Dotted with sleepy traditional villages, long winding walks, secluded lagoons, caves and beautiful landscapes, Gozo is a world away from everyday hustle and bustle. The island is the second largest and most northerly of the islands in the Maltese Archipelago with a population of over 30,000 and a vision to be an eco-island by 2020.
The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago’s best-preserved prehistoric temples dating back to 3600bc: the Ġgantija temples. Gozo’s rugged landscape is perfect for walking and cycling whilst the balmy Mediterranean waters and spectacular coastline await exploration.
Connecting to the island of Gozo from Malta is very easy. On arrival at Malta International Airport visitors can take a taxi or bus to the ferry terminal at Cirkewwa, in the north of Malta (45 minutes’ drive). From there it is only a short ferry trip (25 minutes) to the island of Gozo. Gozo Channel operates a daily ferry service that carries both foot passengers and cars to Gozo. For more information click here
All roads in Gozo lead to the capital city Victoria (also known as Rabat), which is where the fortified medieval Citadel sits atop the island’s highest point. Victoria is not just the geographic heart of Gozo, but also the centre of everyday activity. The colourful market and the shops surrounding the square are a showcase of Gozitan crafts: hand-made bobbin lace, hand-knitted heavy woollen sweaters, and an array of local delicacies.The town also has a thriving cultural life with some surprising attractions including two opera houses in the same street. The fortified citadel (or Cittadella) is the city’s main attraction commanding spectacular 360° views of the entire island from its ramparts. A walk through the citadel’s narrow streets takes you past the island’s main museums: the Cathedral Museum, the Museum of Archaeology, the Folklore Museum, Natural Science Museum, the Old Prison as well as the Art and Crafts Centre.
Must-See Attractions on Gozo
DWEJRA – on Gozo’s west coast boasts one of the island’s most beautiful coastlines and celebrated landmarks including the Fungus Rock and the Inland sea. Until 8th March 2017 this was also the site of the world famous Azure Window which unfortunately was lost to the sea. All that is left there now is a mysterious face formation in the rock which looks out at sea. The area is perfect for snorkelling and diving, and the cliffs are etched with walking paths offering breathtaking panoramic views.
GGANTIJA TEMPLES – are the oldest freestanding structure in the world predating the Pyramids of Egypt by some 1,000 years. Located in Xaghra, this UNESCO World Heritage temple site offers a glimpse of a very complex and organised civilisation that lived on the islands some 3,600 BC.
TA’ KOLA WINDMILL – an 18th century windmill found in Xaghra is the only one of the 12 windmills built by the Knights of St John which remains in good working condition today.
MARSALFORN – a fishing village on Gozo’s northern coast and the island’s main tourist resort. Flanked by the hilltop villages of Xaghra and Zebbug, Marsalforn is home to a range of self-catering holiday apartments, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes. The small harbour is the main port for a fleet of traditional luzzijiet fishing trawlers and smaller fishing boats. There is a small but pleasant sandy bank on the harbour with safe bathing while the rocky coastline westwards towards Qbajjar is excellent for snorkelling.
XLENDI – is a quiet little resort on Gozo’s south-western coast and one of the best places to witness the glorious Mediterranean sunset. Its small sandy beach is ideal for both young and old while the more adventurous will enjoy swimming and snorkelling off the rocks bordering the beach where ladders make access to the sea safe and easy. Because of its reef formations, Xlendi is an ideal dive site even for beginners.
XWEJNI – its famous salt pans, hewn out of the coastal rock, are still used today for the collection of salt which is sold in most local supermarkets.
XEWKIJA, Gozo’s oldest village, is dominated by the church of St John the Baptist featuring the third highest unsupported dome in the world.
TA’ PINU BASILICA overlooking the village of Gharb, is the most famous place of pilgrimage on the Maltese Islands. The current church incorporates the original 16th century chapel where a Gozitan woman is said to have heard the voice of the Virgin Mary on 22nd June 1883. In the following years, many miracles and acts of grace were manifested at the site.
Image: Boat in the caves of Comino
A visit to the Maltese Islands is incomplete without a day trip to the tiny island of Comino which lies mid-way between the islands of Gozo and Malta; Comino is a paradise for snorkelers, divers, windsurfers and ramblers. The island’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon.
In summer, this sheltered inlet of shimmering, aquamarine water over white sand is very popular with day-trippers. Other beaches on the island include Santa Marija Bay and San Niklaw Bay.
Comino is also worth a visit in winter, and is ideal for walkers and photographers. With no urban areas or cars on the island, one can easily smell the scent of wild thyme and other herbs.
At just 3.5sq km, the entire island can easily be explored on foot taking in the picturesque and unspoilt rugged beauty of its dramatic cliffs and rocky coves.
Ferries to Comino depart regularly every day from Mgarr Harbour in Gozo or Marfa in Malta. The journey takes around 20 minutes.
Bottom of page: For more information visit Gozo Tourism Association