Gozo lies 6 kilometres northwest of Malta and is a very special island with lots of hidden gems. The islands has its own pace of life, it’s very serene, peaceful, very low key, relaxed and not too busy unlike Malta which is very busy during July.
From the minute you board the ferry in Malta,(Cirkewwa) which is easy to get to from the airport via cab your holiday trulybegins as you travel across the beautiful sea past Comino into theport of Mgarr in Gozo.
Accommodation is plentiful depending on what you need and prices are affordable from B&B’s (stayed here http://www.daydreamgozo.com/index.html) to villas. Everywhere on the island is easy to get to and there are bus services if you don’t have a car. Victoria is the main city on the island and it is rich in history hosting the beautiful Citadel which is worth a visit during the day but also at night as it has amazing views all over the island.
We stayed in Xghara which is a picturesque village near to the northern shores and has everything you need with bakeries, butchers, fruit shops and a bustling square with restaurants and bars to sit out at night with the locals.
We hired a jeep which was fun to drive around the island and to do a bit of off-road (got lost) driving and was ideal to keep us cool. You can hire a car direct from the airport at Malta and the open top jeep was great fun and gave the holiday an adventure feel. Plus, the company we hired it from who were excellent arranging airport pick-ups and transfers so it’s very easy and relaxed.
Our villa called Pergola Farmhouses was fabulous. It had a pool with stunning views over across the valleys and you could see the Citadel at night and the sea at Marsalform. Spotless, spacious for a family of five it was very comfortable with everything we needed, and we had a very appreciated welcome pack and lovely owners onsite. Highly recommend staying here and it is easy to get into Xghara and Marsalform but you do need a car in Gozo for ease.
At the bottom of one of the valleys leading from Xghara is Ramla Bay that has the most amazing rich golden sand. It is a beautiful spot especially in the late afternoon and has plenty of cafes,water sportsand sun beds, ice creams and parking.
If you are looking for a beach holiday this island isn’t really a beach type location. You can find them, like Qbajjar Bay Beach but they aren’t sandy, but pebbly and the beautiful clear sea is easy to get into but you just have to be a little more adventurous. Gozo is more about swimming in beautiful bays, jumping off rocks and finding quiet coves to enjoy.
There really is so much to write about so a few highlights below….
The food on the island is fabulous, with a Sicilian influence, seafood is abundant, the local dish is rabbit and there is plenty to choose from.
Perched on the top of an inlet is il’Kantra Lido Bar & Restaurant was magnificent with amazing views and delicious food. Scallops, pistachio tuna, seafood fritti, and caponata was the best I’ve ever had. So much food I’d suggest doing a mixture of starters as they are fabulous and good portion sizes.
Marsalform Bay has lots of restaurants with a great choice of cafes and bars and is lively in the evening with music and promenade cafés.
Our favourite place to eat here was il-Kartell which is positioned on the bay to enjoy the sunsets and the seafood pescatore (risotto) was so good I had it twice and the calamari, home-made ravioli is divine. We went three times and it didn’t disappoint once. For wine lovers, Gozo has its own wines which are definitely worth sampling and good value for money.
Other local favourites were the Dvenue in Xghara, with Daniel and his wife who are so welcoming, and the food is always fabulous whether you have pasta, seafood or perfectly cooked steaks and the specials menu constantly changes.
Besides restaurants there are fabulous places to buy bread from local bakeries and the Gozitano Agricultural Village with a supermarket and greengrocers and Vini e Capricci by Abraham’s wine a wonderful shop with a delicatessen stocked with home-made pasta, with cured meats, cheeses oil its own wine cellars. It’s a beautiful and stylist space to enjoy a cheeky coffee with some chocolates and make the most of the air-conditioning.
We really tried to buy local when in Gozo to support the islands bakeries, fish shops, greengrocers etc rather than buying in big supermarkets.
If you head over to the west coast of the island, to the The Azure Window, also known as the Dwejra Window the sunsets are truly spectacular. There’s a little inlet where you can go and swim during the day, out through the caves and they run little boat rides out to where The Azure Window once was, which has sadly crumbled away but there is still an impressive limestone coastline to enjoy.
Water sports /boat hire
There are boat trips you can do from the port at Mgarr, self-drive or charter boats. The best way to see this beautiful island is to charter your own boat with a skipper for 4 to 6 hours and sail around.
We went out with friends twice with Frank in his boat the Barossa and it was a real highlight of the holiday. The water is crystal clear, so beautiful to swim in and the coast line is majestic with inlets and coves to swim in. The sea is crystal clear, clean and a perfect temperature to swim in.
Water sports, jet skis are great fun. You can take the jet skis out for 20 minutes in Xlendi which is enough time and there are canoe tours you can do around the coves and bays which is a fun way to explore the island from the sea. There is scuba-diving, pedlos and kayak hire also available around the island.
Each village has its own stunning church and they are all very beautiful. There is Ta’Pinu, a national shrine near the beautiful village of Gharb that sits majestically and can be seen as drive around the island. Each village has its own festival which takes places throughout the summer and the villages are decorated with banners and there is music, and fireworks, parades with locals coming to celebrate in their finest clothing.
There is something quite magical about this island that draws you back. Although only a small island (14 kilometres x 7.25 kilometres), after three visits I will definitely be back as I still feel the island has much more to offer.
Find out more
Jeep Hire and taxis transfers to and from Malta Airport – http://www.gozo.com/mario/car_hire.php
Xghara – http://www.dvenuerestaurant.com
Il-Kantra -Ta-Cenc – www.tacenc.com
Il- Kartell Marsalform Bay – http://www.kartellrestaurant.com
Gozitano Agricultural Village – Vini e Capricci by Abraham’s
Boat hire and Waterspports – Xlendi Watersports – https://www.gozoboathire.com