Malta – A Walk from Marsaskala to Marsaxlokk and the Tarxien Temples
After my enjoyable Dingli Cliffs walk (Dingli Cliff Blog), I’m eager to tackle another walk from my collection of leaflets from the tourist office. As the fishing village of Marsaxlokk is on my “to do” list, I’m delighted to find a walk from Marsaskala to there.
- Start of Day: Valetta Bus Terminal, Malta
- Cost of Day Out: Cheap (£)
The short bus journey to Marsaskala follows an urban route, as it skims past Birgu, then drives through Haz Zabbar, the only notable town en route, before arriving at  Marsaskala Bay.
As directed by the walk, I start at  St Anne’s Parish Church which dominates the bay. In addition to the many fruit stalls along this side of the bay, I also come across the freshest of fish being sold. If only I wasn’t on a long walk today ……..
Marsaskala Bay is quite built up. However, the crowded apartment blocks on this side soon give way to detached bungalows on the other side. There’s more of a retirement village feel on the bungalows side, especially when Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma fills the air from the radio of an elderly local sat on a bench enjoying the morning sunshine.
At the top of the harbour  salt pans (Salinas in Maltese) come into view. Unlike the ones I saw in Gozo (Marsalforn Blog) these are no longer being worked. Farming for salt this way is no longer commercially viable.
The next point of interest on the walk is  St Thomas’s tower (17th century). But it’s the half complete, abandoned  Jerma Palace Hotel, now a graffiti artists’ paradise, that grabs my attention. With missing outside walls, I’m even able to enjoy the graffiti inside the rooms as well.
At this juncture, I abandon the coastal Route A in favour of the inland Route B. By catching a bus from the Xehda stop down to the Bajja stop at St Thomas Bay, I avoid walking through a characterless modern suburb.  St. Thomas Bay is a large, wide, pretty bay, with sandy beaches, picnic areas and cafes. It looks like a popular weekend spot for locals.
I walk away from the bay to  Mamo Tower. As serendipity would have it, the tower is open on the one day of the week today. The knowledgeable guide tells me about its history and also takes me out to the roof. Whilst enjoying fabulous views of St Thomas Bay, I learn that two weeks from now, the roof will be shut as its bird shooting season. Stray gun pellets are known to fall on this roof.
Timing my exit perfectly for the bus, I walk past the tiny  St Cajetan Church to the Mamo stop, where I hop on and then hop off at the Xaghri stop. I would’ve walked this section, but it’s along a narrow main road with no kerb, with not not much to see. Far better to be walking down the quiet, traffic free Triq ir Ramla into the little village of  Hal Tmiem.
Hal Tmiem is a village of farms and farmhouses. Hidden behind stone walls of varying heights are fields of corn. Occasionally bright green rows of planted vegetables livens things up, as does the whiff of manure from nearby farms.
Such is the pace of life here as I continue towards  Misrah Strejnu, the next village down, that the tranquility is broken only by the chugging of a very slow tractor coming round the corner. I step aside to let him pass.
When I arrive at the corner with  St Nicholas Church, I get my first sighting of a vineyard, planted on the hills sloping towards Marsaxlokk Bay in the distance.
And i’s also here that I discover the first of many intertwining of rural and industrial settings on this walk. On my left I have a rural scene of a village church and farms. And on my right, a long row of cranes at Malta’s port, line the horizon of the vineyard.
I continue past  the Tas Silg Archaeological Complex and  the Church of Our Lady of Tas Silg.  Marsaxlokk Bay is just about visible through the gap in the streets, as are the cranes from before.
Once past the Church of our Lady, the walk takes on a different rural landscape. Ahead of me the long road to the Delimara Peninsula dips into a valley and out again. It’s pleasantly bordered by farm plots and wildflowers. There aren’t any buildings in sight.
As I climb the hill, the treats keep piling on. With poppies now joining the yellow backdrop of chamomile and cow slips, more and more of the aquamarine of Marsaxlokk Bay comes into view. Surely it can only get better as I stride out onto the peninsula.
And so it does. But the industrial element strikes again. The humming red and cream striped tower of the Delimara Power Station looms ahead of me as I enjoy excellent views of Marsaxlokk Bay. A muffled explosion in the distance can only mean one thing. It must be 12:00, and that was the sound of the daily gun salute from Valetta.
At the power station, a sign points in the opposite direction to  St Peter’s Pool. It’s not mentioned on the walk. My curiosity gets the better of me. As I descend some steps hewn into the rocks, I come upon sparkling, clear turquoise waters in a natural rock pool. With only a handful of tourists around, I watch a couple of them having great fun diving into the clear blue waters. Fortunately they don’t need to add rock climbing to their repertoire. There’s a ladder round the side.
It’s time to head to Marsaxlokk. The road that appears to cut through the Power Station to the bay is now part of the Power Station complex. So I have no choice but to walk back the way I came to the fishing  village of Marsaxlokk. It’s extremely picturesque bay is full of colourful fishing boats (luzzus) that date back to a Phoenician design. I also spy fishermen mending nets on their boats. Also on offer at the very end of the bay is a boat service for 5 Euros to St Peter’s Pool.
Marsaxlokk has a wide promenade. Just as there are no ancient remains left from the Roman temple built here, neither are there large hotels or apartment blocks cramping its style. Instead restaurants, bars and cafes with great views of the bay line the waterfront. I’m spoilt for choice of where to sample some Maltese fish.
The buses returning from Marsaxlokk to Valetta go past  Tarxien Temples, a little archaeological site of a 5 temple complex. At the entrance of one of the temples is a stone statue of just the skirt and feet of a goddess. But from what little there is left, it’s quite clear that it once belonged to a gigantic statue. in what must have been some gigantic temples.
What a marvellous day of walks, sun, sea, towers, rural hamlets, rock pools, colourful fishing boats, fresh fish and archaeology. I think I’m going to rate this day a 10 out of 10.
Important Stuff to Know
- Buses from Valetta to Marsaskala – Bus #91 route & timetable, Bus #92 route & timetable, Bus #93 route & timetable.
- Buses from Marsaxlokk to Tarxien Temples/Valetta – Bus# 81 route & timetable, Bus # 85 route & timetable
- Mamo Tower – open Thurs a.m., free
- Malta Tourism’s Marsaskala to Marsasxlokk Walk – online map here
- An Alternative Route B Marsaskala to Marsaxlokk walk – online pdf version here.
- Eating in Marsaxlokk – guide to restaurants here.
- Tarxien Temples (website) – open daily, entrance fee applies