Colourful painted fishing boats. Sleek super yachts. Giant cruise liners. These beautiful harbours in Malta are a must for boating enthusiasts
Whether sailing a private yacht or enjoying a walk along the coast, Malta’s marinas are beautiful spots at which to spend a sunny summer’s afternoon. The archipelago is one of the most important maritime hubs of the Mediterranean Sea and the islands are lined with natural and manmade ports. Follow our guide to the most beautiful harbours in Malta and discover the charms of Valletta’s Grand Harbour, the colourful Marsaxlokk, Gozo’s Mgarr Harbour, and many more.
Grand Harbour is not only one of the most spectacular harbours in Malta, it’s one of the most impressive in the world. An important hub of Maltese maritime history, the harbour is flanked by the striking capital of Valletta on one side and the historical towns of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua on the other. Fort St Elmo and Fort Ricasoli stand guard the head of the port, while its mouth is guarded by the commanding Fort St Angelo, a historic defence fortress. The harbour has many berths catering to yachts, visiting cruise liners and cargo vessels, with Vittoriosa Yacht Marina home to the super yachts of the rich and famous, making it a popular attraction for boating enthusiasts.
On the other side of Valletta lies Marsamxett Harbour. Filled predominantly with leisure vessels, the harbour has a number of berthing filled with the boats of visitors and locals. In the middle of the harbour is Manoel Island, home to Fort Manoel – an 18th century fortification built by the Order of Saint John. Sail directly to the island or access it by a single road from the mainland.
On the south side of Malta, alongside the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, is a beautiful harbour of the same name. Marsaxlokk harbour is famous for its brightly painted fishing boats, known as luzzus. The boats are traditionally decorated with blue, yellow, red and green stripes, and feature a pair of painted eyes on the bow. While the harbour is less popular with visitors due to its distance from the capital, it’s worth a visit if not just to gaze at the boats and dine on fresh seafood at the harbour’s restaurants. There’s also a popular fish market on Sundays.
St Julian’s Bay, close to Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay, borders the thriving area of St Julian’s. The bay is home to a number of harbours, including Portomaso Marina, a popular place to moor yachts and super yachts, and several small bays where boat enthusiasts take their vessels out for a spin. Spinola Bay, a small cove lined with restaurants and bars, is one such place, which sees an influx of boats on a sunny day.
While there are many beautiful harbours in Malta to explore, it’s also worth sailing over to Gozo, the second largest of the Maltese islands. The main port of Gozo is Mgarr Harbour, a beautiful marina with a number of births, including a super yachts area for those extra special vessels. After dismounting at the harbour, there are plenty of things to do close by. Gozo is greener and more rural than Malta, and is a thriving hub of adventure sports, water sports, culture and nightlife.