The Glorious Blue
20 August 2015

Malta’s southern coast is formed of a great mass of seaboard cliffs – an almost unbroken sheer cliff wall stretching from near Birzebbuga up to Fomm ir-Rih and beyond. Here and there a breach in the cliffs provides for a small settlement to crop up, normally one originating as a fishermen’s community.

Blue Grotto

Wied iz-Zurrieq

Wied iz-Zurrieq was once such a place; a small fishing hamlet centred round a deep narrow inlet in the cliffs and reached by a steep and winding road backed by the sloping cliffs. The advent of tourism changed all that and most of the fishermen are now restaurant or souvenir shop owners. This may sound like a sad development but the place has an infectious holiday air about it which is hard to resist.

Glorious Blue

Glorious Blue

Wied iz-Zurrieq and the nearby Blue Grotto are favourite haunts for divers. The sea here is almost spotlessly clean and the dives range from easy ones hugging the coast to deeper sea exploration further out. The Umm El Faroud dive site is located between here and the islet of Filfla, this is a Libyan tanker which had a tragic end at Malta Drydocks some years back and is now home to a variety of fish. Wied iz-Zurrieq is also popular as a swimming spot for locals from nearby localities. Some will spend whole days here in midsummer, rounding the day with a meal from one of the community’s several restaurants. Tourists may find swimming among the boats coming and going somewhat strange, but resisting the sea’s call will be a struggle in the hotter months.

The restaurants here offer mostly simple fare – and naturally there’s a focus on seafood. Fresh fish in season is the best choice: tuna, swordfish, dolphin fish (more commonly known as lampuka in Maltese) and octopus will feature on most menus at the appropriate time.

Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto

But the main reason visitors flock to this hamlet are the popular boat trips to the Blue Grotto. The trips are a mere 25 minutes long and there is a steady stream of boats doing the round so waiting time is normally very short. The cost is a standard €8 for adults with half that for children.

The boat trip doesn’t disappoint. In two short minutes one is transported from the busy cove to a world of sheer overhanging cliffs and a sea with a multitude of shades of the most glorious blue. There’s a succession of some half a dozen caves with the Blue Grotto being the highest and most impressive. One is easily mesmerized by the ever-changing scenery and the temptation to jump off the boat to savour the luscious sea can be almost irresistible. But don’t do that – the boatman will probably not like it.

The Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto

Wied iz-Zurrieq is reached by Bus No 201 which runs hourly from Malta International Airport to Rabat and vice versa. In summer Bus no 71 from Valletta to Zurrieq extends its run to Wied iz-Zurrieq once every hour.

1 Response To The Glorious Blue
  1. Ron Bissett

    Having lived in Malta from 1952 to 1954, I consider the island
    to be my second home. I love the place. I was stationed at the
    RN Hal Far air base and worked at Kalafrana. Much of my
    off duty time was spent in Birzebugia where there was a
    favourite restaurant and bar I frequented. I also used to cycle
    to a gym at Zabbar some three times every week.
    I have many warm memories of Malta, including one of my
    favourite drinks – Kinnie, by Farsons. I can still remembersome
    of the Maltese language which I required to learn for my job
    of bringing loads of fresh produce to Hal Far from Cospicua
    every day. Counting from one to one hundred as quickly as
    the locals at the docks. Yes I love Malta – great place to live!

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Glorious Blue"
  1. […] Almost towards the end of the tour we were then driven to Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, then to the Blue Grotto for a 30 minute stop. To make the most of this stop I recommend the small boat trip to the amazing […]

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