Mellieħa Bay (Għadira) – Malta’s largest sandy beach
Mellieħa Bay is Malta’s largest, and most popularly visited beach, and is located in the North of the main island, on the outskirts of the village of Mellieħa. The beach is also known as Għadira (pron. a-deerah) Bay roughly 800m long and was awarded Blue Flag status (which is a recognition of quality based on water quality, environmental management, safety and services, among other indicators).
The area around the bay is the location of some of the best Mellieha Hotels and is known as a prime holiday location in Malta.
- Family-friendly – Easily accessible and shallow water
- Facilities nearby – Several restaurants/snack bars and two hotels
- Easy to reach with public transport
- Water sports and windsurfing
- Beach management (June – Sep) – lifeguards, First Aid clinic, maintenance
- Sunbed & umbrella hire
- Blue flag certified.
- Sunbed & umbrella hire – Great facility to have when desired, though providers can be rather pushy and control designated areas.
- Can get crowded, particularly on Sundays, which also means it’s difficult to find (free) parking.
How to get to Mellieħa Bay / Għadira
- From Valletta: Quickest option is taking route 32 or 35 to University roundabout and switching over to route X1. (1h15m)
- From Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay: 221, 222 (30 minutes – from St. Paul’s Bay main street)
- From Sliema/St. Julian’s: 222 (1 hour – direct route)
For more info: Public transport in Malta
Driving there yourself?
Parking near Għadira is limited and often problematic. Consider parking in Mellieħa and taking the bus to get down to the bay to avoid parking hassles. Buses pass regularly (every 5-10 minutes).
Early bird? You should be able to find public parking along the road that passes along the beach edge quite easily, on weekdays at least.
If you prefer not to hop on a bus and public parking isn’t available, try parking at the Seabank hotel, who offer underground (paid) parking.
- Being a favourite among tourists and locals alike, this is one of Malta’s busiest beaches, particularly on Sundays. If you can avoid going on weekends, you’ll be better off
- The beaches are sectioned into zones for providers of umbrellas and sunbeds, so if you’re not planning to hire one it might be difficult to find a free spot on busy days. These guys can be quite pushy but you’re not obliged to rent anything outside of their designated zones
- Ghadira is one of the bays in Malta where barbequing isn’t allowed
- The best time to enjoy Ghadira (as well as a few other beaches around the island) is by going early. Very early (and by early I mean 6 or 7am). It’s also a great option for a night swim in summer if you’re the adventurous type. Obviously, be cautious and don’t go too far out!
- Right opposite the beach you can find one of Malta’s few nature reserves, Għadira nature reserve (which is why the Bay also carries that name), run by Birdlife Malta, a local NGO for bird conservation.
Mellieħa Bay is one of the 10 Best Beaches in Malta.