Welcome to Gozo: 7 Things You May Not Know About this Island Paradise
For a tiny Mediterranean island, the second largest in the Maltese archipelago, Gozo has impressive credentials, and is even thought to be the home of the legendary Greek nymph Calypso in Homer’s Odyssey.
However, today’s travellers are lured to this island paradise for its relaxed pace of life, flavourful food and array of activities. Here are seven reasons you should visit Gozo now:
You’ll find historic sites that pre-date Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids… there’s no denying that Gozo has culture and history aplenty. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ġgantija where you’ll find towering temples that local folklore suggests were built by giants. And don’t miss Gozo’s Citadel — from the ramparts you can see the entire island.
It’s home to some of the best diving in the Mediterranean… Gozo’s coast is known for its clear underwater visibility, abundant wildlife and stunning selection of dive sites for both beginners and the more experienced. The three eerie shipwrecks at Xatt l-Aħmar are just a few of the sites available to explore. Plus, warm temperatures and calm waters make for excellent conditions almost all year round.
Gozo dishes pack in Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavours… it’s a real reflection of the island’s history and makes the most of local ingredients like rabbit and fresh fish. Be sure to hunt out a traditional village bakery for a taste of authentic Gozo – we recommend ftira, a ciabatta-like flatbread often smothered in fresh tomatoes and tuna.
The strong sun and sea breeze also provide excellent conditions for Gozo’s full-bodied wines, and the tiny island now also produces its own artisan brews at the Lord Chambray microbrewery – tours and tastings are available throughout the year.
The pace of life is slow… much of Gozo’s charm comes from its rural and unspoilt countryside, but the traditional fishing villages and small towns that pepper the island are well worth a visit to experience old men playing boċċi (balls) and women chatting over long lunches in the square. Take the time to stroll the winding streets of the capital, Rabat (Victoria), where you’ll find Neogothic churches, museums and the ancient towering Citadel.
It’s an adventurer’s playground… Gozo’s dry and rocky landscape makes it the perfect place to indulge your passion for the great outdoors. Try your hand at climbing or abseiling the cliffs, caves and coves dotted around the island, or there is an indoor bouldering facility in Rabat. Kayaking gets you up close to the dramatic limestone cliffs and marine life, and you can also bike Gozo’s SIBIT trail, which runs around the entire coast.
Gozo is just 8.5 miles by 4.5 miles… which means that you’ll almost always be near a beach. Add to that 300 days of sunshine each year, azure waters and a warm Mediterranean climate, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for long lazy days on the coast. Our picks? The Blue Lagoon lives up to its name, and is excellent for swimming, while little Wied Għasri shows off the island’s craggy coastline, and Xlendi Bay’s fishing-village location is well served by bars and restaurants. For soft cinnamon-coloured sands, head to Ramla Bay or remote San Blas Bay.
Getting to Gozo is also easy… once you’ve landed at Malta’s airport, take a bus or taxi to Cirkewwa Harbour on the northernmost tip of the island. The ferry is then a scenic 25-minute crossing to Mġarr Harbour, gateway to Gozo.
For even more reasons to visit this island paradise, explore the Visit Gozo website.