Golden Bay – My tips and info on one of Malta’s best sandy beaches
Golden Bay is located next to Għajn Tuffieħa on the north-west coast of Malta, nearby the village of Manikata and known for its red sand and naturally formed dunes on its surrounding slopes. Golden Bay is a popularly visited beach, partly due to the proximity of the five star Radisson Golden Sands hotel.
Like Għajn Tuffieħa, Golden Bay is a sandy beach, but it tends to be more popular because it has a larger stretch of sand, is easier to access and has better facilities, including a few restaurants.
It’s very easy to reach by public transport and car, although parking can be a challenge on Sundays and public holidays. The beach is a popular location for sunbathing, swimming, watersports, and parties, especially in the evening when sunset admirers fire up their barbeques and enjoy a chilled out summer night at the beach.
During the summer months, a flag system is used to indicate whether the water is safe for swimming and lifeguards are on patrol. Just as is the case at Għajn Tuffieħa, Golden Bay is also known for its treacherous undercurrents during the winter months when the weather is less stable. Although few people would consider going for a swim during that time of the year, it’s not uncommon for a few adventurous (mostly foreign) people to get into trouble that way.
Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, operated by the Malta Tourism Authority from 15th June until 15th September.
- Sandy beach, Blue Flag certified (high level of safety, amenities, etc.)
- Beautiful, largely unspoilt surroundings
- Amenities, kiosks and good restaurants
- Great for evening barbeques and admiring sunsets
- Easy to reach by public transport and car
- Reasonably easy to find parking if you don’t mind a brief walk.
- Lined with a rocky shoreline on its northern side, it’s a great spot for snorkelling.
- If the wind’s blowing inward the water isn’t very clear. Not dirty, just a little murky
- A large hotel sitting on the Northern cliff’s edge doesn’t look great, but perhaps that’s a matter of taste
- Can be very busy in summer, particularly on weekends.
How to get to Golden Bay
- From Valletta: Take route 42 or 250 to St. Paul’s Bay, then hop on route 223 or 225 (Trip duration: 1h 15m)
- From Sliema and St. Julian’s: Direct route 225 takes you there in a little over one hour.
- From Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay: Direct routes 223 and 225 both pass through the main street of St. Paul’s Bay (from where it’s a 20-minute ride). If you’re staying in Qawra or Bugibba take a quick 5-minute bus trip from the Bugibba terminus to St. Paul’s Bay on route 48, for example (although other routes pass from the same stretch).
Important: All routes first stop at ‘Riviera’, which is the bus stop for Għajn Tuffieħa. If you intend to go to Golden Bay, don’t get off at that stuff but stay on board until the final stop “Għajn Tuffieħa Bus Terminus”. Counter-intuitive but correct, I promise.
For more info: Public transport in Malta
Driving there yourself?
Driving yourself to get to Golden Bay is pretty easy since the bay’s in a quieter part of Malta. There are two parking areas close to the bay, one down near the edge of the beach and slightly uphill in front of the Radisson Golden Sands hotel. Both will fill up pretty quickly but if you follow the road in Northern direction there’s a large vacant pitch that’s used for parking as well. It’ll be a five-minute walk down to the beach so very doable.
- Pay attention to the flag system on the beach – Don’t swim when the (double) red flag is up. This rarely happens in summer though good to keep an eye out for.
- Since Golden Bay is one of the island’s more popular beaches, it can be busy on summer weekends
- If you plan on going swimming with children it’s recommended to have them wear water shoes, since pebbles are often found at the water’s edge
- If you’re up for a barbeque, you’ll find that larger supermarkets sell disposable barbeque sets which are easy to fire up and Golden Bay is a great place to do so. Although you can buy good quality, marinated meat from larger supermarkets, finding a local butcher tends to get you finer cuts. Do respect other beach goers and clean up after yourself – there are bins all over the beach! Be aware that for barbeques organised for 25 people or over you’ll need to get a permit from the Mellieha local council.
- Hungry? You’ve got a few good options right on the beach’s edge with Munchies and Aglioaglio (part of the Radisson hotel) – restaurants that offer good food at reasonable prices.
- If sunsets are your thing, this is a great spot to witness one, in summer.
Golden Bay ranks #2 on my list of Top 10 Best beaches in Malta.