Golden Bay is the most developed and popular of a trio of sandy beaches in the north west of the island (the others are Ghajn Tuffieha and Gnejna).
Some of its pros can also be its cons – such as the large hotel, the Radisson Golden Sands, on a cliff overlooking the beach; some think it’s an eyesore, while others love the good value beach restaurant which is part of the complex.
Golden Bay has seen quite some visitor-friendly improvements this year, such as ample litter bins, a lifeguard, and a colour-coded flag system indicating for instance rough seas/dangerous swimming conditions, ‘pests’ (aka jellyfish), calm sea, currents and so on. Go early, and you’ll notice the beach is ploughed every morning to give fresh, smooth sand, and bins are emptied!
Pros: Facilities are at hand: you’ll find everything you need for a day’s stay, such as food kiosks, umbrella and deckchair rental and even a rather good restaurant close by. Public toilets in the car park. The bus stop is not too far off from the beach (a short downhill walk on your arrival – though in peak summer, perhaps a less pleasant 5 minute walk uphill at the end of a day at the beach). You can rent out jet skis and other water sports gear. It’s the only beach in Malta that has a lifeguard – overall, it’s one of the most kid-friendly beaches in Malta. And if you’re still hanging around by late evening, you’re likely to catch some very fine sunsets.
Cons: The five-star hotel dominates part of the sky-line and can be over-powering. It can also get very busy by late morning, as coachloads of young students are deposited on the beach. Fine if you’re one of them, but if not….it can get noisy – so it’s definitely not for those seeking a romantic day out away from the madding crowds. Sometimes, the beach hosts events like beach volleyball contests or chill out MTV gigs (both were held in early-mid July this year), which can take up quite some space and generate noisy music.
Verdict: Great amenities. Easy to get to if you have a car; kid-friendly; and always busy with the exception of the odd weekday – though the depth of the sandy beach means that you generally find space.
How to get there:
From Valletta: Buses 47 or 52 – every 30 mins from 6.00am till 7.30pm.
From Bugibba: Buses 70 or 652 – every 20 mins from 8.00am till 9.00pm (Winter till 7.10pm).
From Sliema: Bus 652 – every 30 mins from 8.45am till 6.15pm.
Parking: small carpark right next to beach which is already full peak summer by 08.30. Pay the resident parking guy a euro or two when you leave. Other on road parking but with a longer walk to the beach.
View Malta Sandy Beach Guide in a larger map