Mellieħa (Mellieha) is a beautiful small town in the North of Malta with just over ten thousand inhabitants. Mellieha is actually the last reasonably big village before the ferry terminal in Cirkewwa where you can take the short crossing to Gozo.
Mellieħa is also a popular tourist destination during the summer months, for its tranquillity and the relaxing atmosphere that you can enjoy all year round.
Thanks to its sustainable initiative in 2009 Mellieha was awarded the title of European Destination of Excellence!
Mellieha is surely an excellence destination for beach lovers, who can enjoy a dive into the clear crystal blue water of Ghadira Bay, Golden Bay and Paradise Bay, as well as for divers who can explore many different popular dive sites.
Where is it located?
Despite the number of inhabitants Mellieha comprehends a wide area of the Northern region that extends from East to the West. It borders on the South East edge with St Paul’s Bay (Bugibba) while on South West edge with the village of Mgarr.
Being Mgarr such a tiny village (3700 inhabitants), we chose to include Mgarr in this directory together with Mellieha.
The beauty of Mellieha is its varied landscape!
In fact it is stands on a group of hills which are located in different hamlets:
- Mellieħa Heights,
- Santa Maria Estate,
- Ta’ Pennellu,
- Ta’ Masrija,
The nearby villages of Manikata and Selmun also fall under the Mellieha’s local council jurisdiction.
Mellieha boasts a millenary history as Malta and Gozo where inhabited since 7000 years ago, when probably brave Neolithic Sicilian group of people crossed the sea (at that time a reasonably short and possibly more shallow distance) and arrived to the Maltese shores.
Of particular interest are the troglodyte caves inhabited from the Roman Period and during the Byzantine rule until the early medieval period.
During the rule of the Knight of St John, Mellieha was mostly abandoned because it was too exposed to the corsairs and Turks potential attacks. Living in the north area of Malta in those times was particularly risking!
So the Knights began to fortify the North of Malta in the early 17th century. The first fortification was the Mellieha’s Saint Agatha’s Tower, also known as the Red Tower, which was completed in 1649. This large tower was built on Marfa Ridge, overlooking Mellieha Bay and all of the sea side especially the side from Comino and Gozo. Another smaller watching tower called Ghajn Hadid and Armier Tower were also built in the limits of Mellieha in 1658.
A particular tower called Selmun Tower, well known as Selmun Palace, was rented by the Knights as a place to relax and hunt wild rabbits, which were commonly found in the area. The rent money contributed to a particular charity for redemption of Christians enslaved by Ottomans or Barbary corsairs.
It is only with the British rule (Malta was a British colony from 1813–1964) that Mellieha saw an important urban development. Many British military defences like the coastline pill boxes were built to protect Mellieha and the North region during the First and Second World. Like Fort Campbell, which was built just before World War II in Selmun, while Mellieħa Fort was built on top of Mellieħa Hill as a look out post.
Mellieha Beaches and Landscape
Mellieha boasts the biggest beaches in all the Malta! In fact, Mellieha Bay and Ghadira Beach are the largest sandy beaches in Malta.
Other several small bays like Paradise Bay and Armier Bay are found along the large Marfa Peninsula to the North of Mellieħa, as well as the harbour of Ċirkewwa.
The Marfa Ridge spans across a large part of the peninsula.
To the south of Marfa Ridge, there are Anchor Bay and Popeye Village, Majjistral Nature and History Park, the hamlet of Manikata and Golden Bay.
The boundary with Mġarr lies at Għajn Tuffieħa beach.
What to see and what to do in Mellieha
In Mellieha there are different interesting sites to explore, which belongs to the cultural, traditional and spiritual heritage of Mellieha people.
One site in particular is the World War II Shelters located in the Parish square close to the Sanctuary, click here
Then you can visit the beautiful parish church built in various stages between 1881 and 1898. The church is dedicated to the Birth of Our Lady.
The annual devotional village Feast dedicated to the Birth of Our Lady starts officially on the 30th of August till the 8th of September, when you can experience all the lively and magical atmosphere of the Festa thanks to the Mellieha bands, all the volunteers and of course the fireworks.
Another site that you can explore close to the parish church is the underground crypt known as the Sanctuary of our Lady of the Grotto, click here
In Ghadira Bay you can visit
- Tunnara museum
- Ghadira Nature Reserve
Flora the Explorer will accompany you in her explorations
around Mellieha and Malta 😉
Find out more in her Blog exploring-malta.com
Explore, Experience and Enjoy Malta with Flora the Explorer