48 Hours in Gozo
Legend has it that a nymph by the name of Calypso once lured Odysseus to Gozo, where she forced him to live with her for seven years before he managed to return home to his wife. Unless you’ve inherited his talent for good excuses, you probably won’t get quite so long to explore this seductive Mediterranean island – here’s our advice on how to pack the best into just two days.
Victoria, the island’s louche and loveable little capital, is easy to get to know over a morning walk. Get lost in its honeycomb of medieval streets, stop at a bakery for a traditional date-filled pastry and see if you can spot the ocean from the golden citadel that crowns the city. We recommend dropping in at Ta’ Nikol Gallery, where local artisans sell everything from painted tiles and upcycled furniture to hand-blended loose-leaf teas.
After lunch, head out to the otherworldly Ġgantija, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed temple complex older than both Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza. If you look closely you can find graffiti left by the island’s many aggressors over centuries of occupation. If you’re interested in learning more about Gozo’s heritage, be sure to buy a multisite ticket when you enter – at just under £10 per person, it’s valid for entry to four more museums in Victoria, including the excellent Gozo Museum of Archeology.
As you’d expect of an island lying between Sicily and North Africa, Gozitan cuisine is full bodied and flavoursome, so we suggest returning to Victoria in the evening for an informal cookery class. Using seasonal, locally sourced produce, you’ll have the chance to try out a number of traditional recipes, our favourites being filo pastries stuffed with homemade ricotta cheese and honey ice-cream.
In the morning, head out to Dwejra Bay – it’s a great place for a swim, and the area was voted the second best diving location in the world in Diver Magazine‘s 2014 Reader’s Poll.
After that, we recommend spending the afternoon touring a Gozitan estate or a vineyard. Whether you’re milking the goats or sampling some wine, it’s a great chance to find out more about self-sustainable island living while feeding back into the local community.
For your final evening, we suggest you splash out at La Stanza, which has been ranked as one of the best restaurants on the island by users of TripAdvisor. A lovingly converted farmhouse with swathes of old-world charm, it works closely with Gozitan suppliers to serve up a selection of freshly caught fish and locally produced wines (closed on Mondays). Want to find out more about Gozo?