A walk along the Marfa ridge

If you want to get off the beaten track in Malta, and are prepared to swap your flip flops for walking shoes, you will experience a side of Malta that most tourists never see. To point you in the right direction, the Malta Tourism Authority have published a great series of countryside walk guides which can be downloaded for FREE from www.visitmalta.com.

One hot Saturday in June 2010 I got off the bus in Ghadira armed with bottled water, cameras, tripod and a printed copy of the Marfa Ridge Walk brochure. It was a very hot day and the German football team were meeting Argentina in the World Cup quarter final later that afternoon so I figured that I would follow the the walk for a couple of hours and then find a bar with a big TV to watch the match.

I left the beach at Ghadira, packed as it always is in the summer with a mix of tourist families, language students and a few brave locals, and walked up onto the northern part of the Marfa ridge. The road is quiet and bordered by scrubby trees. Clumps of wild thyme and straggly fennel bushes are everywhere and give up a delicious fragrance if you crush the leaves or seeds between you fingers. To the right of the road, dusty paths lead to low cliffs and great views of the bay. This HDR shot was taken about halfway down the ridge.

Ahrax Bay

Further down the road, past one of Malta’s few camp sites, the trees thin out. The Immaculate Conception chapel stands at the  end of the headland.  Close by, rather close to the cliff edge is a statue of Our Lady.

Ahrax Chapel

After checking out the chapel I set off towards the white tower and pretty much the most northerly point of mainland Malta. On the way I passed through areas where swathes of jagged agave plants compete for space with the wild thyme bushes. If you are doing the walk with bare legs, give them a wide berth or you will find out just how prickly these plants are.

Agave and wild thyme

From the agave bushes I continued down the hill and eventually came to the campsite entrance. I turned right here and walked up the rocks towards a very large radio antennae. Just behind the fenced off area is a large depression where the rocks have fallen in to leave a crater that is open at one end to the sea. Here at Ahrax Point you have excellent views of Comino and Gozo. I sat on the rocks for a while and watched a variety of craft ranging from ferries to jetskis making their up and down the Comino Channel.

Ahrax Depression

By now I was beginning to think of a beer and the football match so I headed back up to the ridge road by way of Little Armier Bay. The Malta Tourist Authority walk continues for a couple more hours on the southern part of the Marfa Ridge. I will save that for my next visit.

Check out the map….