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Most people enjoy a day by the sea. But there is also a fairly large percentage of people who have serious issues with sand – or, more specifically, its annoying habit of lodging in every nook and cranny of your body and grating away until you are red raw! This is where Malta scores heavily because most of the shoreline here is a totally sand-free zone!
The island does rocky beaches extremely well and they provide the perfect venue for a day of sun and sea without that abrasive sand factor getting involved. Some of the rocky beaches are quite bumpy with sections resembling the inside of a Malteser chocolate, which makes you wonder if that’s where they got their name? The edges of these little ridges can be painful on the feet so flip-flops are a sensible investment for rocky beach trips.
If you suffer from a sand phobia and get no pleasure out of feeling chafing going on between your butt cheeks then the beach names you need to lodge in your brain are as follows: Anchor Bay, Ghar Lapsi, Marsascala Bay, Marsaxlokk Bay, Mistra Bay, Salina Bay, St Thomas Bay, St Paul's Bay and on the Sliema sea front.
But these are not the only ones. There are also great rocky beaches at Marsalforn Bay and Xlendi Bay in Gozo, while Comino, that small, strange, barren, little island between Malta and Gozo, has the Blue Lagoon. This is perhaps the most scenic patch of clear water next to a rocky beach anywhere in the Mediterranean not just Malta.
The majority of rocky beach sites come with good facilities for showering, eating drinking and relaxing. OK, so you can't build sand castles unless you take a pneumatic drill and a big hammer with you but you can hire boats or windsurfers and go water skiing or snorkelling. Some of the top diving clubs also operate from the rocky shores and these provide equipment and tuition at very reasonable rates.
The added bonus of a rocky beach is you can also go back to them in the evening for a walk without getting a shoe full of grit. There might well be anglers pulling some interesting-looking fish from the very spot where you were swimming just a few short hours earlier. Locals also like to use the rocky beaches for evening barbeque parties. They’ll turn up with their heavy cases of cool beer and enough food to feed a regiment.
Nocturnal activity on a beach is a far cry from the day and one that clearly demonstrates the tempo of life on this Mediterranean island - allegro andante. When your break is over you might find it hard to switch back to the tempo you left behind.
Sand may not be Malta’s strong point, but if you like it then there are some beaches around that will satisfy the bucket and spade brigade – mainly in the north. Rocks though are something we have in abundance and finding a rocky beach is generally as simple as stepping outside your front door.
You’ll find almost all of Malta’s shoreline is free to access for the public and you’ll find people swimming from just about anywhere it’s possible to get into the sea. On the whole it’s safe too, largely because the water is so clear that any danger beneath the waves is visible. If there is a potential problem there will be warning signs so look out for them before jumping in.
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