Zurrieq and the magnificent Blue Grotto which sits in its surroundings are possibly two of the best things you can see in your holiday in Malta. The south of Malta offers something different and most of the attractions are, indeed, related to the sea. Zurrieq and Blue Grotto are a true example of this. But while other localities are truly experienced in the summer months, the town of Zurrieq is a beautiful spot worth enjoying all year round.
Why stay in Zurrieq?
You will be able to enjoy a side of Malta which not known to many if you decide to invest your time in this small town. It is also very close to the airport. Normally we don’t emphasis much on distance, because, let’s face it, for a country the size of Malta, everywhere is pretty close. But with Zurrieq, you are literally a couple of villages away from the Malta International Airport of Luqa.
Zurrieq and the area of Blue Grotto is also a good spot for summer evenings. Summer in Malta can be pretty harsh and the heat barely gets any better at night. However, Zurrieq and the surrounding area usually manage to keep the temperature pretty cool.
Where are Zurrieq and Blue Grotto located?
Blue Grotto is part of Zurrieq and the town sits at the southern tip of the Maltese islands. It neighbors other small villages which go unnoticed, like Safi. It has an older part in the very centre of the village and a part which touches the coast where you can enjoy some amazing sea scenery. As referred to in the previous section, Zurrieq is basically one tunnel road away from the Airport.
Lucky for all the history-loving travelers, Malta does not have one tiny village which is not filled with an interesting history. All of Malta and Gozo are so rich with history that stretches through millennia.
To start with, the history of Zurrieq is proven through a church which was built back in the mid-1400s. St Catherine of Alexandria was indeed built in 1436 and is only one of the many churches which are in this town of 12,000 inhabitants.
The name ‘Zurrieq’ derives from the Maltese word ‘zoroq’ which literally means ‘blue’. There is a slight disagreement as to what exactly it refers. There are historians who believe the ‘blue’ refers to the crystal clear waters, while others think that it comes from the colour of the eyes of the inhabitants. Still, the motto on the Zurrieq emblem says ‘Sic a Cyaneo Aequore Vocor’ which translates into ‘From the blue seas I took my name.’
The town has inhabited people from the Bronze era to Roman times. Archaeologists have found tombs and pottery which are testimony to an amazing history. The windmill of Xarolla is one unique artefact which still stands proud and dates back to the 15th century.
A 4th island?
The Maltese archipelago is compromised of two main inhabited islands being Malta and Gozo. Then there’s a third island, Comino – which inhabits just the one family of three people and is mostly visited by day tourists for the Blue Lagoon. But not many people are away that Malta includes yet another small island which is, however completely uninhabited – Filfa. The island is small in size but remarkably beautiful and it can still be enjoyed by viewing it from the coastal area of Zurrieq. The island used to be heavily bombarded by the British due to target practice. It featured in movies (check out Count of Monte Cristo) that go way beyond Hollywood. In fact, diving expeditions here are the stuff of legendary documentaries.
Things to do in Zurrieq and Blue Grotto
Zurrieq is a fantastic town to visit in both winter and summer. What we will give you here are all the things you can do on the two major seasons.
- Take a boat ride to the Blue Grotto. The Grotto offers an incredible mix of rock formation and beautiful sea. You can go to Wied iz-Zurrieq (the Valley of Zurrieq) and ask a local for a boat ride. You can even arrange for the boat to get you to a place in Blue Grotto and pick you up later during the day.
- Dive into the crystal blue sea of Zurrieq’s valley. The sea here is easily accessible through its valley which touches the sea. There might be some local boats in the area but it is still a unique place to swim. Snorkeling will also do the trick!
- For the more experienced Zurrieq boasts a top diving site Um El Faroud. The Um El Faroud is a shipwreck from 1995. The wreckage was left for divers to enjoy.
- Hike Wied Babu, one of the best places to experience nature in its wildest forms is to hike down and up the Valley of Zurrieq.
- If hiking in the bush is not your thing, you can take a walk on the promenade. The views are simply stunning.
- Visit the iconic windmill ‘Mithna tax-Xarolla’, a truly unique opportunity to see one Malta’s oldest windmills in pristine condition.
- Visit the Annunciation Chapel at Hal Millieri, a tiny chapel set in a pretty garden dating back from the mid-15th
Where to Eat
Il Corsaro – An Italian restaurant specializing in seafood and pasta. Small lovely restaurant with great views.
La Cucina di Bettina – Genuine Italian food is especially known for its fresh homemade pasta. Don’t miss their fresh hand-crafted tortellini in Ragu sauce!
Blue Cave Bar & Restaurant – Friendly restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere offering a variety of Mediterranean food.
Artigenjali –the Artigenjali ice cream truck, is one of its kind. It offers a variety of deliciously flavoured ice creams and granitas, all made from fresh and genuine ingredients. Try the main specialty, traditional Maltese ice cream.
How to Get There?
From the Airport to reach Zurrieq, you need to take bus number 201.
From Cirkewwa There is no direct bus to Zurrieq but you can catch the bus numbers 41, 42, 49 or 250 to Valletta then catch the bus to Zurrieq Route number 71, 73 or 74. Another option is to get bus no X1 to the Airport, then catch bus 201 to Zurrieq.