Top 10 snorkel sites
Salutations holidaymakers, risk-takers and keen snorkellers welcome to this iteration in Seashell Dive Centres series of top 10 sites in Malta. In our previous edition, we ran down the Ten dive sites and locations we believe are the best for scuba diving in Malta.
Today we will be turning our attention to the best places to snorkel in Malta, those sites we believe are most suited for vivid and memorable snorkelling experiences. Now at this point, I could go on about how snorkelling presents itself as a wonderful sport both alternatively or additionally to scuba diving, or about how snorkelling is the easiest way to begin exploring the magnificent underwater world, as it is incredibly accessible to almost everyone, due to low training requirements and equipment cost.
However, I am sure this is not what you’re here for, in which case let's not dilly-dally any further and get straight to the top 10 snorkelling sites located in the North of Malta. The eagle-eyed among you are sure to notice that a number of these sites also feature on our Snorkelling Tours, indeed this is no accident as our professional team of experts carefully curate our trips to ensure you only experience the finest on offer, using their decades of experience and local knowledge.
# 10 Golden Bay
Tenth place in this rundown is taken by Golden Bay, one of Maltas largest and allegedly the most popular sandy beach found on Malta. This stretch of golden sand is easy to reach by both public or private transport and features all the modern amenities including showers, bathroom facilities, restaurants and snack kiosks. This beautiful beach is perfect for family snorkelling & exploration, or just a day out at the beach. Go around 09:00 hours else it can get a bit crowded and look for the spot by the rocks at the far end (often a bit less crowded but great for fishes and marine flora).
# 9 Anchor Bay
Next up we have Anchor Bay feeling fine at number nine. While Anchor Bay is primarily known as the home of the adorable purpose-built film set from the classic 1980 Popeye Movie featuring Robin Williams. Anchor Bay is also home to a beautiful bay featuring stunning cliffs and a gorgeous reef varying in depth from four to 12 metres. The easily accessible snorkelling entry site is directly opposite the picturesque set, which acts as a wonderful backdrop to any snorkelling tour spent exploring the bay, examining the anchor for which the bay is named, or discovering the plethora of marine life present on the reef.
# 8 Cirkewwa
Always great, in this list Cirkewwa takes place eight. While primarily a site catering to scuba divers, Cirkewwa is also a fantastic option for snorkelers. Due to the depths of many of the most famous attractions here, only the most valiant of free divers will likely be able to see the Tug Boat Rozi and the P29 patrol boat. However, Cirkewwa offers hundreds of metres of a picturesque reef with an amazingly varied marine life. Those with a keen eye will almost certainly be able to find Moray Eels, Octopuses and very possibly the resident Barracuda population. Furthermore, the available modern amenities including bathroom and shower facilities and snack-man make this a very relaxing and easy diving/snorkelling site to explore and enjoy.
# 7 Smugglers Cove
This delightfully picturesque sheltered cove takes place seven in our snorkelling countdown. Smugglers Cove features a remarkable boulder field and Posidonia meadow home to a host of silver bream, sea urchins, moray eels and more animals. Those with sharp eyes may even spot the remarkably camouflaged cuttlefish which often call this site their home. This site is only accessible by boat however only about 5 minutes journey from Seashell dive centre. This site also features in our North of Malta Snorkelling tour.
# 6 St Pauls Islands
This remarkable reef is found off St Pauls Island which is in turn just off St Pauls Bay. Biblically this was allegedly the site of St Pauls shipwreck in Malta. However aside from the theological significance of this site, here we also find some of the prettiest, shallowest and most densely populated reefs found in Malta. This reef is a bit of a hidden gem and as a result, we always find ourselves undisturbed and free to explore this site at our own pace, without any concern, unbothered from the party boats often found at some of the more well-known snorkelling locations. This reef can be visited as part of our north of Malta Snorkelling tour.
# 5 Santa Marija Caves
Yet another site with a cinematic past, the Comino Santa Marija caves mark the halfway point of this top ten list. Featured in the 2002 swashbuckler “The Count of Monte Cristo”, this cove features the eponymous cave system and a terrific feeding area with a resident shoal of Sea Bream which are accustomed to and very curious of snorkelers and scuba divers. This is a wonderful site to free dive to partially explore the stellar caves and the remarkable arch found in the feeding area. As well as the above-mentioned resident shoal, these crystal clear waters are also the home to sneaky stingrays and terribly cute cuttlefish. This wonderful snorkelling location is the first site included in our best of Comino Snorkelling tour.
# 4 Alex’s Cave
Alex’s cave is our number four and is found on our Comino Snorkelling Tour. This site features a swim through, a lovely tunnel where you will emerge into the crystal clear azure waters of the world-famous Crystal Lagoon. Here we can even find a small cave several people can explore simultaneously. This site is always sheltered with calm warm waters, that due to their shallow depth are perfect for all levels of snorkelers. Beginners and proficient individuals will both have a delightful time exploring the snorkelling on offer at this site.
# 3 L’Ahrax point
On the lowest step of our winner's podium, we have the unmissable and unforgettable L’Ahrax point, also known as the Coral lagoon or the Dragonara cave. The snorkel experience at this site begins with a short swim from the sea through the cave entrance into the cave itself. The ceiling in this cave previously collapsed leaving it with an open top. This is what makes the cave truly special, the way the glorious Mediterranean sunshine streams in through the top and interacts with the remarkable corals found under 3 metres of crystal clear water leads to a unique effect and play on the light which is notoriously difficult to capture or indeed find elsewhere. This snorkel site is truly unique and memorable for a lifetime, and for those that are interested, it is part of the North of Malta Snorkelling tour by Seashell Dive Centre.
# 2 P31 the wreck
In second place we have the P31 wreck scuttled in 2009 off Comino island. She is a previous East-German, minesweeper with a heroic past. Bought by Malta in 1992, and retrofitted for search and recovery, this little beauty rescued 251 immigrants from their ship sinking 44 miles off the coast. A very popular wreck sitting on a sand plain at 18 metres, in superb visibility. This is the best wreck we know of that is available to freedivers and indeed the majority of snorkelers. Indeed even for those not brave enough to attempt to dive to the wreck, it is a very unique experience and perspective to snorkel above a shipwreck. A truly memorable experience and one of our personal favourites found in our Comino Snorkelling tour.
# 1 Tuna
While I personally believe this trip is best enjoyed as a dive, since this is such a unique experience, I can only wholeheartedly endorse the Tuna farm trip as the best snorkelling site in Malta. While many reefs are comparable in what you will see in terms of life and visual appeal, from a size point of view this is one of three comparable tuna farms globally, with the other two situated in Australia and Japan. Not to be overdramatic but this is quite possibly a once in a lifetime snorkelling experience. There are really not all that many places where you can find yourself looking down 35 metres through a vortex of up to two hundred x 200 kg Tuna.
Yet again this, unfortunately, brings us to the end of another one of our blog posts, in this iteration running down our top 10 Maltese snorkelling sites. Until we next meet I bid you the fondest of farewells, stay safe and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. All the best and I hope to see you soon, this is Seashell Dive Centre signing off.