Facts: It’s hot. The tourists flock to the beach. The locals do likewise – especially at weekends. The beach gets crowded. But you are in no mood for crowds but have a quiet bathing spot in mind. Despair not.
The summer heat is now approaching its peak and going to the beach for a cool dip is one of the national pastimes. On weekends it gets difficult to find a spot to spread your beach towel in the most popular sandy bays – Ghadira, Golden Bay and Paradise Bay can get particularly crowded. But if you’re willing to look around there are some lovely spots which are much less crowded and if you’re really really lucky you might also get the beach to yourself….
Needless to say such magic spots have their cons. They normally require some walking; they offer little to no shade – good enough for sun worshippers but not especially healthy in these UV conscious days; and of course there are no amenities to speak of. But the pros are worth weighing too – the sea is invariably clearer if you choose the right spot.
Malta’s best secluded spots are mostly in the south around the bays in the Delimara promontory. There are good rocky stretches spreading out of both Peter’s Pool and the inlet known as il-Kalanka and some boulders big enough to afford at least partial shade.
Then there is the lovely Fomm ir-Rih Bay to the west of Malta – a small shingle beach reached by a rock-hewn path from the Bahrija Road. Even on the hottest of days one will scarcely encounter more than half a dozen people in this bay – the ten minute cliff path walk, although in actual fact a very safe one, takes care of that.
But if one can find secluded beach spots on crowded Malta, the pickings in Gozo are even richer. Most Gozo beaches are in general far less crowded and even on most weekends one can find a quiet spot in busy Ramla – Gozo’s most popular sandy stretch. But there are even quieter places.
The stretch of coast from Fort Chambray to Mgarr ix-Xini offers a wealth of secluded coves, perhaps none lovelier than Ras Il-Hobz with its tiny stretch of sand and shingle. The sea on this side of Gozo is very clear and the prevailing winds normally make for calm sea.
To the east of Hondoq is another lonely pebble beach fronting a tiny islet known as il-Gebla tal-Halfa. This lovely cove is reached by an offshoot off the Qala to Hondoq road and requires some walking. A curved rock face at the beach gives some well-deserved shade.
But perhaps the loveliest and most remote stretch in Gozo is Ghajn Barrani – situated midway between Ramla and Marsalforn. It’s unmarked on most maps, it isn’t signposted and requires a fair bit of walking but the place is magical if there’s no one around. This bathing spot is basically a very flat rock shelf a few feet above the water. It is backed by a number of huge boulders and there’s a fair bit of shade. In calm weather the water is a limpid blue and the high clay slopes behind the beach make for a magnificent backdrop. A magic find for the few who seek it…
Note: Always check out for weather forecasts for wind directions and rough seas warnings. Some beaches and their associated currents, Fomm ir-Rih especially, can be quite treacherous and are not recommended in rough conditions.