Marsaxokk Malta Guide - 9 Tips To Enjoy The Fishing Village (2020)
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Marsaxlokk: 9 Essential Travel Tips and Things to do when you visit the fishing village

Marsaxlokk - literally, the port in the South East of Malta. Marsa means "harbour" while "xlokk" is South East in Maltese, so Marsaxlokk, is the harbour in the south east of Malta.

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The small seaside town of Marsaxlokk is a traditional Maltese fishing village visited and loved by locals and tourists alike. Known for its picturesque promenade, its open markets, seafood, and unique swimming spots, it’s the perfect escape spot for those wishing to relax and eat some fantastic fresh seafood as part of their journey to Malta.

Marsaxlokk Parish Church and Harbour

Although it has recently experienced a surge in popularity with tourists, Marsaxlokk still remains a relatively undisturbed place.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your trip to Marsaxlokk.
 

1. Walk along the promenade and browse around the market stalls

One of the first things that comes to mind whenever Marsaxlokk is mentioned is the iconic markets that populate the sidewalks every day of the week, as well as the traditional Maltese fishing boats - otherwise known in Maltese as luzzu - that dot the coast waters.

The Maltese luzzu, a sturdy and reliable boat historically used by fishermen, is one of Malta’s most colourful symbols. Usually seen painted in red, blue, and yellow, these vibrant boats can’t go unnoticed.

Besides the colour, the luzzu also has two “eyes” on the front. While Maltese fisherman are traditionally catholic, superstition is also something which is strong in the community, and hence the addition of the “eye”, or symbol which is used to ward off the evil eye and any bad luck in general, and protect them deep from the "evils" of the deep... 

Traditional Maltese Luzzu

As you amble along the promenade, you'll be walking alongside the open markets.

These are two types of markets you can visit: from Monday to Saturday, the merchant stalls showcase a variety of food, clothing, souvenirs, and other ornaments, as well as other traditional and locally produced items such as jam, honey, traditional Maltese sweets such as nougat (qubbajt), and wine and liquers.

On Sunday mornings, this market is extended and the main focus is the local fishermen’s stalls where they sell their catch directly to their customers, with one of the local favourites being the fresh lampuka (dolphin fish or dorado). But there's plenty of other fish to choose from, from freshly caught qarnita (octupus), to tonn (tuna) and pixxispad (swordfish) steak, cerna (grouper), sargu (seabream) and other fresh catch from the Maltese waters.

This weekly event attracts people from all over Malta, as well as plenty of visitors, meaning that the village can get busier than usual, making it a livelier place than it normally is, and giving residents and tourists a different experience to the norm.

Marsaxlokk Fish Market

Both of these markets are both a sight and an experience, so make sure not to miss them!

For more convenience, it’s best to reach them by public transport on the weekends, since parking spaces tend to be taken up by many of the locals going for their Sunday lunch and strolls in the town.

 

2. Guesthouses, Apartments, and other Accommodation in Marsaxlokk

One of the quirks of Marsaxlokk is that there are no actual hotels in Marsaxlokk that you might typically find in the more popular tourist spots in Malta. You’ll find that most visitors would be lodging in a different area of the island and then visiting the town for the day.

Read More: 25 Malta Hotels (with Best Prices) for Different Budgets

However, this fishing villages offers a good number of charming guesthouses and self-service apartments where guests can stay to enjoy their time.

Guest Houses

Harbour Lodge

Harbour Lodge Marsaxlokk

Offering a free shuttle service to/from the Luqa Airport and just 130m from the seafront promenade, Harbour Lodge is in central Marsaxlokk, and has free wifi throughout all the property. Rooms also have a seating area with a TV and minibar.

Check for availability

Dun Gorg Guest House

At this bed and breakfast guest house, guests staying in any one of the 16 rooms available at the facility get a free breakfast each morning, free 24/7 use of the tea and coffee making facilities, and access to the property’s rooftop terrace, where they can enjoy unobstructed views of the sea and the town at their own leisure.

Check for availability

Port View Guesthouse

Located just a stone’s throw away from the Marsaxlokk promenade, this family-run guesthouse is conveniently located for those who want to enjoy the nightlife and the culinary gems that this village has to offer. Plus, each of the Twin, Double, or Quadruple rooms available come equipped with air conditioning, free wifi, and a flat-screen tv.

Check for availability

Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse

For a different swimming experience, the Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse offers a seasonal outdoor pool for its guests to enjoy whenever the weather allows. Rooms also come with a TV complete with cable channels and a personal computer.

South Wind Guesthouse

Southwind Guest House

With a view of the church and the option to have an apartment with a sea view, this centrally-located guest house is also relatively new, having been open since 2017 only. This means you can expect modern furniture and amenities, and with each stay including a “very good breakfast” buffet in the price, it makes for an ideal accommodation.

The Shipwright’s Lodge


Located on Marsaxlokk's seafront, this guesthouse offers a free buffet and continental breakfast for its guests each morning, and has charming views of the harbour. It also offers modern amenities and interiors.

Duncan Guesthouse

Offering twin, double, or triple rooms, each room features a small kitchenette with a microwave, fridge, and kettle. An English breakfast is available on request, as well as gluten-free options. Their restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

 

Apartments:

Anthony’s Sea Stay

The air-conditioned holiday home consists of one bedroom, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave and a kettle, one bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer, and a terrace. Both a car and a bicycle rental service are available at the accommodation, which can add extra value to your experience of this small village and its surroundings.

 

Seagull Penthouse Marsaxlokk

For a more relaxed and luxurious stay, Penthouse Marsaxlokk offers a very spacious apartment with free WiFi. A barbecue to prepare your meals is provided on the apartment's terrace, as well as a hot tub with views of the harbour and the surrounding countryside.

 

Quayside Apartments

The family-run Quayside apartments are situated in a restored 19th-century building located on the seafront in Marsaxlokk. Boasting traditional and original features such as wooden beams, stone slabs, and hand painted tiles among other things, they provide guests with a very unique experience of Maltese architecture.

Each penthouse has its own charcoal BBQ, six person Jacuzzi , indoor and outdoor dining in the large front terrace overlooking the harbour, a sunbathing area and a laundry facility.

 

MedDeluxe White Pearl

Offering a designer two-bedroom apartment with a balcony and free WiFi, an ensuite and a second bathroom, and a very spacious living/dining area, this self-catering apartment is a premium choice for guests wanting their space and relaxation with a hint of luxury.
 

Lorenza Letting Apartments

Located just a 30 minute walk away from St Peter’s Pool, this apartment boasts 3 bedrooms and is therefore ideal for families or people travelling as a group. Its location within a side street means that guests can enjoy a peaceful stay while still being within walking distance from the center of town.

 

Anchors Away

Spacious enough for groups larger than four people, this apartment has everything guests might need, and more, with a terrace, a BBQ for their use, and an unobstructed view of the seafront.

 


Hostels:

Xrobb L-Ghagin Hostel

For a different experience and a stay that’s away from the main hustle and bustle of the village, this hostel is tucked away in the middle of the sustainable Xrobb l-Ghagin nature park. Offering unobstructed sea views, free wifi, and a simple free breakfast, this hostel is suitable for all ages, especially for travellers on a budget or those travelling in groups.

Alternatively, if you’re still not satisfied with the above and would like to explore your options further, you can use our generic search facility below to find an accommodation that suits your needs better.

If this is not what you're looking for, there are plenty of other accomodations with a wide range of prices available around the Marsaxlokk area or even in more central areas.

Have a look at all available accomodation options in the area.

If you're still not happy with the above, use our generic search facility below to find an accomodation which suits your needs.

Check for other accomodations

4. Best Marsaxlokk Restaurants and Bars

As a fishing village, Marsaxlokk has some of the best seafood restaurants in all of Malta.

With that said, there is also something for everyone, whether you’re an avid fish lover or not. In this section, we’ve rounded up some of the best eateries in town so that you can get some ideas of what you can find when you’re hungry in Marsaxlokk.

In addition, opt for Sunday lunch for a chance to have an experience to live just like a local (booking beforehand is a must, the restaurants get very busy), or choose to dine out during the week to avoid the rush.

 

La Capanna

La Capanna

This family run restaurant located on the seafront of Marsaxlokk is an ideal place to indulge in fresh seafood, meats, and homemade ice creams and dessert. They also have gluten free food, and vegetarian pasta options.

Since this eatery is well-known for its fish, it’s a local favourite, which means that it’s best to ensure a seat at one of the tables outside by booking ahead. 

Tartarun

Tartarun Swordfish Dish

Offering quality cuisine in a casual atmosphere, this family run restaurant offers a menu that uses fresh ingredients to create delicious local dishes with an international twist.

The main focus is local fresh fish, which is brought in daily by the fishermen.

This eatery’s name, ‘tartarun’, is borrowed from the word for a Maltese fishing net.

Ta’ Victor

Ta Victor Restaurant Marsaxlokk

This restaurant’s chef and patron, Victor, has a passion for traditional Maltese food, and offers his guests a menu that includes all the usual dishes one can find in the typical local cuisine: from rabbit to lamb, snails to octopus, lasagne to local fish, and more.

Situated in the main Marsaxlokk square, in front of the Parish church and right across the road from the fishing harbour, restaurant guests can enjoy their meal while immersing themselves in the local feel of the place.

 

Terrone

 

Terrone

Handpicking the best local, organic produce, Terrone’s philosophy of creating a healthy way of dining is reflected in their menu, which changes daily.

Prioritising fresh ingredients, and meals that are made for sharing, its aim is to provide a memorable dining experience, which is facilitated by the charming decor and its quiet location close to the seafront. It also boasts a breakfast menu that’s vegetarian friendly.

 

La Reggia

Set on the main promenade of Marsaxlokk, this restaurant offers a luxurious sea-food oriented menu - along with other local Mediterranean options - that’s matched by luxurious interior decor.

With food creations such as the grilled octopus on a bed of carrot puree, it’s easy to see why this fairly new addition to the street has become so popular already. They also offer a couple of vegetarian options that can be enjoyed as both starters or as main courses.

 

Capo Mulini

Capo Mulini

Another alternative for a cosy atmosphere and a lovely meal by the sea, Capo Mulini is another recently opened eatery that offers pizza, pasta, mains from the grill, and (obviously) seafood.

In fact, from octopus to mussels and clams, this restaurant prides itself on its fresh fish dishes.

 

Ristorante e Pizzeria Dell’Arte

Ristorante del Arte

If the thought of enjoying a delicious pizza at the heart of the local village square, with the parish church gracing the skyline in the background, and the sea just a couple of steps nearby fills you with glee, then sitting down for a meal at this restaurant might just be the thing for you.

 

Southeast Cafe

Southeast Cafe

Just as perfect for a light lunch as it is for dinner, this charming cafe offers a large variety of dishes, from pizza, pasta, and grill, to subs, sandwiches, omelettes, and a long list of desserts.

 

iPlace

iPlace

Known to provide one of Malta’s most technologically advanced dining experiences, iPlace gives its customers the chance to browse the menu and order their food directly from iPads.

They can also pick their ideal spot in the restaurant, from which they can watch their own selected channels. The food itself is both high quality and diverse, offering something for everyone, from their selection of iPlace signature pizzas, fresh meat and fish dishes, seafood risottos, and other culinary treats.

5. Getting there

As Marsaxlokk is becoming more and more popular among travellers, it’s easily accessible from the airport by bus or taxi, as well as connections from other localities nearby in Malta.

Malta Airport to Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk is located 6.6 kilometers away from the Malta International Airport in Luqa, and can be reached by car in around 15 minutes, depending on the traffic.

By Public Transport

The cheapest option is using the local public transport.The 119 bus can take you directly to Marsaxlokk after making stops in other towns. The journey takes about 40 minutes. It’s also important to note that the final destination for this route is Marsascala, so you have to remember to hop off the bus at the Marsaxlokk bus stop!

A ticket for the 119 bus (or any other public transport fare) costs €1.50 in winter, €2.00 in summer, and €3.00 for the night service when you buy tickets directly from the driver. Prepaid cards are cheaper in the long-run, so if you're planning to do a lot of exploring by bus, you might want to check out the different types of cards you can purchase on the Malta Public Transport website to orient yourself with the options you have before coming to Malta.

In addition, if you find yourself in Valletta and want to make your way down to Marsaxlokk, the 81 bus takes you there directly in about half an hour if there is no traffic, and so does the 85 (though this route takes a little longer).

By Taxi

Taking a cab is a faster but pricier option, with standard fares starting at about €14 with pre-booked private cabs such as eCabs. Alternatively, you can catch a taxi directly from the stand at the airport, but you'll find that at peak hours you might find yourself waiting, so booking beforehand is recommended.

Shuttle services such as those offered by MaltaTransfer from the airport to Marsaxlokk cost about €20 and should also be booked beforehand.

By Car

You can also get to Marsaxlokk by private car (if you've hired a car at the airport), but parking can be difficult if you don’t know the area’s less car-dense spots. It is advisable to ask for parking at the hotel or accommodation where you are staying, to avoid wasting time looking for a parking spot upon your arrival.

Other than these methods of transportation, you can always coordinate with your accommodation and ask them whether or not they can provide you with a private airport shuttle. Usually, these come at an extra cost, but might be worth considering for the sake of convenience.

Hop-on, hop-off buses

Much like many other larger cities, you’ll find the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ buses to also be a staple in Malta and its tourism industry. As such, you can find that the South Route Tour tours is dedicated to showing visitors the southern parts of the island, including Marsaxlokk.

The 1-day tour tickets come at €20 for adults and €12 for children.

If you’re short on time this can be an ideal way to enjoy this village and all the others that are included in the route, without feeling like you’re missing out!

 

6. Beaches in Marsaxlokk

St Peter’s Pool

During your holiday escape in Marsaxlokk, one way to further experience what the south has to offer that differs from the other tourist hubs in Malta is to visit the rocky beach spot of St Peter’s Pool. 

 

Surrounded by deep blue waters and natural limestone rocks, this natural inlet pool is known for being an ideal and not-so-daunting cliff jumping spot, where adventurous sea-goers can jump into the water from a couple of meters above the sea level. For those who are afraid of heights or don’t have the same craving for an adrenaline rush, ladders are also available to access the sea from June to the beginning of September.

 

Located right in between Marsaxlokk and Delimara Point, St Peter’s Pool takes around 30 minutes to reach on foot from the village, which makes for a great hike around the surrounding area. 

 

Another way to reach this beach is to take a less conventional but more picturesque route by boat. Look around the Marsaxlokk promenade for Charlie, otherwise known as Ta’ Gori, who offers boat trips in his traditional Maltese luzzu around the local harbour, as well as swimming trips to St Peter’s Pool and the Birzebbugia sandy beach known as Pretty Bay.

 

It’s interesting to know that this quite small and fairly isolated beach went viral a few months back, thanks to the Maltese diving dog “Titti”. This small fox terrier and its owner is an avid diver and a YouTube video of their antics has racked up more than 3.2 million views.

 

 

Search for Maltese diving dog on YouTube and you’ll find plenty of videos of Titti and his owner Carmelo.

 

Sadly, Titti passed away in Janaury of 2019, but Carmelo has adopted a new dog: Tina, which we’re sure will develop a similar passion to Titti...so watch out for Tina if you’re visiting!

 

Another interesting tidbit about this beach, which the Maltese like to mention, is that the late former prime minister of Malta, Dom Mintoff, used to frequent this area often, seen here daily early in the morning, because he used to live right up the road from the beach.

 

Kalanka Bay

Even closer to the edge of Marsaxlokk and the most south-eastern part of Malta, Kalanka Bay is located 1.2 kilometers away from St. Peter’s Pool in the area of Delimara.

Unlike St Peter’s Pool, this beach is not very well-known among tourists, and is even quite quiet during the summer months, making it a perfect spot for relaxing and taking a break.

This also means that you will find plenty of room to settle yourself in under the shade provided by the natural rock formations sheltering a part of the bay. It’s also a good spot for snorkeling, given that the waters are especially clear in this area.

Since there are no facilities around the bay, it’s a good idea to bring your own food and water, especially since the walk to the beach can be quite tiring under the hot summer sun.

 

Xrobb l-Ghagin

Close by the Xrobb l-Ghagin nature reserve lies a rocky beach area with the same name, which can be split into two parts - il-Ħofra l-Kbira and il-Ħofra-ż-Żgħira, literally translatable to “The Big Hole” and “The Small Hole”, in reference to a small bay and a bay that is slightly larger.

Xrobb l-ghagin

Much like Kalanka Bay, these areas are very quiet and tourist-free, meaning that they’re other good locations for a peaceful, uninhibited dip in the ocean. There’s shade provided by the cliffs above here too, and the similar tips apply as with the other quiet beaches in Marsaxlokk.

 

7. Things to Do

Marsaxlokk Parish Church


When keeping in mind Malta’s history and culture, a visit to the local parish church seems natural to include as a place to visit when in Marsaxlokk.

 

Dedicated to Our Lady of Pompei, this church started being built in 1890, and is nowadays a part of the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

 

Within the church walls, visitors can find a number of paintings by Giuseppe Cali, as well as a statue representing the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus.

 

For an extra treat, one can catch the village feast in Marsaxlokk on the 8th of May, the 1st Sundays of both August and October, where religious processions and firework displays are staples of the traditional celebrations.
 

Delimara Lighthouse

This active 19th century lighthouse overlooks Marsascala and Birzebbugia, two other seaside towns in the south of Malta.

Delimara Lighthouse

Throughout the years, this lighthouse acted as a beacon to the Maltese shipping industry. It is also considered by some to be a landmark of British architecture, since it was built during the time of the British rule in the Maltese islands.

Given its proximity to St Peter’s Pool, the Delimara lighthouse is a sight worth visiting, if only as a short stop before or after spending some time at one of Marsaxlokk’s most well-known beaches.

 

Bonus Tip: the lighthouse has been restored and converted into two lighthouse-keeper’s apartments that can be rented out to people on holiday. For more information about the property as an accommodation, you can visit the Din L-Art Helwa website, which is the organisation that owns the establishment.

 

Tas-Silġ

About a 15 minute walk out of the centre of Marsaxlokk lies the area known as Tas-Silġ, which is mostly known for being the site of a shrine, transferred from one civilization to the next throughout history.

Translating to ‘Fort of Ice’, the Fort Tas-Silġ in Marsaxlokk is a polygonal fort that was built between the years of 1879 and 1883 by the British, and is located on high ground at the shoreward end of Delimara Point, above il-Ħofra-ż-Żgħira

Its primary function was as a fire control point controlling the massed guns of Fort Delimara on the headland below, and was part of a chain of fortifications that were meant to protect the Marsaxlokk Harbour during wartime.

Nowadays, the fort is rented by the Island Sanctuary, a local organisation, and used as a refuge for stray dogs.

There are also the ruins of tas-Silg, a multi-period sanctuary site with archaeological remains covering four thousand years, from the neolithic to the fourth century AD. The site includes a megalithic temple complex dating from the early third millennium BC, to a Phoenician and Punic sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Astarte.
 

St Lucian’s Tower

Also known as Fort Rohan, this large bastioned watchtower and polygonal fort in Marsaxlokk was originally built by the order of St John, and dates back to 1610.

St. Lucian's Tower

There’s a lot of stories and history surrounding this fort, including local legends about a woman who had a dream about attacks from the Ottoman empire who urged that word be spread to the Grandmaster in power at the time for the fort to be built. Eventually, the warning was eventually heeded after an attack actually took place!

 

In the present day, the fort houses the administration offices of a government fish farm and is known as the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre.

 

8. Interesting Facts about this location and tips from the locals

  • The name of the town comes from the words marsa, meaning ‘port’, and xlokk, which is the Maltese word for ‘south east’, since the town is basically a port town in the southeastern part of Malta.

  • Marsaxlokk was used as a port by Phoenicians in the 9th century BC (and they even had their own temple dedicated to the goddess Astarte), the Carthaginians, the Turks, and also has the remains of a Roman-era harbour.

  • Prior to becoming a town with its own local population, Marsaxlokk used to be a retreat town, where many locals used to go to spend their summer, without living there all year round. The first record of a living population were from 1890, with 210 people reportedly living in the village. As of 2019, the population of the town was recorded at 3,026 residents.

  • The fishermen in Marsaxlokk are responsible for supplying most of Malta's fish, as about 70% of the Maltese fishing fleet is based there.

  • Opt for comfortable shoes if you’re going to be walking around the village, especially if you decide to hike up to one of the nearby beaches.

  • Also remember to take an ample amount of water with you, especially if you’re visiting Marsaxlokk and the rest of Malta in the summer months. It can get very hot, especially at noon and in the few hours after that, and if you’re planning on hiking around the less inhabited areas of the village, you might not run into any shops or facilities.

  • If you’ve planned on paying a visit to the daily market or the one that’s held on Sundays, aim for an early morning so you can avoid the rush of people.

  • Some restaurants and shops still don’t accept credit cards for a payment that’s under a certain amount, and some just don’t accept cards altogether, so it’s always a good idea to carry cash with you. Book well in advance for Sunday lunch! It's practially impossible to walk in to a restaurant for Sunday lunch with having pre-booked.

  • If you’re an avid seafood lover and you go for a meal in Marsaxlokk, go for a dish with octopus (qarnita) or the local lampuki. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff for the chef’s recommendation! There’s plenty of good local fish, the John Dory (Pesce San Pietro) is always an excellent choice, the sea bream (sargu) is great too, or else go for something with such as the dusky grouper (cerna) or white grouper (dott). Grilled is always better than fried or stew (except for octopus), because the fish keeps its taste.

9. Frequently Asked Questions

As a visitor looking to plan a trip to Marsaxlokk, here are some questions you might have, which we’ve got the answers to:

 

  • Should I stay here as part of my holiday? Yes, if you’d like a more slow-paced, relaxing holidays. The town has connections to the two other adjacent towns or Marsascala and Birzebbugia, which are also by the sea, and offer their own little havens of laid-back tourism. As Malta becomes more and more accustomed to tourists, and given that Marsaxlokk is a fairly small village, you’ll find everything you may need within walking distance.
  • What's the weather like? Malta has a relatively small area so you'll find that the weather does not vary much from one place to the other. In all likelihood, if the weather says it's going be nice and sunny in Malta, that's what the weather will be like in Sliema. (Why not have a look at our weather breakdown by season in our Best Time to Visit Malta article?)
  • Is it safe? Malta has few if any no-go areas which are not safe. The crime rate is very low and generally speaking the country remains one of the safest, but it's never a bad idea to keep an eye out for your and your companions' safety. If you find yourself in an area or situation which looks and feel dodgy, get yourself to more popular areas quickly.
  • Can I find free Wi-Fi? As with most places around the world, you'll find that most bars, food places and cafes offer free connectivity. The Maltese government also has a program of providing free Wi-FI in squares and public gardens - so look out for MCA Free Wifi to get connected for free.
  • Can I eat cheaply? Absolutely, if you go to the right places. There are ways and means of shopping around for the right prices. Visiting any of the small kiosks, pizza stands and other such food stalls should result in a good bargain and any very local eatery will provide snacks and food cheaply (and yes, it is very safe to eat there, despite the fact that they might look grubby). Alternatively, you can do some shopping are grocery stores or supermarkets such as Spar Supermarket or The Convenience Shop.
 

 

If you've still got questions about visiting Marsaxlokk, we'd love to hear from you!

Why not book your holiday to Malta now?

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