Malta is an island country floating in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and Tunisia. In fact, it is not one but three islands: Gozo in the north, Comino sandwiched in the middle, and then mainland Malta. This country is practically all coastline, so it’s not surprising that the beaches in Malta are plentiful and spectacular.
Because Malta sits between Europe and Northern Africa, Malta was used as a strategic military base for hundreds if not thousands of years. The Romans, the Knights of St John, the French, and the British all ruled Malta for a period.
Finally, in 1964, Malta gained independence from Britain and the military left in 1979. Since then, Malta has gone from strength to strength in many ways and one of those is its growing popularity as a vacation and holiday hotspot.
Malta doesn’t have the year-round 20°C+ (70°F) sunny weather that you’ll find in other places in Europe like The Canary Islands. But it still enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate.
You can start enjoying Malta beaches in April when the temperatures start to climb, peaking in July, until October when they fall again. Malta’s perpetually windy weather is always welcome in the fierce heat of the summer which also makes it ideal for water sports.
This guide covers all the best beaches in Malta around the country including the most popular beaches and the best beaches for water sports and the various of things to do in Malta. It includes the best sandy beach in Malta and where to stay nearby so you can enjoy a relaxing beach trip on the Maltese Islands.
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1. Golden Bay
Golden Bay is a popular beach just north of the village of Manikata in Mellieha Bay. It’s on the northwest coast of mainland Malta which is around 21 km (40-minute drive) from Malta’s capital city of Valletta.
Golden Bay has vibrant, soft red sand and natural rocky cliffs surrounding the bay on either side making it feel sheltered yet its nearby amenities can draw in the crowds during the summer months.
This beach’s safety protocols are what probably make Golden Bay Malta the best beach in Malta for families. During the day, there is a flag system to signal when the water is safe to swim in and there is always a lifeguard on duty.
In winter, the rough waves are a little too wild to swim in but it’ll be way too cold for that anyway! Mellieħa Bay also has lots of parking and beachside eateries like the Beach Shop which sells ice cream and Munchies Golden Bay which is a laid-back canteen.
Accommodation near Golden Bay
- Budget – Solana Hotel & Spa
- Mid-range – Victoria B&B by Petit Chic
- Luxury – Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands
2. Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is the entire reason why travellers make the effort to take a half or full-day trip to Comino Island in the first place. It’s a stunningly beautiful cove with turquoise, crystal-clear water that is perfect for sailing, swimming, and diving.
If you’re looking for a sandy beach to lounge on, you’re in the wrong place! There’s not much of a beach here; it’s all about the sea. You can reach Comino by ferry from the Cirkewwa port on mainland Malta or the Mgarr ferry terminal on the northern island of Gozo. You can also book day trips with private companies too.
There are no hotels or overnight accommodations on the island (it has less than five permanent residents!) and there are only one or two food outlets, so bring food with you.
You can explore other lagoons on the island like Crystal Lagoon and Santa Maria Caves. There’s also a shipwreck you can dive to (the P31 Wreck) and other cool abandoned and historic buildings on Comino.
Accommodation near Blue Lagoon
3. Ramla Beach
Ramla beach is one of the best beaches on Gozo island. It’s on the northern coast in Ramla Bay and if you’re looking for less crowded beaches in Malta, sandy beaches, and safe beaches then you’ve come to the right place!
It’s only 6 km (a 10-minute drive) from Gozo’s capital city of Victoria. Parts of this eye-catching red sand beach aren’t as soft as other beaches in the area which is why it’s not as popular as others. But it’s great for water sports and there will be more space for you!
There are plenty of necessary amenities on this beach like public toilets and a lifeguard in summer but few beachside restaurants.
What it lacks in infrastructure, it makes up for in history. If you can’t sit still for long, hike up to Fougasse Scenic Overlook for sweeping views of the bay. Check out Tal-Mixta Cave, the abandoned wedding venue Ulysses Lodge and the old Roman ruins.
Accommodation near Ramla Beach
- Budget – Ta’ Karkar Villa Bed and Breakfast
- Mid-range – Ad Hoc B&B Gozo
- Luxury – Quaint Boutique Hotel Nadur
4. Sliema Beach
Sliema Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Malta. It’s situated on the coast of Sliema town which is in the wider St. Julian’s Bay region.
This is one of the most well-sought-after areas for travellers to stay in when visiting Malta. There are lots of hotels, bars, and restaurants, and it’s very close to the capital city of Valletta. Sliema Beach is only 8 km from Valletta which is a 20-minute journey by car or bus.
This beach is popular because it’s convenient. There isn’t much sand at all and it’s not very big, but there is a safe area to swim in enclosed by rocks.
Accommodation near Sliema Beach
- Budget – Alborada Apart Hotel
- Mid-range – Sliema Creek Boutique Suites
- Luxury – Land’s End Boutique Hotel
5. Riviera Beach
Just south of Golden Bay beach in Mellieħa Bay, Riviera Beach certainly lives up to its name. It’s a long, long stretch of red sand beach where you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas and enjoy a relaxing beach day.
It’s also a popular surf spot in the shoulder seasons when there aren’t any people swimming and the waves are bigger.
Because Riviera Beach Malta is next to Golden Beach, you could easily visit both in one day! It’s literally a 4-minute drive between the beaches or you could even walk. There is lots of parking next to Riviera beach as well as a beachside bar and cafe for refreshments.
If you want to go for a walk, there are lots of hiking trails near this beach as well as a viewpoint on the craggy dunes overlooking the bay and the hills in the distance.
Accommodation near Riviera Beach
- Budget – Secco’s Seaview Accommodation
- Mid-range – Porto Azzurro Aparthotel
- Luxury – Julina Boutique Living
6. Xlendi Beach
Xlendi Beach sits on the southern coast of Gozo nestled deep inside the secluded Xlendi Bay. This means the beach is able to hide from the worst of Malta’s ceaseless windy weather.
It’s only 3 km or a six-minute drive from Gozo’s capital Victoria though there isn’t any designated beach packing. Most of the travellers that use this beach are staying in the local hotels and apartments.
It’s not a large stretch of coastline by any means. It’s a short, shallow patch of white soft sand that extends into a shallow, calm sea overlooked by restaurants like The Boathouse Restaurant and hotels surrounded by small boats.
There is little room for lounging and walking. But it’s one of the best beaches in Malta for paddling in shallow waters before continuing your hike along the coast. Walk up to the Xlendi cliffs before heading back down and up the other side to see the views from the old Xlendi Tower.
Accommodation near Xlendi Beach
7. St Peter’s Pool
There’s not much of an actual sandy beach at St Peter’s Pool but this is such a gorgeous, stunningly beautiful part of Malta that you won’t even care.
It’s on mainland Malta’s southern coast, just east of the main harbour in Marsaxlokk on the Dalimara Peninsula. It’s only 15 km south of Valletta which is approximately a 30-minute drive.
St Peter’s Pool is a concealed rocky swimming hole with shockingly clear blue water with a sandy surface. You don’t need to worry about packing water shoes or standing on uncomfortable rocks here!
Plus, there are steps and ledges carved into the rocks so you’ll be able to climb in and out. But you will need to bring food and supplies with you because there aren’t any amenities or comfort facilities nearby. Make sure bring your snorkel because this is the perfect place to spot Malta’s sealife!
Accommodation near St Peter’s Pool
- Budget – Xrobb L-Ghagin Hostel
- Mid-range – The Shipwright’s Lodge Guest House
- Luxury – Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse
8. San Blas Beach
Do you love Ramla Beach but want to check out another close by that is smaller and has fewer people? Head a little east along the north Gozo coast and you’ll stumble across San Blas Beach. This is also a vibrant red sand beach which feels more like it’s in the middle of nowhere.
Yes, there’s parking nearby (around 5-10 minutes walk from the beach) but you have to drive down a narrow, rocky decline to reach it. And then you’ll stroll through lemon groves and huge cactus plants down the paved path to reach the beach which adds a little adventure to your beach day.
There aren’t any lifeguards, restaurants, public toilets, or any other amenities near this beach so bring what you need for the day.
You can still swim on this beach and there are markers in the sea to mark where it is safe to swim and where it isn’t. You can swim along the cliff edge and see the rocky boulders up close and personal. And when you’ve finished lounging and want to explore, climb up to the Sopu Tower which is a former military watch tower on the coastline.
Accommodation near San Blas Beach
9. Gnejna Beach
What can be said? Mellieħa Bay is where you’ll find most of the best beaches in Malta and Gnejna Beach is the third on this list alongside Golden Bay and Riviera Beach.
It’s great being able to plan a beach day knowing there are a couple of backup options nearby if the first one you visit is too crowded. Gnejna Beach is also around 20 km (a 35-minute drive) from Valletta on the northwest coast of Malta’s mainland.
Gnejna Beach is the smallest out of the three on this list and it’s more of a classic white sand beach than the red beaches that you’ll find elsewhere on Malta’s coastline.
It’s a gorgeous beach for lounging thanks to its clean, soft white sand and also ideal for swimming in the summer months and surfing in the shoulder seasons. You’ll find parking, public toilets, and a restaurant near this beach – nothing more, nothing less. But that’s all you need!
If you want to explore the coastline away from the beach, check out the Ta’ Lippija Tower or The Fourteen Soldiers Geological Formation. Both have amazing views of the bay.
Accommodation near Gnejna Beach
10. Ghadira Bay Beach
This is possibly the biggest beach in Malta and certainly the biggest and most popular on this list. Ghadira Bay Beach is 800m in length and has blue flag status, which means it has high standards of cleanliness, safety, and environmental conservation.
You’ll find it on mainland Malta’s northeast coast near the ferry port to Comino. It’s around 27 km north of Valletta (a 45-minute drive). However, it’s very close to the resort town of St Paul’s Bay so it’s an ideal place for a family beach trip if you are based there.
Aside from the generous size, the amenities are what draws travellers to this beach. It has a blow-up water park in the summer for children as well as picnic areas, boats, and water sports equipment rental.
You’ll find lots of ice cream stalls and restaurants along the waterfront and free parking too. Yes, it’s ideal for families but everyone will love lying on the soft white sand and swimming in the bright blue waters in Ghadira Bay.