A paradise in a hole

I have seen you through my tiny innocent eyes…

I have seen you underwater with the snorkelling mask accompanying my daddy with the harpoon and the hook looking for octopus – a creature I could never ever been able to spot…

I have seen your sea urchins and snails on your waterbed while scanning the rocks on the shore to see what I can spot… I have seen the crabs and tiny shrimps that lived in your small puddles close to shore and the small fish that wandered in your crystal clear waters while dropping my fishing rod with the hope of catching one…

I have played so many ċama ċamas with my cousins and jumped into your waters while someone called my name and ran up the ladder fast before I hear my name being called again to jump again in the sea…

I have been rocked like a baby and had so many good nights’ sleep during the summer nights floating on your sea …

These are the childhood memories of this beautiful paradise called Il-Ħofriet (literally The Holes or sometimes referred to as The Two Holes).

A cove-like bay made of Maltese limestone embellished by scattered green bushes…  a bay which is still quiet and peaceful on a weekday but yet not empty like my childhood years during the weekend. The Holes are now busy with visiting boats from different countries usually staying there for a night or two. This is a bay that mesmerises you with its beauty and helps you find your inner peace just gazing at its surroundings. This is a bay which everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.

Although parts of it can be reached by car, it can best be appreciated when on a boat… I invite you to sleep in the calm waters of this cove and wake up in the silence of paradise while you gaze at the sea. And as you breathe and jump into the sea you will feel the magic of this natural beauty and the peacefulness that lies within.

Hofriet beautiful seabed
Il-Hofriet beautiful seabed and crystal clear waters

Set on the southern part of Malta, this is a rocky bay close to the neighbouring popular bay St. Peter’s Pool. It consists of two bays: Il-Ħofra l-Kbira and Il-Ħofra ż-Żgħira (literally the Big Hole and the Small Hole). The holes/bays are interconnected through a naturally formed arch where you can sit for shade and swim from one bay to the other. This interconnecting arch can only be reached by boat or else you have to swim across Il-Ħofra l-Kbira but be prepared to swim.

This bay is underneath the Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park and the closest village is Marsaxlokk – the fishing village of Malta. If chartering a boat/yacht is not an option you may visit the bay for a day by walking along the country side from the fishing village. The walk is not for the faint-hearted especially in the scorching hot summer months. Access to parts of it with a car is also possible.

il-Hofriet - Interconnecting Arch
Il-Hofriet interconnecting arch between the big Hole and the small Hole

If you plan to visit :

  • Visit by boat if possible. If going by boat is not possible, make a day visit. You can stay in the nearby village of Marsaxlokk or if you stay in the more lively part of Malta in Sliema / St. Julian’s, drive to the bay in the morning which is around 25 minutes drive.
  • Be there early when the bay is still asleep. Early morning is when you can mostly enjoy the serenity of this bay. If you are sleeping on a boat, wake up early and just stay still and breathe in.
  • Take a snorkelling mask and flippers/fins. This is a rocky bay with beautiful bedrock where you can enjoy some snorkelling around the coast.
  • Swim to the arch that interconnects the two Holes. If you are visiting by car this is quite a long swim as you will need to swim across the bay. So be careful of incoming boats and make sure you have a swim buoy so that you can be seen by boats.
  • Take food, drinks and sunscreen/hat. Make sure you take food and drinks with you as there are no kiosks at this bay. Wearing sunscreen and a hat during summer in Malta is a must.
  • Check the wind direction. This bay attracts southern winds so it is best visited when the wind is blowing from the north. Avoid if the wind is strong from the south especially from the southeast.
  • Don’t forget to take a picture from the top if you are visiting by car (or on foot).
Il-Hofriet Bay - access by car
Il-Hofriet – access from land
Il-hofriet bay - luzzu
Il-Hofriet – Maltese traditional luzzu


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