Discover Mgarr ix Xini Beach, a beautiful, narrowly snaking cove with a pristine pebble beach on the island of Gozo, Malta.
If you’re planning your adventures on Gozo, make sure to include a visit to Mgarr ix Xini Beach on Gozo’s southern coast.
This beach is definitely off the beaten path, and very few tourists ever make it here. If you’d like to explore a stunning, secluded bay that’s great for swimming, relaxing, or scuba diving, then don’t miss this one!
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
About Mgarr Ix Xini Beach on Gozo Island
Mġarr ix-Xini Bay is a very narrow bay filled with deep water that is perfect for swimming. Situated in a steep-sided natural valley, this tiny pebble beach features an adjacent cleared area with steps leading to a picnic table.
Historically, this bay played an important role for the Knights of Malta, serving as a small harbor for galleys. To protect it and keep watch, there is a small watchtower built on the cliff named Mġarr ix-Xini Tower, which, dating back to the 1600s, has been restored several times.
While this spot is little-known among tourists, the bay did appear in the movie "By the Sea", starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
However, these days, it's mostly visited by Gozitan locals and a few scuba divers. Additionally, the steep cliffs of the gorge do offer some good trad routes for climbing as well.
Where is Mġarr ix-Xini Bay?
This tiny pebble beach lies within a narrow gorge close to the village of Għajnsielem and nearby Mġarr Harbour, where you'll find the Gozo ferry terminal. The bay is accessible via a sealed road running through the nearest village of Xewkija.
Below is a map pinning the exact location of this bay to help you find it.
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How to Get to Mgarr ix Xini Bay
Currently, there are no tours that include a guided visit to this bay. However, this is probably a good thing, as it keeps the place relaxed and certainly allows it to keep its hidden gem nature.
What this means for travelers is that if you want to visit this bay, you'll need to rent your own car or quad bike.
While there are car rental offices on Gozo, the most cost-effective way to rent a car in Malta is to do so on the main island. If you're still planning your trip, I recommend comparing prices well in advance using DiscoverCars to get the best deal.
Once you've got your set of wheels, you'll want to follow the directions on your navigation map. The best way is to take the Triq l-Mġarr westbound, then follow the small side streets down to the bay. The descent can be quite narrow and steep, so if you've got a loaded 2-door hatchback, make sure you're confident you can make it back up the hill!
What to Expect at Mgarr ix Xini Beach on Gozo
We arrived at this stunning bay quite early in the morning while looking for an off the beaten path beach to swim at. We noticed that the majority of the people at Mġarr ix-Xini were locals, besides one small team of scuba diving tourists.
The beach itself is quite small, but very picturesque. There are some small shops near the waterfront, as well as a small kayak rental place. We decided to climb the cliffs on the western side of the gorge to get a better look.
I think this is one of the best beaches in Malta!
Then, we enjoyed a very relaxing swim in some of the most crystal clear water in Malta! Locals have installed a rope lined with buoys marking the safe area to swim near the beach.
Scuba Diving Sites at Mġarr ix-Xini
This location is a popular dive site at night, sloping down gently to roughly 17 meters upon reaching the Ta' Ċenċ inlet at the end of the gorge. There are two small caves here, which most dive shops only recommended to experienced divers.
Additionally, this fjord-like bay contains a weathered wreck called the MV Xlendi, which once served as a Gozo Ferry but was sunk purposely to create the artificial reef.
Where to Stay on Gozo Island
Due to its small size and well-connected network of buses and roads, choosing the ideal location to stay in Gozo is less crucial than on the main island of Malta.
However, if you ask, locals will always tell you that to get the complete Gozitan experience, what's more important is picking a traditional boutique hotel over a luxury resort or modern hotel. You'll find many boutique hotels in Gozo dotted all over the island, from Nadur to Xlendi. Below are the 3 top picks.
- Quaint Boutique Hotel - Nadur
Accommodation on Malta’s quieter sister island should reflect its more peaceful and traditional ambiance. This beautifully renovated boutique hotel is situated directly beside the Nadur Parish Church, with spacious balcony terraces looking over the town square.
- Viewpoint Boutique Living - Xlendi
This family-run boutique hotel dates back 300 years and is situated on a beautiful cliff overlooking the Xlendi Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. The location is ideal for couples looking to get away, with convenient access to the beach and just a short 2 km drive to the Citadella.
- Kempinski Hotel - San Lawrenz
For travelers preferring modern, 5-star luxury, the Kempinski Hotel is your best bet. This amazing hotel is located in San Lawrenz, on a 30,000m² tropical oasis. An excellent choice for larger groups and families as there are self-catering apartment options as well!
More Gozo Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
Did you enjoy this hidden gem travel guide to the scenic Mgarr ix Xini beach on southern Gozo Island?
While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other blog posts and guides for Malta. I've written quite a few, and I bet you'll find something new to add to your travel itinerary!