Birżebbuġa is a growing seaside resort in the South East part of Malta, lying between Kalafrana and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. It hosts around 10,000 inhabitants, and has been a popular tourist destination particularly because of the archaeological sites of Ghar Dalam and Borg in-Nadur, as well as the sandy beach of Pretty Bay. The village derives its name from Maltese, translating into a ‘well of olives’. The meaning can be seen in the town’s coat of arms - a blue chevron and an olive branch on a white background. The blue represents the sea while the olive branch represents the significance of this tree in the past local economy. The town is built around Pretty Bay, encouraging the establishment of various shops, cafes, restaurants, a hotel, and several other tourist amenities along the coastline. There is a popular gazebo and a children’s playing field in Pretty bay, surrounded by a walkway that crosses the sandy beach. The neighbouring St. George’s Bay has a rocky shoreline, which makes it popular for sun bathing, snorkelling, sailing and fishing. It is also famous for pre-historic cart Ruts that run across the beach.
There are two popular band clubs in Birzebbuga which contribute to the town with music of the highest quality. Both bands march through the town during the feast of St. Peter in chains that is celebrated every first weekend of August. The highlight of the feast is the carrying of St. Peter’s Statue leaving from the Parish Church going around the streets coupled with a spectacular firework display. The main streets are brightly decorated and lined with kiosks selling nougat, candy floss and other typical food. The first people who landed in Birżebbuġa were the Phoenicians, who travelled by sea, and chose this area because it is the first point to hit when coming from the East, while the bay offered shelter for their ships. During their stay they built a temple, called the temple of Erocle, while many graves belonging to these mariners were excavated around the town.
On a high hill called Kaccaturo, in front of Ghar Dalam, there are remains of a typical Roman Villa, which the Romans built during their times. The harbour played an important role in history, not only it was used by the Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs; but it also featured in the Great Siege of 1965 when the Turks landed there. During the 20th century it became a base for British naval warships and was also used for military flying boats. Nowadays, the harbour plays a huge economical role with the Freeport, handling an impressive number of cargo ships and containers on a daily basis. The town also has historical buildings that date back centuries, enlightening us about how people on the island lived through different rulings. Such buildings include Farretti Coastal Battery, and the Birżebbuġa entrenchments, dating back to the times of the Knights, as well as other fortifications built by the British in the areas of Benghajsa, Delimara and tas-Silg.
Things to see and do:
Ghar Dalam: Close to Birżebbuġa is the key historical site of Għar Dalam, meaning a dark cave. Għar Dalam provides the earliest evidence of human presence on Malta, with artefacts dating back 7,400 years to the Neolithic Period.
Borg in-Nadur: At Borġ in-Nadur you can find the remains of a temple or settlement, dating back to the Bronze Age. These ruins are significant because they show a four-apse temple (c. 2000BC), and an original fortified settlement.
Ghar Hasan: This is another interesting cave in Birzebbuga, situated high up on the rocks overlooking the sea. It is popular among tourists because of its remarkable formation and interesting location. A legend narrates that under the rule of Count Roger, an Arab guy named Hasan kidnapped a Maltese girl and kept her in the cave against her will.
Bus number 82 from Valletta