In this post, we have compiled a list of five things that we believe everyone should do this summer. Although much of the island dries up throughout the hottest months, there is always wildlife to be found if you know where to look! With some of the Mediterranean’s clearest seas and an abundance of life beneath the waves, the sea is an easy way to connect with nature throughout the hottest months of the year!
1. Butterfly-watching along the Victoria Lines
Explore the Victoria Lines whilst looking out for some of Malta’s resident butterflies. There are approximately 23 species of butterfly on the Maltese Islands, some of which are migrants and some of which are residents.
The endemic Maltese Swallowtail is a beautiful and eye-catching species. Only found on Malta, it flies from February to November. With a wingspan of 8cm, it is one of the bigger Maltese butterflies. This species is quite common on the island but will often keep to the countryside where its caterpillars can be found feeding on the abundant Fennel plants.
Late summer and early autumn are very good times for the butterflies in Malta. Keep your eyes open as you move around the Maltese Islands this year and see if you can spot all 23!
The Victoria Lines offer some of Malta’s most striking landscapes, with great views over the north and south of the island. The path runs along an old wall constructed by the British and finished in time for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
Walking the Victoria lines in the full summer heat may take longer than expected. Try breaking up the walk and completing it over a couple of weekends to get the most enjoyable experience out of this amazing landscape. And don’t forget to take snacks and lots of water!
2. Snorkeling around the coast
Snorkeling in Malta is made easy by the magnificent seas that surround the island. Many of Malta’s famous beaches are hugged on both sides by rocky shorelines which are a great habitat for underwater life. Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay are both beaches that allow easy access to snorkeling locations!
Have you ever met an octopus underwater? These amazing animals can be found swimming and hiding in the rocks to the west of Għajn Tuffieħa Bay. Make sure you look carefully, an octopus can camouflage with its surroundings, making itself look like rocks or seaweed. They can be very hard to spot. Good luck!
Feeling adventurous? Head to Il-Kalanka Bay for less crowds. Find your own space on the rocks and truly immerse yourself in the underwater world. Look out for the Turkish Wrasse. This beautiful fish is a rainbow of colours and can be seen quite easily just snorkeling off the shore.
Safety: Snorkeling should never be carried out alone. Always swim with at least one other adult and only enter the water if you are a confident swimmer.
3. Explore rock pools
Want to explore the bounties of the sea without having to get your feet wet? Malta’s rock pools hold many different types of life and can be found all around the island’s coasts.
For easy access to rock pools, you can visit the coast between Pembroke and Salina. This long stretch of the east coast has rock pools of all shapes and sizes! Just hop off the coast road at one of the many small bays and get exploring this amazing habitat.
Peer into miniature worlds full of exciting species! You never know what you might find: sea anemones, Marbled or Hermit Crab, starfish, shrimp, gobies or blennies.
Remember to always leave animals where you find them as that is their home!
4. Sunset and stargazing from Golden Bay
Head down in the afternoon to watch the sunset over the sea from Golden Bay. This spectacular light show is of course free! From Golden Bay, the sun drops down directly over the water creating amazing reflections on the sea.
For a quieter experience head to Ġnejna Bay late in the afternoon. Linger a while after to sunset to enjoy a splendid hour or two under the stars. Due to the remote location of Ġnejna beach, light pollution is kept to a minimum and you can enjoy the night sky in all its glory!
5. Get involved in a cleanup
If you are going to get out into nature this summer, we have a really easy way for you to make a real positive difference. Take a rubbish bag with you, and see if you can fill it with litter! Post about it on social media and inspire other people around you.
Another option is to get involved in one of the many cleanup events held around Malta. These events are an amazing way to meet like-minded people to do your bit for the planet. Plastic pollution is a problem that affects all species on earth, even humans.
Be part of the solution!
Here are some groups that are dedicated to cleaning up the Maltese Islands:
BirdLife Malta in partnership with other Maltese environmental NGOs will also be running cleanup events over the summer so keep an eye on our events and Facebook page for event details coming soon!
By Angus Wilkinson, BirdLife Malta Education Assistant