The Marfa Ridge Walk, also known as the Marfa Ridge Country Walk, is a decent coastal walk in the north of Malta. Taking place on the Marfa Peninsula, you’ll explore many natural and historical attractions. The best natural attractions on this coastal walk in Malta include Armier Bay Beach, Coral Lagoon, Ta’ l-Imgharqa and Ghadira Bay. In terms of historical attractions, you’ll see two of Malta’s finest towers – the White and Red Towers.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Marfa Ridge Walk. All in all, we’ll describe the trail and then provide some additional information such as how to get there and where to stay. Anyway, before you read this guide, feel free to watch our Malta hiking video.
We hope you find this guide helpful. For other great hikes in Malta, read our Tas-Silġ Walk, Golden Bay to Ġnejna Bay and Dingli Cliffs to Blue Grotto (includes Fawwara Trail) guides. Alternatively, read our Malta Hiking Guide to learn about the nine best hiking trails on the island.
Table of Contents
Marfa Ridge Walk Overview
The Marfa Ridge Walk is one of the most well-known hiking trails in Malta. Personally, when Beck and I completed the walk, we modified the route to explore more natural attractions and skip some of the duller sections. In this guide, we’re going to provide some information on the standard Marfa Ridge Walk, which spans the entire width of the peninsular (western and eastern ends). But, we’re going to focus on the modified Marfa Ridge Walk that we did. In reality, there are fewer attractions at the western end of the peninsula. So, we mainly explored the eastern part of the peninsula, which has many outstanding natural and historical attractions.
To clarify the difference between the usual Marfa Ridge Walk and the modified route we took, please check out the trail specs and maps of the two hikes below.
Marfa Ridge Walk Details and Map
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 14.4km
- Time: 5–6 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 500m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Ghadira Bay
- Map: Wikiloc
As mentioned, we didn’t follow this route exactly. Please find the modified version of the Marfa Ridge Walk that we did below.
Modified Marfa Ridge Walk Details and Map
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 14.4km
- Time: 3.5–5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 220m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: LABRANDA Riviera Hotel & Spa (near Marfa Ferry Terminal)
- Map: Wikiloc
As you can see from the maps, we didn’t explore the western end of the Marfa Peninsula. But, because we explored the eastern coastline of the peninsula more thoroughly, we ended up covering a similar distance. You’ll also notice that the standard Marfa Ridge Walk involves much more elevation gain as a result of walking up hills at the western end. By doing so, you’ll be rewarded with lovely coastal views. But as mentioned, Beck and I preferred exploring more of the east. If you’re keen to follow suit, have a geez at the trail description below for our modified Marfa Ridge Walk.
Modified Marfa Ridge Walk Trail Description
In this trail description, we’ll break down our modified version of the Marfa Ridge Walk into sections to highlight the best parts. Starting near the Marfa Ferry Terminal, you’ll initially explore some bays, including Armier Bay Beach, Little Armier Beach and White Tower Bay. You’ll then walk to the White Tower before scoping out Malta’s magnificent Coral Lagoon. As you continue the loop walk by Mellieha Bay, you’ll see Slugs Bay, Ta’ l-Imgharqa, Ghadira Bay and Ghadira Nature Reserve. Before finishing the walk, you’ll sneak in a short add-on to Malta’s famous Red Tower.
Armier Bay Beach
Traditionally, the Marfa Ridge Walk starts at Ghadira Bay. But, Beck and I started the walk from the Marfa Ferry Terminal, which is opposite the LABRANDA Riviera Hotel & Spa. Earlier in the morning, we boarded a ferry from the terminal to Comino to do the Comino Walk. Arriving back at Marfa in the early afternoon, we decided to start our modified version of the Marfa Ridge Walk from the ferry terminal as that was most convenient.
Walking in a clockwise direction, we initially enjoyed views of Ramla Bay. We then headed towards Armier Bay Beach, passing through an area of seemingly run-down shacks, holiday huts and caravan homes. Apparently, these areas are a contentious issue in Malta, considered to be illegally developed shantytowns, and those occupiers justifying them as boathouses. Honestly speaking, Beck and I didn’t really enjoy this part of the walk. It lacked a sense of serenity and peacefulness that we otherwise enjoyed on other coastal walks in Malta.
Anyway, eventually, you’ll reach Armier Bay Beach, which is positioned opposite Palm Beach Resort. Truth be told, Armier Bay Beach is nothing extraordinary. It’s a small local’s beach that can get very crowded on the weekends. With a tinge of disappointment, we left Armier Bay Beach and continued to Little Armier Beach.
Little Armier Beach
Little Armier Beach, also known as Little Armier Bay, isn’t far away from Armier Bay Beach. As the name suggests, Little Armier Beach is an even smaller beach than Armier Bay Beach. Not to poo-poo the Marfa Ridge Walk; but, again, we weren’t overly impressed by Little Armier Bay. Most of the bay is surrounded by a concrete platform and the small sandy section is filled with seats and umbrellas. Personally, we didn’t stop there for too long. We continued to White Tower Bay.
White Tower Bay
Similar to Armier Bay Beach and Little Armier Bay, we didn’t think White Tower Bay was overly extraordinary either. But, we did find the calm coastal bay to be slightly more appealing than the previous two bays. It could be that growing up in Australia has left the bar a bit too high when it comes to judging beach and bay standards. Nevertheless, the next part of the Marfa Ridge Walk does get much better!
White Tower (It-Torri l-Abjad)
After leaving White Tower Bay, you’ll follow an ascending path up to the White Tower, which is a small watchtower. It was originally known as Torre di Lacras and is also known as Armier Tower and Ta’ Ħoslien Tower. White Tower was built in 1658 as the sixth of the De Redin Towers. In 1715, an artillery battery was built around it. From White Tower, you’ll enjoy nice views of Armier Bay Beach, Comino and Gozo.
Coral Lagoon: One of Malta’s Finest Natural Attractions
After exploring the White Tower, you’ll continue towards the northeastern most point of Malta. There, you’ll enjoy one of Malta’s most spectacular natural attractions – Coral Lagoon, which is also known as Dragonara Cave. Coral Lagoon is one of Malta’s most epic sea caves. Given its beauty, we think you’ll want to spend a good amount of time exploring this natural attraction. It’s possible to walk around the hole of the cave, which provides stellar views of the inner cliff walls. Take care as you circle the hole of Malta’s awesome Coral Lagoon.
After exploring Coral Lagoon, you’ll continue along the road towards Slugs Bay. At the end of the road, turn left to check out the Chapel of Immaculate Conception (Immaculate Conception Chapel). Otherwise, near the end of the road, there are a couple of trails leading down to Slugs Bay, which is a popular dive site. Admittedly, we didn’t stop to explore Slugs Bay. We continued along the road, parallel to Mellieha Bay, before taking a coastal path to Wall Stone Beach.
Further along, heading in the direction of Ghadira Bay, you’ll arrive at Ta’ l-Imgharqa, which is a hidden bay. There, you’ll also find a WWII beach post. Finding this seemingly secret location was a highlight of our modified Marfa Ridge Walk experience. Indeed, by doing the standard Marfa Ridge Walk, you won’t explore this section of the coast. Instead, you’ll continue a dull road walk to Ghadira Bay. Of course, eventually, you’ll need to re-join the road in order to avoid walking through the abandoned Mellieha Bay Hotel en route to Ghadira Bay.
Ghadira Bay Beach (Mellieha Bay Beach)
Ghadira Bay, also known as Mellieha Bay, is the next major highlight of the Marfa Ridge Walk. In peak season, expect Ghadira Bay to be very busy. With many shops lining the beach, this is a good part of the walk to stop for a drink or snack if you haven’t packed your own. Beck and I explored a short section of Ghadira Bay Beach, before heading towards Malta’s famous Red Tower via Ghadira Nature Reserve.
Ghadira Nature Reserve (Foresta 2000 Nature Reserve)
From Ghadira Bay, you’ll cross the road and follow a path leading through Ghadira Nature Reserve, also known as Forest 2000 Nature Reserve. Essentially, it’s a restored area of Mediterranean woodland. By passing through the forest, you’ll enjoy a scenic walk towards Malta’s well-known Red Tower.
Malta’s Red Tower (It-Torri L-Aħmar)
Once you’ve exited the forest, you’ll briefly ascend a road to reach the Red Tower – one of Malta’s most famous landmarks. Also known as Saint Agatha’s Tower, Mellieħa Tower or Fort Saint Agatha, the Red Tower is one of the largest watchtowers in Malta. Obvs, it’s a popular attraction given its vivid red colour. But, the Red Tower also has an interesting historical background. It was built between 1647 and 1649 by instruction of the Order of Saint John. The Red Tower is part of a series of watch towers, known as the Lascaris Towers, that were built along Malta’s coastline in the 17th Century.
After scoping out the Red Tower, Beck and I decided to wrap up our Marfa Ridge Walk experience. We then enjoyed some speed hiking along a footpath, running parallel to the main road, back towards the Marfa Ferry Terminal. At the end of the road, we turned right, via the Wied Musa Battery, to complete the walk.
What’s speed hiking? It’s hiking at a pace that’s much quicker than your usual walking speed, you know, for fun! Find out more about speed hiking here.
Paradise Bay Beach (If You Complete the Entire Marfa Ridge Walk)
If you do want to complete the normal Marfa Ridge Walk, you’ll continue westward on the Marfa Peninsula. Basically, you’ll loop around the western edge of the peninsula via roads and dirt paths, enjoying nice coastal views from a higher vantage point.
As you head towards the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal, you’ll pass Paradise Bay Beach, which is one of the nicest bays on the Marfa Peninsula. Yes, Paradise Bay Beach is much nicer than Armier Bay Beach, Little Armier Beach and White Tower Bay. That’s certainly an upside to doing the entire Marfa Ridge Walk. Paradise Bay Beach acts as a fantastic reward nearing the end of your walk.
How to Get There
The easiest and quickest way to get to Marfa for the Marfa Ridge Walk is to drive there yourself. As mentioned, we started the walk at the Marfa Ferry Terminal. We parked nearby at this car park for free, which is next to LABRANDA Riviera Hotel & Spa. Of course, feel free to start the walk from Ghadira Bay, which is the traditional starting point of the walk. You’ll find free parking at Ghadira Bay here.
We hired a manual car with Green Motion using Rentalcars.com from Malta International Airport for only €17/day ($17USD). FYI – 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.
Marfa is a great place to stay during your Malta trip. Compared with Valletta and St Paul’s Bay, Marfa is quieter and more chilled. Certainly, for the Marfa Ridge Walk, staying in Marfa makes perfect sense. Below, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxurious options.
- Budget – Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa: when it comes to budget options, you’re unlikely to find something to your liking on the Marfa Peninsula. But, just a little south of Ghadira Bay, in Mellieha, you’ll find quite a few reasonable budget options. Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa would have to be the pick of the bunch.
- Mid-range – Paradise Bay Resort: if you’re doing the standard Marfa Ridge Walk, you’ll pass by Paradise Bay Beach and the associated Paradise Bay Resort. Talk about convenience! You can literally start the Marfa Ridge Walk from Paradise Bay Resort – a very popular and well-priced accommodation option on the Marfa Peninsula.
- Luxurious – LABRANDA Riviera Hotel & Spa: this hotel would be the best option for doing the modified Marfa Ridge Walk. For a luxurious option, LABRANDA Riviera Hotel & Spa is actually quite reasonably priced. As mentioned, to do the modified version of the walk, we parked the car next to this hotel. So, it’s the perfect place to stay to do this walk. The hotel is easily the nicest accommodation option on the Marfa Peninsula.
Hiking Essentials For the Marfa Ridge Walk
These are our five hiking gear essentials for the Marfa Ridge 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.
Bonus Tips For the Marfa Ridge Walk
- Be prepared for hot weather: it can get very hot in Malta during the summer. Make sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat.
- Do coastal walks on Malta’s islands: don’t just hike on the mainland. You’ll have to include a trip to Gozo and Comino as part of your Malta itinerary. Doing the Comino Walk is the best way to explore that island. Whilst, on Gozo, the Xlendi Walk and Modified Dwejra Walk are brilliant coastal walks.
- There’s more to Malta than just coastal walks: the most popular activities in Malta usually involve exploring the coast and surrounding islands by boat. Get Your Guide offer some fantastic guided tours in Malta that are super easy to organise online.