Mellieha Bay holidays are the be-all and end-all of Malta beach breaks. The sands here are the island's best, and every-flavour daytrips are there to switch up the tanning time.
Best sands in the land
might not be the first place that springs to mind for beach holidays, but Mellieha Bay’s sandy, sheltered inlet breaks the mould. Beyond the sand and seafront bars, Mellieha’s main town’s set at the top of the hill, which you can see from the waterfront. The countryside around it’s threaded with walking trails and historic sites, too, like the castle-esque Red Tower overlooking the bay. And for a taste of a city break, Valletta and St Julian’s are less than an hour’s drive down the road.
Why does Malta have a cartoon-style village named after Popeye the Sailor? It’s a fair question, and one that has newcomers scratching their heads. The answer lies with Disney, who built a full-size fantasy village on the island in the 1980s for a live-action musical. Robin Williams played the title role, and the multi-coloured settlement’s since been turned into a family attraction. It’s set in the aptly named Anchor Bay, which is a couple of minutes’ drive away.
The views from here are quite something, but boat trips from the north coast crank things up an extra notch. It only takes five minutes to drive to the nearest harbour, where you can drift across the Mediterranean Sea to the dainty islands of Comino and Gozo. Here, the luminous-looking Blue Lagoon’s a big tourist favourite. If you’re not content sitting on deck, scuba diving trips unveil some of the most underrated underwater scenery in Europe. We’re talking caves, tunnels and sunken relics.