You’ll find it all on the beautiful tiny island of Gozo. From secluded beaches to awesome world heritage sites. And from lazy seaside cafes to extraordinary museums. All within an area of just 67 km2. You’ll never be at a loss for what to do in Gozo.
Malta’s sister island also has a very unique character. Gozo, ‘Ghawdex‘ in Maltese (pronounced ‘aaw-desh’), is slower-paced, laid-back, quieter, greener and arguably more beautiful than Malta; the population of Gozo is just 31,500.
Visitors to Malta, the main island of the Maltese archipelago, should certainly not miss an opportunity to discover the mystical island of Gozo.
How To Get To Gozo
There are no flights to Gozo – you must catch the ferry to get to Gozo from Malta. But that’s easy when the ferry crossing takes just 25 minutes from Cirkewwa, Malta, to Mgarr, Gozo. During the short trip across the water from Malta to Gozo, the ferry takes you past the island of Comino; you can already catch a glimpse of Comino’s marvellous caves and the Blue Lagoon.
The Gozo ferry runs all day, becoming less frequent during the night; check the ferry times here. From the Azure Golden Sands Resort & Spa, a direct bus (route no. 101) takes you directly to Cirkewwa within 25 minutes.
Make The Most Of Your Gozo Day Tour
Once you arrive at the ferry terminal in Gozo, the whole island is within easy reach, especially if you hire a car. Scooters are also a great, easy option that keep you immersed in the picture. If you feel like adventure, quad bikes are also an option, but they are usually restricted to tours of specific areas of Gozo. Bicycles are not recommended on the Island of the Three Hills unless you are a really fit and experienced mountain biker!
Taking local buses does mean you’ll have less time to enjoy different places. This is especially because you generally need to change in Victoria, the capital, and buses run infrequently. Also bear in mind that some of the most beautiful spots are secluded and not served by public transport. If driving is not an option, take the Gozo Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour. This will stop at Gozo’s historical sites, main towns and villages and destination highlights.
If you have your own transport and can create your itinerary, here’s what to do in Gozo on a day tour. Make an early start to enjoy your day to the maximum. The sheer number of attractions and things to do in Gozo is surprising for its small size!
Charge Your Day In Qala & Hondoq Ir-Rummien
Veer right as you leave the ferry to grab a pick-me-up coffee at Xerri il-Bukkett on the way to Qala. Here, you can ogle at the stunning views of Comino and Malta; remember to take your camera. Afterwards, head down to pretty Hondoq ir-Rummien bay, dip in the clear turquoise waters and sun-dry on the small Blue Flag sandy beach with views of Comino. This area is also great for snorkeling.
Grab A Gozitan Treat For Breakfast
One of Gozo’s traditional delights is best obtained from Maxokk or Mekren bakeries in nearby Nadur. The Gozo ftira is delicious hot or cold, so just grab one for when you feel peckish on the go. This bread-base pizza is traditionally topped with potatoes, onions, tomatoes and Mediterranean ingredients, such as olives, capers and tuna. However, there are many variations.
This tiny Gozitan village also offers wonderful panoramic views and is world-famous for its eclectic and even macabre street carnival.
Enjoy The Natural Elements At Ramla Bay
Build a red sandcastle at Ramla Bay, Gozo’s iconic red sandy beach that features lush dunes protected by Natura 2000. One of the best beaches in Gozo, it also has a few restaurants, an ice-cream kiosk, showers and sunbeds.
If you’re feeling energetic, trek up to explore il-Mixta Cave in the cliff on the right. It’s really worth the effort because both the cave and the view are amazing.
Take A Journey Through Time At Xaghra
Take a selfie by the giant megaliths of Ggantija Temples, the world’s oldest structures and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apart from these ancient temples, in the village of Xaghra there are several other places of interest. For example, you can visit Ta’ Kola Windmill, which has been restored to its original state; the ticket is included in the temples’ price.
Another unusual museum in Xaghra worth visiting is the privately owned Pomzkizillious Museum of Toys. You can also visit the amazing underground stalagmites and stalactites in Xerri’s Caves and Ninu’s Grotto. From the origins of the earth and man’s first buildings on the planet to how he lived, worked and played, Xaghra really takes you on a journey through eons of time.
Explore History & Culture At Victoria & The Citadel
Meander through the heart of the capital Victoria, with its quaint streets and cafes. That too will feel like time travel as the village core remains largely unchanged. Then, visit the old Citadel, the main attraction of Victoria, Gozo, or Rabat, Ghawdex in Maltese; there’s also a Rabat in Malta. The original historic fortified city was built circa 1500 BC, although its medieval defences were later improved by the Knights of St John.
To gain insight into life within the Citadel in bygone times, pop into the Old Prison, the historic house and the folklore museum. There are also plenty of other great attractions, such as the archaeology museum and the Cittadella Visitors’ Centre. Finally, explore the city’s hidden nooks and crannies and enjoy panoramic views of the whole island from the city bastions.
Take A Break At A Seaside Resort & Some Nature
After all that history and culture, it is time for ice-cream at Marsalforn, a popular seaside town dotted with fishing boats. With a car, you can head westwards along the coast to the famous Xwejni saltpans carved into the rock. Dating back to the Phoenicians, they are said to be the world’s oldest.
The natural coast here is no less remarkable as you head on to Wied il-Ghasri. This secluded, picturesque spot where a deep valley meets a meandering sea makes a tempting dip for swimming during the hotter months.
Delve Into Local Culture At Gharb
Pay a visit to the village of Gharb, a place that’s teeming with local lore and tradition. Gharb was the home of Karmni Grima and Francis Portelli, who in 1883 individually heard the voice of the Virgin Mary from a nearby run-down chapel. The chapel became an important place of pilgrimage, leading to the building of the famous Ta’ Pinu sanctuary. Parts of the earlier 16th century chapel survive behind the present-day altar.
The faith healer Frenc tal-Gharb (Francis Mercieca), who healed in the name of Ta’ Pinu, was also from Gharb. Ta’ Pinu still today continues to receive hundreds of mementos from devotees thankful for the miracles of prayer.
While in the area, stop at Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Village, located on the way to Dwejra. Here, you can watch artisans making local crafts and purchase some genuine handmade souvenirs.
Explore Gozo above and below
Dive or swim in the Blue Hole at Dwejra, a world-famous dive site, and marvel at the Inland Sea, Fungus Rock and the site of the collapsed Azure Window. Scuba diving in Gozo is popular and several Gozo diving centres offer test dives; take advantage of the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, caves and wrecks found here.
If it is the land you want to explore, you have plenty of unspoilt nature to enjoy on a leisurely walk or engaging trek. Alternatively, ride a rugged landscape route on a quad bike tour. Either way, prepare to enjoy lush landscape, glorious cliffs and stunning views. And remember that you can also enjoy those cliffs and valleys while climbing or abseiling.
Tuck Into Good Food At One Of Gozo’s Great Restaurants
Experience a beautiful sunset at Xlendi Bay, home to some of the best restaurants in Gozo. Enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the excellent fish restaurants situated at the water’s edge.
Another wonderful place to eat in a unique setting is Mgarr ix-Xini, the location of By the Sea, a movie starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Actually there are many good Gozo restaurants to choose from for an atmospheric dinner before you head back to the ferry. Do take advantage of the local restaurants and cafes while in Gozo − they’re a great opportunity to relish local cuisine and an intrinsic part of the Gozo experience.
You may wonder how you could do so much in Gozo in a day. But you can, because the island is so very small. And, you’ll be surprised by how much more there is to see and do in this charming little place. If you wish to spend more than a single day, the experience of staying in one of Gozo’s traditional stone farmhouses would certainly be an escape to remember. Then to return to your beautiful five star resort on one of the best beaches in Malta and all the great things to do in Malta. It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?