Written by Angele Satariano
An accountant by profession, Angele spent 8 years at a desk job, until she decided to follow her dream to become an athlete and open her own health and fitness studio – Active Spirit.
Her running personal best times are: 1500m 4’49”, 3000m 10’31”, 5000m 18’30”, 10km 38’22” and half marathon 1hr 26′ 23″
Angele represented Malta in the European and World Mountain Running Championships in 2016 and 2017 and also ran the 1500m at the European Team Championships that were held in Malta in June 2017.
Read more about Angele in her Story.
As a mid-long distance runner, changing up my running route is important! If I run the same route day in day out, I find myself knowing it off by heart – giant nerd, I know! I’d know exactly where each km marker lies and how long it should take me to get there, every little (or big!) hill and how tough it is to climb. When I run a new route, I’m distracted by the fact that I’m exploring a new place. I won’t be so sure till where I need to run to cover a specific distance or how tough/easy the route is going to be. I LOVE and NEED these unknowns when running.
If you’re like me and need new routes to keep your runs interesting, or maybe you’re new to running in Malta, here are my top 6 favorite places to run on our tiny island of Malta:
This route tops my list of favourites! Starting from the Chapel of Bidnija you have plenty of options. You can choose to run to Wardija (quiet roads with gorgeous country views), Fomm ir-Rih (roads are even more quiet with just an occasional farmer passing through and you’re treated with a breathtaking view of the bay from up above at the turning point) and even up to Dwejra for longer runs.
- All these routes have easy/moderate inclines so they’re not too tough;
- Most importantly, they’re pretty traffic free (except early mornings on weekdays due to a nearby school);
- you can hear the birds chirping, breathe fresh air, and watch a beautiful sunrise.
- Between 7am and 9am the country roads of Bidnija, Wardija and Mgarr are usually busy. Roads are narrow with no pavement so you need to be cautious with oncoming traffic.
2. St. Julians Promenade
The St Julians promenade is my second favorite place to run. Spinola Bay is usually my starting point. The St Julians promenade is an A-mazing place to run for many reasons:
- Its relatively flat – YAY!
- Its approximately 9 km from Spinola, through Tigne Point, all along the promenade to the new Valletta Marina. That means 18km when running both ways – perfect for a long run;
- Gorgeous views. Sunrise is always stunning, and on a windy day the rough sea is impressive to watch;
- Plenty of coffee/breakfast options to choose from after your run. My favs: Smoothie from Dr. Juice, coffee from Costa Coffee and breakfast at NAAR or my new favourite Crust.
- Extremely busy with tourists in summer so avoid at all costs on summer evenings otherwise you will not be able to run – unless you don’t mind zigzagging constantly between people and prams! Early mornings are the best time to run here in summer;
- Quite open to the elements. Will be very hot in summer due to limited shade (early mornings are recommended, evenings not an option for me due to the crowds). On windy days gusts could be very strong on certain parts of the route;
- If you’re running during rush hour it can get quite polluted and noisy.
3. Ibrag to Gharghur
Starting from the Old Halland Hotel in Ibrag, through Madliena Road, crossing the valley past Busietta Gardens and up to ‘Top of the World’ in Gharghur. This adds up to a hilly 4.5km. If you continue past Top Of The World you can run through San Pawl Tat-Targa, Mosta, Bidnija and even all the way to Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (approx. 18km one way)!
- This route is relatively quiet, with not much traffic;
- It’s pretty! There are nice villas to admire along the way and some are so quaint and cute. Once you pass Madliena the valley views and distant sea views are breathtaking. And once you reach Top of The World, stopping for a moment to admire the view is a must!
- Perfect if you want to improve your hill running, but not so good the day after a race or track session when your legs are tired!
4. Ibrag to Pembroke
Starting from the Old Halland Hotel, down Triq Ta’ L-Ibrag, turn left onto the main road and run down to the pelican lights and cross the road. Right behind the bus stop you’ll see a little lane. Follow it and just cut straight across until you’re in Triq Il-Professur W. Ganado. At the bottom of this road (just before the Radisson Hotel), enter the park/garden from the top, and exit at the bottom, run straight through the car park and you’ll find yourself on a walking trail by the sea which you can follow all the way up to the Pembroke tower. From there you have options: You can either follow a trail that leads you to Bahar Ic-Caghaq and the coast road. You can choose to return via Triq Adrian Dingli (shorter route) or else run back the way you came (longer route).
- Once you enter the garden the route is very quiet and car-free;
- Gorgeous scenery.
- On early humid summer mornings you might find yourself swamped in bugs (only when on the walking trail by the sea). They hover in packs in the middle of the trail and running through them is unavoidable as you don’t notice them till its too late.
5. Qawra to St. Pauls Bay/Xemxija
This is another gorgeous route along a lovely promenade. I usually start from the Aquarium and run to St Pauls bay and back. When I want a longer route I keep on going until Xemxija bay.
- Really lovely views especially on nice sunny days;
- Quite flat;
- Ta’ Fra Ben is a perfect spot for a post-run dip;
- The kiosk just above the Ta’ Fra Ben beach has the most amazing blueberry muffins which go so well with a coffee 🙂
Cons – Can’t think of any! Never ran along this route on a summer evening, but you might find that its very busy like St Julians.
6. Bingemma to Kuncizzjoni
This is a beautiful countryside route. The Malta National Mountain Race (check out @maltamountainrunning on Facebook) takes place along this route, so you’ve probably guessed that it’s very hilly! It starts at the wind turbine at Bingemma (down near Mgarr), up past the Bingemma chapel and along to one of the highest points on the island (236m). The race finishes at the Kuncizzjoni chapel in Rabat. The route is 5.6km one way, so if you’re running back to the start you’ll run a total of 11.2km.
- Beautiful scenery;
- Quiet roads.
- You’ll need lots of stamina for the first 3km due to steep hills!
I have yet to discover more and more running routes on the island, but in the meantime, let me know what you think about my top 6 in the comments…. Happy running!
At Active Spirit we offer a range of fitness classes that will strengthen your whole body, helping you to run faster, stronger and longer and prevent injuries! Check out our class timetable and also do not hesitate to contact us if you need any fitness or running tips!