The island’s natural swimming pools
Summer is well and truly upon us and getting through a Maltese summer without complaining about the heat at least once a day is no easy feat. To combat the heat, there’s nothing that brings us greater joy than diving head-first into the refreshing, clear blue waters. Here are eight of the most stunning natural swimming pools you should dive right into, across the Maltese islands.
A secluded beach just off the city of Siġġiewi, Għar Lapsi is one of the most unique little bays you have ever seen. Għar, which means cave in Maltese and Lapsi, which means ascension, describes the idyllic location perfectly, as the natural cave forms a natural swimming pool with azure blue/green waters, perfect for snorkelling. The cave leads out into the deep open sea, with great visibility, in case you’d like to whip out your goggles! Due to the area being naturally protected, Għar Lapsi is very popular with locals, who come on down for a short swim and then head on over to some of the well-known and well-loved restaurants that dot the surrounding area.
St Peter’s Pool
Located in Marsaxlokk, in the southwest of Malta, St. Peter’s Pool would definitely be categorised as Malta’s most famous (and beautiful) natural swimming pools. With crystal clear, light green and blue waters, top-notch snorkelling opportunities, flat rocks for sunbathing and ladders providing access to the sea, there’s no wonder this spot is a favourite amongst both locals and tourists. If you’re currently thinking about fitting a St Peter’s Pool visit into your schedule, it would be best to note that there are no facilities whatsoever and it’s a ways away from the closest kiosk or snack-bar. Bring along loads of water, sunblock and snacks to get you through the day and prepare for a day worth writing home about.
Chances are that if you have visited Malta, you’ve undoubtedly visited Għajn Tuffieħa bay, also known as Riviera, right? Have you ever taken a walk through the clay slopes near Għajn Tuffieħa and come across another secluded, sandy beach? Though it may look as though it is absolutely impossible to reach, we are here to dispel the rumours. The lesser-visited Qarruba bay can either be reached by hiking through the wilderness, by climbing down the rather treacherous clay slopes, or chartering a boat and visiting the bay in the least painstaking of ways. However you attempt to reach Qarruba, be sure that you are in for a treat as many merely opt for the more popular sandy beaches found in the area.
If you’ve ever heard of the Maltese Islands or even seen a couple of photos on Google images, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve seen or heard of Blue Lagoon. Famous for its turqouise coloured postcard-worthy lagoon, the idyllic location has been described as the islands’ largest natural swimming pool many a time. Situated between the island of Comino and the islet of Cominotto and just a 15-minute boat ride across the Mġarr Harbour, it’s definitely worth a day trip. Complete with glorious white sand and dazzling water, we would recommend heading over to Comino early in the morning, as it’s a rather popular spot, especially among tourists. The natural beauty of the place has even served as a filming location for Troy, Swept Away and The Count of Monte Cristo!
Location: qala, gozo
You may have heard of Ħondoq Bay in Gozo but we can bet that you have never heard of Bamberin beach, which got its name as it was apparently a monk seal’s favourite area. The hidden bay, cave and natural swimming pool can be found just off the main pebble beach, Ħondoq Bay, which you can reach by foot. Just a warning though: the walk to Bamberin is not exactly the most pleasant. If sharp rocks and uneven ground are your greatest enemies, we would recommend swimming from the main beach to Bamberin beach instead. The inlet can be descibed as a miniature fjord, with aquamarine waters and caves, perfect for exploring and snorkelling. Just a tip: make sure to visit this spot when the wind is blowing North.
Location: Font Għadir, Sliema
These beautiful rectangular pools are believed to date back to the Victorian era. During the Victorian times, Maltese women thought it improper to bath in public, though bathing in the sea was still a traditional source of glee. To solve the issue, the baths were built with natural rocks and higher bars around the small pools, with some even having small steps to enter the water. Back then, wooden posts were placed at each corner, covering the perimeter of the pools, providing bathers with privacy, as well as some shade. Located on Font Għadir Bay in Sliema, the baths are easily accessible and great for families with young children who’d like to sit back and relax as their little ones safely explore the shallow pools.
THE BLUE HOLE
Location: Dwejra, Gozo
The Blue Hole, also known as Blue Cave, in Gozo, is probably one of the most famous scuba diving sites on the Maltese islands. It’s a circular rock formation, a sinkhole in the limestone that measures around 10 metres wide and five metres across. The natural swimming hole is a sheltered pool, protected by a fringe of rock, thus making it the perfect location for a swim, snorkel and even a freedive, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous. Situated right in front of where the Azure Window used to be, at the bottom of Dwejra Point, the Blue Hole is a short walk over rocky shore, and though you may stub your toe in the process, this natural swimming pool is more than worth it.