Gozo Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting

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Gozo Malta

Gozo is a picturesque and tranquil island, nestled in the Mediterranean Sea, forming part of the Maltese archipelago. Often referred to as Malta’s hidden gem, Gozo boasts stunning landscapes, rich history, and a relaxed atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

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Gozo Malta
Gozo is a smaller island, but it is packed with attractions and things to do.

Gozo is the sister island of Malta, located just a short ferry ride away. It is a smaller island, but it is packed with attractions and things to do. Gozo is known for its beautiful scenery, its charming villages, and its rich history.

An Overview of Gozo

Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, covering an area of just 67km2. It has a population of about 37,000 people. The capital of Gozo is Victoria, which is also known as Rabat.

Despite its smaller size compared to Malta, Gozo has its unique charm and a distinct identity.

Gozo is a popular tourist destination, especially for those looking for a more relaxed and laid-back vacation. The island is home to a number of beaches, as well as historical sites, such as the Ggantija Temples, which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.

Location

Located approximately 5 kilometers northwest of Malta, Gozo is easily accessible from its larger neighbor. The two islands are connected by regular ferry services, making it convenient for visitors to explore both destinations during their trip.

Gozo is located approximately 5 kilometers northwest of Malta.

How to Get to Gozo

To reach Gozo from Malta, travellers can take a short 20-minute ferry ride from Ċirkewwa, situated at the northern tip of Malta, to Mġarr, the main port of Gozo. The ferries run frequently throughout the day, of which generally depart every 30 minutes, but the exact schedule varies by season. The journey offers a seamless and enjoyable journey across the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Passengers can enjoy the sea views from the deck, but be cautious during windy and wavy weather.

Important to note: No fee is required for the outbound journey; tickets can be purchased at the ticket counter at Mġarr Terminal for the return trip.

To get to Ċirkewwa:

Bus: Buses are available from various locations in Malta to Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal. If traveling directly from Malta International Airport to the terminal, you can take Route X1 (timetable). The cost is €2 (summer); €1.50 (winter) [ticket prices updated on this website], and tickets can be purchased directly from the bus driver.
Self-Drive: Tourists have the option to rent a car either at the airport or within the city. Renting a car offers the advantage of managing your own time and avoiding waiting for buses. Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal has a dedicated area for vehicles to wait for boarding the ferry, following the terminal’s signage. (For Malta self-drive guide, refer to this article).
Taxi: Visitors can also use taxi services to reach Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal. There is a fixed price of €32 from the airport to the terminal.

There is frequent ferry connection between Malta and Gozo, offering easy and convenient opportunity to visit Gozo.

Planning A Trip to Gozo

When you’re in Malta, it’s easy and convenient to plan a trip to Gozo. Here are some things to plan for your trip to Gozo:

When to go: The best time to visit Gozo is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild. The summer months can be very hot and crowded.

Where to stay: There are a variety of accommodation options in Gozo, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. For more of our recommendations, scroll to this part.

What to pack: Be sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and comfortable shoes. You may also want to pack a swimsuit, as there are many beaches on Gozo.

Here’s a suggested 2-day itinerary:

Itinerary
Day 1Arrive at Mġarr Harbour ⟶ Visit Cittadella ⟶ Lunch at Victoria ⟶ Visit the Ta’ Pinu Basilica ⟶ Go to Dwejra, snorkel or dive in The Blue Hole
Day 2Xlendi Bay ⟶ Explore Ggantija Temples ⟶ Lunch at lunch in Xagħra or nearby Marsalforn ⟶ Visit the Ta’ Mena Estate ⟶ Head back to Mġarr Harbour to catch the ferry back to Malta

› Planning to spend more time in Malta? Check this out :- How to Spend A Week in Malta

What to See in Gozo: Top Attractions

Despite being small and compact, there is a handful of amazing attractions on Gozo. These top attractions in Gozo provide a diverse range of experiences, from exploring ancient temples that have withstood the test of time to relishing the natural beauty of Gozo’s coastline and enjoying the cultural significance of the Citadel. Each site holds a unique charm and a piece of Gozo’s rich history.

Azure Window (Dwejra)

Once a magnificent natural limestone arch, the Azure Window was a must-see attraction in Gozo until its unfortunate collapse in 2017. Although the arch is no longer standing, the coastal area surrounding it remains breathtakingly beautiful, attracting visitors to its rugged cliffs and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The coastal area surrounding Dwejra is a magnificent gem not to be missed.

Ggantija Temples

Take a step back in time and explore the ancient Ggantija Temples, an archaeological wonder that dates back to an astounding 3600-3200 BC. These prehistoric structures are among the oldest freestanding buildings in the world, and their impressive scale and intricate design offer an intriguing glimpse into the island’s prehistoric past.

The Ggantija Temples are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. FritzPhotographyCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Citadel (Victoria)

Towering over Gozo’s capital city, Victoria, the Citadel is a historic fortified complex that not only offers captivating panoramic views of the island but also houses the magnificent Gozo Cathedral. This ancient stronghold has played a crucial role in Gozo’s history, providing protection and shelter for its inhabitants throughout the ages. Today, it stands as a testament to the island’s rich heritage and serves as a popular attraction for those seeking both history and stunning vistas.

The Citadel is a medieval fortress that is located in the capital of Gozo, Victoria. In picture above, the Gozo Cathedral.

Ramla Bay

With its red-golden sands and crystal-clear waters, Ramla Bay is undoubtedly one of Gozo’s most picturesque beaches. This idyllic spot is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and simply unwinding amidst the serene coastal scenery. The vibrant colours of the beach create a mesmerising contrast with the blue sea, making it a favourite spot for both locals and visitors alike.

Ramla Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Gozo. The photo is taken from Tal-Mixta Caves, overlooking Ramla Bay.

Tal Mixta Cave is located on a hill in the village of Nadur, Gozo. Although not widely known, this cave is truly picturesque. Essentially acting as a “window,” the cave offers a magnificent panoramic view of Ramla Bay from this elevated point, making it one of the most perfect angles to behold its grandeur.

Ta’ Pinu National Shrine

Ta’ Pinu National Shrine is a revered pilgrimage site and a symbol of spiritual significance. The shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu, and it holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. The origins of this sacred site can be traced back to a miraculous event in the 19th century when a peasant woman claimed to have received visions of the Virgin Mary at this very location. Since then, the shrine has attracted pilgrims seeking solace, healing, and blessings. With its stunning architecture and serene surroundings, Ta’ Pinu National Shrine offers a serene and contemplative space for reflection and prayer.

The Ta’ Pinu National Shrine is a Marian shrine that is located in the village of Għarb.

Rotunda of St. John the Baptist

The Rotunda of St. John the Baptist, located in the heart of Xewkija, Gozo, is an awe-inspiring architectural masterpiece and one of the island’s most prominent landmarks. This impressive church boasts a majestic dome that dominates the Gozitan skyline, making it the third-largest unsupported dome in the world. The church’s construction began in the mid-20th century and took decades to complete. Inside, visitors can marvel at its stunning interior adorned with intricate marble work, beautiful stained glass windows, and a grand organ.

The Rotunda stands as a symbol of Gozo’s strong religious heritage and is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the island.

How to Get Around Gozo

Gozo is easily explored by car, and rental options are available on the island. Alternatively, buses and hop-on-hop-off tours provide convenient transportation for those who prefer not to drive.

› You can read more about Driving in Malta on our website via this link.
› If you’d like to hire a car, be sure to compare car rental prices via Rentalcars.com to get the best deals.

The buses on Gozo are operated by Malta Public Transport. There are a total of 18 routes covering the entire island, including 2 Tallinja Direct Routes and 1 night route. The timetable can be found on this website*. The one-way fare for a bus ticket is €2 (summer) and €1.50 (winter).

Tourists can also choose to explore Gozo by riding an open-top bus. The bus stops at certain popular attractions, allowing visitors to disembark and explore the sights. Afterwards, they can hop back on the bus to proceed to the next stop.

Where to Stay in Gozo

Gozo offers a range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Visitors can choose from luxurious resorts, charming guesthouses, and self-catering apartments, all providing a comfortable base to explore the island’s wonders.

Top-Rated Hotels in Gozo

Townhouse17 Boutique B&B
$ $

The Duke Boutique Hotel
$ $

Il-Logga Boutique Hotel
$ $

What to take note of when visiting Gozo

When visiting Gozo, there are several important things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

  • Check the ferry schedule from Malta to Gozo, as well as the return timings, to plan your journey accordingly. Ferries operate regularly, but it’s advisable to arrive early during peak seasons to avoid long waiting times.
  • Be mindful of the weather conditions, especially if you plan to explore outdoor attractions or go swimming. Carry sunscreen, a hat, and stay hydrated, especially during hot summer months.
  • If you intend to use public buses to get around, be prepared for possible delays, as Maltese buses are known to run on “island time.” Consider renting a car if you prefer more flexibility and control over your schedule.
  • When visiting churches and religious sites, dress modestly and respect local customs. Cover your shoulders and knees, and remove hats inside places of worship.
  • Although Gozo is part of Malta, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, especially in smaller towns and villages where not all establishments may accept credit cards.
  • Be aware of the siesta tradition, where many shops and businesses close for a few hours in the afternoon. Plan your activities accordingly and expect some places to be less crowded during siesta time.
  • Gozo’s natural beauty is its treasure, so remember to dispose of waste responsibly, refrain from leaving litter, and be mindful of wildlife and protected areas.

Visiting Gozo as a Muslim:
Muslim visitors will find that Gozo, like the rest of Malta, is welcoming and respectful of diverse cultures and religions. While there may not be dedicated halal restaurants, many eateries offer vegetarian and seafood options suitable for Muslim dietary preferences. You can read our article about Visiting Malta as a Muslim.

Conclusion

Gozo, with its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality, promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler. Whether you seek relaxation on pristine beaches or adventure amidst ancient landmarks, Gozo is sure to captivate your heart and leave you with cherished memories to last a lifetime.


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