The Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk is one of Malta’s most well-known coastal walks. Along the way, you’ll explore beautiful coastlines and rugged countryside. Starting at the epic Dingli Cliffs, you’ll pass by another stunning set of sea cliffs known as the Xaqqa Cliffs. Then, you’ll pass Ghar Lapsi – a well-known diving site. The walk ends at Malta’s famous Blue Grotto in Wied iz-Zurrieq. All in all, the Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk involves seeing some of Malta’s finest scenic views.
In this travel guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Malta’s Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk. After a brief overview, we’ll provide trail specs, a GPS-guided map and a trail description. Then, we’ll talk about other things to do in the area and how to get there initially. Anyway, before you read this guide, feel free to watch our Malta hiking video.
Table of Contents
Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk Overview
The Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk is also known as the Dingli, Fawwara, Wied iż-Żurrieq Walk. Although, the Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk that we did slightly differs from this official route. The main difference is during the second half of the walk. On the official route, during the latter part of the walk, you’ll follow a road, away from the coast that leads to Wied iz-Zurrieq. By following the official route, you’ll miss some stellar coastal attractions.
By way of comparison, the coastal route we took, involves seeing the superb Xaqqa Cliffs, Ghar Lapsi and Qlendi coastline. That’s why we recommend following our slight route modification.
For further clarification, please check out our GPS-guided directions below.
FYI – the Blue Grotto in Malta shouldn’t be confused with the famous Blue Grotto in Capri.
Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk: Route Details and Map
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 13.1km
- Time: 4–5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 280m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: St. Mary Magdalene Chapel (Dingli Cliffs)
- Map: Wikiloc
Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk Description
In this trail description, we’ll break down Malta’s Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk into sections to highlight the best parts. Starting at Dingli Cliffs, you’ll then follow a part of the walk known as the Fawwara Trail. By following our modified route option, you’ll then enjoy the stunning Xaqqa Cliffs, Ghar Lapsi and Qrendi coastline. It’s then possible to visit Hagar Qim and Mnadjra temples before arriving at Wied iz-Zurrieq. There, you’ll enjoy Malta’s famous Blue Grotto as well as Torri Xutu.
Dingli Cliffs: The Highest Point in Malta
Starting at a gorgeous church called St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, you’ll soon enjoy views of the spectacular Dingli Cliffs. At around 250 metres above sea level, the Dingli Cliffs are actually the highest point in Malta. Certainly, you’ll enjoy a splendid view of the high sea cliffs at the beginning of the walk.
In reality, some people just walk along this stretch of coast. By doing a short out and back of this part of the coastline, you’ll be solely doing the Dingli Cliffs Walk, AKA the Dingli Cliffs Hike. Of course, we recommend continuing south to the Fawwara area.
As you approach the Fawwara Trail, you’ll pass through an area called Wardija ta’ San Ġorġ. It’s a typical Bronze Age Village site. Because of the high cliff wall, the area would have provided natural protection from outside forces. These days, you’ll simply enjoy the spectacular scenery of the high cliffs and unique rock formations along a dirt path. As mentioned, this part of the walk is known as the Fawwara Trail. That’s simply because the path passes through the Fawwara area.
Unfortunately, farmland heavily occupies the coastal areas of western Malta. So, after passing through Fawwara, you’ll soon exit the coastal path and continue along a road, passing some houses. You’ll need to walk inland towards Siggiewi, to circle around a large quarry, which lies on private property. Admittedly, we didn’t enjoy walking on the side of the road for such a long period. We made sure to speed hike to complete this part of the walk quickly. Thankfully, the walk does get much better as you approach Xaqqa Cliffs!
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As previously mentioned, the official Dingli, Fawwara, Wied iż-Żurrieq Walk does involve more road walking between Fawwara and Wied iz-Zurrieq. But, we recommend continuing to the coastline in order to see the stunning Xaqqa Cliffs (Ix-Xaqqa). Similar to the Dingli Cliffs, Xaqqa Cliffs are another mindblowing set of sea cliffs. In comparison, Xaqqa Cliffs surround a narrow bay, which features an incredible sea stack. The area is also known as Xaqqa Valley given the slender width between the opposing cliff walls. Certainly, adding Xaqqa Cliffs to your coastal walk is a must!
Ghar Lapsi: One of Malta’s Best Dive Sites
After passing Xaqqa Cliffs, you’ll soon pass by Ghar Lapsi – possibly Malta’s best dive site. From the side of the road, parallel to Ghar Lapsi, you’ll enjoy a series of small bays and inlets. Truth be told, you’re unlikely to spend too much time at Ghar Lapsi unless you stopped for a swim or even a dive! We recommend doing a dive in Ghar Lapsi at a later time if you’re a keen diver. Otherwise, you’ll continue the walk along the coastline of Qrendi.
Qrendi is a small area in Malta with a stunning coastline. From Ghar Lapsi, you’ll follow a rough, raw and dusty coastal path on the coast of Qrendi. After some less inspiring road walking, this part of the walk on the Qrendi coast is absolutely breathtaking.
You’ll then climb away from the coast, picking up a nature trail that takes you past the historical Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples.
Hagar Qim (Ħaġar Qim Temple)
Hagar Qim is one of Malta’s most impressive historical sites. The archaeological site comprises a megalithic temple complex, which dates back to the Ggantija Era (3600–3200 BC). It’s possible to visit Hagar Qim as part of your hiking adventure. Admittedly, we didn’t need to as we had visited a couple of days earlier. But, feel free to visit during the walk. During your visit to Hagar Qim, you can also visit Mnajdra.
Mnajdra (Mnajdra Temple)
The Mnajdra Temple is part of the Hagar Qim archaeological complex. Situated closer to the coastline, you’ll enjoy fascinating history and lovely coastal views when exploring Mnajdra. As mentioned, Beck and I visited the site a couple of days prior to doing this walk. So, we passed by both Mnajdra and Hagar Qim, en route to Wied iz-Zurrieq.
Check out our Bonus Tips for more information on visiting Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.
After passing through Qrendi, the next town you’ll reach and walk by is Wied iz-Zurrieq. Home to Malta’s famous Blue Grotto, Wied iz-Zurrieq sees many tourists. Soon enough, you’ll arrive at the phenomenal Blue Grotto!
Blue Grotto: Malta’s Best Natural Attraction
The Blue Grotto is yet another stellar sea cave and coastal attraction in Malta. Before following the road down to the Blue Grotto, you’ll need to check out the Blue Grotto Viewpoint. From there, you’ll enjoy a marvellous view of the sea cave. Indeed, if you’ve seen a photo of Malta’s Blue Grotto, it’s likely been shot from this vantage point. In the middle of the day, during peak season, expect this area of Wied iz-Zurrieq to be quite busy. That’s why Beck and I visited the Blue Grotto Viewpoint for sunrise on another day. We enjoyed great views of the landmark without the crowds.
Torri Xutu (Xutu Tower)
Once you’ve enjoyed views of the Blue Grotto from the outstanding lookout, you’ll follow a road down to Torri Xutu. Also known as Xutu Tower, Torri Xutu is a small watchtower that was built in 1638 by instruction of the Order of Saint John. Arriving at Torri Xutu signals the end of the Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk.
Other Things to Do In the Area
Once you’ve finished the coastal walk, you should definitely do a boat tour of the Blue Grotto. It’s the perfect way to finish off your hike. Of course, there are other great things to do in this western area of Malta. We already mentioned diving at Ghar Lapsi. But, we haven’t mentioned that Dingli Cliffs is one of the best places to enjoy a sunset in Malta. Let’s look at all of these activities in more detail below.
Blue Grotto (Malta) Boat Tour
A Blue Grotto tour is something you just have to do during a trip to Malta. Experiencing the Blue Grotto, by boat, is one of the most popular things to do on the island. It’s easy enough to organise a Blue Grotto boat tour in person after finishing the coastal walk. Otherwise, Get Your Guide offers great Blue Grotto boat tours, which you could do after the walk or on another day of your trip.
Best Blue Grotto Boat Tours
Dingli Cliffs Sunset
Why not indulge in a Dingli Cliffs sunset? After completing the walk and returning to Dingli Cliffs, you could hang around to watch one of the best sunsets in Malta.
Dive at Ghar Lapsi
Ghar Lapsi is one of the best diving sites in Malta. Alongside the Inland Sea Dive Site, Blue Hole and Slugs Bay, Ghar Lapsi is another great place for divers to explore. Of course, you don’t have to dive at Ghar Lapsi. Many people visit to simply go for a swim and enjoy the calm sea waters in this protected bay area.
How to Get to Dingli Cliffs
The easiest and quickest way to get to Dingli Cliffs is to drive there yourself. We parked for free here out the front of St. Mary Magdalene Chapel.
We hired a manual car from Malta International Airport for only €17/day ($17USD). It’s possible to get a cheaper manual car, but from car rental companies with a poorer reputation. Alternatively, for an automatic car, you’d be looking at around €22/day ($22USD) with a reputable company.
If you’re using public transport, you’ll ideally catch the 56 bus from Valletta to Dingli Cliffs. Otherwise, if you’re heading to Dingli Cliffs from an alternate destination, head to Malta Public Transport to plan your trip.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
How to Get Back to Dingli Cliffs
To get back to Dingli Cliffs from the Blue Grotto, you’ll simply catch the 201 bus. You’ll catch the bus from this bus stop at the Blue Grotto, alighting at this bus stop at Dingli Cliffs. Again, for more information, head to Malta Public Transport.
Hiking Essentials For the Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk
These are our hiking gear essentials for this coastal walk.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Bonus Tips For the Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto Walk
- Visit in the off-season: for cooler temperatures, quieter trails and cheaper flights/accommodation, why not visit outside of peak season? We hear October and November are great times to visit.
- Do coastal walks on Malta’s islands: don’t just hike on the mainland of Malta. You’ll have to include a trip to Gozo and Comino as part of your Malta trip. Doing the Comino Walk is the best way to explore, you guessed it, the island of Comino. Whilst, on Gozo, the Xlendi Walk and Modified Dwejra Walk are brilliant coastal trails.
- Hagar Qim tickets: for more information on visiting Hagar Qim, visit Heritage Malta. Expect adult tickets to be around €10 ($10USD), whilst Hagar Qim opening hours are usually 9am–4:30pm.
Check out our Mallorca, Menorca and Cyprus guides for details on other great Mediterranean hiking destinations. Alternatively, read our Malta Hiking Guide to learn about the nine best trails on the island.