Are you planning a day trip to Marsaxlokk? Or maybe you are not sure if it’s even worth visiting and what are the things to do in Marsaxlokk. You came to the right place as I will answer all your burning questions about visiting Marsaxlokk on a day trip.
There are a few staple day trips that are a must for anyone visiting Malta, and a day trip to Marsaxlokk is definitely one of them. Quintessentially Maltese, postcard-perfect and utterly charming, Mrsaxlokk will be a Malta day trip that you won’t forget.
You know those photos of Malta with colourful luzzu boats moored in a picturesque bay? Chances are, it’s a photo of Marsaxlokk (or St. Julians Bay). But believe me, Marsaxlokk has more to offer than just pretty views and colourful boats.
I used to visit Marsaxlokk often, whenever I had a free weekend. It was one of those trips around Malta that I didn’t mind repeating. This fishing village has so much charm and tranquilly that once you arrive, you will feel that it was exactly what your soul needed.
Plus, I often combined this visit with a nice hike and a dip in St Peter’s Pool. So you can take it from me that I know how to make the most of a day trip to Marsaxlokk.
Below I will answer all your Marsaxlokk questions. How to get there, what to do, where to eat and more.
Marsaxlokk is a quaint fishing village located on the southeast coast of Malta, famous for its picturesque bay where colourful fishing boats luzzu are moored. It is officially known as the fishing village of Malta.
Marsaxlokk has been used as a fishing village since ancient times. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and also the Order of St John used it as a port and over the years it became a fishermen’s hub and still is today. It’s said that 70% of all Luzzu boats in Malta are moored in Mrsaxlokk.
The village is also famous for its weekly fish market, which takes place every Sunday. Both tourists and locals visit the village on Sundays to shop for the freshest and most delicious fish and seafood.
But if you don’t feel like cooking, dont fret. There are also many excellent restaurants lined up by the harbour where you can order the catch of the day and water it down with Maltese wine.
Marsaxlokk itself is also extremely picturesque. With many doors painted in rainbow colours, charming streets and a harbour lined with many seafood restaurants – even if you decide to do nothing but stroll around, you’ll enjoy it nevertheless.
Is Marsaxlokk Worth Visiting
The picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy, charming village of Marsaxlokk isn’t only worth visiting, it’s a must-see. It’s one of the top 3 things every visitor to Malta should experience. After Valletta and Mdina. Quite different from the other two cities, Marsaxlokk is Malta’s most traditional fishing village and will complete your overall experience of the country.
How to get to Mrsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk is very easy to reach by public transport from Valletta. No matter where you are in Malta, I recommend planning your trip to Valletta first.
Once in Valletta, just get on bus number 81 or 85 at the Valletta bus station, which will take you directly to the centre of Marsaxlokk. The bus ride is a bit long, taking about 45 minutes depending on traffic, but can be quite scenic and was never a problem for me. The bus ticket costs €2 one way.
You can plan your journey on Malta public transport website.
The easiest way To get to Marsaxlokk by bus from St. Julians or Sliema is to first take the ferry (from Sliema waterfront ) or the bus to Valletta and change there to bus 81 or 85.
You can also opt for a taxi ride, preferably with an Uber or Bolt. A ride from Valletta should not cost you more than €15.
Of course, if you have decided to rent a car for your Malta trip, it’s very easy to get to Marsaxlokk by car. The drive from Valletta to Marsaxlokk takes about 20 minutes.
If you are looking to hire a car in Malta, you can compare different car rental prices and deals here.
Another interesting way to get to Marsaxlokk is to take the Hop On Hop Of bus. This is worthwhile especially if you do not plan to stay for a whole day, and you will jump on a bus to perhaps visit the Blue Grotto or Valletta. The advantage is that the bus will take you directly from St. Julians or Sliema to Marrsaxlokk and you can ride around Malta many times during the day.
If you do not want to deal with all the logistics, you can also opt for an organized day tour.
This highly-rated tour will take you not only to Marsaxlokk, but also to Zurrieq Valley and the Blue Grotto, and this tour includes the Hagar Qim Temples and also the Blue Grotto.
Visiting Marsaxlokk on a tour has advantages and disadvantages. Especially if you are short on time this might be the best option if you want to visit more than one point of interest in one day. Yet you will have limited time to spend in Marsaxlokk and it is unlikely that you will have the opportunity to visit St. Peter’s Pool.
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Things to do on a Day Trip to Marsaxlokk
Explore the village of Marsaxlokk and take tonnes of pictures
The truth is that you can take a day trip to Marsaxlokk with no plan whatsoever and still have a wonderful time. The village is so cute and picturesque that just walking around and taking photos will make for a great day.
Take a stroll along the harbour and admire the traditional colourful Luzzu boats decorated with symbolic eyes. Watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day or repair their boats and nets. Walk around the village or stop for a cold drink or snack and just observe the slow life of the village. It’s nice to stop from time to time, and Marsaxlokk may be the right place to do just that.
About Luzzu Boats:
Luzzu boats are traditional Maltese fishing boats and Mrsaxlokk is said to be home to almost 70% of them. They’re known for their distinctive shape and are typically painted in blue, yellow, red and green. On the front of each Luzzu, you’ll see a pair of eyes – referred to as the Eye of Orisis.
It is believed that the origins of the eyes date back to Phoenician times (Orisis was the Phoenician god of protection against evil) when these seafarers and traders established a trading post in the central Mediterranean on Malta. It’s also believed that the Phoenicians may have adopted the concept of the eyes from the Egyptians, who also used a comparable ocular symbol to represent protection, royal power and good health.
For Maltese fishermen, those blue eyes symbolise protection and good health and are believed to protect fishermen from any harm at sea.
Luzzus are robust and stable, enabling fishermen to conquer even the roughest of seas with ease. While Luzzus of the past were smaller and used sails, today’s boats are bigger and equipped with diesel engines.
Interestingly, these beautiful boats are usually inherited from fathers and grandfathers. Although the exact colours of different Luzzus differ from each other, the colours and design of each Luzzu never change and remain the same for generations.
These charming boats are a testament to Malta’s seafaring heritage and remain a much-loved part of the country’s rich maritime culture.
Enjoy Mrasaxlokk Sunday Fish Market
The Marsaxlokk Sunday Market is one of the largest and most popular markets in Malta. The fish market is held every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm and many locals come here to buy the freshest fish and seafood. If you’re lucky enough to stay in a property with kitchen facilities you can get your own fresh fish. But don’t worry, the market is an attraction in itself and besides fish products, you can also find other items like souvenirs, clothes and local handicrafts.
If you cannot or don’t want to come on Sunday, there is also a daily market in Maraxlokk. It’s not a fish market, but you can still buy some souvenirs, clothes or food and you might even be surrounded by fewer tourists.
Visit Fort St. Lucian
If you want to make the most of your day trip to Marsaxlokk and look for interesting sights, I recommend you take a look at Fort St. Lucian.
Fort St Lucian is a large bastioned watchtower and polygonal fort and was originally built by the Order of St John between 1610 and 1611. In the 1870s, the British rebuilt the fort in the polygonal style. Today, however, the fort and tower serve as the premises for the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre.
As far as I know, you can unfortunately no longer visit the interior, but it’s still worth admiring it from the outside.
Church of Our Lady of Pompei
If you like visiting beautiful churches, then Malta is your paradise. There are 360 churches in Malta and Maltese like to say that there is a church for each day of the year.
Parish Church in honour of Our Lady of Pompeii is the epicentre of the village and very much worth visiting for its distinct Maltese architecture and beautifully decorated in gold, white and red interiors. The building is decorated with several historical statues as well as artworks by famous Maltese painter Giuseppe Cali.
The church was built by Marquess Rosalia Apap Viani Testaferrata, who vowed to build it after she was saved from a violent storm at sea by local fishermen.
Take a boat (or hike) to St Peter's Pool
St Peter’s Pool is an incredible attraction in itself. So if you have a full day planned for your trip to Marsaxlokk, be sure to dedicate some of it to a visit to St. Peter’s Pool.
It is located at Delimara Point, not far from Maarsaxlokk, and is a fantastic rocky beach in the shape of a cove and a famous cliff jumping spot. The water is crystal clear and the horizon is unspoiled. It is easy to get to St. Peter’s Pool from Marsaxlokk and you can spend as little as one hour or as much as a whole day there.
Considered a hidden gem not so long ago, it has become increasingly popular over the years, so I always recommend a visit during the week. But to be frank, if you only have a weekend to spare, you wouldn’t want to miss it because there aren’t many beaches like this out there.
As the name suggests, this is a natural pool surrounded by limestone rocks, and one of the best ways to get into the water is to jump in. But don’t worry, there are a few ladders provided and I promise no one will judge you if you use them.
There are 2 best ways to get to St Peter’s Pool from Marsaxlokk. Going by boat from Marsaxlokk is the most fun and picturesque, and if you are short on time, I recommend it. You can take a boat from the harbour in Mrsaxlokk.
Another option is a hike, which I remember took me around 40 minutes. The hike isn’t that exciting (but pleasant enough). So if you don’t need to get some additional steps in, I recommend taking a boat. It’s much more fun!
You can also drive to St Peter’s Pool. There is a car park at the top of the hill and the pool is only about 10 minute’s walk from the car park.
Venture towards Il-Kalanka Bay
There is more! St. Peter’s Pool is not the only awesome and unusual beach in the area. If you have an afternoon dedicated to wander and exploring you can visit St. Peters Pool and then continue on to Kalanka Bay.
It’s a kind of hidden gem beach that you can have all to yourself even in the middle of summer!
Kalanka is less popular than St. Peters Pool and is also a secluded bay beach where you can also take a swim, snorkel or just picnic on the rocks. Yet in a slightly more peaceful setting. This beach is a bit wilder than St. Peters Pool and officially jumping into the water is not recommended. Kalanka offers parts of the cliff that slope more gently into the water, as well as a few ladders.
Please note that the water is deep and entering the sea can be dangerous. Therefore, you may want to get some water shoes, which come in handy on many beaches in Malta anyway.
During the season there is a food truck serving warm food and drinks.
The bay is also home to the Il-Kalanka Lighthouse and not far from it, you can find the unique Il-Kalanka tal-Gidien Saltpans. Walk a little further to explore the Ta Kalanka Sea Cave too!
Exciting Ghar Dalam Cave
Ghar Dalam Cave is Malta’s oldest prehistoric site, where you can see the bones of animals that were extinct thousands of years ago. Bones of native dwarf elephants, hippopotamuses and deer have been found here and are now on display in the Joseph Baldacchino Hall within the cave. In addition, the recent archaeological discovery uncovered cave art showing evidence of the presence of humans on Malta some 7,400 years ago.
At Ghar Dalam Cave you can also visit a garden planted with indigenous plants and trees. Għar Dalam is an exciting site to visit and although it’s a bit outside Marsaxlokk, I recommend popping in if you have enough time.
Take the picturesque walk to St Thomas Bay past the Xrobb l-Ghagin Nature Park.
Thousands of years of erosion by fierce Mediterranean winters have formed limestone cliffs that are now, in my opinion, one of the best viewpoints in Malta (pin). And so many travellers don’t know about it! Keep the secret to yourself!
The walk is beautiful and very easy and you can walk all the way to Mrsaskala for a dip in the sea. You can then take the bus back to Valletta or hike back if you’re staying in Marsaxlokk or have parked your car at St. Peter’s Pool.
Enjoy delishous meal at one of marsaxlokk seaside restaurants
Finally, a day trip to Marsaxlokk cannot be complete without eating at one of the excellent restaurants serving fish and local specialities.
Marsaxlokk is known for its fresh seafood, and there are many great restaurants in the area serving delicious dishes of locally caught fish and seafood.
Many of these restaurants are located right on the harbour, so you can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner while taking in the view.
The majority of restaurants are located along the harbour, so you can walk along it, read the menus and make a choice. That’s what I usually do!
But if you’re looking for recommendations here are some best picks:
- Roots – One of the most popular and highly rated restaurants, in town offering seafood and Mediterranean-inspired dishes with a modern twist. The small menu changes often and always features fresh produce.
- Tartarun Fish Restaurant – A family-run restaurant that prides itself on serving some of the freshest seafood in Marsaxlokk. The restaurant has a rustic interior and a cosy atmosphere. It serves dishes such as pink prawn carpaccio, oysters or swordfish and is famous for its somewhat adventurous but delicious seafood.
- Ta’ Victor – Chef Patron Victor Aquilina’s restaurant serves genuine Maltese cuisine at its best. Great food, reasonable prices and a fixed menu deal paired with a great location make it a must!
- T’Anna Mari Restaurant – A charming restaurant in a traditional Maltese house, T’Anna Mari serves a mix of Italian and Maltese cuisine, with fresh seafood and fish always on the menu.
- Skuna – If you’re looking for the best value for money, this is the place to go. Delicious food including seafood and Maltese specialities, excellent service and the excellent location have made it my favourite place to eat in Marsaxlokk.
I hope that after reading this post you decided to take a day trip to Marsaxlokk and will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed mine!
As always if you have any questions or feel like there is something missing in this guide, let me know in the comments below.
Until then, have an awesome trip to Malta and happy travels!
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For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!