Malta’s most beautiful beach
Malta is not particularly renowned for its sandy beaches and the few that it has tend to be very small and bear the brunt of unavoidable tourism development.
There are however a few sandy beaches, on the north-western and northern coast of the island which have managed to retain a natural setting whilst keeping development to a bare minimum. Foremost amongst these is Ghajn Tuffieha Bay.
Ghajn Tuffieha which translates literally into Spring of the Apple, lies on a part of the coast where a thick layer of clay sediment sits atop older limestone layers. The presence of clay points to artesian wells and springs from which rainwater stored in the perched aquifer leaks onto the surface, hence the origin of the bay’s name. Where one finds exposed clay deposits in Malta, one also expects them to be capped by a layer of greensand, a type of fine particle material, which slides down the clay slopes and gains a reddish-orange hue when oxidised. This explains the relationship between clay slope beaches and red sand in the Maltese islands.
Ghajn Tuffieha Bay is a crescent shaped beach beneath extensive clay slopes with a beautiful strip of reddish sand which shelves gently into the depths. It is flanked by two arms of higher ground, the Karraba promontory on the left and a high cliff to the right on which one finds a watchtower dating back to the time of Knights of St. John and the more modern ruins of a 1960s hotel whose foundations weakened due to the clay surface on which it was constructed.
The beach can be reached either by climbing down a concrete staircase which links it to the road or else by walking down a winding path across the clay slopes. Both options involve strenuous activity, especially in the hot summer months! Although mostly calm, the beach is prone to strong waves and currents when the prevailing wind is from the north-west and swimming in such instances should be left only to the stronger swimmers.
I love Ghajn Tuffieha because of its almost pristine natural setting, its crystal clear waters and its beautiful sand. It also tends to be less crowded due to its relative inaccessibility. In winter and spring the green and grey of the clay slopes merges beautifully with the blue of the sea and the sky and the orange strip of sand. Glorious sunsets can also be enjoyed all year round from this beautiful beach.
This excellent beach has also featured in numerous films shot in Malta, the most famous being Wolfgang Petersen’s 2004 film Troy starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean amongst others. The beach featured as the landing place for the Greek fleet arriving in Troy and was the scene of a great battle between the invaders and defenders.