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Das malerische Marsaxlokk, Bild: kavalenkava / shutterstock

Marsaxlokk – colourful boats and turquoise blue sea on Malta’s east coast

The Maltese islands attract thousands of visitors from Europe and all over the world every year due to their guaranteed good weather, cultural highlights and deep blue bays. Many of them then spend their holidays in the vibrant capital Valletta or the seaside resorts in the western part of the island. However, just seven kilometres from the airport, on the south-east coast of the main island, there is a gem not to be missed on a trip to Malta: the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Located on the bay of the same name, the town attracts visitors with its bright turquoise waters, brightly coloured fishing boats and the best fish restaurants in the whole country. Since there is only a manageable number of tourist accommodations in Marsaxlokk, the place is comparatively quiet and invites you to relax, stroll and enjoy.

The old town of Marsaxlokk

Despite its busy fishing port, Marsaxlokk is a manageable size and excellent to explore on foot. There is a lot to discover in the old town and with the exhausting heat, especially in summer, the next café with a cool iced coffee is never far away. A highlight of the old town of Marsaxlokk is the Marsaxlokk Church. It is dedicated to the Holy Madonna of Pompeii and was completed in 1897. The square in front of the church also marks the beginning of the promenade along the harbour basin with its countless fish restaurants. Also worth seeing is the fortress of St. Julian, built in 1610. Originally built to defend Malta against the Turks, it was then used by British troops as an ammunition depot during World War II. Today, Fort St. Julian is home to the Malta Aquaculture Research Center. The fort can only be visited on selected days.

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The harbour and the colourful Luzzu boats

Marsaxlokk Church
On the road in Marsaxlokk, Image: cge2010 / shutterstock

Probably the most famous photo motif from Marsaxlokk are without a doubt the colorful Luzzu boats in the harbor of the city. The boats, mostly blue and with yellow and red stripes, float contemplatively on the clear and bright turquoise blue water. During a walk along the bay, the boats can be photographed from different sides. Every Sunday, visitors can also enjoy Marsaxlokk’s weekly fish market. In addition to the freshly caught seafood, there is also food and handicrafts to buy here, ideal for sampling some local delicacies or buying souvenirs. However, there is no shortage of shopping or dining options for the rest of the week, as the harbour promenade is lined with fish restaurants. Located at the end of the promenade, the specialty restaurant “Haber 16 by j&j” can even be seen on a restaurant show on Netflix.

The archaeological site of Tas-Silg

Not far from Marsaxlokk in a north-westerly direction is the archaeological site of Tas-Silg. It is located on the plateau of the same name and offers a magnificent view of the bays of Marsaxlokk and St. Thomas. Here, the foundation walls of a temple from the Tarxien period were discovered, as well as traces of a Phoenician Astarte’s temple were uncovered. The Byzantines also used the area and built a basilica in the already dilapidated facilities, which was then converted into a mosque. After a long oblivion, extensive excavation work began here in the 1960s, which provided essential insights into the past of the people on the Maltese islands. Not far from the excavation site is the Church of Our Lady, built in 1833. Since 1943, a Carmelite convent has moved in here again.

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Swimming and cliff jumping in the St. Peters Pool

The St. Peters Pool, which is only a few minutes’ drive from Marsaxlokk, is one of the absolute insider tips of the locals in Malta. If you come on foot or by car, you can already enjoy a great view on the descent into the picturesque bay, while the approach from Marsaxlokk takes you over the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea with one of the traditional Luzzu boats. In the St. Peters Pool, you can swim in the pleasantly warm water and jump into the sea from the surrounding cliffs. A small restaurant located directly on the way to the bay offers refreshments and snacks.