Mgarr Ix-Xini: Insider Tips for the Best Experience

Aerial view of the picturesque Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay in Malta, with crystal clear turquoise waters surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush greenery.

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Mgarr Ix-Xini is a beautiful hidden spot on the sunny southern coast of Gozo. The bay boasts crystal-clear waters, rich history, and breathtaking views. It’s a must-see when you’re exploring Gozo.

I have been living in Malta since 2011 and I visit Gozo often. One of the places I enjoy is the beautiful nature of Mgarr Ix Xini Bay. I love taking a hike from Mgarr to Mgarr Ix Xini, soaking in the stunning views of the sea along the way. Once I finish my hike, I relax at Mgarr Ix Xini and take a refreshing swim in its calm waters.

In this guide, I will explain all you need to know about this Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay in Gozo. I’ll cover its fascinating past, the best activities, and tips for planning your visit.

My Top Reasons to Visit Mgarr Ix-Xini

A scenic view of Mgarr Ix-Xini, a picturesque beach cove surrounded by rocky cliffs and clear turquoise waters. Visitors can enjoy swimming and snorkelling in this tranquil natural setting, making it a popular destination for beachgoers in Gozo.
Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay, Gozo

Let me tell you why this place is worth a visit!

Stunning natural beauty: Located within a narrow, winding gorge, Mgarr Ix-Xini is a true natural wonder. The bay has a small, pebbly beach and is surrounded by steep cliffs. And the water is so blue and refreshing! I love it there.

Peaceful atmosphere: Mgarr ix-Xini isn’t as popular as other places because it’s less accessible.

Snorkelling paradise: Its clear waters invite you to dive in and discover its vibrant underwater world. I like to swim along the cliffs and observe different fish and rock formations. Divers come to Mgarr Ix-Xini to see sea horses, as it is the only place in Malta to find them.

Natural shade: While the sun can be relentless in the Maltese summer, fear not! Mgarr ix-Xini has you covered—literally. One side of the beach enjoys shade in the afternoon, providing a much-needed break from the heat.

Sheltered from the wind: The long gorge in which Mgarr ix-Xini beach is located shields it from strong winds, so you can lie on the beach without worrying about your towels flying away. Even on a windy day, the waters are calm, perfect for swimming.

Picturesque hiking trails: Aside from its sandy beaches, Mgarr ix-Xini is also a gateway to scenic hiking trails. You will enjoy breathtaking views of Gozo’s unspoiled beauty.

Ducks resting on a pier overlooking the sea of Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay in Gozo, Malta.
Ducks on a Pier at Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay, Gozo
Best Place to Stay in Malta - Typical Bead & Breakfast in an Old House

Places to Stay in Gozo

Gizimina B&B by VeroSole: Traditional farmhouse with a pool in Xaghra with a home-like atmosphere. Book here.

Townhouse17 Boutique B&B: Located in Victoria, Gozo’s capital, this boutique hotel with stylish rooms and excellent dining in Victoria. Book here.

Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz: A 5-star luxury experience with gardens, spa and multiple pools in San Lawrenz. Book here.

Why This Beach Might Not Be For You?

Here are some reasons why this beach might not be the right fit for everyone:

Difficult access: Mgarr ix-Xini’s hidden gem status comes with a price—getting there can be challenging.

The road leading to the beach is narrow, steep, and potentially risky, especially for inexperienced drivers or those uncomfortable navigating tricky terrain. Also, parking is limited, so after a challenging trip, you might be disappointed to have to return.

There’s not much space: The beach itself is small, so it gets crowded during summer weekends. You might find Mgarr ix-Xini a bit too cosy for you if you like broad, expansive beaches.

Pebble beach: Mgarr ix-Xini has a pebble beach, which means it has rocks instead of sand. Some beachgoers like this for the texture and look. However, it is less comfortable for sunbathing, making sandcastles, or simply laying down.

A Glimpse Into the Past of Mgarr Ix-Xini

Mgarr Ix-Xini’s history dates back to the Knights of St John. The bay was once a small harbour for their ships. In 1551, it was used by Turks to load captured Gozitans onto their ships.

The Mgarr Ix-Xini Tower, built in 1661, stands as a symbol of the area’s strategic value. If you want to see the tower, follow the coastal path on the left side. The walk is short, but it offers nice views of the area and the gorge of Mgarr Ix-Xini.

Aerial view of Mgarr Ix-Xini Tower overlooking the scenic coastline of Gozo, Malta. Two yachts are anchored in the blue waters near the rocky shore.
Mgarr Ix-Xini Tower in Gozo, Malta

What to do in Mgar Ix-Xini?

​​Here are some must-try experiences:

Swim: Take a refreshing swim and explore underwater wonders. The clear water provides excellent snorkelling visibility, so you can see vibrant marine life beneath the surface.

Rent a kayak: This is one of the most picturesque kayaking spots around, offering breathtaking views and peaceful surroundings. Don’t miss the small inlet for an extra thrill. You will find kayak rentals in the bay.

Lunch with a view: Treat yourself to a delicious lunch with panoramic views. There are two restaurants in the bay. I recommend Ta’ Cenc Il-Kantra. It offers a wide selection of traditional Maltese dishes as well as international cuisine.

Relax: Chill and soak up the peaceful atmosphere.

Go hiking: Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay features several trails that lead to stunning viewpoints. Check out my guide for the Mgarr Harbor to Xlendi hike. As Mgarr Ix-Xini is midway, you can find information about coastal walks on both sides of the bay.

Hiking trails offering scenic views of Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay area in Gozo, Malta. The rugged coastline is adorned with lush greenery, leading to the historic Mgarr Ix-Xini Tower overlooking the blue waters of the bay.
Walks in the Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay Area

Getting to Mgarr Ix-Xini

It can be challenging to reach Mgarr Ix-Xini because public transportation options are limited. The closest bus stop is 1.80 km away. You will have to walk on the road that might be busy.

It’s best if you rent a car so you can explore Gozo at your own pace. Try Discover Cars for affordable car rentals. I’d recommend renting a car at the airport and using it throughout your stay. Check out my guide to renting a car in Malta.

A cab is the best if you don’t have a car. Or else, you can take a scenic hike from Mgarr Harbour. It takes 40-50 minutes and offers wonderful scenery.

Getting There:

  • Location: link to Google Maps
  • Nearest bus stop: Heliport
  • Walking distance from the bus stop: 1.80 km, 22 minutes
  • Frequency of the buses: every hour or less
  • Parking available: small free parking next to the beach

Tips for the Best Experience

Here are some tips to make the most of your experience:

Bring your own food and snacks: While there are two restaurants at Mgarr Ix-Xini, they are pricey. Bring your own snacks and food if you’d like to save money.

Don’t forget sun protection: Malta’s weather is usually sunny, and Mgarr Ix-Xini is no exception. Make sure you have sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sun rays. Sunburn can easily occur if you spend hours in the water or on the beach, so reapply sunscreen every few hours.

Snorkelling gear: Mgarr Ix-Xini has a fascinating underwater world, so bring your own snorkelling gear. It has beautiful clear waters and marine life to discover.

Arrive early in the morning: By getting there early in the morning, you’ll have the chance to secure a good spot on the beach and appreciate the tranquil beauty of the bay.

Beware of jellyfish: Before heading to Mgarr Ix-Xini, be sure to check my guide on jellyfish, along with online resources, to ensure the beach is jellyfish-free.

View of the scenic Mgarr Ix-Xini Tower from a distance, surrounded by vibrant greenery overlooking the blue waters of the bay in Gozo, Malta.
Mgarr Ix-Xini Tower From a Distance

So, if you’re planning a trip to Gozo, do not miss this incredible destination. Its captivating landscape, crystal-clear waters, and rich history make it an unforgettable experience. I am sure you will want to return.

But wait, there’s more! I’ve got a bunch of tips for you to make the most of your trip to Gozo. Here’s my guide to Gozo’s activities and must-see spots and my guides to Xlendi, Hondoq Bay, salt pans and Gozo’s secret beaches.

Also, discover the best tours in Gozo – quad bike tour, food and wine tasting, or a kayak tour from Gozo to Comino island with snorkelling.

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