The hike from Golden Bay to Ġnejna Bay (Gnejna Bay) via Għajn Tuffieħa (Ghajn Tuffieha) and Qarraba Bay is Malta’s best coastal walk. Starting at Golden Beach on the west coast of Malta, this trail is a must-do for hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about this coastal walk. After a trail description, we’ll talk about how to get there, what to do after the walk and where to stay in the area.
Before you read this guide, feel free to watch our Malta hiking video.
We hope you find this guide helpful. For other brilliant coastal walks in Malta, read our Comino Walk, Marsaskala to Marsaxlokk (Tas-Silg Walk) and Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto guides. Otherwise, read our Malta hiking guide, which talks about the nine best hikes on the island.
Golden Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa, Qarraba Bay & Ġnejna Bay in Mellieha, Malta: Overview
The Golden Bay to Ġnejna Bay route via Għajn Tuffieħa and Qarraba Bay isn’t an overly popular hiking trail. Don’t get me wrong, each of these respective bays are hotspots for tourists and locals alike. Indeed, you’ll see plenty of people at all four of these destinations in Mellieha. But, you won’t find many people doing a hike from Golden Bay to Ġnejna Bay. Sure, you’ll find some people exploring between Golden Bay and Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. But, there won’t be many people walking further to Qarraba Bay and Ġnejna Bay. Honestly speaking, the trail from Golden Beach to Ġnejna Bay via Għajn Tuffieħa and Qarraba Bay is the best coastal walk in Malta.
This pseudo-loop route is quite a short hike at only 6km. Indeed, you’ll only need a short amount of time to do the walk. But, it’s packed with some of the most beautiful beaches in Malta, including Golden Beach. Along the way, you’ll enjoy epic coastal views. Expect mind-blowing crystal clear blue waters filling all of the bays.
Before describing the coastal walk, we’ll provide the nitty-gritty trail details below.
Golden Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa, Qarraba Bay & Ġnejna Bay Trek Details and Map
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 6km
- Time: 2.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 155m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Golden Bay
- Map: Wikiloc
Golden Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa, Qarraba Bay & Ġnejna Bay Hike Description
In this trail description, we’ll break down the route into sections to show you the highlights of this coastal walk. This legendary trek in Malta starts at Golden Beach.
Golden Beach: Malta’s Best Beach?
Golden Beach, AKA Golden Bay Beach, is easily one of Malta’s most stunning and popular beaches. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be tempered to plonk your towel down and go for a swim. But, we recommend doing that after you’ve finished the walk! So, head to the southern end of Golden Beach and continue along the coastline heading towards Għajn Tuffieħa.
Golden Bay: Malta’s Spectacular Bay
Once you leave this beloved beach in Malta, you’ll follow a trail alongside the cliff walls at the southern end of Golden Beach. As you gain a small amount of elevation, you’ll enjoy mesmerising views of Golden Bay. Certainly, Golden Bay is one of the most scenic places in Malta. We can understand why people stay in the Golden Bay area all day. But, rest assured, it’ll be worth the effort to explore a short distance south. What awaits you is possibly an even more beautiful bay in Malta, even better than the one occupying Golden Beach.
Għajn Tuffieħa Tower
After leaving Golden Bay, you’ll soon arrive at Għajn Tuffieħa Tower. It’s a small watchtower that was built in 1637. Admittedly, it’s not the most extraordinary of watch towers. So, it’s likely that you won’t stay there for long. You’ll then follow a trail briefly heading inland. This trail provides extraordinary views of Għajn Tuffieħa Beach. Before you know it, you’ll be turning right onto a descending trail leading towards the beach.
Għajn Tuffieħa Beach (Riviera Beach): Another Great Malta Beach
Għajn Tuffieħa Beach is another spectacular beach to enjoy in Mellieha, Malta. Also known as Riviera Beach and Riviera Golden Bay, expect this beach to also be full of people. Thankfully, the trail continues parallel to the beach on a dusty trail, that’s away from the crowds. The flat trail provides superb views of Għajn Tuffieħa Beach. In the distance, you’ll see a red-coloured rock outcrop at the end of the headland separating Għajn Tuffieħa Bay and Qarraba Bay. For the best views on this coastal walk, head to the southern end of Għajn Tuffieħa Beach and towards the rocky outcrop!
Għajn Tuffieħa Bay (Riviera Bay): Malta’s Most Epic Coastline
When it comes to the best coastal views in Malta, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay (AKA Riviera Bay) provides the goods! Well, it’s not just Għajn Tuffieħa providing the goods. When you reach the headland separating Għajn Tuffieħa Bay and Qarraba Bay, you’ll have wonderful views of both bays. Basically, you’ll be located at the southern end of Għajn Tuffieħa Bay and the northern end of Qarraba Bay when you’ll enjoy these stellar views of bays on either side of you.
On the headland separating Għajn Tuffieħa Bay and Qarraba Bay, there’s an epic winding trail leading to a red rocky outcrop. We recommend exploring this area. It’s like being on another planet!
After soaking in the epic views, it’s time to head further south to Ġnejna Bay. Initially, you’ll follow a path atop the clay cliffs. You’ll pass the magnificent red sand of Qarraba Bay. As you gain elevation, the steep, dusty and rocky path provides ever-increasingly sweeping views of Qarraba Bay. Of course, you’ll get a glimpse of Għajn Tuffieħa in the distance.
Ġnejna Bay: Another One of Malta’s Best Beaches
Continuing south, the trail follows alongside the coastline to Ġnejna Bay. Along the way, you’ll pass more incredible moon-like landscapes. Eventually, you’ll arrive at Ġnejna Bay. In its own right, Ġnejna Bay is a lovely area to visit with a small beach. But, admittedly, this area isn’t quite as spectacular as the bays visited previously during this walk. Don’t worry, on the return walk to Golden Beach, you’ll get to experience more mindblowing views of Qarraba and Għajn Tuffieħa Bays in Malta.
From Ġnejna Bay, we recommend taking a steep path that ascends to the top of the coastal cliffs. At this elevated position, you’ll enjoy some of the best views on the walk. Again, you’ll marvel at Qarraba and Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Then, you’ll continue north towards Golden Bay, passing Gaia Peace Grove.
Gaia Peace Grove
Gaia Peace Grove is a lovely olive garden perched on the coast between Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. There, you’ll find boards with stories and information. It’s definitely worth the slight detour. But, you might just want to speed hike your way to Golden Beach to have some more time to spend at one of Malta’s best beaches.
What’s speed hiking? It’s exactly what we did to get back to Golden Bay to maximise our time there after the walk. Find out more about speed hiking here.
The coastal walk from Golden Bay to Ġnejna Bay is absolutely breathtaking. Starting at Golden Beach, you’ll be guaranteed some of the best coastal views in Malta en route to Ġnejna Bay. Certainly, the highlight is the double bay view you’ll get of Għajn Tuffieħa and Qarraba Bay.
How to Get to Golden Bay, Malta
It’s possible to get to Golden Bay using public transport. From this bus stop in St. Paul’s Bay, you can catch 223 or 225 bus (Għajn Tuffieħa bus) to this bus stop in Golden Bay. The journey time is around 20 minutes. The cost of the journey is €2 ($2USD) in summer and €1.50 ($1.50USD) in winter. For the latest details on prices and timetables, head to Malta Public Transport.
Of course, you can drive there yourself. This would be the most convenient option. Driving in Malta can be a little hectic because of traffic. Thankfully, Mellieha is a quieter area, which makes driving less chaotic. You’ll find plenty of parking options at Golden Bay. This car park is located right next to Golden Beach and is free. But, it does fill up quickly. This car park is just a little further away but is €1/hour or €10/day (in 2022), but can also fill up early in summer. Beck and I found free street parking here – this is a great spot to park if the other car parks are full.
In 2021, we hired a manual car with Green Motion using Rentalcars.com from Malta International Airport for only €17/day ($17USD). It was possible to go even cheaper with a manual car for €13/day ($13USD) but Sicily By Car required an International Driver’s Permit and has a poorer reputation. For an automatic car, you’d be looking at around €22/day ($22USD).
FYI – Golden Beach is also a bus stop along the Hop On Hop Off bus route in Malta – if that’s your preferred way of seeing the main attractions on the island.
What Else to Do In the Area
There are plenty of great things to do around Golden Beach, Għajn Tuffieħa and Ġnejna Bay in Malta. Let’s look at the most popular things to do in these areas below.
Golden Bay Sunset: Malta’s Best Sunset?
Golden Beach is one of the best spots for sunset in Malta. Located on the northwest corner of the island, you’ll enjoy a stunning sunset at Golden Bay. So, after you’ve done the coastal walk, hang around for a magical end to the day.
Għajn Tuffieħa Restaurants
There are some decent Għajn Tuffieħa restaurants to eat at after the walk. Singita Miracle Beach and Riviera Martinique are great places to eat near the Għajn Tuffieħa Beach. After doing the coastal walk, you can always walk from Golden Bay to Għajn Tuffieħa for a bite to eat. If you drove, you could drive closer to these restaurants. You’ll find lots of free Għajn Tuffieħa parking here. Otherwise, there are more places to eat at Golden Bay. This may be more convenient as you’ll finish the walk there!
Where to Stay: Golden Bay Hotels, Malta
Golden Bay is a beautiful place to stay, but there aren’t many accommodation options. Essentially, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands has the monopoly on accommodation at Golden Beach in Malta. This resort is a great mid-range/luxury option for those wanting to stay specifically at Golden Bay. It features a leisure centre, large swimming pools and fantastic views of Golden Beach. Otherwise, you can find more budget-friendly options in Mellieha in the Għadira area, such as the Luna Holiday Complex.
Għajn Tuffieħa Camping Site
Of course, the most budget-friendly option is to camp! Għajn Tuffieħa Campsite, AKA Għajn Tuffieħa Scout Campsite is sensationally located near Golden Beach in Malta. To book the Għajn Tuffieħa Camping Site, head here.
These are our five hiking gear essentials for this coastal walk.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
For a more exhaustive gear list, check out our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip to Malta, read our Packing Checklist.
- Visit Gozo: as part of your Malta trip, you’ll definitely want to visit Gozo. For information on the best coastal walks on Gozo, read our Xlendi Walk and Dwerja Walk guides.
- The trail is a bit sketchy in sections: the sandy trail between Qarraba Bay and Ġnejna Bay isn’t a very solid path. Wear appropriate footwear for the coastal walk and be ready to slip and slide on the sandy trail.
- Be sun smart: it can obviously get very hot in Malta during the summer. Pack plenty of water, cover your skin and apply plenty of sunscreen for this coastal walk.
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