Marsaxlokk, Malta is known for its Sunday markets, but there are reasons to visit this sleepy fishing village any day of the week.
Marsaxlokk fish market
The sun rises on another exciting market day in Marsaxlokk. The typical Maltese Luzzu, a colourful wooden boat, bobs up and down in the harbour, its painted eyes staring at the hubbub on the waterfront. Housewives haggle for seafood with formidable vigour, while the fishermen watch the spectacle, taking a well-earned rest after their morning out in the Mediterranean.
Marsaxlokk Malta’s ’s fish market is known throughout the islands to be the finest in Malta. After all, the town’s citizens are well-versed in the trade. This is one of the oldest seafaring settlements in the country – the Phoenicians first landed here in the 9th century BC. The port has seen a great deal of action since then; besides the Maltese, the Ottomans, the British and the French have all made use of it. In more recent times, Marsaxlokk bay played host to the crucial 1989 Malta Summit, where Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George Bush officially declared an end to the Cold War.
The famous Marsaxlokk fish market is a daily event for restaurateurs and bulk buyers, but Sundays are special, as it’s the only day the public gets a whiff of the day’s catch. Opening bright and early at 8:30, you’ll want to get there as soon as possible, as the top-quality produce is snapped up quickly.
If you didn’t get to shop for your own fresh fish at the market, you can still sample a taste of it in one of Marsaxlokk’s many restaurants lined along the seafront. Even better, in fact, because you can chill out with a cool Kinnie while a professional chef cooks up a pescatarian feast. Any Marsaxlokk chef worth their salt knows to source their fish from the local market, which is why Maltese families flock here for Sunday lunch. In fact, you might need to book a table in advance!
The village of Marsaxlokk
Sunday may be a day of buzzing activity, but during the rest of the week, Marsaxlokk is a quiet, traditional village – perfect for beating the crowds. The main square is filled with coffee shops and al fresco dining options, but if you’re not hungry, then a wander around the old district is in order. Like many of the towns on this ancient archipelago, the shabby-chic brickwork is part of its charm, accented perfectly by vibrant window shutters and wooden doors. There’s even a bright red British phone box, contrasting with the golden townhouses and shops.
Inevitably, you’ll find yourself outside the Parish Church, as all the main roads lead here. Built in the 1890s, it’s a typical Maltese Catholic Church, decked out in white marble, crimson upholstery, and gilding. Oil paintings by Maltese artist Giuseppe Cali hang pride of place. Dedicated to Our Lady of Pompei, this church was intended to accommodate the spiritual needs of the fishermen who moved to Marsaxlokk from neighbouring Zejtun. It has been serving the community ever since.
Walking around Marsaxlokk
Strolling along the coastline, you can choose to go one of two ways. Walking west along the cactus-lined pavements takes you to one of Malta’s fortifications, St Lucian’s Tower, a 17th-century battery designed to withstand even the most tenacious Ottoman fleet. Unfortunately, St Lucian’s Tower is only possible to view from the outside, but with its impressive fortifications and location at the edge of the see-through sea, it’s still a glorious photo opportunity.
Speaking of crystalline waters, heading east out of Marsaxlokk will lead to St Peter’s Pool – a turquoise inlet surrounded by stout, smooth cliffs, which bold divers use to launch themselves into the water. Since ladders have been installed, it’s become quite the natural swimming pool. But unlike the rest of Marsaxlokk, we can’t promise it’ll be crowd-free.
Are you craving Mediterranean cuisine and a beautiful sea view and a walk through a charming fishing village? Book your flights to Malta today. Marsaxlokk awaits you!