For this walk, Sarah joined me again and only a week after the previous walk – that is a record. It was going to be a bit of a race against time as Sarah had to get back for the school pick up at 12.45 and we had a 12k walk ahead of us. But I’m always up for a challenge.
We met early at Paradise bay – the endpoint – which is right at the top of the north-west coast. We then jumped into Sarah’s car and drove down to the start at Golden Bay.
We left Golden Bay by 9.15 am and set off walking around the back of the Radisson Blu Hotel, past the scout campsite and into Majjistral National Park. I knew this path as I’ve walked it quite a few times.
Majjistral National Park was Malta’s first National Park (declared so in 2007). It covers 6km of protected coastline and there are over 430 different species of plants including some rare species of orchids. The park is also an old British military base so you can see a few old military buildings dotted around. I’ve been here for a few times and it’s a lovely spot.
You can walk down by the sea at this point but we kept to the higher path along the cliff edge. From here we had wonderful views of the rugged coastline.
It was relatively easy walking through the park and the trail was quite easy to follow. Mindful of time we were walking at quite a pace and after a while, we reached the very surreal Popeye Village at Anchor Bay.
This village was constructed in 1980 for the Robin Williams film Popeye. Today it is a family fun park and I’ve been here several times for kids parties and to see Santa. Yep, Santa takes residence here in December and I must say, his options of presents are pretty poor if you’re thinking of paying him a visit.
Although I think the village is a bit cheesy it does look very pretty from above. There was a cafe just outside so we took a short break and grabbed a coffee.
From the Popeye Village, we referred to the book to take a road headed inland in order to bypass a sewage plant. It was a bit confusing from there where to turn off and quite soon we arrived at a big sign saying Private – no entry. Not being deterred by such a sign (there was nobody around and no other roads) we walked straight through and carried on. It was still a bit unclear where the path was so we just had to go with the general direction and climb over a few rocks and shrubs. Eventually, we came to a kind of road.
We’d been gradually working our way uphill and when we turned around we were rewarded with beautiful views of the west coast and the route we’ve walked. At this point, we were at the narrowest part of the island which meant that from this vantage point we could see both sides of the island. Golden bay and the west coast was one way and looking over to the east we could see Mellieha and Ghardira beach.
Looking ahead there was farmland in a valley which we had to cross. We could see the path on the far side of the valley but we couldn’t see how to get to it and the book was far from helpful (it is a bit out of date). So we walked quite a long way inland before we came to a lake and realised we’d have to literally go all the way to the other side of the island to cross and then walk back again. Arhhh! Bit of a dilemma.
We took a plunge and decided to retrace our steps and look for any kind of a path to cut across the farmland. It paid off because we found a kind of path around the edge of one of the farmed fields. We did meet a couple of farmers but we kept our eyes on the road ahead and they hardly looked at us. That saved us a huge detour and time was of the essence.
This time of year is the perfect time to walk in Malta. This year, in particular, the weather has been very warm and sunny, around 18 – 20 degrees, and because it’s been such a mild winter the wildflowers are now out in abundance. We had to keep stopping just to marvel at all the colour by the path.
Once we’d crossed the farmland we started on a path then went upwards followed by some steep steps to the top of the Marfa Ridge. A stunning view. It was quite warm and we were sweating when we reached the top. Poor old Taco was panting madly and hunting for shade.
There were a few cars and people at the top so it looked like it was a popular spot to come and admire the view. This peninsula is called Rdum il-Qammieh and if you walk to the end of it you’ll be at the most westerly point of Malta. We had great panoramic views. Looking east we could see back beyond Golden Bay where we had walked and looking north we could see the ferry point and beyond that Gozo.
On this peninsula, there were military points, a radar station and a cave to see. It all deserved more time than we had to spare, unfortunately. We had to hotfoot it round as fast as we could if we were going to make it back to the car in time for school pickup. But I will definitely come back here to explore more. It’s gorgeous.
We headed over the other side of Rdum il-Qammieh down around the coast towards our endpoint at Paradise bay. I love Paradise bay and it is indeed Paradise for much of the year. Although in summer, it’s a bit of a nightmare because it’s really small and it just gets ridiculously crowded. Today though it was empty.
We jumped in the car at Paradise Bay and drove back to Golden Bay to pick up Sarah’s car. It was midday by this point and Golden Bay was surprisingly busy considering it had been empty when we’d left this morning.
Another great walk despite the fact we got a bit lost twice. We walked 12k and it took us close to 3 hours. We must have wasted at least half an hour when we got lost. Next time I’m looking forward to walking the very northern tip of Malta.