A small island with a sea of possibilities
Gozo forms part of the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta. Similar to Malta and Comino, the island is inhabited, although it is relatively small, with an area of around 67 km². Most of its attractions are spread over a length of 14 km and a width of 7 km, meaning that you can visit all of Gozo’s most interesting parts in just a day or so – by bike, car or even with a pair of comfortable shoes! However, we encourage you to linger a little longer in this picturesque place as Gozo is far less crowded than Malta, and the tourist industry hasn’t impacted its idyllic atmosphere and unspoilt nature. Here, you can experience slow living while basking in glorious sunshine.
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What to visit on Gozo Island?
Gozo’s Maltese name – Ghawdex – means “joy”, which is the perfect fit for this island, which can make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. Its beautiful, impressive views take in craggy cliffs, rugged caves and numerous beaches, making for a dream holiday destination. Gozo has a fascinating and difficult history and you can explore the island’s past by admiring some of its historical monuments. Gozo is home to numerous baroque-style religious buildings, an unusual archaeological site, museums and, last but not least, the citadel that towers over Gozo’s capital city, Victoria. Ready to go on a tour around the island with us? Here’s a list of Gozo’s most delightful attractions.
The Cittadella in Victoria
As a previous British colony, Gozo’s capital Victoria was named for the former British queen – the red telephone boxes that remain here are a reminder of this period in the island’s history. Today, residents use both Victoria and its Maltese name Rabat interchangeably. One of the city’s highlights is the citadel that rises above it on a hill. The fortress dates back to the 17th century and was once a haven for numerous pirate gangs and Turkish invasions. Today, the Cittadella offers an excellent viewpoint over the whole island and also houses the baroque Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is home to a statue of Pope John Paul II.
The citadel also houses four museums: the Natural History Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Archaeology Museum and the Old Prison. The Folklore Museum is an excellent way to see what life used to be like on the island – how people lived, the tools they used in agriculture, their clothes and their customs. The Museum of Archaeology, on the other hand, provides visitors with interesting exhibits from prehistoric times and the Middle Ages.
Xlendi, located on the bay of the same name, is a fishing village famous for two reasons. The first is its stone watchtower, which dates back to the second half of the 17th century. There are many watchtowers on Gozo, but the one in Xlendi is the oldest. In this picturesque village, you can relax on a small beach by the bay or sea salt pans – pools carved into the rocks from which salt evaporates. This is not mass production, and the locals only produce salt to meet the inhabitants’ needs. You can find even larger salt pans in Xwejni.
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Megalithic temples of Ggantija
The eastern part of the island hides a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site. These are two temples surrounded by a wall, with construction dating back to around 3600 BC making them older than the Egyptian pyramids. Some of the boulders that make up the temples weigh up to 50 tonnes and it is said that the Ggantija temples are linked to the popular-at-the-time cult of the fertility goddess. Not far from the temples is the cave of Calypso, the nymph immortalised in the work of Homer who supposedly imprisoned Odysseus for seven years on the island. Unfortunately, the cave has been destroyed, but it remains a tourist site.
Gozo’s most beautiful beaches
Adjacent to Calypso’s cave is Ramla Bay, one of the island’s most beautiful and distinctive beaches thanks to its crystal-clear water and red-orange sand, and the perfect place to relax and sunbathe. On the subject of beaches, we have to recommend Gozo’s most popular bathing resort, Marsalforn, a typical, tourist town with a promenade and numerous cafes and shops. Here you’ll find a charming rocky coastline and a sandy beach that combine to create ideal conditions for watersports, including scuba diving. If you prefer more quiet and hidden spots, it is worth checking out some of Gozo’s secret beaches, including Ghajn Barrani and Mistra Rocks. Worth a trip is the famous Blue Lagoon, with its crystal-blue waters which is on the nearby island of Comino.
One of Gozo’s natural assets of the island is its many caves. The island is a paradise for divers, both beginners and advanced and you can dive with or without equipment, from a boat or from the shore – whatever you prefer! We recommend the Blue Hole, a cave on the island’s west coast in Dwejra. Reaching a depth of around 16 metres, this natural lakehides an underwater cave, tempting divers with its crystalline water and marine fauna and flora. You can also dive at Xlendi Bay, the Inland Sea, Cathedral Cave and Billinghurst Cave, all of which have calm, clear waters.
One of Gozo’s most popular attractions used to be the Azure Window, a rocky arch that jutted powerfully from the sea. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 2017, but nevertheless, Gozo still has plenty to offer. On the northwest coast, there is a considerably smaller limestone rock bridge called the Wied il-Mielaħ which falls into the sea every bit as attractively as the Azure Window once did. The island is also home to wineries, tasty cuisine, and interesting local architecture – its sand-coloured houses fit beautifully into the landscape. Add to this its guaranteed sunny weather, efficient public transport, and friendly locals and Gozo makes the perfect holiday destination.