My love affair with Malta began in Mellieha. Twelve years ago, I was in search of a last-minute beach trip. So, I threw myself at the mercy of Google. Three hours later, I touched down on a tiny island I’d barely heard of…let alone knew anything about. After a 45-minute or so ride from the airport, I arrived in Mellieha and was smitten! I couldn’t believe the clarity of the water (and still can’t ) in Malta’s sandy bays. It’s funny how life turns out, but since then, I have gotten to know Mellieha intimately – beaches and hiking spots an all. I am often asked for tips and my favourite things to do in Mellieha. So, this travel guide is looooong overdue! I put together a list sharing my tips on what to do where to swim, hike, eat, and stay, for when you plan your next visit.
In this post
- A Lil bit about Mellieha (Like, Where it is for Starters!)
- Things to See and Do in Mellieha
- The best beaches in Mellieha
- Where to Eat in Mellieha
- Where to Stay in Mellieha
- How to Get to Mellieha & Getting Around Town
A Lil bit about Mellieha (Like, Where it is for Starters!)
Located at the northernmost tip of Malta, Mellieha and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Malta.
Sitting 150m above sea level, Mellieha rests on a hill providing breath-taking panoramic views. Scenic lookouts span the village offering Ghadira Bay and the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.
The picturesque village is a popular seaside resort with plenty to see and do.
Things to See and Do in Mellieha
Lined with bars and restaurants (one of which is Michelin-star) serving mouth-watering dishes and top places to stay, Mellieha is a wonderful host and is a much-loved gem by locals and travellers alike. You can look forward to a magical time.
Oh, and Mellieha makes for the perfect base for exploring sister islands Comino and Gozo.
Right, enough small talk. Let’s get into things to do in Mellieha.
First up is the uber instagrammable Popeye Village. This is the original film set of the 1979 movie Popeye (which starred the late Robin Williams). The film tanked, but what remains is one of Malta’s star attractions. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Popeye Village from the cliff’s edge. By the way, Popeye Village is a theme park. You can actually venture inside. Though it’s ideal for kids, it’s not only for kids. Friends and I recently made a day of it. We hung out with Popeye, Brutus and Olive and swam in Anchor Bay – the gorgeous beach fringing Popeye Village. Popeye Village/Anchor Bay is also a wonderful place to visit to watch the sunset.
Address: Triq Tal-Prajjet, Il-Mellieħa, Malta. Admission into Popeye Theme park costs: €14 for adults, €9 for children (3-12 years).
St Agatha’s Tower (The Big Red One)
Next up on my favourite things to do in Mellieha is visiting The (big) Red Tower or, more accurately, St Agatha’s Tower. The Tower was constructed in 1649 by Grandmaster Lascaris. Way back in the day, Malta was prone to attacks from pirates, smugglers and other conquerors.Later, the military used the tower during the first and second wars. From the roof, you’ll understand why St Agatha’s makes the perfect lookout spot. Bonus points for the view whilst learning the history. It overlooks both Comino and Gozo. St Agatha’s offers picture-perfect views of Mellieha, specifically Ghadira Bay and Nature Reserve.
Address: Triq Tad-Dahar, Il-Mellieħa, Malta. Admission: €2.50
Tip: This is an excellent spot in Mellieha for watching the sunset.
The War Shelters
Mellieha War Shelter is another place worthy of a visit. I’m not a war enthusiast per se, but the War Shelter is more about amazing human stories. Friends often joke that Malta has turned me into the biggest history geek! But, in my defence, it’s just so damn interesting! 46 War Shelters are scattered across the Maltese Islands, but this is one of the biggest. For €2.50, you can walk through a warren of underground tunnels. Ordinary civilians hand-dug the War Shelters. A friendly guide will share life stories during the war (for ordinary civilians). It’s a humbling experience, for sure.
Address:Triq il-Kappillan Magri, Il-Mellieħa, Malta. Admission: €2.50
Ghadira Nature Reserve
One of my favourite places to visit is the nature reserve. It gives secret garden vibes the minute you walk through its entrance. Ghadira Nature Reserve is a great spot to watch shy migratory birds. You never know exactly what you’ll encounter at the other end of your short trek. But that’s the appeal. There are two dedicated bird hides where you can do a bit of birdwatching. The last time I was here, I saw baby flamingos—the time before that, yellow-bellied sparrows. You can also take a breather on one of the benches in the open space. The Nature Reserve is opposite Ghadira Bay.
Address: Triq Il-Marfa Il-Mellieħa, MLH 9064, Malta. Admission: Free
Across the road from Mellieha Parish Church is Mellieha Grotto. It’s a stunning underground little cove lit entirely by candlelight and tiny slithers of natural light. I must warn you, though… getting there is a bit of a workout. There are around 80 (steep) steps from street level down to Mellieha Grotto. But once inside, it’s the little slice of zen you didn’t know you needed! There’s a little spring of flowing water under a statue of the Virgin Mary, adding to the serene vibes. It’s underlined as a favourite thing to do because I always feel calmer after leaving.
Address: X966+3QR, Triq Il-Marfa, Il-Mellieħa, Malta. Admission: Free
Easily reached from Armier Bay is the absolute gem: Coral Lagoon!
Be careful not to mix this up with the Blue Lagoon on Maltas’ sister Island, Comino. The Coral Lagoon is another one of Malta’s natural wonders. It’s a sea cave. Well, an open one since it has no roof! Getting to it is fun too. One minute, you’re hiking up a hill that kinda resembles the moon. Next, there’s a massive crater in the ground framing the most intense blue waters. It’s incredible. The Coral Lagoon is worthy of a visit in itself to swoon. But it’s also a great spot to get epic photos.
Address: X9X9+43G, Mellieħa, Malta. Admission: Free
Tip: You can also get there by hiring a kayak from Armier beach and entering the cave. Costs €20 for 2 hours.
Hike in Selmun!
Selmun is a hamlet in Mellieha and has some of the best hiking trails in Malta. I know! Hiking is not the first thought that springs to mind when people think of the seaside town of Mellieha. I didn’t, either. But that’s what I love about hiking -unravelling more layers of a destination. Hiking has to be one of my favourite things to do in Mellieha. The village hides many gems – gems otherwise missed when driving. Hiking brings you closer to seeing beautiful scenery, and boy, does Selmun have all of that. You can also camp, trek and reach secretish beaches. It’s as peaceful here as it is rural, and time spent here is often undistracted. Well, apart from the other hikers or the odd passing farmer!
Mellieha Parish Church
Address: Triq Gorg Borg Olivier, Il-Mellieħa, Malta
Ah, Mellieha Parish Church! The heart and soul of the community! All churches are protagonists in their own right on the island – Mellieha Parish is no different. What stands here is a collective dream of a community coming together between 1881 and 1898. So perhaps a coincidence that you can see the church from every angle. The square in front of Mellieha Parish Church is also an excellent spot for people-watching (which you may know is one of my favourite things to do). You can find cafés, restaurants and a couple of bars!
Address: X966+68P, Misraħ il-Parroċċa, Il-Mellieħa, Malta.Admission: Free
See Mellieha Street Art
There is street art in Mellieha Square, but my favourite is the Luzzu mural. This one is the latest addition to Mellieha and was unveiled as part of the ‘Illjieli Mellehin’ festival. “Apart from transforming an otherwise ordinary space for Mellihin people to stop and smile (including me), I can’t help but feel admiration. I’ve seen it all seasons, and can’t decide if I prefer it drenched in the sunshine -or rain. What can I say? I love it!
You can find the Luzzu Mural wedged between The Villager and Commando. You can’t miss it!
The best beaches in Mellieha
Mellieha’s sandy beaches is what brings everyone here in there droves – that and the crystal clear waters. The pristine bays never fail to amaze me and luckily Mellieha has a beach for every mood!
One of Mellieha’s most beautiful beaches is the aptly named Paradise Bay.
I don’t know about you, but I am always a little cynical when a place has a name such as “beautiful” or “paradise.”
But, [spoiler alert:]
Paradise Bay lives up to its name
It’s hard to choose ONE favourite. (Like favourite, favourite). But if I had to, Paradise Bay would be it! The secluded cove makes it stunning, and the scenery and the clarity of the water. It’s crystal clear. The best time to visit Paradise Bay is early morning or later in the day (when people start to leave). It’s then you’ll get to appreciate Paradise Bays’ stunning location.
Is now a good time to tell you that Paradise Bay is located at the bottom of a cliff? One hundred steps stand between you and the spectacular crystal clear waters below.
So, a case of the stairway to heaven (or paradise).
Although it feels like nothing when you have the promise of a gorgeous hidden gem waiting for you… climbing back up may be another story.
Ghadira Bay aka as Mellieha Bay
Mellieha’s crowning glory may be its stunning sandy beach. Also known as Mellieha Bay and Mellieha Beach, Ghadira Bay is 800m long and is Malta’s largest sandy beach.
No matter the shade of blue (or green), Ghadira Bay is a stunningly beautiful beach. Perfect for watersports and even those long morning walks. The sea here always seems to have favourable swimming conditions
Tip: Ghadira Bay is the best beach to watch the sunrise from.
I know, I know! I’ve already said Paradise Bay and Ghadira Bay are my favourite beaches in Mellieha. But I couldn’t leave Armier Bay off the list. To be fair, you can’t go wrong with any of the beaches in Mellieha. But, every now and then, it’s great to switch things up. Armier Bay is a bit like that. You get the same crystal clear waters but with an alternate view. Armier Bay faces Comino, yes, so you have incredible vistas out in front.
Little Armier Beach
Next to Armier Bay is Little Armier Bay. As the namesake suggests, it’s smaller and way less touristy. But it’s the extra things you can do here why it’s a favourite of mine. Mellieha’s lush countryside surrounds you, so there’s hiking. There’s the availability of water sports facilities like kayaking. There’s also an epic hidden gem accessible from land and sea waiting…
Imgiebah Bay (Lesser known beach)
Looking for a beach that is a little lesser known than Mellieha Beach? Well then, you need to visit Imgiebah Bay! Getting there is an adventure in itself, passing through winding roads, old trees and abandoned buildings. I sort of discovered this beach accidentally-on-purpose, whilst out hiking. And it’s a gem! Imgiebah Bay is secluded and nestled between rugged cliffs and beautiful nature. What’s more, it’s a wild beach, so expect something other than facilities! But you will avoid the crowds. This is my favourite beach in Mellieha for a picnic. So, if you visit, I recommend bringing some foodie bits.
Oh, and if you continue hiking past Imgiebah Bay, you’ll find a “secret” beach on the other side.
Where to Eat in Mellieha
There are ton of restaurants in Mellieha, but I’ve narrowed it down with a few recommendations. These are all based on places I have eaten at and have come to love!
Have a Full English in Debbie’s Cafe
Once you poke your head around the door, you might initially be like, “o k Dionne, what’s all the fuss about?” Well, take a seat and order a full English (vegan option available). Debbie’s is an unassuming spot with tons of English charm. The English breakfasts are delicious and will fuel you up for an adventurous day ahead.
Address: 62 Triq Gorg Borg Olivier, Il-Mellieħa, Malta
Eat a Breakfast Burrito in The Villager
Smack bang in the middle of the square, and you’ll find The Villager It’s in front of the entrance of Mellieha Parish Church. You can’t miss it. Start your day with a delicious breakfast burrito. The Villager serves food all day. What’s more, the menu’s good, the price’s affordable and the service a 10/10.
You can dine alfresco and watch the world (or Mellieha) go by! Or, inside, where the interiors pop with happy mustard and rich blue.
Have cocktails and a Seafood Platter Dinner in Hilltop
Head to Hilltop for the best seafood platters in Mellieha (plus 2-for-1 cocktails til 8 pm). The menu is unfussy yet honest and clear. The chef understands what it means to eat well in Mellieha. They serve a range of fish and meat dishes, including starters that teasingly leave you wanting more. Did I mention brilliant cocktails? There are generous yet refined plates of filet steak, lobster, or seabass. Hilltop is neatly tucked away at the top of the hill in Mellieha (hence the name). But you’ll know when you see it!
Address: Triq Gorg Borg Olivier, Il-Mellieħa, Malta
Devour a Fancy Dinner in Michelin-Star Commando.
One of my favourite places to eat (and one of the best restaurants in Malta is Commando). It’s a couple of days down from The Villager. In warm weather, get a table outside and watch the village go by. If not, opt for a table inside. The restaurant is housed inside a 300-year-old traditional building with luxe rustic decor, and the menu is brilliantly curated too. Order the pan-roasted chump with yoghurty creamed potatoes. Or, the cheery risotto veal ragout with golden saffron. Or the hand-crusted scallops with grapes – really, it’s all good.
Commando is another spot (that’s deservedly) bringing a whole wave of gastronomic creativity to Mellieha – and I’m all here for it!
Address: Misraħ Iz-Żjara tal-Papa Mellieha, MLH
Where to Stay in Mellieha
Let’s face it, planning where to stay can be a beast. Getting this right can determine whether you have an okayish experience or an amazing one. You should be okay on this front since Mellieha accommodates every budget and occasion. So, with great difficulty, I’ve limited my favourites to two.
Paradise Bay Hotel
Paradise Bay offers views of Gozo, Comino, dramatic cliffs and lots of sea. Paradise Bay is perfect for burrowing away and getting away from it all. The rooms are a simple minimalist-chic Mediterranean style. The pools, saltwater. The common areas have enough to keep you entertained. Can you tell I really enjoyed my stay here? Bonus points have to be the private beach and water’s edge location. There are also spectacular panoramic sea views from the room (and the whooshing sounds of the waves you can hear in bed!). Get ready to snap countless pictures of that epic view. The sunset from here is pretty surreal too.
Mellieha Holiday Centre
Mellieha Holiday Centre has been here since the 1970s. Though it’s had a revamp since then! I’ve spent a few weekends here and love it. From the rustic interiors down to its lush gardens that make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. The self-contained bungalows are comfortable, the pools are fantastic, and you feel like you’re staying at a family member’s home in Mellieha (a cool one). The location is pretty neat, too, with Ghadira Bay opposite. You also get Ghadira Nature Reserve as your shiny new neighbour.
How to Get to Mellieha & Getting Around Town
Mellieha is easy to reach using public transport and is well connected. There are many bus routes you can get from all over the island.
What’s more, once you’re in Mellieha, all of the sights are within walking distance ora quick bus ride away.
From Malta International Airport (Bus Stop Airport 2):
Take the X1 bus, though it is a 60-90 minute ride, it is direct.
From Mosta (Bus Stop Rotunda 3)
Take bus 41 or 42 both are direct bus routes and will take between 30-35 mins.
From Bubbiba/St Pauls:
Take any of these buses 41, 42, 49, 250221,222, 225 250, X1* (all are direct ) 20-30 mins.
From Sliema/St Julians (Bus Stop Ferries 5)
Take either 222/X1* another direct route which will take between 45-70 mins.
X1 is a an express airport bus and therefore doesn’t stop at all stops.
Tip: Download the Tallinja app to view bus timetables in real-time
Use these links to download:
Click here for iPhone.
Click here for Android.
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