One thing that is easy to forget when visiting Malta is how short the distances actually are. Exploring Malta on foot should in many regards be quite easy. It is usually only the temperature and the amount of traffic that might cause obstacles to any hiking plan. Our visit to Marsaskala in December turned out to have one of these obstacles solved. This time of the year, the temperature is a bit lower and it is possible to do physical activities outdoors. So while Susann and Little A wanted some time to rest after the playground, I was looking at the many possibilities of what to explore next. I have already done hikes to Marsaxlokk and the Three Cities, so I was looking for options inland. This is how I ended up on a hike to Żejtun and Għaxaq.
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Leaving Marsaskala along the coast is quite easy, but finding a good road inland is a bit more difficult. These roads do not have any paths for pedestrians and many times not even any space along the road where it is possible to walk. Being careful and observant is important, walking while listening to music is nothing I would recommend.
I chose to take the road Triq Id-Daħla Ta’ San Tumas out of Marsaskala. It is a bit smaller than the other option and leads directly to Żejtun. While leaving Marsaskala it leads by both the Mamo Tower and the St Cajetan Church, as well as a smelly area that appeared to be an enclosure for cows. The road never felt unsafe, since it was possible to keep an eye on traffic. But I did change sides a few times to be able to have a good view of the corners.
Walking Through Żejtun
Arriving in Żejtun is like arriving in many of the villages in Malta. You see a church in the distance and a wall of residential buildings. Żejtun has quite distinct borders when looking at the built-up area. The fields are outside and then everything inside is filled with mostly one- to two-story concrete buildings. My hike took me along the border of this urban area before heading towards its center along Triq San Girgor. This is a street lined by mostly residential buildings with their traditional Maltese balconies. These balconies are known as “Gallarijas” and are common in many of Malta’s towns and villages.
My hike to Żejtun eventually took me past the Parish Church of Saint Catherine. This is most likely the most prominent building in Żejtun and where I first had intended to stop. I was, however, too curious to stop already. Instead, I continued along the streets of Żejtun until I reached the village’s border with Għaxaq.
The hike to Żejtun eventually extended to neighboring Għaxaq. My only barrier to reaching Għaxaq turned out to be the road Tal-Barrani. This road has a bit more traffic and I had to find one of the few zebra crossings before I could continue.
My walk continued along Triq Iz Zejtun before finding the more densely populated areas of Għaxaq. My hike took me past the Ghaxaq Parish Church to the square Pjazza Santu Rokku. This was where I once more considered ending my hike, but I had seen that there was a Lidl not too far away and I wanted to bring some food with me back for dinner.
Heading Back to Marsaskala
The hike to Lidl turned out to be a bit more difficult. It brought me along the road Triq Il-Belt Valletta on my way out of Għaxaq. It was back out on countryside roads before I found my way back to the busy road Tal-Barrani.
Luckily there were only a few hundred meters along this road before I finally reached the small shopping center. Here I first explored the toy store and the electronics store before buying a few groceries for the evening. How to get back to Marsaskala? I had walked enough in my own opinion. So instead of extending the hike once more I ordered a taxi and was back in Marsaskala a short time later.
In the end, the hike led me from Marsaskala to Żejtun and onwards to Għaxaq. All in all, I covered 7.6 kilometers in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. It was quite an interesting hike in areas I hadn’t seen before. But it cannot compete with the sights that are available to be found along the coastal routes.
Stay tuned to read more about our 2022 December Visit to Malta. Read more here >>