The islands of Malta are surrounded by astonishingly clear turquoise Mediterranean waters. Taking a sunset cruise is a fun and relaxing way to explore this scenery, allowing you to witness different perspectives of the coastal views, by daylight and after dark. On our latest trip to Malta I went on a catamaran cruise from St Paul’s Bay to the Blue Lagoon on Comino island, and a selection of secluded beaches and bays. If you’re thinking of taking a Malta sunset cruise, this review will give you a quick insight into the experience.
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How to book a Malta sunset cruise
If you want to take a sunset cruise in Malta, it’s best to make a booking online in advance. Places get booked up quickly, even outside of the peak tourist season in summer.
We use GetYourGuide to find and book experiences in Malta. It’s a safe, secure service with no extra charges, and includes free cancellation until 24 hours before trips.
There are several companies that offer cruises around the Maltese islands. In this review I will focus specifically on the Blue Lagoon, beaches and bays trip by Catamaran with Sea Trips, which I chose after a lot of research and reading through reviews, and booked via GetYourGuide. Skip to the end of this article and I’ve also listed some other Malta sunset cruises to consider.
This cruise runs around the year and offers both a daytime cruise (six hours, beginning at 9:30am) and a sunset cruise (five hours, beginning at 4:30pm).
There is an optional BBQ that costs an extra €15, which you can pay after you have boarded the boat. As you will read in my review below, this is well worth doing!
How to get to the cruise meeting point
The cruise sets off from Bugibba Harbour in St Paul’s Bay, on the north side of Malta’s main island. This is one of the best places to stay in Malta if you want to focus your trip on exploring coastal scenery, as it’s an ideal jump-off point for the islands of Gozo and Comino, and within closer reach of some of the more secluded beaches and bays on the west side of the main island.
Bugibba Harbour is also straightforward to reach from the capital city Valletta or popular districts like Sliema and St Julian’s. If you have a car, you can drive up the main Route 1 coastal road, or alternatively it’s a simple journey using public transport on the 48 bus (from Valletta) or the 212, 222 or 225 bus services (from Sliema and St Julian’s). Find out more about using public transport in our guide to getting around Malta.
Malta sunset cruise to Comino and the Blue Lagoon: review
I’ll begin by saying that overall, I thought the Malta sunset cruise was really good value for money. The sunset cruise is €40, which gives you five hours of entertainment and a close-up tour of some of Malta’s coastal highlights.
This is a bit cheaper than the daytime cruise as it’s slightly shorter in time. But five hours is a really nice length for this activity, and the sunset option gives you the different perspectives of cruising by daylight and dark. Plus the obvious bonus of witnessing a stunning sunset over the Maltese seascape.
The cruise has quite a lively and sociable vibe, with a bar on board and a cruise deck that doubles up as a bit of a dance-floor once it’s dark outside. There’s a soundtrack of upbeat music playing along the way.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a party boat; if you want to just chill out, there are plenty of quiet spots at the back or up on deck to kick back and relax. But if you do like a bubbly atmosphere, then I’m sure you will absolutely love it.
Where does the cruise stop?
It’s important to be aware that the places you stop on the cruise and the route you take will depend on the weather on the day. The crew will judge it based on factors like the direction of the wind and the sea conditions.
The Blue Lagoon – a stunning turquoise shallow bay on the island of Comino – is a major highlight of the cruise, and is always included. You will also most likely make a stop at the filming set of the 1980 movie Popeye.
Other stops might include some rural bays and beaches on the west side of Malta island, such as Għajn Tuffieħa, Mellieha Bay in the north, or Ramla Bay on the far side of Gozo.
Wherever you go, you can expect picturesque rugged coastal rocky formations, pristine azure waters, the constant refreshment of the Medterranean sea breeze, and opportunities to get out for a swim and snorkel if you choose.
Cruising in the open sea
It was full daylight when our cruise set sail at 4:30pm, heading off into the open sea to begin with. The boat was a medium-sized catamaran that was clean and stylish, with a wide bar on deck and good bathroom facilities below deck.
The cruise crew welcomed us on board, gave some housekeeping announcements, and explained the route we would be taking. Throughout the experience they added colourful commentary to the places we stopped, which added some insightful context.
For the first hour or so we cruised at a leisurely pace, weaving past some interesting features on the coastline, which were each explained in the commentary. It was nice at this point to just sit out on deck with a cool beer as the daylight began to fade a little on the water.
Malta’s unique coastal scenery has made it a big draw as a filming location over the decades. Hollywood blockbusters and, more recently, major TV series have chosen the islands as a set. It’s especially popular for historical myth and legend stories like Gladiator and Troy, and in modern times for fantasy series like Game of Thrones.
Back in 1980, the producers of the movie Popeye starring Robin Williams went a step further and created an entire purpose-built village set on the Maltese coast. It is situated in Anchor Bay, a concealed spot on the north-west side of Malta’s main island.
Popeye Village, as the set is known, still remains largely in tact, and this was one of our first stops on the Malta sunset cruise. It’s an impressive set made up of 20 or so wooden houses, bridges and walkways, and really cool to see such a relic of cinematic history.
Stops at the Crystal Lagoon and San Niklaw Bay, Comino
Comino is the smallest of the three Maltese islands, nestled between Malta and Gozo. It covers just 3.5 square kilometres and is surrounded by idyllic little bays and coves.
Our Malta sunset cruise docked in for a while at the Crystal Lagoon, a secluded inlet of Comino with clear waters and distinct cliff and cave formations. It was a bit too choppy to stop for a swim here, but it looked a superb spot for it if you get lucky with the conditions.
After a slow cruise-by and photo opportunity at the Crystal Lagoon, we headed on around Comino and docked at San Niklaw Bay for a while. This little bay on the north side of the island is home to Comino Hotel, an iconic ageing resort, its pink building looming over the cliffs.
Make sure you remember to bring your swimwear if you want to jump in for a dip. Snorkels and masks are available on the boat as well. San Niklaw Bay was a nice quiet location to get in the water, or have some fun leaping in from the boat.
Blue Lagoon for sunset and an inland walk
Many Malta cruise routes begin with a stop at the Blue Lagoon, but this was actually where ours culminated. It’s easy to see why this has become one of Malta’s most sought-after coastal locations. There was still plenty of daylight as we docked on the shore, so we could appreciate the pristine quality of the water and the rugged cliffs surrounding the bay.
The Blue Lagoon has a docking point with a jetty, so you can get off and explore inland into Comino. We had a decent amount of time to spend here, so we could check out some of the gorgeous sandy beaches or take the weaving path uphill for some island views.
From this side of Comino there’s a fabulous scenic view out across the water to Gozo. With the sun coming down, a pocket of space in the clouds cast a tumult of rays over the basilica domes and rooftops, which was awesome to see.
A Maltese BBQ over sunset
Back on the boat after a little stroll inland, the sunset hour approached, and so it was time for the crew to serve up the BBQ. This included a generous selection of different marinated and grilled meats – sumptuous lamb and chicken – served with an array of Mediterranean style salads, with pasta, couscous and coleslaw, and finally a flatbread.
I was very glad I paid the optional extra for this, not least because I hadn’t yet tried a traditional Maltese BBQ. I wrote about more about this in our guide to food in Malta, which explains many of the country’s classic national dishes.
After the satisfying BBQ fill, there was plenty of room on the top deck to find an optimal viewing spot for the sunset. The dull orange glow on the horizon brought out the turquoise colours of the waters even more keenly. What a special and tranquil moment to wrap up a day of fun.
Party vibes on the catamaran after dark
As darkness descended on the water, the boat started heading back towards St Paul’s Bay. This took about 45 minutes, but the fun wasn’t quite over. Blue neon lights illuminated the deck in the dark, and the tunes were turned up a notch.
Some people went out onto the front deck for some dancing in the dark overlooking the water. I was happy to chill out on the top deck and just enjoy the views of the passing islands in twilight, but it did look like a lot of fun!
As the boat slowly approached Bugibba Harbour, our last view of the Maltese coast was St Paul’s Bay lit up after dark.
Malta sunset cruise: overall verdict
The Blue Lagoon, beaches and bays catamaran cruise packs a lot into five hours, while still feeling relaxed. I like that it fits in at the end of the day, so you could spend the morning and early afternoon sightseeing in other parts of Malta and then culminate the day with the cruise.
That’s why we recommend it as an additional activity in our suggested 3-day Malta itinerary. It works perfectly to experience the Maltese coast if you’re on a short trip or workation.
You can find out more details and book the cruise here.
More Malta cruises to consider
As mentioned above, there is a wide choice of cruises in Malta to choose from. Most are daytime experiences, but there are some other sunset cruises as well.
I was happy with the beaches and bays sunset cruise, but if you want to try something different, here are some more popular options on GetYourGuide:
Have you been on a Malta sunset cruise? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.