must sees and dos in
G O Z O
Gozo is a beautiful island in the country of Malta. Compared to mainland Malta, Gozo is a quiet retreat that’s perfect for those who just want to relax and bask in the beauty of nature. Getting from mainland Malta to Gozo just involves catching a ferry from Cirkewwa harbour in Malta to the Mgarr harbour in Gozo. The trip takes about half an hour and will set you back around 5 EUR return.
a helpful hint
It’s a little weird but you don’t pay when you first board the ferry – you only pay on the way back (so technically, the ticket is free if you didn’t ever want to return from Gozo).
Buses, though not as frequent as mainland Malta, are a viable transport option. Tickets can be brought for 2 EUR for any location within two hours from your point of origin or you can also buy a week bus pass for 21 EUR.
Gozo also has a hop-on-hop-off bus perfect for those who only have a small amount of time in Gozo. These sightseeing tours are available all year round and start at 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM from Mgarr and will cost around 18 EUR.
You can either rent a car in Gozo or rent a car on the mainland and travel across via the ferry. Taking a car from mainland Malta costs 16 EUR on the ferry and is probably a cheaper option than renting a car in Gozo to be honest. It also means you don’t have to worry about getting public transport to and from the ferry terminals.
Obviously the most expensive option is to travel around the island is by taxi. Make sure you check the taxi stand at the dock or at Victoria to make sure you’re not getting ripped off!
Renting a bike is a cheap and fun way to see the island! We googled bike hire in Gozo one morning and were soon picking up these two bikes from a guy’s garage an hour later. He had good reviews on faccebook and didn’t even take a deposit! He did, however, give us a helmet to wear and a chain to lock it up and said we could return it sometime the next day when we were finished. If only cycling up the many hills in Gozo was as easy as hiring these bikes!
WHERE TO STAY
There’s only two hostels on Gozo and beds fill up fast in the summertime! The good news is that an Airbnb is just as affordable if you grab a few friends to stay at the same place! We decided to stay in a place that was located between Victoria and Ramla Bay called Xaghra. It is said that the town Xaghra took its name from "Xaghret l-Ghazzenin" which translates to the "land of the lazy ones". Apparently, farmers from all over Gozo travelled to this area with their flocks of sheep and goats and, while the animals feed on the grass, the farmers would spend the day relaxing, chatting and playing music.
I loved my morning runs when we were staying in Gozo. I ran along country roads which provided beautiful views of the fields and the early rising Maltese folk always gave a friendly wave!
PLACES TO SEE
THE AZURE WINDOW
The Azure Window, an impressive coastal rock formation, was Gozo’s famous sight that collapsed in 2017. It has since become the island’s newest dive site where divers swim around the chunks of rocks where the limestone formation once stood.
DIVE OR SWIM IN THE BLUE HOLE
Just next door to the Azure Window ruins is another beautiful sight in Dwejra Bay – The Blue Hole. It is not only a famous dive site but a great spot for a sneaky swim too. The water is crystal clear and there’s a beautiful underwater world to discover if you bring your goggles! We didn’t swim when we visited as the weather was a little windy and tumultuous and it would have felt like we were on a spin cycle!
None of the photos I took did the swimming spot justice so have a look here instead!
WALK AROUND DWEJRA BAY
We wandered around the cliffs around the bay and came across a little party cruise that was kicking off down below us. Although this one looked quite exclusive, you can pay 4 EUR to do an inland sea boat tour which takes you past the swimmers and through a darkened cave to emerge to views of beautiful rock formations and gorgeous blue waters.
You must see the famous Salt Pans when you go to Gozo! On the north coast of Gozo, just past Qbajjar Bay west of Marsalforn, you can find this unique chequerboard of rock-cut saltpans curving along the coastline. These amazing formations are historically important and 100% Instagram worthy. Also, they’re still in use in the summer, and you can find the product being sold nearby!
Gozo offers some great diving as it is surrounded by clear blue waters. Most of the best dive sites are located in the north-west of the island. You can find spectacular caves, caverns, tunnels and arches. There are also some shipwrecks on the south coast!
At the end of our second day in Gozo we had to tackle this mighty hill on our bikes to get back to our accommodation in Xaghra. It was honestly the steepest and scariest hill. We were both tired, dehydrated and sunburnt human tomatoes. I'd be lying if I said that my friend and I didn't consider ditching the bikes and hitchhiking with a random car... I mean it's not like the guy took a deposit or anything ... but, we perservered, all the while my friend cursed at me for making us ride around Gozo, and were rewarded with this pretty amazing sunset.
I think this is a great place to tie this blog into a neat little knot. Gozo undoubtedly stole a little piece of my heart when I visited and i'm sure it'll have the same effect on you when you step foot on its shores.