The Baths of Sliema, Malta
This is yet another story of me seeing something on Instagram during trip planning, knowing nothing about it and deciding that we had to go visit. The Baths of Sliema in Malta called to me. These pools, carved from the rocks on the coast of the town of Sliema in Malta are still perfect for swimming, as they have been for hundreds of years.
The pools are not nearly as popular as the sandy beaches, but offer so much more. A dip into these pools offer a change to participate in history, see sea life and have some protected fun with your children.
The pools are commonly referred to as the Roman Baths, but they almost certainly date to the Victorian Era. Victorian Era Brits popularized vacationing by the sea as a leisure activity. You can easily see in each bath where a wooden post would have been placed at each corner and covers put up over the bath to provide shade and privacy to the bather.
When we arrived early in the morning we had our pick of baths. The baths are not all created equally, as they are in a constant state of erosion. Originally, they all would have had stone steps descending into them, as many Victorian era bathers couldn’t swim. Now many of these stairs have eroded away. Ladders have been added to the baths for additional safety. We found a bath with perfectly intact stairs, perfect for the littles.
Channels reaching out to the sea allow for water flow in and out of the baths. They also bring in sea life and make great places for the critters to hide. The Big Little and dad loved this element and spent the entire time investigating the sea life…much to the chagrin of our Middle Little.
Turns out he is terrified of crabs. The sight of a little crab, which we brought out of the water for everyone to see, sent him into tears. He refused to enter the water or leave my side. We finally were able to set him up on a blanket with a snack a few feet from the bath while the rest of us enjoyed the pool.
In some places the depth of the pool is only three feet which made it easy for us to stand with the littles. The rocks that have fallen into the pools are covered with algae making them slippery and I preferred not to touch them. The rocks were also quite sharp. (I certainly would recommend water shoes if you already own them!)
There is no real safe place to set your tings, so be prepared to just drop it on the rocks near the pool of your choice. We were glad to have a bag that mostly keeps the water out, since everything by the sea is wet.
Although the waves were crashing beyond the pool’s edge, inside the pool was relatively clam and crystal clear.
We honestly just couldn’t get over what an incredible experience it was to swim in the same pools the Victorians had bathed in. Everyone, except our middle little, was happy floating in the Mediterranean waters.
When we finally pried everyone out of the water, we opted to walk down the length of pools just to check them all out.
As you walk down the beach you actually get to another area that has sand and a carve out leading out into the sea where people were swimming.
To access the road you need to find a set of stairs. They are pretty well spaced out so no matter which way you walk you’re never really close to the baths. We made the hike back to the stairs and up to street level, leaving behind the baths.
If you’re interested in more information on the Baths of Sliema, Malta check out this article from Malta Today.