Gozo is Malta’s sister island, and it is still a very much untouched area. It is enjoyed and appreciated by most Maltese and visitors for it natural and quiet beauty.
It also has a bit of a historical myth attached to it. Gozo has been associated with Ogygia, which in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ is home of the nymph Calypso. She is the one who kept Odysseus captive for years before letting him go back to Greece.
Getting to Gozo
Getting to and travelling around Gozo is easy enough. There are various options but first things first. The main way to cross over from Malta to Gozo is by using the ferry – this is a great way to go if you’re using your own transport as well as if you’re on foot. It usually takes just 25-30 minutes, you might just need to wait a bit longer depending on the queues and rush hour, but it’s more or less the same amount of time once the journey has started.
Once you’re in Mgarr then you can either grab the bus, hire a scooter or a car. If you have your own car then you will find that the roads are kept really well, and you can drive on the main road leading to the city, Victoria. Most of the hustle and bustle is in this main area, known as the Citadella. The transport system is quite reliable on the island of Gozo, and there is much less commotion too.
Interestingly it was not till 1960 that the ferry was changed from a small traditional boat to one’s similar to those of today.
Things to Do
Many people just visit Gozo to take the sites in and really relax. Yet, if you’re the more adventurous type then there is something for you too!
The Ggantija temple is the main archeological site on the island, and is a UNESCO site. These are two temples which are amongst the oldest free-standing stone buildings in the world, they date back to 3600/3200 B.C.
The temples are open from 9-5/6p.m. The tickets also give access to Ta’ Kola Windmill.
When it comes to artifacts then it’s worth heading over to the Archeological Museum in the Citadel (Rabat, Victoria). It boasts unique exhibits from prehistoric sites.
There is also a Nature Museum that is worth looking in at. The Museum’s collection is divided in two floors. There are geology, mineral, human, animal evolution and marine life sections. Something that you should not miss if you go to the Nature museum is the moonstone brought down by Apollo II, and donated to the Maltese people by President Nixon.
Other important specimens are the exotic and local insects, butterflies and moths. The Malta Fungus is also quite something to look at, it was once believed to grow only on ‘Fungus Rock’.
This name was given to the capital in 1887 in honour of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
The city itself comprises of both the fortified part and the surrounding old town in its now expanded form.
There is an open-air market throughout the week and many of the retail outlets may be found in one of the two shopping arcades.
There is St. George’s Basilica which is well worth a visit, and it’s a delightful walk around the narrow streets.
This village is in the east and so boasts gorgeous views of Comino. Qala’s coastline is rough and rocky, there are several interesting caves one might be interested in visiting. The prettiest being Ghar Minka which you can easily access by boat.
You can get to the seaside village from Rabat or Mgarr Harbour. Their baroque church dominates the skyline and is one of Gozo’s best pieces of architecture. It is dedicated to St. Peter & St. Paul.
You will also be able to visit the Maritime Museum which is a treasure-trove of naval memorabilia.
The nearby coasts harbour the beaches of San Blas and Ramla, as well Dahlet Qorrot.
This village is a swift 10 minute walk from the capital. It is wedged between two parallel valleys and offers some of the most spectacular landscapes. Very close to Munxar one can find Xlendi Bay.
This is the smallest village on the island, it lies between the hills of Zebbug and Ghammar.
This village must-see would be Ta’ Gurdan which is a lighthouse which stands at the top of Gurdan Hill. It was inaugurated in 1853. Its beam can be seen up to 50 km away. With 360 degree views of Gozo it’s well worth the walk!
In the area, Wied l-Ghasri is perfect for country walks and cycling. The valley opens onto the sea between high cliffs and the secluded little inlet here is ideal for swimming and diving.
When it comes to beaches and relaxing there are two main spaces on the island, either Ramla l-Hamra or San Blas. Ramla l-Hamra is wide and its sand is a reddish hue. On the western side of the beach is Calypso’s Cave.
Other beaches are at Marsalforn and Xlendi.
Check out Fungus Rock, sometimes also called Mushroom Rock. It forms part of the Maltese archipelago and is located near San Lawrenz. Today it is a nature reserve, one can access it through the shoreline nearby which attracts snorkelers.
Malta and Gozo are unique spots for diving enthusiasts. With our natural harbours, sheltered creeks, cliffs and reefs you can’t imagine what awaits you underwater!
Gozo is especially famous for its clear and unpolluted waters.
Best places to dive include; the Blue hole in Dwejra, Xlendi reef and tunnel, Ta’ Cenc and Mgarr ix-Xini.
Explore the rugged landscape on foot as much as you can. You will find many criss-crossed lanes and tracks and while it is not that easy to find the signs for your route, download the route beforehand or pick up a map.
This is becoming increasingly popular in Gozo, and it’s no wonder. When it’s not too hot and sunny it’s the perfect way to really get a good look around the whole island.
Simply follow the signs of the SIBIT project (Sustainable Interregional Bike Tourism) which is a new scheme run with Sicily to create a network of bicycle routes.
Abseiling, Rock Climbing & Bouldering
This is a great way to take in the landscape. No more needs to be said, just get out there! The most popular sites: Hondoq, Dwejra, Ta’ Cenc.
With much more to do and see, on such a quaint island there really is no reason you shouldn’t visit Gozo and take in the sites!