From the cliffs, to the beaches of fine sand, from megalithic temples, to fortified villages, the island of Gozo is full of wonders to discover and ideas for a sustainable holiday.
A wild and unspoiled island, where the sun shines for 300 days a year and in whose warm waters you can swim from April to late November. The island of Gozo is the second largest in the Calipsee archipelago. Located 4 km north-west of the island of Malta, it is rich in nature and incredible landscapes. Even though it is small (only 67 km² in area) Gozo has a lot to offer. From crystal clear waters, to cultural cities, from activities in nature, to typical dishes, and much more.
You will be surprised by the millennia of history, by the villages and by the traces of the many peoples who have passed through this island, in the heart of the Mediterranean.
What to see and what to do in Gozo? To answer this question, let’s start together to discover the beauties not to be missed on this Mediterranean island.
1. Victoria and the Citadel
All roads in Gozo lead to Victoria, the capital, also known as Rabat, which is located in the center of the island. Every morning on its square you will find a beautiful market, and behind the square the beautiful Basilica of San Giorgio, which is one of the most important churches on the island.
Gozo Citadel is Victoria’s main attraction. From here you can enjoy a unique view of the Gozitan countryside and its villages. The entrance to the fortified city of medieval origin is free. Inside you can visit many ancient buildings and monuments, including:
- The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
- The old prison and the courthouse
- The former palace of the bishops
- The old gunpowder warehouse and shelters dating from the second world war
- The abandoned Silos where cereals were once stored
- The Natural Museum of Gozo
- The Museum of Archeology
2. Pristine beaches and Blue Flag
In Gozo you can find the perfect beach for all tastes. From rocky points where you can dive into the sea or snorkel, to sandy beaches ideal for the whole family.
Furthermore, in recent years, some beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag for clean and crystal clear water.
Among the most beautiful beaches, not to be missed, there are certainly:
- Ramla and San Blas, two famous red sand beaches
- Marsalfron Bay, the small golden beach in front of the town of Marsalform, on the north coast,
- Xlendi beach
- Hondoq Ir Rummien Bay, the small sandy beach on the south coast of the island of Gozo overlooking the island of Comino and the mainland of Malta. On this coast there is a small cove, (which translates to Pomegranate Moat), which is used by snorkelers because of its deep and clear waters and small caves at the water level.
- San Blas Bay, in Nadur, a fantastic little known Gozo beach, surrounded by a green valley and red sand.
3. Suggestive Rocks and Ancient Legends
The coast of Gozo is not only sandy, but is characterized by rocky bays and stone monuments overlooking the sea. Among them, the following are worth a visit:
- The Fungus Rock, legend has it that the Knights Hospitaller discovered a particular type of mushroom on this rock. Believed to possess amazing medicinal properties.
- The Inland Sea is a marine lagoon connected to the sea by an 80-meter-long tunnel that descends under the high cliffs.
- The Blue Hole is a famous dive site in Gozo. You will dive into the cavity and then reach the sea through an underwater arch of 7 meters.
4. Temples of Ggantija, the work of the giants
The megalithic temple complex of Ggantija is located in Xaghra, east of Victoria. “Ggantija” means “giant” in Maltese. The Gozitans were convinced that only giants could be able to carry and put together such huge rocks. Some of these weigh more than 5 tons and are 5 meters long. The site consists of 2 temples: the one to the south and the one to the north. Both form a vast complex of 40 meters in length and 6 meters in height. It is the largest megalithic complex you will find on your trip to Malta, recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
5. Cliffs of Ta’Cenc
The magnificent and expansive cliffs of Ta’Cenc lie south of Victoria in Sannat. The place is incredibly wild and evocative, but not so easy to reach. To get there we advise you to:
- Go to Sannar Square
- Follow the signs for the Ta’Cenc Hotel
- Take the road to the left of the entrance to reach the edge of the Ta’Cenc cliffs, where on the right you will find a walkable path that skirts the cliffs 130 meters above sea level.
6. A world under the sea
Gozo is very famous for its scuba diving, which can be done in optimal conditions throughout the year. The crystal clear water allows you to discover the life and colors of underwater landscapes, from fish to vegetation. The best places to dive during your Gozo holidays are:
- Blue Hole: Here you can dive deep through a large vertical chimney and reach the sea by passing under an arch. There is also a large cave. Suitable for divers of all levels.
- Crocodile Rock: home to many species of fish. Groupers, tuna and barracudas. Suitable for divers of all levels.
- Fungus Rock: you won’t find much marine life here but there is a beautiful landscape with a cave, gullies and vertical walls. Suitable for divers of all levels.
- Inland Sea: an 80 meter long underwater tunnel.
- Reqqa Point: the upper part of the coral reef is home to groupers, scorpion fish and the Shrimp Cave. Suitable for divers of all levels.
- Fessej Rock: ideal for deep sea diving
- Wreck of the MV Karwela: This ferry was sunk for diving purposes
- San Dimitri Point: good chance of seeing huge schools of fish here
Wied Il Gashri, the best place to see seahorses
- Double Arch Reef: a rock cut into 2 arches, where you can see cuttlefish, octopus and sea urchins.
7. Zero km specialties
The uniqueness of Gozo can also be discovered through the palate. Among the typical dishes and zero km specialties not to be missed there are:
- Gbejna – goat cheese, it is found fresh, just seasoned or with chilli pepper. Gozitans put it in many dishes: in first courses, in cottages, in rice salads to take to the sea, in sandwiches, on pizza, ravioli, etc.
- Cisk – the Maltese beer. Everyone in Gozo drinks Cisk. You will not see any other beers on the tables other than Cisk. And they drink a lot, trust me. It is a light, 4.2% vol., And pleasant lager beer.
- Zalzett tal-Malti, the Maltese sausage. It is a nice cicciotta pork sausage, flavored with garlic, parsley, pepper and a lot of salt. Great excuse to drink more Cisk! If you try it, you will regret it.
- Qassatat Tal-Irkotta, Pies stuffed with ricotta (or peas, such pizelli) weighing as much as a brick and which will make you lunch. They differ from pastizzi because they are less greasy, more compact and much (very much) heavier. If you have to order them, look at the pronunciation: it is written qassatat but it is called “assat”!
- Klamari – squid
8. Eco-friendly homes surrounded by nature, for a sustainable holiday
If you want to experience a sustainable vacation on the island of Gozo, know that it is possible. There are in fact hotels, b & bs, farmhouses and holiday homes that offer great attention to the theme of ecology and are committed to minimizing their environmental footprint. From trulli to villas surrounded by nature, here are some perfect solutions for an eco-friendly holiday in Gozo:
- Il-Marhab in Xewkija: a typical farmhouse from the early 17th century. It is within walking distance of the picturesque pebble bay Mgarr-Ix-Xini.
- Gozitan Trullo: made of honey-colored limestone and surrounded by olive trees. Certified for its ecological attention, this trullo is located in the village of Xewkija, the oldest in Gozo.
- Villa Xini: a charming traditional style villa in the quiet village of Xewkija, a few steps from the pebble beach of Mgarr ix-Xini and the cliffs of Ta ‘Cenc.
How to get to Gozo and how to get around in an ecological way
You can get to Gozo by ferry from Ċirkewwa port in Malta, reaching Mgarr, Gozo’s main port.
The cost of the return ticket by ferry to the island of Gozo is about 5 euros and the duration of the crossing is about 30 minutes. During the summer the ferry leaves every 45 minutes.
There are numerous buses and public transport on the island of Gozo. The cost of a day ticket is € 2.60.
If you want to have a truly sustainable holiday experience on this island you can rent a bicycle or e-bike (electric bike). The streets of Gozo have little traffic, making them perfect for two wheels. This makes Gozo one of the best places for cycling in Malta and the Mediterranean.
What do you think about it? Is it time to plan a trip to Gozo?
Cover image: photo via Canva Pro