The Mediterranean archipelago of Malta boasts approximately 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, making time spent on the water here a year-round delight. Water sports in particular are popular with visitors and locals alike. Whether you’re a novice or experienced, or looking for shallow or deep waters at different locations around Malta, Gozo and Comino, there’s a spot for you. Here’s our pick of the best.
The tiny island of Comino is the perfect destination in Malta for boat lovers. Organised trips travel to the island from mainland Malta and Gozo on a regular basis, and from here you can enjoy chartered boat trips, self-drive speedboats, canoes and jet skis as ways to take in the stunningly azure waters Malta’s infamous Blue Lagoon and surrounding rock formations and caves. Take the opportunity to travel the waters around Comino and see the island from every angle – at only 3.5 sq. km (1.35 sq. miles), it shouldn’t take too long.
The southwest of Gozo is home to Xlendi Bay. Once a quaint fishing village, Xlendi is popular with locals and tourists primarily because of its stunning beach. Small and overlooked by cliffs and greenery, Xlendi Bay is both rocky and sandy. The sand leads into shallow waters attracting many families all year round. It is, however, the rocky part of the beach, that water sports enthusiasts should head for, as the clear deep waters provide an ideal place for snorkelling. Diving is popular in Xlendi Bay, not only because of the rocks from which you can jump, but also thanks the underwater reef formations which are well worth an exploration.
Mellieha Bay (known locally as Għadira Bay) is a hive of activity when it comes to water sports. This beach, located on the outskirts of Malta’s northern town of Mellieha, is the island’s largest and most visited sandy beach. During the summer months, the beach is awash with sunbathers, however, because of its popularity it has a wide variety of water sport offerings all available in one place. With several centres in the vicinity hiring out all the necessary equipment and with instructors on hand, enthusiasts can enjoy windsurfing, paragliding, paddle boards, jet skis and snorkelling and diving for beginners. In addition, the dive centres here also offer a host of diving excursions, as well as transport to and from the various locations arranged from Mellieha Bay.
Feeling adventurous and perhaps want to try something new? St Julians is a great place to visit to try your hand at flyboarding. Spinola Bay is the location to try out this experience. Whether you’re a complete beginner and fancy trying out being hydro-propelled into the air, or you want to enrol in a course to hone your skills, this spot is the place to be for flyboarding. Said to be relatively easy to master, the sport certainly looks impressive – instructors say that once you have a grasp of how to balance (which can take an average of as little as ten minutes), you’re away. Instructors have full control of how high you’re propelled as you concentrate on perfecting your moves. It’s an addictive sport for thrill seekers that sees many devotees taking part in the Fly Boarding World Cup.
If diving is your cup of tea, Malta, Comino and Gozo boast numerous dive sites ranging from shallow waters for beginners to deep waters for the advanced – whatever your level, there’s the choice of wreck dives, reef dives, sea life dives and cave dives. The north of Gozo is the place to head for to experience the Billinghurst Caves dive. Take a walk down the rocky coastline at Triq Is-Sagħtrija and tucked away in the corner is a dive site that is truly awe-inspiring. Fine sand covers the bottom of the cave entrance which is filled with natural light due to its location, and approximately 60 metres (197 feet) in, past shingle and boulders, you meet an even more impressive cave. Here you can experience sea life and clear waters while taking a rest, thanks to being able to come above the water in a large air pocket completely covered by rocks. As the light catches the waters on the exit of the caves, you’ll witness shades of blue you never thought imaginable.