Built on a hill in the central-northern part of Malta, Naxxar covers an area of 11 km2 and has more than 15 thousand inhabitants. Naxxar is an ancient city, in fact it dates back to prehistoric times when cart tracks, Punic tombs and catacombs were discovered in various areas.
Most likely, Naxxar got its name from the St. Paul shipwreck in Malta. According to tradition, the people of Naxxar were the first to help when the ship hit the rocks. Then St. Paul converted the villagers to Christianity and this is why many people associate Naxxar with Nassar, which actually means 'conversion to Christianity'. This theory is further evidenced by the village motto 'Prior credidi' which means 'The first people who believe'.
Although Naxxar appears to be purely a residential town, a little walk in the village will teach you otherwise. In the main square of Naxxar you will find the Palazzo Parisio and the parish church, while the old part of Naxxar is home to several narrow streets and quaint houses that make Naxxar a very picturesque town to visit
If you come to Naxxar for a day, don't hesitate to contact me. I live in this village and would love to come and have a drink with you!
The Naxxar parish church
The parish church of Naxxar was one of 10 parishes, 12 in total when counting the parishes of the Cathedral of Mdina and the Church of St. Lawrence in Birgu, which were found to exist in 1436 by Bishop Senatore De Mello and the villages Mosta and Għargħur fell under it. De Mello listed it as one of the 12 parishes of Malta and it was the first parish dedicated to Our Lady after that of the old cathedral in Mdina.
In 1575, the parish of Naxxar had under its control a total of 36 churches - 14 in Naxxar, 5 in Għargħur, 12 in Mosta and 5 near these villages. The current church was built between 1616 and 1630 when there were 1200 residents in Naxxar and it was felt that a larger church was needed.
The design was created by Tommaso Dingli, one of the leading architects of the time. The pastor was Father Gakbu Pace. The choir and the area around it were redesigned in 1691 to the design of Lorenzo Gafà, the same architect who designed Mdina's Cathedral. The parish church was solemnly consecrated on 11 December 1732 by Archbishop Paul Alphéran de Bussan.
Located in the heart of picturesque Naxxar, this stately home is a wondrous place that begs to be discovered. During your visit you will discover the intricate nuances of Malta's historic nobility and their enchanting way of life.
A tour of this stately home provides great insight and captures the imagination - whether you seek inspiration in the grand ballroom, the elaborate family chapel or the fabulous walled gardens and orangery, you'll find it.
Band Clubs in Naxxar
Band clubs in Malta play a unique role in village pride and Maltese social culture. The band club grounds are a meeting place for locals who exchange gossip about the village, play snooker or engage in activities related to the local village festival.
The band club's activities extend to preparing elaborate handcrafted street decorations for the local feast dedicated to the village's patron saint, or managing the fireworks production for the same occasion, and often includes a youth section and a women's section.
The approaching village fete brings the height of excitement, with rivalry being the norm as there are two band clubs in Naxxar.
Club supporters get to paint themselves from head to toe in the color representative of their club to show their allegiance to it, sing (screaming) chants and make for quite the theatrical scene, while the dignified band members are dressed in their best with shiny brass instruments to show off their musical skills on this extra special day dedicated to their patron saint. There is no arguing that band clubs are an intrinsic part of Maltese village life.
So you have the 'red' and the 'blue' bandclub. Since I have friends in both clubs, I always say that as a Dutchman I am neutral (white) and in between. In this way we also form the Dutch flag red/white and blue in Naxxar!
Palazzo Vittoria, residence of the noble Marquis Bugeja, today the clubhouse of the Peace Band Club and to the right is the imposing facade of Palazzo Parisio, the residence of the Marquis Scicluna.
As a visitor you can also go here for something to eat or drink, here you can see how hospitable, nice and proud the Maltese people are of their culture.
TIP: Try not to wear red or blue clothes during the Festa, that way you avoid strange looks. Since the (good) rivalry clearly makes two groups. As an outsider you can experience it all!
The Naxxar Festa is held on September 8, in honor of Our Lady of Victory. Naxxar is thriving with activity in the week leading up to the festa.
The parish church and main streets are decorated in bright festive colors and people flock downtown to listen to brass bands playing upbeat music and the sky and ground fireworks that fill the sky with a beautiful array of colors.
On the streets there are stalls selling local delicacies such as cotton candy and nougat - it is the quintessential Maltese Festa sweet made from sugar paste and nuts.
The whole week at the beginning of September there are fireworks, the closing evening is September 8th. All evenings are definitely worth a visit!
Have lunch around the church.
Around the church and Palazzo Parisio you actually have dozens of restaurants, bars and pastizzi shops.
It is wonderful to stay here and you will be surprised about the price difference with the tourist areas.
A cup of coffee for €0.90 and a beer or mixed drink for €1.50 is normal. So another reason to make a day of it!
I think this is the best place for lunch, dinner and cocktails!
The Daily Grub Malta
I've been living in Naxxar for a while now and have tried almost every place.
The Daily Grub Malta is the best place out there for me tock. They have a combination of mediterranean and Native American cuisine.
In addition, the owner Fabian can provide you with the best cocktails! Highly recommended!
From the terrace you have a view of Parish Church and Palazzo Parisio.
The Old Charm
This is an old Maltese farmhouse, over 400 years old, it has an abundance of charm and character. A place not to be missed if you are in Naxxar. It has been lovingly adapted, without losing its original features, into a beautiful wine and dishes bar with an extremely cozy and comfortable atmosphere.
It is a beautiful place to visit where you are made to feel very welcome by all the staff and owners who are very attentive and professional.
In winter there is an old wood burning fireplace in the living room, adding even more warmth and charm to this great building.
In summer it is fully air conditioned.
Walking to Naxxar
This tour goes through the other two old streets of the village, Triq Castro and Triq il-Markiz Scicluna, and to the small hamlet of San Pawl tat-Targa and further down the hill towards the famous cart tracks.
Perfect for getting to know all of Naxxar!
Walking through Naxxar
This tour takes you through the heart of the village of Pjazza Vittorja, via Triq Santa Lucija, Triq il-Ħabs, Triq Żenqa back to Triq Santa Lucija, down to Triq San Ġwann, through Pjazza Darnino, to Triq il-Mosta and then up again via Vjal il-21 ta' Settembru, back to Pjazza Vittorja. When you reach the square, you can go to Palazzo Parisio. The palace tours start on the hour.
The very old cart Ruts
The Cart Ruts on the Naxxar Gap (San Pawl tat-Targa) are spectacular when combined with the geology of the area. Located on the Great Fault line, the tracks themselves can be very narrow yet deep. They bend the slope and there is also a lot of very puzzling "doubling" effect and overruns.
The tracks are visible in the stones that cover the slopes of the hills above Naxxar to the pass of the same name. Until now, scientists have not been able to determine with certainty where they came from. According to one theory, they were hewn by wheels of carts that transported stone from a nearby quarry. However, others believe that it is the result of natural rock erosion, although it is not well known how scratches can form so regularly and almost form a path through the rocky ground.
The cart ruts are just outside the village.
Must-visit shops in Naxxar!
The Master Cellar
The Master Cellar is a shop that offers a wide variety of fine local and imported wine, whiskey, spirits and gourmet items, cigars and non-alcoholic beverages. Each category offers the customer a varied offer, not only in terms of brands, but also in price.
TIP: check when they have a wine tasting, you should definitely participate in this!
The boutique in the heart of Naxxar that, in addition to creative, innovative and sophisticated clothing, also has locally made products such as candles and headbands.
Definitely worth planning into your shopping day!
Live music every Friday at Caesar's House
Caesar's House is a venue where one can listen to good music, enjoy reasonably priced drinks and food in good company. Caesar's House has an inimitable chic setting, perfect for a pre-clubbing, a meeting with friends or if you contact me we will get together here! I live 100 meters from here!
There is so much to see in Naxxar, you might as well stay here and sleep in a hotel!
The village hotel
Nestled in a narrow alleyway, the hotel opens onto a bright, sun-drenched world of tranquility. The lobby opens onto the pool terrace and garden, the ideal place to relax.
If you fancy a bit of a village atmosphere, Naxxar's main square is just 700 steps away. The town has retained its authentic Maltese character, making it easy to get lost in the maze of narrow lanes and backstreets before settling into one of the cafes, bars or restaurants in the main square.
If you're looking for an island exploration, The Village Boutique & Spa has you close to anywhere on the island. In Malta, every step brings a new discovery, and The Village Hotel & Spa is a sparkling treasure just waiting for delight.
Valletta, Mdina, Mosta, Sliema and many other hotspots are about 20 minutes away with excellent public transport links from Naxxar.