time to explore with esplora

Exploring the South of Malta: A Nature Walk

Munxar Hills

Photo: Luke Grech

Eleni Karatzia guides us through a nature walk in the southeastern part of Malta. You will explore the pristine countryside, spectacular sea caves, stunning white cliffs, and traditional villages. You will start the morning at St. Thomas Bay, and then go to the Munxar Hills, Xrobb I-Għaġin, St. Peter’s Pool and finish at Marsaxlokk. Make sure to pack plenty of water and a pair of binoculars to try and spot some of Malta’s migrant bird species which start to arrive around this time! This route is approximately 7km long and it will take you from 2-4 hours to complete depending on the stops you make.

Start at St. Thomas Bay

St. Thomas Bay at Marsaskala fishing village is a peaceful vast bay with clear waters, comprised of smaller sandy and rocky banks. Head west walking along the coast, with the sea on your left, until you reach the cliff edge.

St. Thomas Bay

Photo: James Bianchi

Munxar Path and Hills

Keep following the path along the cliff edge, and you will reach Munxar Path and then Munxar Hills in no time. You will be surrounded by the beautiful countryside, rich in wild plants like the endemic and strictly protected Maltese Salt Tree (Maltese name: Siġra tal-Irmied, Scientific name: Darniella melitensis), with gulls circling the azure waters overhead.

 

Munxar

Photo: Luke Grech

Xrobb l-Għaġin

You will come across the quaint Kappella ta’ San Pawl chapel; turn left to the path towards the peninsula. The peninsula is composed of Upper and Middle Globigerina Limestone, surrounded by low cliffs and spectacular views of sea water erosion. You can admire picturesque Ħofra l-Kbira cove on your right. Keep going straight and you will see the entrance to Xrobb l-Għaġin on your left, a Nature Park and Sustainable Development Centre, where you can take a short break to refuel on the picnic benches and soak up the surroundings. When you leave the park, turn right and head back the way you came and then left to the path to continue the route.

Xrobb l-Għaġin

Photo: Eleni Karatzia

St. Peters Pool

Follow the path until you reach the end and turn right and walk away from the coast until you see stone fences and a sign with the number 8 on it where you turn left. You will then find yourself immersed in beautiful greenery, surrounded by wild flowers and pine trees. Head downhill on the winding path, then take the sharp left at the bottom where you will be able to see the Delimara power station – a sight hard to miss from its contrasting surroundings! Continue straight and when you see a street with a house on the left, just before the power station chimney, turn left for the longer but more scenic path embellished with vibrant flora, otherwise just follow the path and the signs straight ahead. You will shortly see the large cove Ħofra ż-Żgħira on your left, which makes for a beautiful panoramic shot! Continue along and turn right to the natural path along the cliff and you will soon see St. Peter’s Pool below. Venture down the rocky track and explore the salt pans and rough cliff formations around the pool – one of the best natural lidos in Malta! The cool springtime breeze does not make for ideal swimming conditions but as months heat up it is a great spot to take a tip and cool off after the walk. The flat rocks however make it a perfect location for a picnic, taking in the sun and listening to the waves breaking on the shore — just remember not to litter and use reusable tableware to help keep the area pristine!

St. Peter’s Pool

Photo: James Bianchi

Marsaxlokk

Go up the stairs from St. Peter’s Pool then turn to the path on the right, then uphill and turn right and follow the road. At the end of the road, turn right again and follow the path until you find a crossroads and take the road on the left. You will then come across a church, indicating the route down to the town centre on the left turn. Keep walking until you cross over the roundabout and then veer left towards the marina. Walking along the seafront, you will see the local fishermen mending their fishnets, the bright colours of the traditional ‘luzzu’ fishing boats, and a fitting fisherman statue casting views over the water. As your final destination, take some time to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, bars and cafes. You can also visit the open market that sells food, clothes, souvenirs, and traditional good – on Sundays it gets even bigger, with freshly caught fish and jars of sweet honey decorating the stalls!

Marsaxlokk

Photo: James Bianchi

This nature walk has been brought to you by BirdLife Malta. For more information, visit www.birdlifemalta.org.

Getting there and back by bus:

From Valletta to Marsaskala via St. Thomas Bay: Bus Route 91

From Marsaxlokk to Valletta: Bus Route 81

From Marsaxlokk back to St. Thomas Bay: Bus Route 119 (Airport-Marsaskala)

More details: https://www.publictransport.com.mt/en/routes-timetables

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