Blue Flag International has once again awarded 12 beaches across the Maltese Islands with the International Blue Flag eco label for Sustainable Development. The worldwide certification is given to beaches and marinas that are exemplary within four main areas: environmental protection and awareness, health and safety, sustainable beach management and accessibility, and bathing water quality.
These are the (sustainably) gorgeous beaches with a freshly received blue flag status – which one will you head to first?
Fond Ghadir Bay, Sliema
While the promenade in this popular seaside town is renowned for long walks and coffee spots, the shoreline below is ideal for a swim. Font Ghadira is at the centre of it all, having both deep waters for experienced swimmers and shallow pools for paddling about.
Westin Dragonara Resort beach, St Julian’s
If you’re staying at this family-friendly resort, you won’t need to go far for a dip in the clear blue sea, thanks to its private rocky beach – convenient, and one of the best locally, win-win!
St George’s Bay, St Julian’s
Despite being man-made (filled and cleaned with imported sand each year), St George’s Bay in the bustling entertainment hub of St Julian’s was actually the first beach in Malta to receive the coveted blue flag status.
Qawra Bay, St Paul’s Bay
Known to most locals as Ta’ Fra Ben, Qawra Bay is located along the rocky coast of the tourism capitals of Bugibba and Qawra, in the north of the islands. The water does get quite deep here, so best keep an eye on the kids.
Bugibba Perched Beach, St Paul’s Bay
This spot in the touristic centre of Bugibba is great for swimming and sunbathing, with access to the clearest, deep waters if for experienced swimmers. Meanwhile, up a short flight of steps and you’re right in the town square, with lots of places for a drink or bite to eat.
Mellieha Bay, Mellieha
Locals refer to Malta’s longest sandy beach as Ghadira, and it’s a popular spot among local and foreign families alike, thanks to its shallow waters that stretch right into the clear blue sea beyond.
Golden Bay, Mellieha
Another favourite among the locals, Golden Bay gets its name from its particular gold-coloured sand. It’s a gorgeous spot for swimming, but is prone to underwater currents from time to time, so do check the Safety Flag System before you dive in.
Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, Mgarr
Neighbouring Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (also known as Riviera), is the next beach along the coast from Golden Bay, and is often seen as its quieter sister. There’s a long row of steep steps to access it, which may be the reason that some are deterred – and we’re not complaining!
Paradise Bay, Mellieha
You’ll find some of the clearest waters in Malta at this sandy beach, and it’s also a perfect spot for sunbathers. It is a little on the small side though, and can get backed with beach combers in the summer months, so best get there early for a good spot!
Ramla Bay, Xaghra, Gozo
Ramla Bay, or Ramla l-Hamra, as it is known to locals, is another beach that gets its name from the distinctive colour of its sand – this time, a rich red hue.
Hondoq Ir-Rummien Bay, Qala, Gozo
This small sandy beach is a popular spot with the locals, and is one of the most recent local beaches to receive blue flag status. It’s also a great spot for diving, thanks to its crystal clear waters.
Marsalforn Bay, Marsalforn, Gozo
Another recent addition, this sandy and pebbly beach lies just below the promenade in the popular resort town of Marsalforn, where locals flock in summer for a stroll, as well as a good dose of the Mediterranean waters!
By Sarah Micallef