Located on the western part of Malta. It is one of Malta’s last remaining rural areas. The place has untouched and rugged landscapes. Off the beaten path it’s a natural habitat surrounded by coastal cliffs.
Il-Blata tal-Melħ is a hidden stunning secluded spot close to Baħrija. Its name originates from the man-made salt pans located in the area. These are of ecological significance. It’s a natural process through which the rough rocks capture the salt as the sea dries out of puddles.
Whilst walking along this rural area you will come across picturesque sites. Which have outstanding panoramic views. Enjoy this quaint area, sit down, relax and take in the quiet and peaceful surroundings. Take pictures of the amazing scenery. Far away from the noise of Malta’s towns and cities.
The path to Blata tal-Melħ is not an easy one. Considered to be quite challenging. At some point during the hike you come across a steep and slippery trail. Also, it may be that you have to climb to reach particular places. Since parts of the walking trail are dangerous. It is best to be accompanied by someone. Trekking takes around 1 hour 30 minutes from the parking area to Il-Blata tal-Melħ. But with many stops on the way!
If you manage to visit the area for sunset you are in for a surprise. This view at sunset is spectacular. But it’s not bad to go in the morning! It is of great importance that you give yourself enough time to explore the area. It’s one of the few spots in Malta to be one with nature so experience it to the fullest.
Why you should go to Il-Blata tal-Melħ?
You should pay a visit to Il-Blata tal-Melħ to view its picturesque scenery. It is impressive with imposing rock formations and tall limestone cliffs. The place is magnificent. From its remarkable rocky shores, its salt pans and deep blue sea. Walking on the cliffs on rough rock is incredible. Whilst trekking in the area you will not come across many other people. The atmosphere around you is so relaxing, making the experience unforgettable.
To make more of the trip combine the hike to Il-Blata tal-Melħ with a walk to Fomm ir-Riħ Bay. To visit both places it would take you around 3 hours. Fomm ir-Riħ Bay is located north of Il-Blata tal-Melħ. It’s a nice walk, the scenic views are breathtaking. Fomm ir-Riħ Bay has a nice pebbled beach where you can sit, enjoy the view and calmness of the place.
Il-Blata tal-Melħ is popular with divers. It is a fantastic diving spot for advanced divers. You can either go south for a wall dive exploring crevasses for marine life. Or dive north over rocks which are home to many different species of fish. Beware and look out for the occasional currents.
How to prepare for the Hike
Before you set out, search for the hiking trail on the internet. View the route and ensure that you do not trespass on private land. Wear comfortable clothes and take protective gloves. It’s important that you wear a good pair of hiking shoes. Shoes are to be sturdy with a good grip since parts of the trail are slippery and on rough rock.
Do not come to trek along Il-Blata tal-Melħ alone. Some parts are dangerous. It is important to take someone with you. Stay away from the cliff edge. The walk is not suitable for young kids.
This walk is only suitable when the weather is fine. If it’s bad weather with strong winds postpone your hike. Be aware of rough seas, as waves can pull you into the sea.
Take water and snacks with you. Before setting out on the hike, apply sunscreen.
How to get at Il-Blata tal-Melħ
It is definitely not easy to find the exact location. Especially if you are a tourist! Searching on the Internet about the place will give you amazing pictures. But hardly any results when it comes to direction. Give it a shot, go to the place and try your luck walking around! You are to pay attention when walking around in the area as you can end up on someone’s private land.
You can reach Il-Blata tal-Melħ by car or bus. If you are coming by car, park at the parking lot in Baħrija’s main square. Or further down the road next to the locality’s primary school. There is ample parking. Otherwise you can take the bus to Baħrija village. Bus Number 109 runs every hour via Rabat, Ta’Qali, Attard, Żebbuġ and Siġġiewi. Stop at the last bus stop called Baħrija.
Walk along the road that leads downhill into the countryside. Be careful whilst walking in the rural area as some parts can be steep and slippery. During the first part of the path you will walk on gravel. Following the trail you will arrive at a rocky plateau. Rest a bit and take in the amazing scenery from this viewpoint. Enjoy the peace and tranquility this area has to offer. You can see the salt pans from this spot!
Continue on your left, that is head south in the direction of Miġra l-Ferħa. You will now walk on rough rock with no clear path. But the direction is still straight forward. Along the way you will pass large boulders and cliffs. You will realize that you have arrived at Il-Blata tal-Melħ once you come across ropes and steps cut into the rock.
The ropes are tied to a metal spike. The best way down to the shore is by using the rope. Place your body weight on your feet not to stress the rope. Start to make your way down. Go down slowly and be cautious. Wear protective gloves to avoid burning your fingers. Once your feet touch the ground you are at Il-Blata tal-Melħ crevasse. The only way to carry on is to jump across the 1.5m crevasse. Otherwise you can sit and take in the picturesque surroundings.
To go down to the salt pans be careful of the steep downward slope. You will find stairs carved into the rock which lead to the salt pans and to the sea. It is through these stairs that workers used to carry the salt to boats.
Salt Production in Malta
It is probably the island’s oldest industry. Though salt production declined with the passage of time. As perishable foods are no longer stored in salt. Several salt pans situated around Malta date back to Roman times. Yet, salt production reached its peak during the era of the Knights of St. John.
Salt production is dependent on favorable weather conditions. Sea water fills the pans situated along the coast. It is left to settle and dry up through wind. Once it dries up salt crystals begin to form.
Men have excavated the several salt pans found at Il-Blata tal-Melħ. Though this has been a long time ago no record is available about when this took place. Yet, the salt pans in this area made greatest use of their location. This area is well-known for its northwesterly wind.
Salt is no longer harvested at Il-Blata tal-Melħ. The salt pans lie abandoned but the area is still popular with local fishermen.