When to visit, where to go and what to expect at the Marsaxlokk fish market.
As the colourful luzzu boats bob lazily in the bay, the Marsaxlokk Sunday market is bustling with activity on the water’s edge. There’s a buzz in the air as hundreds of locals and visitors amble curiously along the promenade, squinting at the different stalls to see what bargains can be had – it's not all about the fish!
While you can visit any day during the week and find a smaller version of the market, the Marsaxlokk waterfront is in full swing from the early hours of Sunday morning, when the local fishermen bring in their catch to sell at the famous market within Malta’s favourite fishing village. If you go early enough, you can see the unloading of the seasonal fresh catch: swordfish, lampuki, octopus, shrimp or whatever it may be.
From as early as 6-7am, a variety of fish of the season is on display in the central area of the market until it lasts, around noon. Many locals head to Marsaxlokk to purchase the ingredients for their Sunday lunch, so if you want to buy fresh local fish, go early to grab the best quality!
Meanwhile, hundreds of other stalls sprawl for several hundred metres in either direction. There is plenty to catch your interest: local delicacies, local artisanship, clothes, shoes, homeware, plants, pets, souvenirs and anything under the sun (literally!)
Some local delicacies you should try include sundried tomatoes, capers and olives, all of which you'll find for sale here, and are typical ingredients to include in a traditional Maltese fish dish. Other favourites include carob syrup, honey, honey rings, almond sweets and other delicious typical Maltese goodies.
If you're souvenir-hunting for loved ones back home, you'll find a good selection here. Why not take home a lovely handmade lace table top or hand-knitted shawl? You don’t come across things like that everyday! If you prefer a souvenir to place on your mantlepiece or fridge, you won’t be disappointed either. Meanwhile, a variety of well-priced clothes, shoes and homeware of reasonably good quality will tempt even those who are only there to browse.
By midday, the fish market begins to dismantle, with the stall owners feeling the toll of a busy (and typically hot) morning at the stalls. In keeping with the day’s theme, it's now time for a lunch of fresh fish. And if you don't have the place to do it, you don’t have to painstakingly clean the fish and cook it yourself. Several good restaurants line the seafront of this fishing village, providing plenty of options for sitting al fresco in the warm sun and cool sea breeze while somebody does that for you!
After a fulfilling lunch, take it easy with a leisurely stroll in the direction of Delimara. It is entirely up to you how far you are ready to walk, but there are a number of stunning rocky beaches and a lovely woodland area just beyond the market (left from the village centre).
How to get there
Located on the far south of the island, the best way to reach the Marsaxlokk market by bus is from Valletta (any locality in Malta connects with buses to Valletta). It is highly recommended you get there early to make the most of the market’s activity. And do wear sunscreen and a hat in summer, as the sun can burn while you’re distracted by all the colourful wares!