Great discoveries in Malta’s little sister
Together with Comino, Gozo forms a sister island of the Maltese archipelago. From Malta, a ferry trip takes you to paradise Gozo in just 25 minutes. The small island is quieter and greener than its big sister. Lovely to stay for a few days, but also doable as a day trip from Malta. I went for the latter and found that you can do more than enough on Gozo!
“Malta? It’s busy there, hectic. All those cars!”. It soon becomes clear to me upon arrival in Gozo; despite belonging to the Maltese archipelago, this is an island in its own right. Most locals only make the crossing to Malta if they really need something, because Gozo is their heart. And I understand that too. Despite its small size, there is a lot to do in Gozo. From wandering through historic cities and ancient temples, to sunbathing in secluded coves and enjoying delicious food.
All roads on Gozo lead to Rabat. The capital of the island, not to be confused with the city of the same name in Malta. To complicate matters even more, Rabat is also known as Victoria. Whatever you want to call it, this is the great city of Gozo. The only place where you forget for a moment that you are on a small island. The highlight of the city is the market square, It-Tokk, where you can immerse yourself in the daily life of the islanders. Also not to be missed is the historic Citadel, which is visible from almost all places on the island. Once built to protect the inhabitants and now above all a nice place to wander around and to revive the Gozo of yesteryear.
Rabat is not the only special city on the island. The town of Ix-Xewkija is a must-visit alone because of the impressive church of St. John the Baptist. The enormous structure is completely out of proportion to the small size of the island and definitely worth a visit. For a few euros you can walk in and climb the tower.
A must do on Gozo: visit the prehistoric temples of Ġgantija. These ruins are the oldest free-standing buildings on Earth. So older than the Pyramids in Egypt. It is a mystery how the temples were built, as they consist of huge limestone blocks. A bizarre sensation to walk through there!
Hit the beach!
But enough culture for now. In terms of relaxation, there is also plenty to see, taste and do on Gozo. And not least on the beaches. Where Malta has to make do with rocks and sandy beaches, Gozo is rich in beautiful bays and elongated sandy beaches that have a special red hue.
The bay of San Blas is my top recommendation. What a beautiful spot! You have to know where to find it, and have a good walk for it. This is rewarded with a relatively quiet beach and amazing views. The beach can be found on the north coast of Gozo and via a steep descent you arrive at one of the best hidden gems on Gozo.
Do you depend on public transport or do you like a bit of crowds? Then choose nearby Ramla Bay. Similar to San Blas, but a lot bigger and much more accessible. If you have the luxury of staying longer than a day in Gozo, this is a very nice place to hang out for a day. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing or water sports!
The local cuisine
The best of Italian cuisine, combined with fresh fish and local wines. The food and drink on the Maltese Islands is another reason why you should travel to this piece of land. Despite the fact that it is small and quite dry, you will also find a vineyard on Gozo. I visited Ta Mena Estate , run by the Spiteri family. Joe, one of the brothers, talks passionately about the company, the wines they produce and the organic produce grown there. Time to taste and take one last look at the vineyard and move on. Lunch waits!
And you do that in a very special location at Restaurant Kantra at the bay of Mġarr ix-Xini. Located near the Ġgantija temples, it consists of a luxury hotel on the highest point of Gozo, and a restaurant in the nearby bay. The place is the scene of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s new movie ‘By the sea’, and when you see it with your own eyes, you’ll understand why. The hotel is quite luxurious, but if you take a seat at the Beach Club you can eat the tastiest fish dishes in Gozo with a spectacular view for a very good price. A place where you actually want to linger for an afternoon – and you can! Grab your glass of wine and take a seat on one of the sunbeds by the water!