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For my last full day in Malta, I decided to hop on a local bus and journey to the sleepy little fishing village of Marsaxlokk. The village of Marsaxlokk has a population just coasting above 3,500 people and is a traditional fishing village tucked into the southeastern part of Malta. It is most famous for its big Sunday fish market and colourful luzzu boats that bob around in the water, as local fishermen tend to their nets and daily catch. Even though I visited Marsaxlokk on a Wednesday, the city was alive with locals.
When I hopped off the bus, there was a slight scent of the sea that wafted through the air as I made my way down to the harbour area. The first thing that caught my eye as the harbour came into view was the bright azure coloured water that was full of brilliantly coloured luzzu boats. There were bustling souvenir stands selling everything from magnets to lace aprons. This small, tight-knit village operates in a very traditional manner still to this day and isn’t entirely taken over by many tourists, which makes visiting Marsaxlokk even more magical, since you get to see how the locals live their day to day lives.
The highly photogenic luzzu boats are the most eye-catching objects within the water. They are a brightly painted traditional fishing boat that are said to have arrived in Malta around 800BC. The Eye of Osiris, which is an ancient symbol of protection against evil, is painted on the front of all the boats. The hardworking fishermen can be seen fixing and repainting their luzzu boats when they aren’t busy attending to their fishing nets.
As I made my way around the harbour, I wandered off to an area that was almost deserted, with the exception of a few fishermen coming and going in their vehicles to tend to their boats. I made my way to an area to take some photos of Marsaxlokk from afar with not a soul in sight. The only thing I could hear was the water sloshing against the boats and the cawing of seagulls flying above. The sun was shining and the weather was warm. It made for the perfect day.
After all the exploring, it was approaching lunch time and I was getting quite hungry. I made my way back to the village square and eyed a few restaurants that lined the harbour. Many of the old fishermen’s houses have actually been turned into fish restaurants.
I was admiring the beautiful and large outdoor seating area of Ristorante Dell’Arte in front of the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii, which is located in the village square. I stopped in to enjoy a light lunch, which consisted of some amazing bruschetta that was topped with ripe tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil, olive oil and capers. It was served on traditional Maltese ftira bread, which was amazing! I chatted with the nice waitstaff who went on to to tell me stories of their village and brief details of their lives. The waitress was probably my age and was born and raised in the village, while the younger waiter has relatives in Marsaxlokk, but he hails from Sicily and came to Malta to work. They asked me about my solo travels through Malta and asked questions about Canada and how long it took to get there.
After some friendly chatting and sharing some laughs, we said our goodbyes and I wandered a bit through the streets before heading back towards the bus stop, which would take me back to Valletta’s main bus terminal and from there, I would head back to my hotel in Sliema via the ferry.
Parting from Marsaxlokk meant it was nearing the end of my last day in Malta. As I boarded the local bus to head back to Valletta, I grabbed a window seat to admire the landscapes and small towns while the big bus made its way through the tiny streets. Locals would pile on at every stop from their busy days at work, or school and chat to each other about their days.
As I flipped through all my photos from my last day, I couldn’t believe that I was leaving the next morning. When I arrived in Valletta and boarded the ferry back to Sliema, I made sure to get a view of Valletta as I headed back across the harbour. I was going to miss the beauty of Malta; the history, the stunning landscapes and the outstanding personalities of the Maltese people.
As sad as it was to leave Malta, I know it is a country that I will visit, time and time again.
I travelled to Marsaxlokk from Valletta via local bus route 85