Salina Nature Reserve lies in the Burmarrad valley mouth (limits of St Paul’s Bay in the north of Malta). Originally a harbour, the Salina site consists of 154,000 square metres of saline marshland and a number of salt pans built on a reclaimed island of clay surrounded by garrigue.
The site has recently been rehabilitated through a €7 million project partially financed with EU funds under the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development 2007-2013. The site’s potential to attract a number of species has been proven repeatedly by birds alighting in the salt pans to rest during migration, among which the most spectacular; the flamingo – a bird synonymous with salt pans, especially in the Mediterranean. Salina is a protected area forming part of the Natura 2000 network and also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) because of the endemic flora and fauna which can be found in the area.
The Salina Salt Pans were constructed by the Knights of St John in the 16th century. The complex is home to three timber huts which were reconstructed on the same style of the original ones built by the British in the 18th century for salt production, one of which serves as the visitors’ centre. It also includes the Ximenes Redoubt which was originally developed in 1715/16 during the reign of Grand Master Perellos as part of the Knights’ strategy of defending the Maltese Islands against invasion with a network of coastal fortifications. During the course of the 18th century, the redoubt was partially converted into a salt magazine. Grand Master Ximenes added a second warehouse to the complex to increase its storage capacity.
Click here to watch a video production about the Salina Rehabilitation Project.
Click here for more historical information about Salina salt pans.
What To Spot
The salt pans at Salina regularly attract a number of species of gull – sometimes as much as 2,000 in a day! This includes species such as Black-headed, Mediterranean, and Audouin’s.
Sandwich Terns can be seen almost every day and occasionally rarer species of tern such Gull-billed and Caspian.
During the winter period, Common Sandpipers can be observed at the reserve whilst migration brings herons, egrets and very rarely a Greater Flamingo!
New wetland area and birdwatching/photography hide
We have now opened the restored wetland area found on the Kennedy Grove side of Salina. You can book a slot at the new birdwatching hide in this area!
The small hide, which can take three people at any one time is available every Tuesday and Thursday from 11am to 5pm (last booking at 4:30pm).
Booking can be done only at the gate which is located next to the swings on the Kennedy Grove side, with a 30-minute slot costing €1 for BirdLife Malta members and €2.50 for non-members. A longer booking of one hour costs €2 for BirdLife Malta members and €5 for non-members.
In order to give everyone a chance to enjoy the site, no one can book slots longer than one hour.
Opening Hours and Getting There
Salina is open for visits on all days. Visitors may walk through the reserve freely from Monday to Sunday, 7am-8pm (April to September) & 7am-6pm (October to March). Entrance to the reserve is free of charge but donations are welcome.
Visitors who wish to learn more about the Park may visit when the Visitors’ Reception Centre is open, as per schedule below. Many educational and informative games are available for children. On most times, staff may be able to assist visitors and answer any questions.
Summer schedule (1st June-30th September)
Monday to Friday 8am-11am
Saturday & Sunday closed
Winter schedule (1st October-31st May)
Monday to Friday 8am-3pm
Saturday & Sunday closed
Salina Nature Park
Salina Coast Road
Contact No: 2143 3265
The reserve is located on the Coast Road, and parking is available.
Accessible from bus stops ‘Għasfur’ and ‘Salini’ on the routes 49, 212, 222, 225, N11, N212, X1 and X1B.