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Surrounded by the calm, azure waters of the Mediterranean, Malta has plenty of beaches to enjoy. With high season attracting visitors to the main sandy beaches in their hundreds, it can be nigh on impossible to find a quiet spot to relax peacefully. If you prefer somewhere more secluded, where the offer of organised water sports is not of particular importance, and in some cases you don’t mind a bit of a hike, why not consider one of these locations that not many know about?
Be prepared for a bit of a trek – so make sure you have plenty of water and a hat – but Imġiebaħ Bay is a great reward once reached. Located in the north of Malta, access is gained via a descent down adjacent steep and rocky pathways, and although there will never be more than a handful of people visiting, you will occasionally bump into local dog walkers and campers. To reach it by foot, it is best to head to Selmun then follow the route opposite the church. The walk back from the beach is not for the faint-hearted, so if you manage to befriend a local with a boat, hitch a ride for a more relaxing way of reaching the bay and back again. Take something to eat and plenty to drink as there are no facilities at all, but the views are outstanding and chances are you will have the entire place to yourself.
This sandy beach is located in the region of Mġarr. For an all-over tan, this is also nicknamed the ‘Nude Beach’ and can be a spot that attracts both straight and gay couples due to it being so secluded. Although this is illegal in Malta, this is an unrestricted place, filled with tranquility. There are two options to reach the beach: public buses run to Għajn Tuffieħa, from which you can hike through rocky terrain, or alternatively catch the bus to Gnejna Beach and follow the narrow path from the car park. Either way, the walk will take around 20 minutes.
If you have your wits about you, Fomm Ir-Riħ beach is just about as secluded as you can get in Malta. Popular for diving and snorkelling, the only route to this pebbly bay is via a steep, rocky and sometimes slippery path from the village of Bahrija. A visit to this bay is not recommended for children or the elderly due to the ascent on the way back combined with the unsteady route and punishing Maltese sunshine. Once at the beach, enjoy the clear, deep waters (perfect for swimming when it is calm) and idyllic views of the surrounding valleys and cliffs.
Also known as Little Armier, White Tower Bay may not be as secluded as the other beaches, but it is a secret in that it is predominently frequented by locals who own the boat houses surrounding the bay. The boat houses have been turned into summer residences, making it a unique little village in its own right. Quieter than the other sandy beaches in the area, the bay is relatively easy to reach by car by heading in the direction of the Gozo ferry and following the signs to Armier. A public bus can also take you to Armier, however this leaves around a 30-minute walk after alighting. The waters are clear and shallow for a good way out, making the beach perfect for families. Sun loungers and umbrellas can be hired and there is a refreshment kiosk. A full day can easily be spent at White Tower Bay.
Head to the south-west of the island to Marsaxlokk to discover Malta’s most beautiful, natural swimming pool. Away from the more popular tourist areas at Delimara Point, this location may not necessarily be classed as a beach, however if you have the opportunity, it shouldn’t be missed. Due to the pool’s remoteness, whatever time of year you decide to visit you will always find a spot to enjoy all to yourself. The rocks surrounding the azure and green waters have plenty of flat areas for sunbathing, with shade available in places. Take your snorkel for some underwater-life spotting, or if it’s just a swim you fancy, take your pick from the ladders leading into the waters, or climb a little higher up for some diving opportunities. Parking is available at the top of the cliff before you head down to the pool area. There are no facilities here so be prepared. St Peter’s Pool is an experience second to none.
For the best of nature, Gozo’s Għajn Barrani is a perfect place to head for; an idyllic amble for nature lovers who perhaps fancy a swim on the same excursion. The cliffs run along Gozo’s north coast between Marsalforn and the next sandy beach of Ramla. This was once one of Gozo’s main agricultural areas due to its flat grounds and natural water springs; the walk is now lined with wildflowers and trees bearing pomegranates and olives. A short scramble over some rocky terrain will lead to Għajn Barrani Bay, a tiny, yet sandy and completely secluded area for the ultimate in relaxation surrounded by nature.
On the north-east coast of Gozo, a hilly descent via the village of Nadhur will take you to the beautiful, rust-orange sands of San Blas Bay. With Gozo being a lot quieter than mainland Malta, combined with the beach location, you may even find at the right time of year you have the place to yourself. Surrounded by green countryside and prickly pear-bearing hills, you will find yourself at total peace with just the sounds of the gentle waves of the Mediterranean and fresh sea air. Completely away from it all and not a building in sight, this is the perfect Maltese secret beach.