Longest beach on the island
Mellieha Bay lays claim to an exclusive amenity in Malta – the island's longest beach. It's one of Malta's few sandy shores, stretching out for 800 metres. The clear blue water stays shallow for a fair way out and is kept sheltered by the half-moon shaped land. This also provides top conditions for an array of watersports, including snorkelling, paddle-boarding, kayaking and canoeing.
Because the waterfront is this area's central attraction, the coast is lined with bars and restaurants, alongside plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas. 10 minutes from the beach is Golden Bay, a Blue Flag-certified shore with hotels lurking just along the coast.
About a 20-minute walk from the coast is Mellieha's old town centre, located up within the hillside. There's a bus that'll get you there in 10 minutes, if an uphill walk isn't on your agenda. Mellieha's old town is rife with centuries-old churches like the Sanctuary of Our Lady and the Parish Church of Mellieha, as well as cafes and shops connected through narrow lanes. Scaling the hill will also afford gorgeous views out to sea.
When you aren't luxuriating along the coast, you can wander through Mellieha's array of historic buildings. There are the caves and tunnels of the Mellieha Air Raid Shelter leftover from World War II, plus sizeable churches whose yellow-orange facades stand out along this waterfront skyline.
A short bus ride from Mellieha Bay you'll find Popeye Village, the set for the live action Popeye film. The ramshackle waterfront huts and cartoonish boats are almost otherworldly. Visits here are optimal for stress-free family outings, with boat rides, shows and activities.
Staying in Mellieha Bay, you'll be tempted with a vast array of traditional Maltese cuisine, plus other Mediterranean bites. Traditional Maltese food generally displays Italian, English and Mediterranean roots, with an emphasis on rustic dining and seasonal offerings. You'll also find a wide selection of seafood, though the national dish that you'll find on Malta holidays is typically considered to be rabbit stew.
You can expect limitless variations of seafood and pasta served in casually elegant surroundings, with views that range from hillside to waterfront. There are also fast food options and pizzerias, plus an assortment of Italian-inspired menus. For a relatively small resort, there are nearly a hundred dining options to choose from.
Quiet Mediterranean nights
Keeping in line with its Mediterranean influences, Mellieha Bay offers largely laid-back evenings. You'll find chilled out bars and restaurants along the waterfront and up in the village, where you can kick back with a glass of authentic Italian wine. The resort's hotels are also known for the libation offerings, shortening your night-time commute to just a lift ride.
The small, local shops dotting Mellieha's village and waterfront will present plenty of opportunities to pick up authentic souvenirs. Specialities in these parts include silver and gold filigree jewellery, alongside stunning Maltese lace. You won't find designer names or many boutiques here – for that you'll have to head toward Malta's capital, Valletta.