It is very unlikely for us to actually see a real live European village in the modern day world. However, the Marsaxlokk is exactly that. While the place has now grown up to become a pretty big port town, there are still a lot of people here who earn their livelihood through fishing. In fact, the name says exactly that. In the local tongue, marsa stands for ‘port’ while xlokk stands for South east.
The Local Attraction
The best thing to see here is definitely the small fishing boats moored at the port. Traditionally called Luzzus, these boats come in various sizes and form a colourful spread over the water. Although it is recommended that you go visit the place in the summer in order to see a lot more boats than are (obviously) visible in the winter, do not worry in case you decided to visit off season to avoid the rush: the boats will still be there. Do not forget to take your camera though, as the boats are extremely photogenic and happen to be a favourite among the tourists. Of course, the usual plethora of sea gulls etc. are also there, as are always seen in a port town, but the boats are definitely a beauty. Also on the plate are the old Maltese houses lining the sea port. The lines of colourful houses with small bay lanes filled with quaint shops selling the local produce are a wonder. Definitely try conversing with the local population; they are extremely polite and helpful.
This is a port area. Meaning that the fish here is fresh in fact, it is so fresh that you can taste it. However, if you are on the lookout to bring some back with you to cook, bring your own ice pack. Since the market mainly caters to the local population, most of the sellers do not have any specialized equipment to cater to foreign tourists. Besides fish, there are also a wide variety of local vegetable produce available in the market, which, if nothing else, are a beautiful sight to see. Buses ply at regular intervals from most big cities in Malta. One way ride from Valletta takes about 30-45 minutes.
Most of the food available here is local. So be ready for some authentic Maltese fare if you want to try out the food. In case you like your fish fresh, go visit Tartarun Fish Restaurant. As the name suggests, it specializes in fish. And the fare is wonderful. If you go on a weekend (which also happens to be market day), you will probably find the place quite busy. Be ready to wait around half an hour. But believe us when we say that the wait is worth it. Opening time is from 1200 to 1530 hours and then again from 1930 to 2230 hours. However, if you want to really get the authentic flavour, go to the unnamed shops at the end of the port selling coffee. You will notice it easily as most of the locals frequent the places. These are usually open through the day, so in case you happen to go for a walk after the heavy lunch, you can sit and have a nice conversation with any of the locals.
If you like your visits to be exciting and full of partying, this is not the place for you. However, for the discerning traveller who wants to experience the quaint fishing life of European villages, Marsaxlokk is not to be missed.