Where to see the luzzu, or Malta’s famous multicolored boats that peacefully bob on the water? Just in the fishing town of Marsaxlokk. Tourists come here in crowds especially on Sundays, when the (not only) fish market is held here.
What comes to your mind when someone asks what is Malta’s most distinctive symbol? Probably the famous Azure Window, which no longer exists. Well, that’s right, it’s gone now so it’s time to look for something new. And this is where travel blogs, guidebook publishers, and travel agencies come to the rescue, tempting you with trips to Malta via colorful boats winking at you. They are characteristic of the village of Marsaxlokk, about which today’s entry will be about.
Marsaxlokk is a small town of less than 4,000 residents [source], located on the eastern part of the island. However, the very name can cause a lot of trouble, because how to pronounce it well here? We already translate: Marsaxlokk reads“Marsaszlok” (very pleasant to say, right?).
Driving to Marsaxlokk, we had a vision of a bustling fishing town, where every now and then some boat pulls up to the harbor and dumps its catch, which is taken straight to the fish market that operates here. To what extent has this vision come true? What else is worth seeing in this village? More later in this post.
Table of contents
Marsaxlokk – what to see?
The clash with reality came quickly. The market here is there, but only on Sunday, and we came during the week, so some of the magic has already been taken away. Yes, we knew about it beforehand, but unfortunately we couldn’t get here on Sunday for various reasons, so we decided nevertheless to see if it was worth visiting this city outside the market day as well. And if you have in front of your eyes just a vision of a bustling market, full of fresh fish and seafood, tables overflowing with local delicacies and locals taking their time here unhurriedly, however, we have to bring you down to earth a bit.
That may have been the case at one time, but from our conversations, other articles and reports, it seems that the market will also feature many stalls selling plastic home accessories or toys, and the seafood and fish found here are not necessarily freshly caught in nearby waters.
Even though we knew we wouldn’t see it all, we still wanted to see what the climate here was like on other days of the week and what other places were worth seeing. We also had in the back of our minds that there would probably be quite a few tourists, as it is high season, however, and the city is quite a popular destination for vacationers.
However, when we reached Marsaxlokk and got off the bus, a deserted city appeared to our eyes! Seriously, after what we saw in the capital and nearby towns, here it was just surprisingly empty and quiet (almost like Silent City).
For a moment we were overwhelmed by the thought that maybe we got off at the wrong stop after all, but as soon as we looked at the bus stop we were convinced that we were in the right place. Colorful boats rocked on the water and almost winked at us. Yellow and blue dominate among the colors, but there are also many red and green accents. Don’t be surprised that most of the luzzu are equipped with engines ;) These boats are still used for fishing, but some of them are here for tourism – they offer to ferry such a unique boat.
Right on the shore there are numerous stalls, pubs, which surprisingly were closed and if it weren’t for the high temperatures we would have thought we were completely out of season (we were immediately reminded of our trip to Sicily in January). However, we know from other people’s accounts that there are times here, too, when the town is bustling with activity.
Other than a bay full of lovely boats and a Sunday fish market, what’s worth seeing here? We have to admit that not much. Attention is drawn to the nearby Church of St. Peter. Our Lady of Pompeii, you can walk along the promenade and basically that’s it. Maybe there’s more going on here on Sunday, it’s more attractive, but in our opinion, if it weren’t for the famous backlash, it wouldn’t be a must-see city while in Malta.
How to get to Marsaxlokk?
As with many other destinations in Malta, it is easy to get here by public transportation. Buses from Valletta take about 30-40 minutes, and interestingly enough, you may find that the ride with a change will be shorter than without a change. Direct buses from Valletta are #81 and #85, and from the airport #119. The current bus schedule can be found here.
Going to the village on Sunday, one must expect crowded buses.
See also information about Pretty Bay.
Where to stay overnight in Marsaxlokk?
In Marsaxlokk we can find about 20 accommodations on Booking. Apparently not much, but for such a town, definitely enough and there is plenty to choose from, although their availability is definitely worse. Below, we have selected a few facilities that have at least a few dozen reviews, and these are at least very good reviews.
- Mangion House
Address: Triq Sant Antnin 14 Danica FL2, MXK 1465 Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 650 PLN for a double room for two nights (minimum stay is two nights), breakfast included in the price
- La Reggia Seaview Guesthouse
Address: Triq San Piju V, Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 345 PLN for a double room, breakfast included
- Port View Guesthouse
Address: 18 Triq il-Luzzu, MXK 1481 Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 820 PLN for a double room for two nights (minimum stay is two nights), breakfast included in the price
- South Wind Guesthouse
Address: Sant Andrija No:10, Matthews Building, Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 447 PLN for a double room, breakfast included
- Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse
Address: 8 Triq Tas-Silġ, MXK 1141 Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 435 PLN for a double room, breakfast included
Address: No. 3, Xatt is-Sajjieda, MXK 1301 Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 1080 zloty for a double room for three nights (minimum stay is three nights)
- St. Peter’s Pool Holiday Apartment
Address: 47, Triq Bir Rikka, MXK 9055 Marsaxlokk
Prices: from 900 PLN for a double room for two nights (minimum stay is two nights), breakfast included in the price
Our opinion about Marsaxlokk
Definitely not what we expected in Marsaxlokk. It was supposed to be loud, bustling, the smell of fish and seafood was supposed to spread, and we were supposed to dine on one of them at a nearby restaurant. Instead, we were able to see a quiet, uncrowded city that bears little resemblance to a town in one of the most vacation destinations. Would we like it better on Sunday? We are afraid not ;)
We recommend our post, with practical tips for Malta.