The Definitive Guide
This is the most comprehensive guide to Snorkeling In Malta. In this expert-written guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about where to snorkel in Malta as well as Gozo and Comino, including what gear to use, and best safe snorkelling practices to keep you safe.
So, if you’re looking to get more information about snorkelling in Malta, you are going to love this guide.
Why Go Snorkeling In Malta
The main reason why people want to go snorkelling in Malta is to have fun in the sea. Over 70% of our planet is covered with oceans and seas. These are home to millions of marine species and essential to life on earth.
Whether you are an experienced snorkeler or brand new to enjoying the ocean from the surface, there are plenty of places to enjoy amazing underwater life in Malta, Gozo, and Comino.
These are the best places to go snorkelling in the Meditteranean.
What Should You Know About Snorkeling Gear
Snorkelling equipment can be cheap to buy, or you can rent it if you prefer. One thing many people love about snorkelling is how little gear you to get started. The basics are a mask to see, a snorkel to breathe and fins to move.
Choosing a snorkelling mask that is right for you is really important. You don't want to be that person on the surface bobbing around, fiddling with your mask, rather than enjoying the wonderful view underwater. Furthermore, a well-fitting mask will help you relax more and have fun as you will encounter fewer mask leaks.
The high flow, easy to breathe scuba diving snorkel is the most critical piece of equipment. This lets you breathe with your face in the water. yet some people will spend as little as 2 or 3 euro on a snorkel. But you absolutely get what you pay for. There are four main features you want to have in a snorkel, a wide bore tube, a dry top, a comfortable replaceable mouthpiece, and a flexible tube.
As a general rule, a high-quality snorkelling fin is really usually recommended for snorkelling. If you are an experienced snorkeler or brand new to enjoying the ocean from the surface, you will probably have seen full foot fins before. These are commonplace amongst snorkelers around the world. However, if you want to enjoy the amazing underwater life in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, we would recommend a pair of boots and strap fins. The entry and exits here can be rocky, and your feet will really appreciate the neoprene boot after a good snorkelling dive.
Tips For Safe Snorkeling In Malta
Although snorkelling is an easy, fairly laid back activity, there are a couple of things to consider for your safety and getting the most out of the experience. So the first rule is to always snorkel with a buddy, that way, you can have each other’s backs should something go wrong.
1. Always keep an eye on the weather and make sure the conditions are suitable for snorkelling. When seas are calm and easily manoeuvrable, special care must be taken with undercurrents so look out for any warning flags on your visit, especially on breezy days. If you do get caught in a current, never swim against it, but rather swim diagonally across it.
2. Use sun protection!! If you’re going to be spending a whole day snorkelling, try to cover yourself up with a t-shirt and cap. If you want to go bareback, put on ample sunblock. The UV index can ride to above 12 on the Maltese Islands in summer; a nasty sunburn or sunstroke is definitely not the way to spend your beach holiday! Avoid snorkelling at dusk or dawn (when light and visibility are low) and try to avoid murky water (for obvious reasons).
Snorkeling Sites in Malta:
Fomm Ir-Rih Bay
Fomm Ir-Rih Bay is perhaps the most remote beach in Malta but is certainly one of the most mesmerizing too. Fomm Ir-Rih is very much favoured by divers and snorkelers especially due to it being highly secluded. Making your way down to Fomm Ir-Rih is no easy feat.
The path is rough, steep, and even slippery, and it takes around 20 minutes to get there. The walk down the beach, however, is accompanied by fantastic views, not only of the cyan-coloured sea but also of the surrounding cliffs and valleys.
Moreover, it is without a doubt, all worth it in the end, as you get to enjoy hours of undisturbed peace and tranquillity.
Qawra Point is ideal for snorkelling since it offers a large area of very shallow and calm waters sheltered from the northern winds. Simmers are plentiful close into the small sandy/pebble beach but as one swim along the coastline, the marine life flourishes into carpets of “Posidonia” (marine grass) and shoals of fish busy on their daily search for food.
The Popeye Village offers exclusive snorkelling on Malta! How many times happened to you that you swam with a real set in the background? Here in the Anchor Bay, you can do it where the famous Popeye musical was filmed! The Anchor Bay is not only a truly unique spot but a protected spot for swimming where you can see here different fish species, moray eels, octopus, or even cuttlefish.
Known also as a very popular dive site the shallower part of the reef hosts a huge variety of marine life including colourful wrasse, bream, and parrotfish. It is common to spot Octopus, Cuttlefish, Moray eels, or Scorpionfish however very good eyesight or “guide” might make it easier for you to locate and observe such elusive creatures.
A small inlet below an impressive, craggy coastline used by a few local fishermen, Għar Lapsi gets quite busy during the summer months and is a special favourite amongst locals from the nearby villages. You can find it just outside the limits of Siggiewi, nestled below a stretch of Dingli Cliffs, around 1 km away from the popular tourist site, the Blue Grotto.
A natural, rocky cove with an adjoining cave make up the main swimming area, with the boathouses in the area doubling up as snack bars during the warm summer months. The cave itself leads into the deep open sea and is extremely popular with diving companies whilst the shallower extraordinary blue-green waters provide a safe, sheltered swim for all those who visit.
With fantastic visibility that allows for great underwater photography, Għar Lapsi’s reefs stretch for 200 meters, creating an ideal snorkelling environment. Some of the fish species that inhabit the area include seahorses, eels, and rays amongst others, so if you’re a lover of marine life, this is the place to visit!
Snorkeling Sites In Comino
- Blue Lagoon, West Coast
- Crystal Lagoon, West Coast
- Santa Marija Caves, East Coast
- P31 Wreck, West Coast
- Lantern Point, South Coast
Perhaps the most widely sought after site would arguably be the Blue Lagoon, which is situated between the islet of Cominotto and the island of Comino. The water in the Blue Lagoon is so clear, that you can see the white sand all the way at the bottom.
This little piece of heaven has not only captivated the eyes of tourists, but also of filmmakers, who used the site as a location in scenes for productions such as the highly acclaimed Count of Monte Cristo. This site is sure to attract many snorkelers and divers.
As the name itself implies Crystal Lagoon is a splendid shallow bay with postcard-like views of clear water, white sand and colourful fish. This is a boat trip and a minimum of experience is recommended to fully enjoy this excursion.
Santa Marija Caves
The Santa Maria Caves are some of the most magnificent cave systems in the world. The caves are located in deep waters as well as shallow waters, which makes it a perfect site for both divers and snorkelers.
The caves are a huge attraction as they are copious with various marine creatures such as crabs, eels, morays, and nudibranch. There is also the notorious banded sea bream that will swarm you to get food. This site is truly not one to miss, as the possibilities here are endless.
The P31 was sunk near Tal-Matz on the West coast of Comino, just after you pass the Blue Lagoon on the way from Mgarr Harbour. St Andrew’s Divers Cove normally dive this wreck when our fast, purpose-built dive boat Divemania is berthed in Mgarr. Usually early or late in the season, or if strong North Westerly winds are forecast and the Xlendi mooring becomes too rough.
The bottom of the wreck lies in 18 meters of water making this a great wreck dive for Open Water Divers. The wreck has been prepared especially for diving and there are lots of swim-throughs with easy exits on this light and airy wreck. Top of the superstructure takes you up to 12 meters, but the funnel is starting to show a bit of wear and tear from the winter storms after over three years in the water
The dive boat drops anchor on a rocky shelf 6m below the surface, very close to the entrance to a chimney. The chimney leads to a tunnel in the limestone plateau emerging at 16m where massive boulders drop down into the depths, creating huge caverns and swim-throughs.
Snorkeling Sites In Gozo
San Blas Bay, East Coast
San Blas Bay
Just like Ramla Bay, San Blas is famous for its bright red coloured sand and beautiful surroundings. The bay is located at the end of an area surrounded by valleys and can be reached on foot.
What makes this bay extra special is that is has been kept in its natural state, and is almost never crowded. It is quiet and ideal for relaxing under the sun. In the summertime, San Blas is a popular destination for snorkeling, and in the winter people enjoy picnics.
This is Gozo’s, and arguably Malta’s, best beach. A wide stretch of red sand, it is often referred to locally as “Ramla il-Ħamra” – the Red Sandy Beach! Ramla is a wonderful place to swim, snorkel, and chill out in the sun.
The area around the beach is wonderfully undeveloped, although there are a couple of cafes and a stall set back from the beach. Sand dunes are protected and the valley leading down to the bay is green and fertile. The terraced walls built by the farmers give the valley an appearance of a quilt when viewed from surrounding high ground.
There are myths and history here too. Roman remains to lie beneath the sands and Ramla Bay is reached from ix-Xagħra, on one of the hills overlooking the valley, or from the village of in-Nadur.
Wied il-Għasri is a long, narrow, deep inlet, surrounded by small caves. The beach is situated further along the coast of Marsalforn in Gozo. It is surrounded by cliffs and can be accessed through a dirt track. The scenes at Wied il-Għasri are absolutely spectacular.
Close by there are also saltpans and a cave leading to the top of the steep cliffs where people used to leave buckets and ropes to bring up seawater and fill these saltpans. This haven is certainly one to attract many curious visitors.
Hondoq Ir-Rummien, stunning and picturesque, is one of the most favoured spots in Gozo. It is perfect for snorkeling due to its surrounding coastline and nearby caves at the water level. It also attracts many divers for its underwater life.
The sea is also one of the cleanest around the islands. The bay also enjoys views of Comino Island and the Blue Lagoon.
Access to the sea is from bathing ladders. Beautiful, natural spot down a long track from Qala village.
Sadly, the Azure Window which this diving site sits next to has now collapsed but it doesn’t devalue the snorkeling experience here. A large creek that leads out from an inland sea pool features great natural rock formations that are home to coral, parrotfish, and octopus.
Written By: Alex Varnels