Freediving in Malta: The best dive sites and top courses on the island

Born from the foraging needs of coastal people who took it upon themselves to push their bodies to adapt and survive under water so that they could gather food or precious materials, nothing can make you feel as free and at one with nature around you just as much as freediving does. And if you’re looking for the ideal location where you can discover what your body is capable of and reach your personal limits, experience an inner peace like no other and explore underwater in total silence, Malta is a diving heaven. With its crystal clear blue surf and golden shores, rugged coastline and reefs, an abundance of wrecks and natural treasures, Malta has often been touted as an island paradise and a top freediving destination. 

Here we take a look at the ins and outs of freediving in Malta.

Why freedive in Malta?

Boasting some of the top diving sites in the Mediterranean, warm climate all year round with little rainfall, easy access and clean shores across the island with excellent visibility no matter the season, Malta is your window to the sea’s clear blue.

When to go freediving in Malta?

With close to 300 days of sunshine and with water temperature maintaining a steady 20 degrees even during the height of winter, Malta is a year-round destination, where freediving can take place whenever you like. The months between May and October offer the best conditions, with many warm and sunny days, while in winter when the crowds are out and about their usual routine, you’ll get the dive site to yourself. 

What can you see while diving in Malta?

From caves and caverns to reefs and swim-throughs, historic shipwrecks and a diverse marine life, you’re spoilt for choice. And whilst wrecks and natural formations are amongst the most popular attractions, wherever you decide to freedive you’ll be greeted by sea creatures of all kinds. Damselfish are practically always present in big swarms, while at deeper sites barracudas are often spotted. Octopuses, cuttlefish and squids are also common, whereas nudibranchs, known for their extraordinary colours and striking forms, can’t be missed. How accessible is Malta?
With 135 kilometres of coastline, Malta is small in size, but offers so much. Most dive sites are easily accessible no matter your departure point, which means that you can enjoy more than one freediving session in a day. And with dive sites abounding, you’re sure to find one that appeals to you whether you’re a novice who wants to take it easy or a pro who is looking to test your limits. 

How accessible is Malta?

With 135 kilometres of coastline, Malta is small in size, but offers so much. Most dive sites are easily accessible no matter your departure point, which means that you can enjoy more than one freediving session in a day. And with dive sites abounding, you’re sure to find one that appeals to you whether you’re a novice who wants to take it easy or a pro who is looking to test your limits.

What type of freediving courses can you take in Malta?

From those that provide a certification upon completion which will help you move on to the next level to those that offer just a taster of what freediving is all about, there are several courses you can take while freediving in Malta.

Freediving certification courses

Beginner Course

An introductory course aimed at teaching you the very basics of freediving, this is appropriate for those with no prior experience. You’ll learn about the physics and physiology behind freediving, while you’ll get the chance to practice equalisation, relaxation and breathing techniques, as well as rescue and safety procedures, while you’ll get to discover your natural freediving abilities and how far your body is willing to go. By the end of this course you should be able to reach a depth of between 12 and 20 metres in open water and once you get the certification, you may take your freediving to the next level with the advanced course. 

Find out more about this course here.

Advanced course 

Ideal for furthering the skills you would have acquired in the introductory programme, this course will help you gain a depth of up to 30 metres in open water, while you’ll get the chance to learn different techniques like pre-dive optimisation, using the monofin technique, depths and distance dives and mastering advanced rescue techniques as you work towards holding your breath for more than two and a half minutes. Along with furthering your skillset and performance, during the course you will also work towards improving your mental training by being introduced to mindfulness techniques tailored to different contexts.

Interested in this course? Learn more about it here.

Master course

If you’re looking to become a pro, a master course will cement all the techniques and skills acquired from previous courses, yet you’ll also be a step closer to becoming as much of a professional as possible. For instance, the Molchanov Master Freediver Course will provide you with a semi-professional certificate, enabling you to act as an assistant instructor, while it can set the stage for a potential career in freediving as you’ll be able to attend the Molchanovs Instructor Course. With this course you’ll learn to equalise below your residual volume to achieve greater depth amongst other things, while overall the course will enable you to broaden your limits while staying safe underwater.

Discover more about this course here.

Non certification freediving courses

Discover freediving

Typically a one day course, this is aimed at those who would like to get a taste of freediving but not a certification. In just one day, you’ll learn all about your body’s unique abilities and reflexes, how to breath-hold above and below the surface of the sea, as well as how to stretch properly. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to put all these skills to the test by immersing yourself in the Mediterannean’s deep blue sea, both in a confined and open water session. Hooked on freediving after this experience? Take your skills a step further by proceeding to a beginner course.

Find out more about this course here.

Coaching with an instructor

If you’d like to perfect a specific skill, a coaching session with a professional instructor is your safest bet to achieving your goals since your coach will be able to assess your abilities and skillset and craft a training plan specific to your needs. Whether you’re looking to improve your finning, equalising, duck diving and your breath hold or you simply want to nail a relaxation technique, your instructor will be able to help you reach your objectives.

Learn about what coaching with an instructor is all about here.

Training with a group

Freediving is a lifestyle and there’s nothing better than improving yourself through constant practice, while you train with like-minded individuals who are passionate about freediving just as you are. During this course, a buoy will be set up at sea where you’ll be able to train together with other certified freedivers and perfect your buddy and safety skills, finning and slow diving, duck diving or any other areas you feel need improving. 

Have a look here to find out more about training with a group.

What’s included in the course?

Broadly speaking, some of the things that will be included in the course are:

  • Certification, if you have opted for a course that provides you with one upon completion. 
  • All equipment. All you’ll need to bring with you is your bathing suit and a towel. 
  • Photo and/or video that will serve as both a commemorative item to remind you of your freediving course or session and a means of analysing your abilities and determining what you need to work on. 
  • Water to keep you hydrated throughout, as well as some light and healthy snacks like fruit and nuts. 
  • Transport to and from the dive site, as well as pick up and drop off from the Gozo Channel if you’re freediving in Gozo.
  • Morning stretching and relaxation to get you started on the right foot.

In need of accommodation during your stay? Have a look at your options here.

How to freedive during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Naturally, you may be worried about transmission when considering the close and direct contact between yourself and your instructor or buddy. And although at first glance it may seem impossible to freedive and abide by safe-distancing guidelines, there’s no need to write off a freediving session completely. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Freedive with a household member or someone from your bubble.
  • Do not share any gear or equipment with others and consider swirling your equipment in an antibacterial solution before and after each use.
  • Have a box or bag where you can store your equipment and transport it from dive site to dive site.
  • Try and keep physical distance as much as possible, both in and out of the water. 
  • Both stretching and theory sessions can be held outdoors.
  • When not in the water, wear your mask at all times.

Which are the top freediving sites in Malta?

Whether you’re looking to freedive in caverns and caves, explore reefs and the marine life that lives there, marvel at mysterious wrecks or visit peculiar objects you didn’t think you’d see at the bottom of the sea like statues, Malta offers it all.

Here are some of the top diving sites on the island.

Um El Faroud, Wied iz-Zurrieq

One of the most jaw-dropping wrecks Malta has to offer, Um El Faroud was once a Libyan oil tanker used to transport fuel between Italy and Libya for 26 years before it was scuttled after an explosion. Found 150 metres southwest from the entry and exit point in the picturesque fishing village of Wied iz-Zurrieq, the wreck is impressive to say the least. From its massive size of 10,000 tonnes and 110 metres in length to its various characteristics that remain intact till this day and the marine life that has made the wreck its home, this is set to be an unforgettable freediving session. Take note of the bridge hatches, cabins and stairs leading down to the engine room, as well as its propeller, while spot the breams, damselfish, barracudas and other fish species.

Find out more about this dive site here.

Ghar Lapsi

Known for its peaceful atmosphere and scenic beauty, Ghar Lapsi is a popular location, attracting divers, swimmers, snorkelers and fishermen. Located on the south coast of Malta close to Siggiewi and next door to Zurrieq, Ghar Lapsi is a small rocky inlet, just a short drive from either village. Ideal for all freediving abilities and experiences, what makes it an excellent dive site is is the variety of things you can explore. From its system of underwater caves to the sandy bays, rocks and parallel reefs, here you’ll also get to see swim-throughs and a 40 metres-long tunnel, while other popular attractions are the Middle Reef, the so-called Black John with its rock formations and halocline and the crib with life-size figurines.  

Discover more about this dive site here.

HMS Maori Valletta

Another spectacular wreck from the World War II era, the HMS Maori is found in Fort St. Elmo in Valletta and it’s well-known for the many swim-throughs and holes which you can explore, while it can be easily penetrated, making the dive an even more interesting one. Named after the Maori indigenous people, the vessel was serving with the UK Mediterranean Fleet during World War II when the engine room received a direct hit from a German air raid. The HMS Maori was eventually moved and scuttled just outside Grand Harbour. The torpedoes, anchor chains and the twin bollards at deck level on both sides of the vessel are interesting to explore, while if you swim further towards the bay, you’ll come across a motorbike wreck, old tyres and some barrels.

Interested in this wreck? Discover more here.


Cirkewwa is one of the most visited dive sites and for good reason. Whether you’re looking to swim close by underwater cliffs, through caves, tunnels and natural arches, Cirkewwa will suit every freediver. And if visiting wrecks is your thing, Cirkewwa has two. The P29, which was originally built for the German navy to patrol the border between East and West Germany, can be found at 34 metres depth, lying upright on her keel on a sandy seabed. The second wreck, the MV Rozi is also found lying upright at a depth of around 36 metres. Both shipwrecks have attracted several species of marine life like barracudas, sea breams, scorpionfish, moray eels and so much more.

Find out everything there is to know about this dive site here.

Exiles Tug 2

A popular town among locals and tourists alike bustling with life, Sliema is located on the north east coast of Malta and serves as an excellent freediving site. Located just down the road from the local playground in Sliema’s Exiles area, one of its most popular underwater features is the Exiles Tug 2, built by the Malta Drydocks in 1975 for the Chinese Government. Now lying at the bottom of the sea with a gross weight of 141 tonnes and 30 metres in length, you may enter the wreck and explore the wheelhouse and engine. A great dive for all levels of freedivers, here you can also visit the Exiles reef, known for its sweeping posidonia fields and the diverse fish life. 

Want to find out more about this dive site? Have a look here.

Strewn with interesting sites both above and below the sea, Malta is the ideal place to explore the underwater world, learn new skills with the right freediving course or hone in your abilities whilst freediving in the Mediterranean. And if you would like to explore more of what the Maltese Islands have to offer, have a look at what freediving in Malta’s sister island Gozo is like.

Ready to explore beneath the waves one breath at a time? Get in touch with us to book a freediving course or an excursion.