Today we spent a few hours visiting the harbour town of Marsaxlokk in Malta, a colourful little fishing village with local charm.
How to get to Marsaxlokk
If you’re not visiting Marsaxlokk with a tour group for example by one of the many cruise ships that dock in Valletta when visiting Malta, then the best way to get to Marsaxlokk would be by bus.
Buses run often from Valletta bus station to Marsaxlokk throughout the day and the service is quite reliable.
Valletta’s bus station is large and will at first sight seem quite unorganised, however that be further from the truth. Buses arrive at a huge roundabout where passengers alight and this is where it looks very messy and confusing.
You don’t catch a bus from this roundabout area, the actual bus stops fill the road that leads off the roundabout. They are lettered and numbered A1 A2 B1 B3 C2 C5 etc. Bay A6 was where we caught our bus number #81 to Marsaxlokk. Please note that this may not be the bus number that runs when you visit. Check out the Malta Public Transport website and use the journey planner to find out your bus options to suit.
We are staying in Bugibba which means our apartment is located on the opposite side of the country and for our trip we had to take two buses. First from Bugibba to Valletta and then one to Marsaxlokk.
We were a little late out of the house this morning and the bus was full the entire way. In fact many of the buses are quite full. I take this as a good sign and appreciate the very good bus network on the island.
There are many buses that go from Valletta to Marsaxlokk all day long and the 40 minute ride is well worth it.
Odyssey Tip; If you’re traveling with friends or even just a couple, and plan on taking a few trips on the bus, then buy a 12 trip bus card for €15 at the bus station and share it between yourselves. It works out much better value than single fares plus it’s more convenient. If you’re staying for a week, then the 7 day unlimited travel card will suit you even better for just €21 you have unlimited rides on all the bus network.
Arriving in Marsaxlokk
The bus stops directly in the small town right by the square at the waterfront. The square looks out over the water and is ideal place for a coffee before exploring the village markets along the waterfront.
Getting off the bus, you’ll immediately see the colourful boats on the water painted in bright blues reds yellow and greens. These boats are called Luzzu and are famous in Malta especially here in the south-east. They have distinctive eyes painted on each side towards the front which is said to protect the fishermen and their boat.
The seaside village has plenty of restaurants that line the waterfront and on a fine day make for the idyllic lunchtime setting. Most of the restaurants have fresh fish from the days catch available as well as many other dishes.
Where to eat in Marsaxlokk
Be sure to walk the entire length of the strip to find the deal that suits your budget best. We found that the price varied considerably from place to place.
Today there were quite a few tourists around and plenty of groups easily identifiable with their big MSC ship stickers on and others with their travel icon stuck to their attire, plus they are all speaking foreign languages.
We had an enjoyable lunch at Carrubia restaurant about two thirds of the way along the promenade. It was quite busy which is generally a good sign. Not to mention the 9.50 euro special of starter, main & a glass of wine plus a basket of bread.
We were sold on the special and plonked ourselves at a table in the sunshine. The service was ok and the boss lady had her minions running around flat out. Good job too as not long after we were enjoying our bruschetta did a coach load of Germans arrive and swamp the place.
Anyway, the bruschetta was very tasty and we followed this with sea bream catch of the day for me while Moni had prawns chips n salad, with a glass of wine each. The fish was wonderful, fresh and juicy. The prawns were average according to Moni and so was the wine, but after a second glass courtesy of the boss lady (mistake of the server) we left feeling very satisfied. This place was probably the busiest of all along the strip and a second coach pulled up just as we finished and paid.
The other meals that flew past our table looked decent enough and plentiful, not that that’s a sign of quality mind you. All up, if you don’t expect the Ritz you’ll be fine. Busy place that might make the service a little slow.
The village of Marsaxlokk
The streets around the end of the promenade lead to homes and you can follow these roads back to the square if you don’t want to walk back the same way past the restaurants.
The dominant feature of the square is a lovely church with two bell towers catching the sun. Also here are a couple of cafes and restaurants with their tables & umbrellas set out.
Hardly unnoticeable is a Costa coffee right on the corner with the usual high priced items. Two espresso macchiatos cost €4.60 here while directly opposite at Duncan they will cost €2.40. Crazy how one place can charge double for the same thing with it not being any better, in fact on the contrary.
Support the locals otherwise the entire world will become one big mall. I do enjoy my Costa Flat White, but there is a time and a place even for that.
Each day the local fishermen sell their catch to the market in Valletta. However on Sundays it’s sold here making it the biggest market day of the week and apparently very busy, selling out by midday.
We arrived at midday on Wednesday and saw no fish being sold at all, as expected. What we did find was local market stalls selling t-shirts, lace products and local honey & bees wax products among other souvenirs. It’s not a huge market by any imagination but certainly ads to the quaint village atmosphere.
Where to go from Marsaxlokk
The buses leave here frequently and go in a couple of directions, the airport, Valletta, and the nearby village of Marsascala.
We caught the bus here heading back to Bugibba via Valletta, but not before a quick stop in Marsascala. Marsascala is another place located at a harbour with Luzzo boats and restaurants, not quite as picturesque as Marsaxlokk.
Leaving the fishing village we passed this Fort San Lucian.
The bus gives a decent view of Saint Thomas bay before heading into the village of Marsascala.
The bus took us to Marsascala where we enjoyed a local Cisk beer down by the waterfront in the town. Though not as quaint or interesting as Marsaxlokk still quite pleasant. The St Thomas bay can be seen from the bus as you drive into town and you could get off at that stop if you so wished to spend some time at the beach.
From here we took the bus back to Valletta and then another to Bugibba.
A note to finish talking about our day in Marsaxlokk & Marsaskala. It would be worth checking when the cruise ships visit Valletta and plan a visit either side of these days if you can. An extra few thousand people touring around the island that already is quite busy might be the difference between an amazing day or an ordinary day.