MARSAXLOKK

Photo: James Bianchi

Marsaxlokk (meaning Southern Port), the small and picturesque fishing village, is located in the South Eastern part of Malta. The village is a known for its daily open-air market, offering a selection of the finest fish, peaceful walks around the harbour and its secluded and untainted swimming zones

Marsaxlokk (marsa-shlock) is a traditional charming fishing village, located in the south-eastern part of Malta, with a population of 3,500 people. In fact, the name, a composition of ‘Marsa’ and ‘Xlokk’, translates to ‘harbour’ and ‘southeast’, respectively.

Marsaxlokk Bay is Malta’s second largest natural harbour. It was an easy landing place for pirates and the Ottoman Turks. In fact, it was here that the Turkish fleet was anchored during the Great Seige of 1565. Napoleon’s army also landed here during the French invasion of 1798.

Marsaxlokk is known for its colourful ‘luzzu’ boats; small fishing boats painted in bright shades of blue, red, yellow and green and a pair of eyes at the front, an ancient custom said to protect the fishermen at sea. The popular belief is that the origin of their design is Phoenician, dating back to 800 BC.

The village is also well-known for its packed-to-the-gills Sunday fish market as well as its multiple top-notch eateries lining the harbour, offering seasonal fresh seafood. Enjoy a full view of the picturesque harbour whilst indulging at one of the many seafood restaurants; a feast for the eyes and taste buds alike.

Marsaxlokk has seen two national major investments; the Freeport Terminal (1988) and The Delimara Power Station complex, another power station complementing the other one in Marsa.

The beautiful fishing village of Marsaxlokk is the ultimate place to experience the very best of Maltese scenery, culture and cuisine. Despite the industrial works taking place, Marsaxlokk retains its natural beauty and remains one of the most attractive places to visit.

Marsaxlokk harbour

Photo: James Bianchi

some spots in marsaxlokk worth visiting

st. peter's pool

st. peter's pool from above

photo: james bianchi

One of the most well-known natural swimming pools Malta has to offer, St Peter’s Pool is straight off a postcard. Located in the southwest of Malta, it offers brilliant snorkeling opportunities, as well as sunbathing ones, on the high flat rocks that surround the pool.

Though there are ladders that provide access to the sea, the more adventurous ones can also dive into the water from a few metres up. Popular with locals and tourists alike, St Peter’s Pool is rather difficult to get to and parking on top of the cliff overlooking the pool is not recommended, which means the spot is rarely overcrowded and thus, worth the visit.

delimara lighthouse

delimara lighthouse

Photo: James Bianchi

A British lighthouse built on the southernmost tip of Malta in 1856, a few minutes’ walk from St. Peter’s Pool. Throughout the years, the Delimara Lighthouse acted as a beacon to the Maltese shipping industry as well as a landmark of British architecture. Until 1896, the lighthouse had a static red lantern but this was replaced by a more powerful gasoline lamp, giving off alternating beams of red and white light every 30 seconds. It was an important reference for ships coming from Barbary and Egypt.

The building consists of an octagonal 22m tower dominating the cliff over Marsaxlokk Bay, with a two storey house under it; two lighthouse-keepers’ apartments that have been converted into a holiday let accommodation and are now guarded by a voluntary organisation, Din l-Art Ħelwa. The views from each and every room are spectacular. The lighthouse apartments have kept the original colour scheme, bright and simple, with plenty of white to echo the period.

fort san lucian

fort san lucian

Photo: james bianchi

Fort San Lucian, also known as Saint Lucian Tower is the second largest watchtower in Malta, after Saint Thomas Tower. The original tower was built by the Order of Saint John to protect Marsaxlokk Bay from the possible invasion of the Ottomans between 1610 and 1611.  

An artillery battery was added in around 1715, and the complex was upgraded into a fort in the 1790s to further strengthen its defences. During the invasion of Malta by the French in 1798, Fort San Lucian was one of the few forts to offer resistance to the force of Napoleon.

In the 1870s, the fort was rebuilt by the British in the polygonal style. During the Second World War the fort was used as a bomb depot. Today, the tower and fort are used by the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre, where the breeding, hatching and rearing of various species of fish are studied.

xrobb l-gĦaĠin

Xrobb L-Għaġin

Photo: James Bianchi

Xrobb L-Għaġin is the south-eastern most point of the Maltese Islands. It is a nature park and sustainable development centre, aiming to safeguard an area of over 155,000 square metres of natural habitat. The remains of a Neolithic temple on the site have largely been lost due to coastal erosion, but the cliff scenery is no less remarkable for it.

The purpose of the project is education, demonstration and research in sustainable environment solutions with the overall objective of increasing the use of renewable energy, wastewater management and safeguarding biodiversity.

In the middle of the nature park, there’s also a quiet hostel run by the centre, providing accommodation at very low prices and promoting nature and enjoyment of the beautiful surrounding areas while relaxing in a natural environment. Slightly further down from the park enclosure, a bay carrying the same name is suitable for swimming.

marsaxlokk market

fish on sale at the market

Photo: james bianchi

other local goods on sale

photo: james bianchi

Freshly caught fish is transferred directly to the stalls where it’s sold within hours by street hawkers; seasonal fish like mackerel and awrat, octopus, squids, prawns, shrimps, and even sea snakes. Although originally a fish market, it has developed and now also sells locally produced honey, homemade jams, local souvenirs, handmade lace table-cloths and clothing items.

There is a market that takes place daily but on a Sunday expands further to take over the whole harbour front and focuses mainly on the retailing of fish caught by local fishermen. Sundays are usually pretty busy when locals flock to the village to get their hands on the fresh catch of the day. During the week, the village is much more relaxed and navigating the market is a lot easier.

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