Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago that includes the main island of Malta, Comino and Gozo. Located to the north of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, this compact island is an easy day trip for holidaymakers staying on Malta. Visit beautiful beaches, fantastic natural rock formations and ancient archaeological sites.
Getting to Gozo
The simplest way to get to Gozo for a day trip from Malta is by Ferry. There are regular crossings between the port of Ċirkewwa on Malta and Mġarr on Gozo. In summer the ferry crosses every 45 minutes and even in the winter months there is a regular service. The crossing takes 25 minutes and is reasonably priced at €4.65 for a standard passenger fare and €15.70 for a car and driver standard fare.
The port is well-signposted on both sides and buying tickets and boarding is simple, as the Maltese speak English as a second language. The port is only a 10 minute drive from the Radisson Blu Resort Golden Sands. Due to the frequency of the service, booking ahead is not necessary – just get there 30 minutes before each sailing if you are boarding with a vehicle.
Sightseeing in Gozo
If you plan on travelling to Gozo on foot then look out for the hop-on-hop-off buses that start from the harbour and take tourists to all the most popular places on the island. There are also public buses on Gozo that are the cheapest option for getting around with a day ticket costing €2.60. Touring Gozo by bus is not for the faint-hearted though with many steep, winding streets often navigated at speed. If you opt to take your car over to Gozo for the day you’ll have more flexibility but will still need to take care on those narrow roads, especially when encountering buses. A top tip for driving on Gozo is to ask your car hire company for a ‘parking disc’. This handy cardboard disc sits on your windscreen and allows you to park for free in the main towns. The island’s parking attendants have a rather zealous reputation so it’s worth making sure you have this disc if you plan to drive.
The Azure Window
The most iconic tourist attraction on Gozo has to be the Azure Window. Located off the coastal village of Dwerja this popular scuba diving site is a wonderful place to go and explore. The majestic natural stone arch provides great photo opportunities and is close by two other popular tourist attractions, the Inland Sea and the Blue Hole. You can take a boat trip from the Inland Sea through a gap in the cliffs and see the Azure Window from the other side as well as being guided by the expert local boatmen into nooks and crannies to see coral and more towering rock formations. The Blue Hole is a popular diving spot with deep blue, clear water and teeming sea life including larger fish such as tuna.
Ggantija Temples, Xaghra
You are never far from something ancient in Gozo and on a trip to Ggantija, one of the island’s most important archaeological sites; you’ll travel back in time to 3600BC. In fact these megalithic stone structures are thought to be the oldest free-standing structures in the world making them older than the pyramids of Egypt. Local legend holds that the temples were built by a giantess who used them as a place of worship. There is no real evidence of the giantess but numerous statues found on the site suggest there may have been a fertility cult there in the ancient past. The temples are open to visitors from 09:00 until 17:00 and entrance is only €5.00.
There is no shortage of legends about Gozo and the most famous concerns the Greek goddess Calypso. Located high on a cliff near Xaghra and overlooking the beautiful sandy Ramla Bay, you can see why a goddess would want to call this place home. The story goes that Calypso fell in love with Odysseus and captured and kept him there for seven years as a prisoner. She promised him immortality if he remained but he eventually escaped and returned to his wife Penelope. There isn’t a whole lot to see in this cave as it’s blocked up only a few metres in, but the views are spectacular. You can also see the remains of Malsalforn Tower from here. The tower was built by the Knights of Malta in the early-eighteenth century as a defensive structure against attacks from the sea.