Sometimes we read, hear about something or see a photo about some place and the idea kept behind the words or image is so strong that we don’t realize its latent power until the moment we are meeting it. In my case, it was enough to see a photo with several little colorful boats, looking like a sequence of a fairy tale, for wishing fervently to get in the picturesque fishing village Marsaxlokk from Malta.
Marsaxlokk is a traditional fishing village located in south-eastern part of Malta, with a population of around 4.000 people. The village’s name comes from marsa, which means “port” and xlokk, which is the local name for south east. The word is related to the name for the dry sirocco wind that blows from the Sahara, comparable to the equivalent Catalan word, “xaloc”.
Short history: it was in the “bay of the sirocco” (Xlokk) that the first Phoenicians landed and set up trading posts on Malta, during the ninth century BC. During the Great Siege of Malta, Marsaxlokk harbor was also used as an anchorage by the Turkish fleet.
How to Get There: Marsaxlokk is about 40 minutes from Valletta by public bus no. 27, that’s exactly how we did in an unusual hot day of September to arrive here. The village is approached via a long, narrow, straight road with vineyards on both sides and the bay is at the south-east end of the island and is memorable for the many colorful, traditional fishing boats called “luzzu”. The painted eyes on these luzzus are believed to protect the boats from danger.
Tourists usually visit the town for the picturesque photo opportunities of the bay filled with colorful fishing boats, plethora of seafood restaurants and the very busy Sunday market that sells everything from fish, local products and groceries to many souvenirs.
I enjoyed a pleasant walk along the streets, discovering beautiful houses with colorful wooden doors covered by straw or plastic fences and a delightful walk in the port, admiring the small joyful fishing boats, also known as an irresistible identity spot of this place. There are a lot of restaurants in Marsaxlokk, mostly along the harbor, with great terrace views. I asked two fishermen which are the best ones or where they recommend us to go for lunch and dinner, and the answer was: Ta’Victor, for heavenly fish, placed near the cathedral, Terrone, cozy placed near their boats or Mr. Fitz, along the seaside promenade. Or, at least, these were the places they delivered fresh fish 😉
Photo credits: ilovefood.com.mt, imalta.com, malatgems.com, Wikimedia/Frank Vincentz, Alina Mitrica, personal archive Ruxandra Chiurtu