Buġibba Beach: All you need to know about the perched sandy beach
Located in the seaside resort of Buġibba, the Buġibba perched beach is one of the very few artificially made beaches on the Maltese Islands.
In this article I’ll tell you all about this small sandy beach: Where to find it, what it’s like, what’s good and what to be aware of.
Being a popular resort town in Malta, Buġibba (along with neighbouring Qawra) welcomes more than 350,000 tourists per year. The coastline promenade which makes the area so popular stretches a few kilometres from Salina Bay to St Paul’s Bay, taking in some of the islands’ best open sea views, as well as showcasing the beautiful St. Paul’s Islands.
However, the coast is completely rocky and devoid of any naturally sandy areas. The perched beach was thus funded and constructed in 2006 by the Ministry of Tourism to provide sand loving visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the beach at their own comfort.
Before this intervention, the beach was a linear rocky shore with a sharp, rocky surface. When the sandy conversion was being considered, this beach was actually planned to be totally reversible. So should the need arise, the rocky coastal stretch will return to its original geological form, thus not causing any harm to the local marine life. A total of 2,000 square metres of the rocky coast were transformed into a sandy beach, perched above the sea level, giving the perched beach its name.
Where is the beach in Buġibba?
The perched beach is located along the coastline towards the North of Buġibba, where the villages crosses over into Qawra.
It’s right across the road from the Dolmen Hotel and a few minutes’ walk away from the Buġibba bus terminus.
What is the Buġibba beach like to visit?
Being in such a popular tourist resort, the perched beach receives a lot of visitors during the summer months making it quite busy. This is especially true for those who choose to stay in Buġibba whilst visiting the Islands as it is in walking distance of most of the hotels and other accommodation in the area.
What’s important to know:
- The beach itself is basically a flat, (artificial) sandy shore with some great views of St. Paul’s Islands and the open sea.
- Unlike the naturally occurring sandy beaches on the Islands though, which have gentle, gradual slopes into the sea, this one has a rocky edge, leading to fairly deep waters upon descent. Because of this, bridges and ladders are present at various areas to facilitate access into and out of the water. Also, during the summer months platforms are installed to help people (especially those with limited mobility) walk across the sand to go down to the sea. Large steel ramps are also available for wheelchair users who want to enjoy the beach during the summer season.
- The beach is cleaned and maintained on a daily basis during peak season and has in fact been awarded the Blue Flag certification for it’s crystal clear waters and clean surroundings.
Since the beach is directly on the Buġibba promenade, a variety of facilities are available which would suit everyone’s needs. Within walking distance you can find bars, restaurants, clubs and shops. A diving school (Abyss Diving Club) is present within the area, should you be interested trying it out, as well as a water sports rental company where you can rent jet skis and canoes, book boat trips and snorkelling tours, rent any snorkelling/diving equipment and go paragliding and wake boarding, to name a few!
Upon arriving at the entrance of the bay there is a public rest room you can use and you can easily rent sunbeds and deckchairs from mobile vans situated beside the beach entry point. The Malta National Aquarium is within walking distance to the perched beach, as is the Amazonia Beach Complex.
- The beach is very easily accessible to the public. During the summer months the beach and entry to the sea are also accessible to those who have mobility problems as well as wheelchair users by means of platforms and ramps installed in the sand.
- Well maintained and cleaned daily during the summer months (less so during shoulder/winter seasons however). Has Blue Flag certification.
- The best of both worlds: Since the perched beach is an artificially sandy one, those who visit get to see the beauty of a rocky beach, whilst enjoying the comfort of a sandy one. The sea itself is quite deep, very clean and crystal clear, with good snorkelling opportunities due to the rocky surroundings, whilst the beach is sandy and soft.
- Great amenities on the beach itself as well as within walking distance with lots of shops, entertainment venues, restaurants and bars in the area.
- Lots of activities available which you can book on site such as paragliding, wake boarding, snorkelling, banana rides etc.
Things to consider
- Although well maintained and very well equipped, this beach remains an artificial one, reducing the authenticity of the Maltese beach experience for some (including myself). Having said that, Buġibba in itself is very touristic and ‘manicured’, so you are unlikely to be in the area if you are searching for more rustic, ‘off the beaten track’ beaches and more cultural experiences within Maltese village life.
- Being very accessible and not very big makes this beach very busy. If you are looking for a quiet spot to enjoy the sunshine and sea, you’re unlikely to find it here.
- Finding a parking space might be tricky during the summer months. Even though a parking area can be found right next to the beach, unless you plan your visit early, you’re unlikely to find a spot.
How to get to Buġibba perched beach
As this beach is directly on the Buġibba promenade, getting there is extremely easy. If you are staying in Buġibba, walking to the beach is ideal as most hotels are within walking distance of the waterfront. If you’re driving from another village, just drive towards Buġibba. You will find the beach on the Islet Promenade.
There is a public parking area just beside the bay but this might be full as the area is extremely popular and very busy during the summer season. If you don’t find parking there, just look for parking along the promenade, or, if you don’t mind paying to park, at the garage of the dB San Antonio Resort hotel (which is located across the road from the beach).
Since Buġibba is such a popular tourist resort, it is very well connected to the rest of the island via public transport. In fact, there is a large bus terminal servicing the area, along with lots of bus stops along the promenade. Getting a bus here is easy, especially if you want to avoid the hassle of looking for a good parking spot during the busy summer months.
If you are using public transport look out for the following bus numbers: X3, 31, 45, 48, 186, 203, 212, 221, 223, 280. Just stop at the Bus Stop titled ‘Gzejjer’, or at the bus terminus. Service to this area is very frequent and fairly efficient, albeit a little crowded during peak season.
Alternative beaches if you’re staying in Buġibba
Don’t like the fact that it’s an artificial beach? These are a few other options I can suggest to you:
- If you don’t mind going to a pebbly/rocky beach I highly recommend the beach at Qawra Point called Ta` Fra Ben. I used to live right around the corner and it’s a great place to swim, with clean water and makes for some interesting snorkelling as well with some nice sea life around. You can find a few small bars/kiosks around and they rent out deckchairs and umbrellas there as well so it’s a great alternative in my book. A little less busy too normally. It’s also on my list of top beaches in Malta.
- One of the positives of staying in the Buġibba area is that public transport is easy to use (with a dedicated terminus on the edge of Buġibba and Qawra) and takes you to quite a few places with direct routes. A few of those places are some of the best sandy beaches around: Għajn Tuffieħa, Golden Bay and Mellieħa Bay. Follow the links to the individual articles to find out which bus routes can take you there.