Beautiful sand at a beach in Malta

At the beach with a toddler: fun or not?

A day at the beach can be as relaxing as it can turn out to be a nightmare! We have experienced both with our little toddler…

The first one …. It’s Friday evening. You decide to go to a beach with your toddler the next morning, so you check the weather. The wind is relatively light – so any beach would do. You decide to go to your favourite one – Golden Bay. (It’s always taken for granted that the day is going to be sunny and hot in Summer in Malta. But what about the wind? We like to check as it tells you the best beaches to go to depending on the wind direction). You pack everything from the night before except for the refrigerated stuff. It’s Saturday morning 8.30AM and you’re already on your way to Golden Bay. By 9AM you’re literally front row. The beach is not even one tenth as busy as it is on a Sunday. Your toddler is playing with the sand and you can stay watching him from your spot as he is only three metres away from you. It is very early to drink beer but it is so peaceful (and bliss) that you cannot resist not having one. We swim – we build a sand castle – we eat the watermelon – we swim again. Two hours later I start preparing to leave before the kid start getting grumpy. I rinse him from the sand and from the salt using the free showers installed right on the beach itself. By noon we are at home and we have lunch before my son dozes off for his afternoon nap. He sleeps. Me super happy that everything went so smoothly. It was such a really nice bonding experience and great quality time!

Golden bay - Sand castles
Fun with the sand – building sand castles with the kid
Golden Bay, Malta
Golden Bay, Malta
Golden Bay
Golden Bay, Malta

Or else … Leaving late from home on a Sunday morning in July … still undecided where to head to. In the car you settle for a well-known sandy beach. By the time you arrive and park your car it’s already 11.30AM as traffic northbound tends to be rather heavy. You get there only to find that the beach is so crowded and you end up at the very back. It’s hot – very hot! You put your bags on the sun bed but all your toddler wants to do is to be near the sea playing with the sand! So you have to stay in the sun near him of course because he’s too young to leave him one second unattended. After an hour you try to convince him to come near the sun bed to eat some cold pasta which you prepared in the morning. Lunch only lasts for 10 minutes and the little boy wants to go back and play with the sand near the sea. By now he is already overtired as he had missed his afternoon nap so he’s crying for the other boy’s bucket or fighting with another girl over a spade. You try to explain – but it’s like talking to a wall. You start losing your inch of patience left after not having spent anytime relaxing on the sun bed, barely managed to eat or drink, and of course boiling hot from the running around with the kid on the sand. That’s it!! You lift your screaming son up and tell him that you’re going home. You pack your bags while handing your toddler some milk for him to stop crying! With sand literally all over your body, you leave the beach swearing hand on heart that this will be the last time you ever came to the beach until he grows up.

There is only one common factor between the two realities – the heat! We have experienced both scenarios. Of course who would not prefer the first but yet we repeatedly experience the second – I say why?

Malta is indeed a gem and we have so many beaches to choose from. However in the Summer months the beaches are absolutely crowded especially on Sundays and public holidays. To counter this, going to the beach on a different day makes it more enjoyable and relaxing. If going on another day is not an option you have to make sure to either go very early (like 8.30AM) or else might as well change plan! In the heat the temperament is high and we notice that our kid is also less cooperative.

Here’s some information on Maltese beaches to our foreign readers from our own experience:

  • Malta has a fair amount of sandy beaches but also a number of nice rocky beaches. The majority of the sandy beaches are in the north of Malta – the most famous ones are L-Ghadira Bay, Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha (Riviera Martinique) and Paradise Bay. There are more beautiful sandy beaches in Gozo – the most famous being Ramla l-Hamra (literally Red Sand), Qbajjar Bay and San Blas Bay and a very renouned bay is Blue Lagoon bay in Comino Island.
  • Sandy beaches are more enjoyable for babies and toddlers as they can spend hours playing with the sand.
  • For a quick dip in the sea, a rocky beach is at times more convenient. We like Lapsi Bay (in the SouthWest) however our favourite remains Il-Hofriet.
  • Most of the beaches are equipped with lifeguards, deck chairs, umbrellas and kiosks for food/drinks, inflatables, sunscreen etc.
  • The sea temperature in Malta is around 21C in June but can reach as high as 28C in August.

Things to take for a day at the beach with a toddler:

  • Sunscreen, hat and umbrella (unless you are going to rent one) – the UV in summer is very high in Malta, so make sure you protect your young ones and yourself by putting sunscreen on often and wearing a hat.
  • Cooler bag with some drinks, fruit and snacks – although there are kiosks available at most of the bays, taking a cooler bag with some refreshing items is a good idea when you go to the beach with a toddler.
  • Arm bands or toddler float – make sure to put on armbands or any other swim aid on your toddler even in shallow water.
  • Beach Toys – children like to play with sand so beach toys are a must when going to a sandy beach.
  • Towel for yourself and a Poncho Beach Towel for the kid – an extra towel is also always useful to have.

Where to stay in Ghadira Bay:

Where to stay in Golden Bay:

Where to stay in Gozo:

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