Marsaxlokk is a charming little fishing village located on the southern part of Malta. The village has gained fame for vibrantly painted fishing boats, fresh seafood, and ancient history. It was also one of my favourite places I visited in Malta. The picturesque harbour is the perfect place to relax for the day.
On our second to last day in Malta, we caught a bus from our accommodation in St. Paul’s Bay to Marsaxlokk for a day trip. It was my favourite day from the holiday for a number of reasons, but partly because of how relaxing it was spending the day by the harbour watching the boats.
How to spend a day in Marsaxlokk
Strolling the harbour
Marsaxlokk’s gorgeous boat harbour is undoubtedly its biggest draw for visitors. What sets it apart from other harbours is that it is full of traditional fishing boats, or luzzas, painted vibrant colours. Many are painted with a traditional Phoenician eye, the Eye of Orisis, on their bow. So the boats are a great example of traditional Maltese culture still very much alive in modern life, along with looking really pretty in photos.
Enjoying fresh seafood by the water
The seafood in Marsaxlokk is incredible, arriving fresh off the fishermen’s boats. Look for restaurants with chalkboard specials and pick the catch of the day. I’d highly recommend trying the lampuki (you might know it as mahi mahi or dorado), a mild firm-texture fish. I was really excited when I heard this fish was in season when we visited, it’s a favourite dish in my North Carolinian hometown.
We had plenty of choice for places to eat as we strolled along the harbour. The water’s edge is lined with restaurants with al fresco seating right on the harbour. I heard a local tip that some of the best restaurants have the specials handwritten on their signs.
We chose Carrubia and after a bruscetta starter, I ordered the lampuki, served whole with a tomato sauce with sides of grilled vegetables and roast potatoes.
Relaxing in Marsaxlokk
You know one thing I loved about Malta? Benches are everywhere, just waiting for you to sit and enjoy the view. And in Marsaxlokk, the benches wear colours to match the iconic fishing boats. So we spent some time just watching the boats and the harbour, enjoying some needed downtime. There’s a few ice cream shops along the harbour or you can grab an evening cocktail to enjoy at one of the restaurants, which we did before we left.
Shopping and markets
Marsaxlokk’s Sunday fish market draws a big crowd. The open air market sells fresh seafood direct to consumers, farmer’s market goods, and souvenirs. But you certainly haven’t missed out if you visit on a different day (and have probably avoided the crowds). We visited on a Friday and there was a small market with souvenirs and gifts to browse by the harbour.
Getting to Marsaxlokk
Marsaxlokk is located on the southern end of Malta. But like everywhere in Malta, it’s easy to get to no matter where you are staying on the main island in less than 2 hours. We took the bus from St Paul’s, changing in Valletta and it took about an hour and a half total. Direct buses run from Valletta Direct buses also run from Malta’s airport (which has luggage storage) making Marsaxlokk a great day trip for your last day in Malta if you have an evening flight.
- From Valletta: Bus route 81 or 85
- From the Airport: Bus route 119
Don’t forget that to get back, the bus stop is in a different place.
Other things to do in Marsaxlokk and tours
One of the other most popular things to do near Marsaxlokk is St. Peter’s Pool (sometimes called the Blue Grotto), a clear turquoise bay surrounded by flat stone that is popular with swimmers and sunbathers. We chose to skip it, it’s a bit tricky to get to without a car.
Some boats by the harbour offer tours of the harbour and I’ve heard some offer tours out to St. Peter’s Pool. In addition, you can book tours for Marsaxlokk and Blue Grotto combined.