A visit to Gozo on a beautiful day! It only took us a few months to make the short hop, only minutes on the ferry, yet it took a while before making the journey to our sister island of Gozo. Definitely more rural and green there. It is also the second biggest island in the archipelago. Gozo is said to be the home of Calypso as in the nymph in Homer’s Odyssey. She was in love with Odysseus, and kept him captive there for several years before setting him free to continue his journey. I am guessing that judging from the beauty, he didn’t complain too much :-). Malta and Gozo are separated by just a teensy weensy bit of water, so a Gozo day trip is highly recommended if you have enough time on your Malta vacation.
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Day Trip to Gozo from Malta:
A lot of people from Malta visit Gozo to get their green on as l like to call it. Malta itself is very built up and there is little green space, hence the nickname “the concrete jungle”, so when you feel a bit claustrophobic, you can take the 15 minute ferry ride over there, and voila! I think a Malta 7 day itinerary is perfect. It gives you enough time to do some Malta excursions, such as the Garden of Serenity, and the capital city of Valletta and hit the beaches. We had no destination in mind in Gozo on this particular day, we just wanted to check it out. Here are some images from our visit. For those of you who watch the “Game of Thrones”, Season 1 was filmed here around the Azure Window as well as in the walled city of Mdina.
How to get from Malta to Gozo:
The way we got to Gozo was via the Gozo ferry from Cirkewwa (Ferry terminal). You can take any bus that terminates there (such as numbers 42, 41 and 222 from Valleta, Sliema or Msida etc). The round trip ticket on the ferry costs €4.65. You can of course take a hired boat trip from Malta to Gozo from the Sliema Ferry in Malta. There are plenty of hawkers selling day trip excursions to Gozo from Valletta or Sliema. Those ones gets pretty loud with all the young tourists.
Getting around Gozo:
Once the ferry docks, you have a choice of taking a taxi, getting on the public bus which costs €1.55 for a full day of rides (you can’t use the same ticket as Malta, you have to buy a new one). You can also take a Gozo hop on hop bus for your Gozo tour. There are plenty of people vying for your attention as soon as you step outside. We found it sufficient to take the local bus as it goes all over the island and you can just get on any time you want, stay a bit and wait for the next bus to come along. Not a bad price at all.
Gozo Attractions: (What to see in Gozo)
Old Citadella: (Cittadella)
This old fortified castle has been around since the Bronze age and is a NESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is thought to have been an old temple dedicated to Juno. A long and colorful history. Gozo was handed to the Order of St. John in 1530, along with Malta, and at some point, all the inhabitants of Gozo were confined within the walls of this castle, until the curfew was lifted in 1637. It is quite big, and there is lots of walking, but the views are stupendous.
The Azure Window:
The view of the Azure window is insanely beautiful. The Azure window is a natural arch made of limestone that was formed millions of years ago, thanks to a cave collapse. It is quite easy to see why “Game of Thrones” decided to use it as a backdrop for the first season of the series. I think they would have stuck around longer, but unfortunately, some conservative people were making waves and accused them of disturbing the island’s native environment, so they left. A pity really as the island could use the money. Luckily, there is no shortage of filming on the island. Movies from Gladiator to Troy, to network shows have been, and continue to be filmed on the island.
The crashing waves and time is making an impact on the Azure window. It has slowly gotten smaller as the day goes by, now it’s called a wind, but they say in the near future, it will become an inlet :-) . I guess that means if you have the opportunity to see it while it’s still in it’s glory, you should. You never know how long it will last.
Best Gozo Beaches:
The most popular beach in Gozo is Marsalform on the north coast. Once a fishing village, it has transformed into a popular destination and there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and beaches (mostly rocky, save for a small sandy beach). It would be an ideal base for someone wanting to stay for a bit on the island.
The earliest megalithic temples of Malta. Imagine, they are older than the pyramids of Egypt. You can read up on them here. We did not attempt to see them as we have already seen the pretty big one in Malta, which l also recommend, despite the long walk.
I found Gozo to be very peaceful. It has a very relaxed pace of life. Maybe just a little too slow for us though. I think Island fever would set in very quickly. I believe Gozo is a perfect setting for older, retired people who are ready to step back from the hustle and bustle. The population is only about 37,000 people. The air is much cleaner here. There are so many scenic hills. I can imagine it would be an idyllic place for some people. It was even more obvious to me how quiet it was during siesta time, like a real ghost town. Absolutely nothing was open, and the only people we saw were tourists like us. I’m sure in the summer time, it might be a little more vibrant. It picked up a bit after siesta, but not enough to really make it exciting. Nope! not for us. I suppose because the cost of living is even cheaper here than in Malta, it might be a good fit for some people. If you wanted a bit more uptempo time, you could head to Malta on the ferry. For us also that travel a lot, it would be a pain having to take the ferry to Malta and then making the way to the airport.
Where to stay in Gozo:
For those with more than a day to spend in Gozo, there are hotels, villas and charming country houses that can be rented. For most people though, I think a day trip is more than enough to see everything and not feel rushed.
What do you think of Gozo? Does it sound like a place you would like to visit, especially the Azure window before it’s no more?