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8 Fun Things to do in Marsaxlokk: Colorful Fishing Village

8 Fun Things to do in Marsaxlokk: Colorful Fishing Village

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Known for its colorful traditional fishing boats and lively Sunday market, Marsaxlokk Bay is a must-visit in Malta!

This picturesque fishing village offers a rich cultural experience and incredible photography opportunities to dive into authentic Maltese charm. With fresh seafood to try and local crafts to explore, there’s plenty to experience.

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 once you arrive!

Traditional fishing boat in marsaxlokk, malta

Quick Things to Know About Marsaxlokk: Malta's Colorful Fishing Village

Marsaxlokk Village is located in the southeastern 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.

  1. Location: Southeastern Malta, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Valletta.
  2. How to Get There: Take bus #81 from Valletta (40 minutes), rent a car (25-minute drive), or join a day tour that includes hotel pickup.
  3. Luzzus: Marsaxlokk is the best place to see traditional Maltese fishing boats, known as Luzzus.
  4. Interesting Fact: "Marsaxlokk" means "harbor" with "southeasterly wind" in Maltese; pronounce it "mar-sa-shlock."
  5. Market Highlights: Famous for its Sunday Market with fresh seafood, local crafts, and a vibrant atmosphere.
Marsaxlokk fishing village in malta

8 Best Things to do in Marsaxlokk

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.

Marsaxlokk fish market
Local market at Marsaxlokk
Fish market in malta

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!

Open sunday market in marsaxlokk, malta

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.

Fisherman in marsaxlokk market
Sunday fish market

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!

Marsaxlokk parish church
Marsaxlokk Church

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.

Mountain bike sightseeing tour

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.

Natural limestone swimming pool in malta
Kayaking in a sea cave malta

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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.
Marsaxlokk harbour restaurants
Many restaurants on the left side of the bay

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.

Il kalanka beach in malta
Kalanka Bay
Il kalanka lighthouse in malta
Kalanka Lighthouse

About Marsaxlokk's Colorful Fishing Boats

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".

Luzzu traditional maltese fishing boat in marsaxlokk

How to Get to Marsaxlokk

There are three main ways to get to Marsaxlokk.

  1. Visit Marsaxlokk on an organized day trip
  2. Rent a car and drive to Marsaxlokk
  3. 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
Mdina malta 1

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!

Marsaxlokk village in malta

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".

Wied il ghasri bay, gozo

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.

Fisherman at marsaxlokk, malta

Where to Stay in Malta

There's a wide range of accommodation types, from 5-star resorts to traditional terraced boutique hotels scattered all over Malta's islands. However, I highly recommend staying in either Valletta, Sliema & St Julian's, Mellieħa Bay, and Gozo Island.

Below are the top four options based on location, reviews, and my personal experience.

To save you time, read my guide to where to stay in Malta, or this guide to Gozo's Best Boutique Hotels.

1926 hotel & spa sliema

1. 1926 Hotel & Spa Sliema

This amazing 4-star luxury facility in Sliema offers Mediterranean Sea views & a rooftop infinity swimming pool. Easy access to the ferry terminal running to Gozo & Valletta.

Iniala harbour house bedroom suite with large window and painted walls

2. Iniala Harbour House Valletta

Perched atop Valletta's stunning St Barbara Bastion, this incredible boutique experience offers stunning views of the Grand Harbour & the Three Cities from traditional Maltese balconies.

Accommodation at db seabank resort + spa

3. db Seabank Resort Mellieħa

Situated just feet from the white sandy shores of Malta's longest beach, this all-inclusive hotel offers five restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, multiple pools, & a bowling alley!

Boutique hotels on gozo island malta

4. Quaint Boutique Hotel (Nadur) Gozo

A beautifully renovated boutique hotel beside the Nadur Parish Church. Find spacious balcony terraces overlooking the town square & offering a peaceful, traditional ambiance.

Marsaxlokk Travel FAQs

Is Marsaxlokk worth visiting?

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!

How far is Marsaxlokk from Valletta?

This is a 25-30 minute drive, roughly 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from Valletta.

What is there to see in Marsaxlokk?

The best things to see in Marsaxlokk are the colorful Maltese fishing boats, the luzzu, and the famous Marsaxlokk open seafood market.

When is the Marsaxlokk Festa?

Malta is known for its famous feasts, occurring in every village in the archipelago. Marsaxlokk holds its Festa in the last week of July.

Fisherman at marsaxlokk, 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.

8 things to do in marsaxlokk malta complete guide
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.