A complete guide to the colorful Maltese fishing village of Marsaxlokk, Malta.
Marsaxlokk Bay is one of Malta’s most famous villages. Known for its colorful traditional fishing boats and lively Sunday market, this is certainly one of the best places to visit in the Maltese Islands if you’re looking for rich culture and amazing photography opportunities.
In this guide, I’ll break down everything you need to know about visiting Marsaxlokk, Malta, and give you tips on 8 awesome things to do here!
- About Marsaxlokk – Malta’s Colorful Fishing Village
- How to Get to Marsaxlokk
- 8 Best Things to do in Marsaxlokk Malta
- 1. The Marsaxlokk Market
- 2. Photograph the Colorful Maltese Fishing Boats (luzzu)
- 3. Explore the Marsaxlokk Beaches
- 4. The Marsaxlokk Parish Church
- 5. Malta Coastal Mountain Bike Adventure from Marsaxlokk
- 6. Visit Nearby St Peters Pool
- 7. Eat at the Marsaxlokk Restaurants
- 8. Visit Il-Kalanka Beach & Lighthouse
- Where to Stay in Malta
- Marsaxlokk Travel FAQs
- After Marsaxlokk Village – More Things to do in Malta
About Marsaxlokk - Malta's Colorful Fishing Village
Marsaxlokk Village is located in the south eastern region of Malta, not far from the international airport.
The Port of Marsaxlokk is well-protected by the opposing headland known as Delimara Point and therefore serves as the ideal location for a fishing fleet. In fact, this traditional fishing village has been used as a port by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and the Order of Saint John.
Today, the colorful village accommodates a traditional Maltese fishing fleet. These boats are called luzzu, with the tradition of these boats dating back to the early 20th century. They are the icon of Malta, and if you want to see these beautifully designed boats, you'll want to visit Marsaxlokk!
There is good tourism infrastructure in this village, with many visitors coming from all over the Maltese Islands every weekend to see the Marsaxlokk open market and explore the nearby beaches and scenic coves.
Did you know? While it is a mouthful, the name Marsaxlokk is a Maltese word that means "harbor" (marsa) with "southeasterly wind" (xlokk). The correct way to pronounce it is "mar-sa-shlock".
How to Get to Marsaxlokk
There are three main ways to get to Marsaxlokk.
- Visit Marsaxlokk on an organized day trip
- Rent a car and drive to Marsaxlokk
- Use the public transport network
The best option will depend on where you are staying in Malta and how you choose to explore the islands. Below I'll break down each option for getting here.
Option 1: Marsaxlokk Day Trip
To make the most of your Malta sightseeing days, a great option is to book the Malta highlights tour, which includes a visit to Marsaxlokk village, as well as:
- Fortified City of Mdina - the old capital of Malta
- Dingli Cliffs viewpoint - the highest point in Malta
- Catacombs in Rabat
- Artisan Village
This tour includes hotel pickup from all over Malta, including Valletta, Mellieha, or Sliema/St Julians.
It's possible to book this tour online in advance. However, it is a small-group tour and tickets can sell out quickly, especially during the peak summer season and on Sundays, when everyone wants to visit the market!
Option 2: Self Drive
Independent travelers will love Malta! Renting a car is very easy and this enables access to all of the best attractions and of course, the lesser-known hidden gems!
Expect a 25-minute drive from Valletta, 30 minutes from Sliema or Paceville, and about 45 minutes to an hour from Mellieha Bay.
The final leg of the drive follows the Triq Marsaxlokk road, descending steadily from a hilly landscape into the protected seaside village. There is a huge parking lot once you arrive next to the town's football field. It's marked on Google Maps as "Public Parking Space".
Car Rentals in Malta
The best way to experience both Malta and Gozo islands is to rent your own car! I recommend booking well in advance using price comparison sites like DiscoverCars if traveling in the busy summer season.
Option 3: Public Transport
The island of Malta is well-connected by a network of cheap and effective bus routes.
To get to Marsaxlokk, you'll want to jump on bus #81, stopping directly at Marsaxlokk village. This route departs from Valletta and takes approximately 40 minutes. Tourists staying in the village can also take bus #119 straight from the airport.
If you're staying in other areas of the island, the best choice is to take a bus or taxi to Valletta first, as there are no other connections to Marsaxlokk from places like St Pauls Bay or Mellieha.
Travel tip: There is also a very affordable Malta hop-on-hop-off bus which includes a stop at Mdina, Three Cities, the Blue Grotto Caves, and Marsaxlokk village.
8 Best Things to do in Marsaxlokk Malta
1. The Marsaxlokk Market
The Marsaxlokk Open Market is a fresh fish market open every single Sunday in Marsaxlokk Harbour. This is quite a popular tourist attraction, with travelers from all over the archipelago visiting on the weekends to purchase fresh fish and seafood, or just to experience the unique seaside culture.
The market is located on the waterfront in the bay, with several undercover market stalls set up for the occasion.
Additionally, tourists will also be able to purchase fresh produce and souvenirs here, since the market usually contains more than just fish these days. You'll also find plenty of great restaurants serving a variety of food around the bay as well, making for a great day out!
2. Photograph the Colorful Maltese Fishing Boats (luzzu)
The main reason I wanted to visit the Marsaxlokk village was for an opportunity to photograph the traditional Maltese fishing boats - the colorful luzzu's.
As soon as you arrive in this picturesque town, you'll see them either docked to the port or moored all over the bay. All of these boats are part of active fishing fleets, with local fishermen still using them today to haul in their catch.
I recommend walking down to the market street to get some close-up views of these Maltese cultural icons.
3. Explore the Marsaxlokk Beaches
While the main attractions in Marsaxlokk are the markets and colorful fishing boats, there are many more worthwhile places to visit nearby. In fact, the village has two of its own sandy beaches, namely Ballut ta' Marsaxlokk, and Marsaxlokk Strand.
These are two great places to have a swim. However, the natural ambiance is disrupted slightly by the unsightly Malta Freeport in the distance. Alternatively, there are some better beaches to explore nearby (read on below).
4. The Marsaxlokk Parish Church
Of course, being a Maltese village, you're going to find a famous church in Marsaxlokk. This one is called the Parish Church of Our Lady of Pompei, or Santwarju tal-Madonna ta’ Pompei in Maltese.
This is a 19th-century Roman Catholic Parish church located in the main square of Marsaxlokk village. Admittedly, there are many more beautiful churches in other villages, but this one is worth taking a look inside nonetheless!
5. Malta Coastal Mountain Bike Adventure from Marsaxlokk
Perhaps the funnest and most adventurous thing to do in Marsaxlokk is to go on a mountain bike trip. When I visited the village, I met up with the guys from MC Adventure to go on a mountain bike trip up the nearby Munxar Cliffs from Marsaxlokk.
This route follows the coast north from the fishing village to the neighboring village of Marsaskala and all the way up to the remote Tal-Inwadar National Park. Along the way, you'll pass some beautiful cliffs and stunning beaches before looping back to the Marsaxlokk parking lot.
6. Visit Nearby St Peters Pool
One of my favorite places to take a dip in Malta is the beautiful St Peter's Pool, located on Delimara Point near Marsaxlokk. This is an awesome secluded cove with a deep pool, great for swimming and cliff jumping!
It's possible to walk here from Marsaxlokk harbour, following a scenic coastal route for approximately 45 minutes. If you've got your own car, then you can park your car at the dedicated parking area.
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7. Eat at the Marsaxlokk Restaurants
This quaint Maltese fishing village is the perfect place to grab lunch or dinner by the water. There are several great restaurants here, mostly serving delicious seafood meals. Some of the best restaurants and cafes in Maraxlokk are:
- Roots Restaurant - traditional restaurant with a lively atmosphere in Marsaxlokk harbour
- T'Annamari Restaurant - serving traditional Maltese food
- Shichiria - Japanese restaurant serving the freshest seafood in Malta
- La Nostra Padrona - delicious Maltese food with outdoor seating.
8. Visit Il-Kalanka Beach & Lighthouse
Those looking for interesting things to do in Marsaxlokk should certainly make their way over to Il-Kalanka point. There are some beautiful beaches here, including the famous Il-Kalanka bay, a rocky cove with a sandy shore, and crystal-clear water for swimming.
At the very end of Delimara Point is the Il-Kalanka Lighthouse, a spectacular place to sit and enjoy the sunset!
Also, if you head across from Il-Kalanka Beach, you'll discover Fort Delimara, a polygonal fort built in 1876 by the British.
Where to Stay in Malta
While visitors will find hotels and resorts scattered all over Malta's islands, the most popular neighborhoods to base yourself in Malta include Valletta, Sliema & St Julian's, Mellieħa Bay, and Gozo Island.
Travelers also have a broad variety of accommodation types, from 5-star resorts to traditional terraced boutique hotels. To save you time searching, below are the four best accommodation picks for Malta, based on location, reviews, and my personal experience.
- St Julian's & Sliema Area: The Hilton
This is Malta's premiere resort, located at the heart of the picturesque Portomaso Marina. This is a great pick if you're trying to balance great location with utmost luxury.
- Valletta: Iniala Harbour House
Perched atop Valletta's stunning St Barbara Bastion, this incredible boutique experience is well-regarded as one of the best accommodation options in Malta. The experience offers stunning views of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities from traditional Maltese balconies.
- Mellieħa - db Seabank Resort
The db Seabank is well-regarded as the best resort in the calmer Mellieħa area. Situated just feet from the white sandy shores of Malta's longest beach, this complete all-inclusive hotel offers features five restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, multiple pools, and even a bowling alley!
- Gozo - Quaint Boutique Hotel (Nadur)
Accommodation on Malta's quieter sister island should reflect its more peaceful and traditional ambiance. This beautifully renovated boutique hotel is situated directly beside the Nadur Parish Church, with spacious balcony terraces looking over the town square.
Travel tip: Accommodation in Malta sells out quickly, especially for the summer vacation period. This is a location where you do not want to book at the last minute!
The Ultimate Malta Travel Resource
Looking for more Malta travel guides and inspiration? Below are my most comprehensive blog posts that will serve as a great free resource for your trip.
Marsaxlokk Travel FAQs
Travelers in Malta looking for an opportunity to spot the famous luzzu fishing boats and immerse themselves in the traditional seaside culture will definitely not want to miss the colorful fishing village of Marsaxlokk!
This is a 25-30 minute drive, roughly 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from Valletta.
The best things to see in Marsaxlokk are the colorful Maltese fishing boats, the luzzu, and the famous Marsaxlokk open seafood market.
Malta is known for its famous feasts, occurring in every village in the archipelago. Marsaxlokk holds its Festa in the last week of July.
After Marsaxlokk Village - More Things to do in Malta
I hope that you've enjoyed this travel guide featuring 8 fun things to do in Marsaxlokk, Malta.
After exploring this amazing colorful fisherman village, make sure to check out some of the other must-see destinations in Malta. Below I've linked some useful guides to get started.