Gozo, the island paradise for relaxation
January 1, 1970
by Iman Athira
Welcome to the Paradise Island of Gozo
The island of Gozo is often viewed as Malta’s ‘little sister’ as it is smaller and quieter than Malta. If you still have no clue about what I am talking about, do not fret. Before I came here, I had no idea where Malta or Gozo was. My trip here was determined simply by the cerulean blue oceans and stunning lagoons that were depicted in my friends’ Facebook pictures. Now here is a little background history for you…
The Republic of Malta is located on the Mediterranean coast, tucked between Italy and North Africa. It is a part of the European Union and Schengen Area. Gozo is one of the three islands that is located on the Maltese archipelago, the smallest one being Comino.
If you are in Europe and find yourself looking for an escape where you are able to frolic in the sun and bathe in the sea, Gozo is definitely a place that is worth checking out. I stayed in Gozo for three nights and four days, opting to stay in Malta for a shorter period of time. However, it did not take long before I found myself falling in love with this sleepy island.
Where to Stay:
Bear in mind that if you are looking for a place to drink excessively and party, this is probably not the place for you. Gozo is a lot less populated than Malta, and ideal if you are looking for a romantic getaway or just for a break from life’s bustle.
In saying that, there are only a few choices of accommodation, and these comprise of hotels, rented apartments, or air BnB’s.
If you are a usually a solo traveler like me, I would highly recommend rounding up some friends before coming to Gozo as accommodation can become quite expensive when traveling alone. I traveled with two friends and we paid about $40 a night for our Air Bnb (it was perfect though).
Once there, you will probably find yourself staying in either the areas of Xlendi Bay or Victoria, as these are the most inhabited areas of the island. My time was spent in Xlendi Bay, the quieter of the two, with only a few restaurants and bars scattered on the seafront, but it was definitely the more scenic option! Make sure you are prepared with all your necessities, as large supermarkets and pharmacies are only located in Victoria.
Getting there/Getting around:
• To get to Gozo, one must first fly into Malta. Skyscanner or Ryanair usually have cheap flights that can start at $30 (if you book early). I paid $169 from Marseille, but it was only booked it a week beforehand.
In order to get to Gozo, one must board the ferry that runs from Malta’s Cirkewwa harbor, at a cost of €5 each trip. It takes 15 minutes to get from Malta to Gozo, and the ferry runs 24/7.
• It is quite easy to catch public transport within Gozo. The bus services run regularly and always come on time. The only downside is that the buses only run every half an hour or every hour. A smart thing to do if you intend on staying in Gozo and Malta for more than a week is to purchase a public transport card where you can pay €28 for unlimited trips in seven days.
• Another option would be to rent a car, as driver’s seats are located on the left here. Car rental here is quite cheap, only costing €50 a day for a car and insurance.
Of course the main point of coming to an island like this is to indulge in ultimate relaxation, and while it may seem like the only thing to do in Gozo is to sit back and sunbathe, the enriching and prolonged history that is embedded in Maltese culture is discernible through its unique language and eccentric buildings.
Upon arriving, my head began forming question after question about this place- why did it feel like I was in the Middle East? Why was it a Republic? A very nice taxi driver informed me that it was the result of almost every other world power having a grasp of this Republic, once upon a time. Due to this, there is actually a lot to explore and experience!
• The word Ggantji is translated into ‘giants’ in the English language. Controversy still exists in regards to how these incredible structures were built, but the most popular myth is that they were constructed by a community of giants. These temples were built during the Neolithic era.
• To get here, you must take a bus, and it is €9 for a museum ticket, which includes a (very) comprehensive history of these structures, and viewing of the temples and windmill. There are also many other temples you can visit, but this is the most significant one.
• I was quite impressed with the many dive centers that were situated around this island! The cheapest place I found was Dive Malta, where one dive costs €37 including transport and equipment. A Discover Dive, which is an option you can take if you have never dived before, is also €37.
• Island hopping also played a pretty big role during my trip. Most visit Gozo and Malta, but do not take the time to go to Comino. This is where the famous Blue Lagoon lies, so make sure you take some time to spend at least one blissful afternoon at this beautiful place.
St Peter’s Pool:
• While this is located in Malta, it is a place I would really recommend visiting just because it is absolutely breathtaking. You will find yourself surrounded by natural limestone cliffs, ideal for cliff-jumping, and a view so picturesque you will just HAVE to take a photo of it.
Where to eat:
Prepare to put on a couple of pounds if you are someone who loves eating out, and loves Mediterranean food. Every dish here is rich with garlic and olive oil, and every dish that I tried was absolutely delicious!
Rabbits are traditional meat here, and Malta is known for its rabbit stew. It actually really does tastes like chicken, and is quite tasty I might add. Most restaurants in Gozo have a similar menu, especially those located by the water. Two restaurants I would suggest visiting are:
• The Boathouse:
o Located on Xlendi Bay, this restaurant serves generous portions of either meat or seafood dishes for a price ranging between €18-€21. All dishes come with a side of either roasted potatoes and vegetables or chips and salad. Trust me, you will not be able to walk once you leave here.
o This restaurant is located in Malta, so make sure to go here when you decide to visit St. Peter’s Pool. As it is quite a popular restaurant, make sure to make a reservation a few days prior.
o This restaurant serves tasting plates for €20, and these tasting plates differ everyday. We ended up getting a seven-course meal, and it was worth every cent.