lively Paceville area of St Julian’s, next to a promenade lined with ice cream parlours, bars and seafood restaurants. It’s also one of Malta’s most accessible beaches, and is wheelchair friendly, with several ramps leading from the promenade to the sand.

If you’re looking for a base nearby, you’re in luck. St George’s Bay is just a short walk from one of Malta’s swankiest new hotels, the Quadro Hotel, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, which opened in late 2023.

Bugibba Beach

A pretty beach connected to other sandy spots by a promenade, Bugibba Beach was a vast expanse of rocky boulders until 2006, when the tourism ministry transformed it into a gorgeous stretch of sun towel-worthy sand.

It’s easily accessible, with plenty of parking and a bus stop nearby, and well maintained, which is why it’s such a hit with families. Nearby must-sees include the Malta National Aquarium.

Paradise Bay

Bright turquoise water and a wide curve of soft white sand earned this beach its name. You’ll find it close to Malta’s northern tip, just a short walk from Cirkewwa, one of the departure points for Gozo.

Its calm waters make it a hit with families (it’s sheltered by cliffs at either end), and you’ll enjoy great views from the beach – both Comino and Gozo are clearly visible.

If you’re visiting during peak season, get here early. Its close proximity to the ferry terminal means it can quickly become crowded. For a more peaceful peek at the beach, consider hiking to the cliffs above to soak up the stunning views.

Best beaches in Gozo

Ramla Beach

Famous for its golden sands (or reddish-brown, depending on the time of day), Ramla Beach is one of the best beaches in Gozo, Malta's smaller sister island that's just 45 minutes by ferry from Valletta.

Bring a good book for your sunbathing session before dragging yourself off your lounger to explore. The nearby area is dotted with Roman ruins (a Roman villa once stood just a few metres from the beach) and a twisting path leads from the beach’s eastern end to Tal-Mixta Cave, where the sunset views are spectacular.

San Blas Bay

This beach rarely gets crowded, largely because it’s not the easiest one to access – it’s located just to the north of Gozo's pretty town of Nadur, and to get there you’ll need to navigate a rather steep, rough road leading to the beach’s car park, before picking your way down an equally steep, lemon tree-lined footpath.

If you’re up for the adventure, it’s worth it. The water is incredibly clear, and a backdrop of cliffs protects it from breezes, making it a great snorkelling and diving spot.

Its protected position means this is one of the few places you’re likely to spot nude sunbathers, but keep in mind that Malta is a relatively conservative country, and naked sunbathing is illegal.

Quaint Sannat Boutique Hotel

  • Ghajnsielem, Gozo, Malta
  • 21 September 2024
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Heathrow

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Mġarr ix-Xini

This pint-sized spot on Gozo’s southern coastline doesn’t get crowded, and we’re certainly not complaining.

Adrenaline junkies come here to climb the cliffs either side of this small bay, but it’s also brilliant for a paddle or a quick swim – the cliffs provide shelter from ocean breezes, and the water remains wonderfully calm.

When you’re not sunbathing, follow the footpath from the beach to the old watchtower, which was built in 1661 and is open to the public.

Hondoq Bay

Hondoq Bay (also known as Hondoq ir-Rummien) is near Gozo’s south-eastern tip. It’s small but perfectly formed and you’ll enjoy wonderful views of Comino, the tiny Maltese island just across the water.

This sandy beach has a small car park next door and water is both shallow and clear, making it perfect for snorkelling and nervous swimmers.

A top tip: stock up on supplies in the nearby village of Il-Qala. You’ll pass through it on your way to this bay, and it’s an attraction in its own right. It’s Gozo’s easternmost village and highlights include the pretty church known as Il-Madonna tal-Blat (Saint Mary of the Rocks).

Best beaches in Comino

St Nicholas Bay

Full disclosure, Comino doesn’t have a huge number of beaches, but it’s definitely about quality, not quantity, here.

St Nicholas Bay (known locally as Il-Bajja ta San Niklaw) has a wonderful sense of seclusion, despite being relatively easily accessible – it takes just 20 minutes to walk here from the famous Blue Lagoon.

Consisting of two small beaches, both of which have shallow, calm water, it’s a fantastic snorkelling spot and doubles as a great starting point for hikes along the footpaths that weave around the island.

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  • St Julian's, Malta
  • 25 June 2024
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Heathrow

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Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon isn’t a beach in the traditional sense of the word, as there’s hardly any sand. But there’s a reason it’s one of the island’s most popular spots, starting with the dazzling turquoise water.

It’s a popular swimming spot (despite its rocky beach, there’s soft sand under the water), and it’s great for sunbathing – we suggest hiring one of the loungers and parasols on offer, because shade is in short supply here.

Although Comino is sparsely populated – it’s estimated there are around ten permanent residents – there’s little chance of going hungry thanks to the food trucks you’ll find close to the beach.

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