Gozo is a sunny island in the middle of the Mediterranean just a ferry away from the larger island of Malta. While Malta has a lot to offer your average tourist, Gozo is a hidden gem for those willing to meander a bit further.
Lagoons, Beaches and Diving
The Azul Window
Gozo is home to the world-famous Azul Window. Though the beloved rock formation was destroyed by a severe storm a few years ago, the location’s beauty persists within hiking trails along cliffs, old watch towers and unparalleled sunsets. It is the perfect spot for a picnic at sunset or a day-long adventure on the cliff-fronts.
Comino and the Blue Lagoon
As the name connotes, the Blue Lagoon is a spectacular vision of deep and light blues which has, to no surprise, made a name for itself. This bay is located just off the coast of Comino which is reachable via daily boat rides from Hondoq Bay in Gozo. Once to Comino you can spend the day hiking, snorkelling, lying on the beach or investigating an old watch tower. All of these activities are within view of the breath-taking lagoon. If the scenery alone isn’t enough, you can feel free to make your way right down the beach and jump into the lagoon to take closer look with some goggles and flippers. Any way you experience Comino and its lovely lagoon will be a memorable adventure.
One of Gozo’s most famous spots is Ramla Bay. It offers red sandy beaches, banana boat rides, a small bar, plenty of space to play sports and, more often than not, a few local food trucks for afternoon or evening snacking. The area around the beach is relatively underdeveloped which gives it a more exotic feel. On top of the red sand and hot sun, Ramla also offers the mystery of the Roman ruins which are said to be under the sand. Though they are not all that visible, there is constant research being done on that site and the surrounding areas which leaves plenty of room for your imagination to run wild. Ramla is definitely a days-worth of adventure.
Diving and Snorkelling
Snorkelling and divining are popular sports among Gozitans and tourists alike. There is a plethora of local dive shops all around Gozo who provide some of the cheapest try-dives I have ever found. In most shops you can hire gear and have an hour under the water for under 50€! If you’re a certified diver, you get it even cheaper. Though the hire is relatively cheap, the experience is not. With Gozo’s clear blue water and majestic cliffs, there are caves, corals and wrecks waiting to be seen. If you end up going on a cloudy or stormy day, don’t fret. I did that and still managed to see an octopus, some crabs and quite a few colourful fish and sea slugs. If you have never sojourned below the water’s surface and are now feeling the need, Gozo is a perfect place to start. The cheap prices and stunning views are sure to get you hooked. If you’d rather remain above the surface, the dive shops also offer snorkelling gear for hire. Though, most likely the guest house you will be staying in (there are no hostels on the island) will supply snorkelling gear for free.
If you are looking for a historical aspect to your holiday, Gozo has you covered there as well. Ġgantija is a Neolithic temple that predates the pyramids of Egypt. The Megalithic Temples of Malta have been claimed as an UNESCO heritage site and the Ġgantija temple is the oldest one known. The temple has also been claimed as one of the oldest religious structures in the world making it a perfect place for any avid or novice historian to spend a few hours.
Victoria and the Cittadella
The magnificent Cittadella can be seen from almost anywhere on the isle and crowns the busy city of Victoria as the island’s capitol. The city does a perfect job of creating a busy and yet relaxed atmosphere as it is where all the residents go to get things done. It is quite easy to get lost in the beautiful streets and just as easy to find your way back to a main square or market within the city. I honestly suggest spending a day simply walking around Victoria. You will find a plethora of ma-and-pop shops as well as hand craft markets and delicious foods and wines. After you feel you’ve meandered enough, look up and find the Cittadella, make your way there, and end the day with a tour of the late medieval building and the views of the island from its top. Spending a day in Victoria is a must-do while in Gozo.
Zeppi’s in Qala
In my opinion, the quintessence of relaxed island life can be found in the small village of Qala which is located on the far east side of Gozo. Though not as busy as the larger city of Victoria, Qala is home to the most laid-back bar on the island. The centre of Qala is a small square surrounding a church. Lining the beautiful streets are a few restaurants and bars as well as shops and a pharmacy. Just kitty-corner to the facade of the chapel is a little red-door which serves as the entrance to a bar called Zeppi’s. Here locals gather almost every night to have some drinks, listen to live music and simply relax at tables and stools both in the bar and out on the street. The community vibe there is unlike any I have experienced thus far in my life. Even if you venture there on your own, it wont take long to find a new friend or even be invited to dinner. While the bar itself does not serve any food, the surrounding restaurants have plenty of options for pizza, pasta and other Gozo favourites. The bar is only closed on Mondays.
If you are looking for a cheap night out, make your way to Mgarr, the town next to where the ferry drops you. There are a few bars and restaurants right on the docks that are open until the wee hours of the morning. They serve cheap drinks, good times, and even let you select your own music to play. As can be seen, Gozo has more than enough to offer anyone willing to venture there!