Malta beaches suit many different tastes, and all of them are located close to your place of lodging—no matter where you are staying. Even Malta Island, the largest of the inhabited islands, is relatively small and the coastline is less than three miles away at the farthest point. Some of the best beaches in Malta are inaccessible unless you're hiking or arrive by boat. Others are very close to hotels and cities, and a few of the beach resorts have private stretches of sand that can be found right outside your room.
Before the arrival of the Radisson Golden Sands, one of the best of the beachside luxury hotels, the beach at Golden Bay was one of the larger island's more secluded spots. Today, you will find this idyllic stretch of sand quite crowded during the peak summer season. However, the surrounding area is still very undeveloped. A modest hike of under a mile to the south will bring you to secluded Ghajn Tuffieha in Gnejna Bay, which has almost no development other than a string of summer cottages and villas that sometimes are available as vacation rentals. Ghajn Tuffieha and Paradise Bay are often touted as the best beaches in Malta and both are located near each other on the larger island's northwest coast. One of the bonuses of spending your day at Golden Bay is that you can enjoy fine gourmet dining in one of the hotel's several restaurants instead of relying on beachside snack bars.
Mellieha Beach in Ghadira Bay is the island's longest beach, and there are numerous resorts and hotels in the town of Mellieha. If you're staying here, you will find that Golden Bay is only a little over two miles to the southwest. Mellieha Beach is excellent for family vacations, since there are almost no strong currents in this part of the bay. Being such a long and wide beach, it also provides plenty of sand space for the youngsters to play. While you're in this area—especially if you're with children—you might want to take a boat excursion to Anchor Bay. Here is a small beach and the entire village of Sweethaven, the complete set for the 1980 film Popeye starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall. The set has been turned into a small theme park that will fascinate children and adults alike for a good portion of the day.
The Sliema beaches and the St Julians beaches are rockier than they are on the northeastern and northwestern parts of the island. Sliema in particular has a rocky shoreline, but it also boasts a very long and picturesque seaside promenade, and there are many areas of flat rocks suitable for spreading out your towel and taking in some rays. St Julians has a small sandy beach in addition to rocky areas, and both are within walking distance of the lively nightlife to be found in Paceville.
The best beaches in Malta for those looking for that idyllic stretch of completely deserted sand can best be accessed by boat while enjoying sailing and scuba diving trips. Since the islands are so small, many of them can also be accessed by ambitious hikers. Most of the access to the secluded Malta beaches if you are hiking is down steep stairs because so much of the islands have rugged cliffs along the coast. Some of these beaches can be found on either side of Marsaxlokk Bay on the southern tip of Malta Island. You might be under the flight path of airplanes coming in to land at the country's only airport, but you will have much of the sand to yourself.
Other wonderful Malta beaches can be found on tiny Comino Island and on Gozo, the second largest island. Ramla Bay on the west coast of Gozo is quite possibly the most beautiful of the accessible beaches in the entire country. There are plenty of facilities here, including snack bars and rental outlets for umbrellas and water sports equipment. A bit south of that is San Blas Bay. Because there is virtually no development here and access is down a steep slope, this beach is almost always uncrowded.