Last Updated on 05/09/2022 by secretmoona
During a recent trip to Malta, I had the opportunity to spend a day on the island of Gozo. Small in size and with just over 30,000 inhabitants, the island is often neglected in favour of its “big sister”, the island of Malta. However, Gozo concentrates on rural charm. With a landscape mostly unspoiled, Gozo charms with its quiet towns and villages, beautiful landscapes and sites which testify to the country’s rich history. Whether you are interested in history, culture or nature, the many Baroque churches and hiking opportunities will ensure you have a good time.
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To experience the rich heritage and explore the magnificent landscapes, I recommend spending at least two days in Gozo. However, if your time is limited, you can discover the island’s main points in a short time. So here is our itinerary for a day in Gozo.
How to get to Gozo
To reach the island of Gozo, you will need to embark at Ċirkewwa, located in the north of the island of Malta. You disembark at the port of Mġarr. The ferries operated by Gozo Channel run every 30 minutes with a crossing time of about 25 minutes. Pedestrians also pay €4.65. Note that you don’t need to get a ticket when you depart from Ċirkewwa. You will need to pay the return.
The journey is pleasant and an excellent way to contemplate the beautiful landscapes and the sea stretching as far as the eye can see.
Public local transport by bus is the cheapest way to visit Gozo. Take buses 41 or 42 if you are coming from Valletta, and bus 221 from Buġibba. From Sliema or St Julian’s, take bus 222, which takes about 70 minutes for €1.50 (€2 in summer). Once in Gozo, taking public transport is also possible. However, you will be limited on the number of places to visit in one day because of the restricted timetable. From Mġarr, you can take buses 301 or 303 to get to Victoria.
The best way to explore Gozo Island is by car since it’s the more flexible and fastest way to get around. You can either rent the car in Malta or directly in Gozo. No matter the location, it is preferable to book in advance, especially during the high season. You will find great deals on Rentalcars.com. When hiring a car, always take the excess insurance to avoid paying excessive charges in case of an issue. The ferry fare is €15.70 for a car and driver. There is an additional €4.65 for extra passengers.
You can also visit Gozo on an organised tour. There are plenty of options, including combining it with a trip to Comino. Several tours offer a hotel pick-up, so you don’t have to make your way to the port. We decided on a private tour organised by our hotel Hyatt Regency Malta. We chose this option because we wanted a knowledgeable guide who could provide us with all the information about the island.
Day Trip to Gozo – Itinerary
Appreciate the splendour of Victoria
As soon as we arrived on the island, we set off for Victoria. Also called “ir-Rabat“, it is the capital of the island. Rebaptised Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria, the citadel offers from its ramparts great views of the surrounding countryside. The Arabs built the defensive walls; unfortunately, they did not withstand the centuries. The fortress is now mostly in ruins. The town lacks the charm of Mdina but is nonetheless significant to explore. The mix of African and Sicilian architecture and the winding streets are beautiful to stroll along.
Like the main island, Gozo has several churches, most built in the Baroque style, like the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption or the St George’s Basilica. While in the citadel, you can visit some museums like the Gozo Museum of Archaeology or the Old Prison.
Ramla Bay – Marsalforn Bay
The beaches of Gozo are among the most peaceful and unspoilt in the archipelago. Ramla Bay has one of the most beautiful beaches in Malta. The long stretches of sand are a perfect place to relax, sunbathe and enjoy the island. Malsaforn is much smaller but could be visited, especially for the salt marshes.
We stopped by Malsaforn Bay for a late lunch. It wasn’t really on our list. However, we were persuaded by our guide to stop there. Unfortunately, the bay wasn’t as “advertised”. The weather was encouraging for swimming or sunbathing. Most restaurants were closed, and the open one wasn’t the best. Our food took a while to arrive despite the restaurant only having three occupied tables. The fried calamari was tasteless and exceptionally oily. We were so annoyed by the service that we decided to skip Ramla Bay which was unfortunate.
Ta Pinu Sanctuary and Xwejni Bay
Our next stop was the basilica of Ta Pinu. If you like to visit religious monuments, this basilica is a must. This impressive building is located on the outskirts of Gharb, a small village. Legend has it that the Virgin appeared in a small chapel previously situated at the beginning of the 19th century. Thousands of devotees go there every year, hoping their wishes will be granted. The church is entirely built with the stone used in most Maltese buildings. The surroundings of the basilica are stunning.
Admire what is left of the Azure Window in Dwejra Bay
Finally, our day trip to Gozo ended in Dwejra Bay, known for the Azure Window. The arch carved into the cliffs by nature sadly collapsed in March 2017 due to a strong storm. Even without the Azure Window, Dwejra is a great place to visit and offers a magnificent view of the sea and breathtaking landscape.
Next to Dwejra, there is a small lagoon separated from the Mediterranean sea by a narrow crack. This is why it is called the “inland sea”. You can pass through the slight arch while snorkelling or taking a boat tour to see the caves. At €4 for the tour, don’t hesitate to get on board, especially since the tour is twice as cheap as the Blue Grotto tour in Malta. We loved our tour, and the colour of the sea was incredible. This was by far the highlight of our trip to Gozo.
Have more than one day in Gozo?
Even though the island is tiny, it still has many things to do. Therefore if you have the opportunity to stay a little longer, then consider including the following in your Gozo itinerary:
- Xwejni Salt Pans or the salt marshes of Gozo: The salt marshes were created more than 300 years ago, making them an interesting historical site. The beauty of the site is undeniable with its geometric shapes. The spot is excellent for admiring the sunset.
- Ġgantija megalithic temple complex is a fascinating place for all history lovers. The complex is composed of 2 Neolithic temples and is the oldest complex in the world, even older than the pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge.
- Ta Cenc Cliffs: Located in Sannat, the cliffs of Ta’Cenc rise more than 100 metres above the sea and are home to several species of birds. Along the way, you can also see archaeological remains of megalithic temples, including some dolmens. We intended to go there last to watch the sunset but couldn’t as we had to return to St Julian.
- Comino and its stunning water: Even though we didn’t have the chance to explore the third island of the Malta archipelago, we recommend you take a trip to Comino. Or at least go around it by boat and discover the Blue Lagoon to snorkel or even scuba dive. The turquoise blue and the sand white, all protected by large rocks that form the Blue Lagoon, make Comino a top place to see.
- Admire the stunning viewpoints: The landscapes in Gozo are sumptuous and well preserved. The island contains historical attractions, rich culture, mountains to explore and beautiful beaches.
Where to stay in Gozo
If you decide to extend your stay in Gozo, here are some options. The accommodation options are not as extensive as in Malta; however, you can find a few guesthouses and hotels. Staying in Victoria will be better for those without a car. The capital has not only the best options but also has better choices of restaurants. Check options and fare at Booking.com.
Gozo is a lovely destination filled with an incredible mix of history, culture, and natural wonders. There are many things to explore, but you will need to plan your itinerary to ensure you maximise your time. The boat tour into the caves in Dwejra was the highlight of our trip.
Thank you for reading our day trip to Gozo post. Have you been to Gozo recently, or are you planning to visit? What are you looking forward to seeing or doing? Let us know in the comments!