Relaxing on calm waters, with the sun warming your skin you watch for the slightest changes and ripples, signs of the next breeze that will carry you to your destination. There is nothing quite like sailing and Malta has been a favourite with sailors for centuries. The country is quiet and relaxed during the day with a wealth of historical sites to visit. Combined with a lively nightlife this makes an excellent place to experience off-shore and on-shore entertainment. The waters around Malta give mostly relaxed open water sailing and, with the smaller islands that surround the main island, this is a great spot to sail and take trips to shore. The immediate surrounding islands are Gozo, Comino and Cominotto, and it is really worth visiting each as they all have their own character and attractions to offer.
There are a few ports around Malta from which to sail but a good suggested itinerary would include Valletta, also known as the Fortress City which features one of the main ports in Malta. Shopping in Valletta is some of the best the country has to offer and the beautiful pedestrianized ‘Old Town’ offers history and charm. St John’s Cathedral is a fantastic example of baroque architecture and houses works by Caravaggio. If you navigate from Valletta up the East Coast to Mellieha you will find sheltered anchorage. Paradise Bay is an excellent spot to anchor and has a beach with beautiful crystal clear waters that are excellent for swimming. From here you can sail on to the island of Comino which also has good overnight anchoring and is very quiet with a tiny population and no cars. Great for snorkelling and diving, it is home to the world famous Blue Lagoon which is one of the most breath taking beaches in Malta.
Comino is a great place to travel to Gozo, and Mgarr Harbour is ideal for docking to take a look at what Gozo has to offer. With small churches dotted around beautiful countryside, Gozo is bigger and more populated than Comino but the only real town is Rabat with small villages elsewhere. If you navigate around the island to Dwerja, San Lawrenz, you can find excellent diving and the Blue Hole which is an interesting archway formation in the rocks. Heading back to the Malta, Gnejna or Golden Bay are both great places to anchor and your choice may be best made dependant on the weather.
The next leg of your journey could include sailing down the west coast to Marsaxlokk, which is a major port in Malta but stop on your way at the Blue Grotto which is near Wied iz-Zurrieq, it is a series of six caves with a huge naturally formed archway. Pass under the massive arch of natural rock into a cave, the waters here take on the most awe inspiring colours as the sunlight and elements combine for an almost unbelievable sight. Once you reach Marsaxlokk it is highly recommended to take a trip to St Peter’s Pool. Lots of snorkelling and beautiful green seas are great in this secluded spot that is visited mostly by locals.
For more confident sailors there’s also the opportunity to go a little further afield to Sicily, Lapedusa or Pantelleria but as these waters are 60mn open passage it really is for much stronger sailors only. Of course, if you want to see Malta by sea and are not experienced in sailing at all there are boat trips widely available and at a reasonable price.