Marsaxlokk Bay is Malta’s second largest natural harbour. It is the best place to see the colourful, traditional Maltese fishing boats, the Luzzus, with the mythical eye painted on their prows.
The village is the Islands’ main fishing harbour; its Sunday fish market a fascinating insight into local life and a traditional industry. The stalls brim with the night’s catch – fish of all shapes, colours and sizes. The village itself has many good fish restaurants. Marsaxlokk derives its name from the Arabic word marsa, meaning harbour, and Maltese for the south-easterly Mediterranean wind, the Xlokk (Sirocco in Italian). Marsaxlokk, with its sheltered habour, was an easy landing place for pirates and the Ottoman Turks. It was here that the Ottoman Turks landed for an attack which ended in the Great Siege of 1565. Napoleon’s army landed here in 1798; and in recent times, the harbour was the scene of the Bush-Gorbachev Summit,1989.
The headland to the left of the Bay is Delimara Point. It has two attractive, secluded rocky inlets suitable for swimming: Peter’s Pool; and the furthermost part of the headland. Fort Delimara, on the west of the peninsula, was built by the British in 1881 to guard the entrance to Marsaxlokk Bay.
“This morning we come about half past five, you know. Not much today. The waves come in and make salt. We start from May up till September and always depends on the weather. The big one there; 20% salt, better than nothing. It takes 5 days, 7 days, but it always depends on the weather, the wind and the water. This is my land. It belong in our relations, 170 years. That’s my part, from that part to the edge of somebody else’s. But once it was one.” Emmanuel Cini, Salter. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014.
The Marsaxlokk fish market is a very popular attraction featuring in many guide books and therefore attracts many tourists and locals who go to buy fresh fish and seafood caught during the same morning.
The market is very interesting and attractive as different fish and seafood from the Mediterranean are displayed here and prices are cheaper than in the shops. This is also a great way for children to see how the fish look, and some of fish and octopus are still alive.
Although the Marsaxlokk Sunday Market was originally a fish market, it has developed, and now it also sells locally produced honey, fruit jams, wine as well as vegetables, souvenirs and clothes. After shopping at the market, you can have lunch in one of the many seafood restaurants scattered in the picturesque bay of Marsaxlokk. If you are looking for other local produce and fresh vegetables visit the farmers market in Ta’ Qali.