Last updated on May 30, 2023
Malta is home to some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes I’ve seen in my entire life. The abundance of picturesque coastal views and sandy beaches meant that there were numerous moments during our trip when we stopped to marvel at how lucky we were to be experiencing the beauty of this country. A day trip to the Blue Grotto was at the top of our bucket list and upon recommendation from a couple of fellow travellers, we decided we were going to combine it with a short trip to Dingli Cliffs.
Dingli Cliffs are located near the village of Dingli on the country’s Western coast, and at 253 metres above sea level, they are the highest point of the Maltese islands.
Getting there was the hardest part, as buses didn’t run very frequently and there was no direct connection from Bugibba. During a 20-minute walk from the bus stop, we admired traditional Maltese limestone houses with façades adorned by patterned tiles, with house names and numbers handmade of Mdina Glass. Over an hour after we left Bugibba, we finally made it to the coast ready to explore.
I have to admit I found the cliffs a little underwhelming, as I was expecting to see something way more majestic, but I enjoyed the view nevertheless. It can feel a little like you’re on top of the world when you notice the tiny houses and fields stretching beneath the cliffs. You can’t help but wonder if they ever get afraid that their houses could potentially get destroyed one day. After all, back in 2015, heavy rainfall caused parts of the rocks to collapse. As a result, warning signs have been placed telling the public not to get close to the edge as there is a danger of further collapses.
I’ve heard watching the sunset against the deep blue sea is a truly magical and unmissable experience. As we still had one more place to tick off our list, we decided to go in the morning and couldn’t witness it. It was gloomy and windy the entire time, which didn’t encourage a longer stay anyway. We sat down on a little bench overlooking the sea, waiting for the bus to arrive and take us to our next destination…
If I were to choose my favourite natural site out of the ones I’ve seen in Malta, it would hands down be the Blue Grotto – a network of caves with emerald blue water located outside of Zurrieq, on the Southern coast of Malta.
This wonder of nature began to make its name as a tourist destination back in the 1950s when British soldiers stationed in Malta started asking local fishermen to take them to the caves by boat. It soon became so popular that the fishermen started to offer similar services to locals and foreigners. The place also owes its name to the soldiers who believed it bore resemblance to the Grotta Azzurra off the island of Capri.
Imagine the light reflecting off the water surface creating a gorgeous mirror effect. Imagine the walls of the caves reflecting the green, orange, and purple colours of the underwater flora. Think of the bluest, clearest water imaginable that feels almost surreal observed from afar.
Blue Grotto boat tours
Once you are ready to experience it all up close, there are plenty of traditional fishing boats ready to take you on a cave tour. As of April 2023, it costs €10 for adults and €5 for children. The trip lasts around 20 minutes, but I could easily spend more time on the boat listening to the fisherman’s stories about this place. I did the tour both times I was in Malta, and I’d happily do it all over again during future trips.
And just when you thought you’d seen it all, there is one more hidden gem. Next to the main road, there is a little path leading to the top of the cliff from where you can admire the caves in all their glory, including the magnificent natural arch surrounded by crystalline blue water. It makes for the perfect backdrop – we must’ve taken over a hundred photos from every angle possible!
A little pro tip…
For unobstructed views of the Blue Grotto, avoid the official viewing terrace. Instead, follow the sign that says “No access beyond this point” to the right of the terrace. First time I was in Malta, the only option to get there was to trespass. On my recent trip, the mesh fencing was torn down, so you could easily walk towards the edge for a few quick shots!
Here’s a comparison of the photos I took from the official viewing terrace vs. my secret spot. The last one was also taken in my favourite spot, just on a cloudy day.
Although the real beauty of Blue Grotto shines through on bright, sunny days, the gloomy weather didn’t take away from my first impression of the place. As I stood there on top of the cliff, in complete awe of the view stretching in front of me, I wished I could have my loved ones with me so that they could see it too. When I returned 6 years later with my boyfriend, the weather was perfectly warm and sunny, which only added to this place’s charm. If this doesn’t convince you to add Blue Grotto to your bucket list, I don’t know what will!
In case you missed the rest of my Malta posts…
Alright, so my Malta series has almost come to an end! I really hope I got you planning your own getaway by now. In case you missed the rest of my mini guides and were looking for ideas, I have prepared the ultimate travel guide for you. I described how we spent a week in Malta on a budget and included some additional tips regarding transportation, accommodation and, most importantly, food you should try in Malta!
Before you go have a read though, I am dying to know what you thought about Dingli Cliffs and the Blue Grotto! If you were to prepare your Malta bucket list, would they make the cut?