As you may have already read in one of our previous articles, Malta, Gozo and Comino are the main islands of the Maltese archipelago in order of size. The second it is located a few kilometers west of the main one and Comino is between the two. This winter we decided to go and spend a few days on this magnificent island to regenerate and find the sun during the winter.
Why choose the island of Gozo over Malta
As ALL the locals will tell you (especially those living in Gozo), Malta is much more chaotic. The rhythms are citizens and the journeys are longer, tortuous and often busy. If you run away from the city tram, it could turn out to be a small failure!
If you are looking for the tranquility typical of small islands, unspoiled nature and beautiful walks (or rides), I highly recommend you to spend at least one day in Gozo.
If you manage to spend at least 3-4 days you can appreciate it even more. This island, especially out of season, is truly magnificent: all the plants are green and in bloom while in the summer everything is "burned" and the landscape becomes desert.
How to get to Gozo from the airport or from Valletta
Obviously you will have to add to your travel time the transfer between Malta airport (or port) and the island; but don't worry, the transfer to the island of Gozo is fast (2h maximum), simple and can also be very cheap (less than 10 €). Unless you choose to go there by boat, it will be composed in three steps.
1. From Valletta or the airport to Cirkewwa port (30-90 minutes)
The fastest, but most expensive option (even if the price remains very reasonable) is the Taxi with just over € 30 and in just over 30 'you will be at the port. If you choose the bus instead you will have to take the X1 line from the airport or the 41, 42 from Valletta, and with only € 1.30 and 90 'of journey you will be at your destination.
2. The ship to cross the canal (15-20 minutes)
Once at the port, the main company is the Gozo Channel, the terminal is more than evident and makes trips day and night (every 45 'during the day and more rarely at night). The ticket has two small peculiarities: you pay only on the way back (4.65 € for return), so on the way there is no point in looking for the ticket office, just get in line and board; and you pay even less for the night (€ 4.05). If you have rented a car or a motorbike, you can go up with your vehicles (they are large ferries) paying, of course, also for the vehicle.
3. From Mgarr to Victoria or other towns on the island (0-20 minutes)
You are finally on the island and, depending on where you have decided to sleep, you may have arrived (in the port of Mgarr) or you can always travel by bus or taxi to the "capital". The bus company is the same, same rates and operation. Both 301, 303 and 323 lead to Victoria. Many B & Bs, hotels or farmhouses offer to pick you up from the ferry for just over € 10 usually.
Trekking on the island of Gozo: the best routes to do on foot
The best thing about this tourist resort is that you can visit it on foot even if you are not a sportsman, the routes are numerous and most of them have little elevation and are easy to do.
Attention: we have made these routes out of season (in February), if you go there in summer the temperatures are much higher and, since there are not many shady areas, we advise you to adapt the distances and the equipment to your abilities and season.
The southwest coast (on the cliffs between Xlendi and the Azure Window) - about 18km
This walk is about 18 km long and is mostly coastal. The most beautiful part is certainly the one along the cliffs, with breathtaking views. We started from Victoria, but you can of course start from Xlendi Bay.
The whole route is easy, except the climb from Xlendi to the cliffs. The staircase is practically invisible and are simply cavities carved into the rock. Fortunately, it is only about thirty meters long and is not dangerous, even if it is better to have your hands free.
Alternatively, if you don't want to take any chances, you can skip Xlendi and reach the coast directly from Victoria. Some time ago the highlight of the walk would have been the Azure Window, the famous arch over the sea, but even after its collapse there remains much to be seen in the Blue Hole bay.
The north coast towards Marsalforn, between the Salt plans and the hills - 15 km approx.
Another walk not to be missed is the one that takes you to the famous salt pans. Always starting from Victoria, you gently descend into the Ghasri valley which flows into the sea with a spectacular gorge. Once you reach the coast you start walking along all the salt pans up to the bay of Marsalforn and then re-enter the country paths for the return.
The tour of the island in 3 or 4 days
If you want to see the coast above all and to leave with a backpack on your shoulder, you can go around the island on foot in 3 or 4 stages. The complete loop is about 60 km. Starting from the port of Mgarr, you can make the first stop in Xlendi and then continue on the cliffs and sleep in Gharb. From there you can reach the north coast with another stop in Ramla Bay.
Where to eat in Gozo
- Maldonado Bistro (Victoria) - open for dinner only. It is simply the best restaurant in Victoria, the menu is varied, there are many vegetarian and vegan dishes, the service is impeccable and the place is very nice. You should get by with € 25-30 per person.
- Brookies Restaurant (Victoria): It is slightly out of town, 5 'from the center on foot. It offers particular combinations. Here you can taste perhaps the most typical dish: rabbit.
- Zafiro Restaurant (Xlendi): perfect location for a lunch in the sun in front of the sea at a decidedly economical price.
- Azure Window (San Lawrenz next to the Blue Hole): it is the perfect stop when you pass to visit this spectacular place, the large windows will allow you to appreciate the landscape while eating even on windy days.
- Otters Bistro & Lounge (Marsalform): Another place with a perfect location, sea views and great food. Even a simple salad can surprise you!
Where to sleep in Gozo
In Gozo you can find many beautiful farmhouses, old country farmhouses, often with swimming pools, where you can relax out of this world, like this one:
- Carini Farmhouses (Gharb, Gozo): very nice structure located not far from the sea. The apartments are really nice and comfortable and are located in a very quiet area. The views are incredible and some apartments have private pools.
What to see in Gozo and Malta
The island of the knights of Malta is obviously rich in many other places of historical interest, some of which have also been declared Unseco heritage: such as the megalithic temples of Ggantija, and the city of Valletta itself. For more information on Malta, you can go and read this article on our Trip to Malta in the spring.