Gozo is located off the north coast of Malta, past the smaller island of Comino. With thousands of years of culture, rugged landscapes carved by Meditteranean sun and wind, plus epic beaches and diving spots, Gozo offers an excellent alternative destination for your next holiday.
Because of Gozo and Malta's almost year-round lovely weather, including balmy mid-20s for an October break, Gozo is a great destination for a late 2018 holiday or for planning ahead for a cheap holiday in 2019. Gozo is also a laid-back destination, easily traversable in a day by car, even by bicycle, as the island is only 8 miles by 4 miles across, about the size of Manhattan Island.
With its friendly hosts, who are proud of their island culture which spans so many millennia, you're bound to receive a warm welcome.
Hop on the ferry at Cirkewwa on Malta, take the short journey past little Comino, and then land at Mgarr harbour on Gozo. Gozo's capital, officially called Victoria but known locally as its original name, Rabat, is home to the impressive 16th century Citadella, or Citadel. Historians suggest the site of the Citadella has been at the heart of human activity on Gozo since prehistoric times.
Although Gozo is only small - and inhabited by only 40,000 Gozitans - Gozo is home to 46 churches, many in a Baroque style. To venture back further into the aeons, Ggantija is a 5,500-year-old complex and UNESCO World Heritage site located in Xaghra. It's believed to be the 2nd oldest man-made religious structure in the world.
Gozo, beyond its gorgeous history and ancient ruins, offers some of the best diving spots in the Mediterranean. Off the coast of the seaside resorts of Marsalforn and Xlendi, you'll find clear waters, lots of sand and some fascinating underwater sights. A quick ferry trip to Comino and you can visit the Blue Lagoon, a mystical clear-water diving spot, or try the intentionally wrecked P31 Maltese patrol boat, now providing a home to a hoard of marine life.
As the main town on the island, Victoria has a variety of restaurants serving authentic food that are perfect for both a romantic evening and an intimate dinner with friends; the other towns across the island also offer international fare, so don’t despair picky eaters.
As an island of many cultures over its thousands of years of history, the cuisine on the island has traces of all its forebears. From Arabic to modern Italian, food and drink on Gozo is a delight. Typically Mediterranean, some of the best things to try on the island are Gozitan traditional pastizzi (pastries), sheep milk cheeses called gbejniet, or the classic bread and olive oil.
Gozo has passed strict eco-friendly regulations which mean most of its interior remains rural and untouched. Developed just enough to provide satisfaction for tourists, the coastal resorts and capital Victora are home to an eclectic mix of gourmet restaurants and quick eats, but all restaurants use some sort of fresh, local ingredient.
Gozo is a perfect Mediterranean island getaway for families too, mainly for the slow, tranquil lifestyle that permeates the atmosphere. While the island is considered one of the best places in the world for diving, its beaches are also sublime. Parents with small children don’t have to worry, as the island has a number of peaceful beaches with shallow waters that are perfect for swimming and splashing about.
Grab the whole family for a fantastic day by the sea trying a myriad of water sports. The bigger kids will love diving and canoeing, while kayaking tours and fishing are also amongst the most popular things to do in Gozo for all ages. Marsalforn is a popular area for families with small children as the long promenade has plenty of child-friendly shops and restaurants to complete the perfect day at the beach. For a day out, take the ferry to the historic capital city of Valletta in the south of Malta.
The aquatic things to do in Gozo certainly outweigh the number of land-based activities, and for good reason; the stunning beaches here are made for relaxing and a variety of water sports. On the north coast is Ramla Bay, a beach that is popular for its golden sands and clear waters, and perfect for snorkelling. Qala is home to several fun water sports, like kayaking and canoeing, as well as paddle boats and banana boating for the kids. The island’s coastline has incredible rock formations and sites like Fungus Rock are extremely popular with divers. Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino, located just halfway between Gozo and Malta, is famous for its white shores and turquoise seas that make it irresistible to travellers.
It’s important to strike a balance during your Gozo holidays, exploring the island’s captivating heritage on one hand, and indulging in its wonderful stretches of beach on the other. The island’s most attractive beach has to be Ramla Bay, with its small crowds, undeveloped backdrop and the home of the famous Calypso Cave. Overlooked by the village of Xaghra, where the Ggantija temples lie, Ramla Bay is a wide-open stretch of sand. The Maltese name for Ramla Bay is Ramla il-Hamra, which literally means Red Sandy Beach.
Xlendi is home to a pebbly beach, stunning cliffs and an assortment of caves. Here you'll find some of the best snorkelling territories on the island, and you can easily spend a couple of hours exploring the depths. The beach is also flanked by a Gozitan fishing village where you can enjoy local delicacies. The resort can be reached by car through Munxar or Fontana.
Marsalforn is one of the most popular resorts on Gozo. In the summertime, hundreds of Gozitan and Maltese families come here to spend their weekends. A long promenade snakes around the bay and provides a lovely place to enjoy a walk, something to eat or views over the fishing boats that bob in the crystalline waters. The resort is located between Xaghra and Zubbug.
Gozo is not known for its nightlife. You'll find a quiet, sophisticated quality to the nights you spend on this charming Maltese island. Expect classic music rolling from the Baroque churches, quiet glasses of wine enjoyed in quaintly cobbled squares and a cafe culture along the coastal promenades where tourists and locals alike mingle and socialise next to the sea. If you do want evening action, Marsalforn, as the largest and most popular resort on Gozo, is your best bet.
Gozo is a highly romantic place, bursting with culture and spectacular sights. Have a meal of gorgeous local food while sipping wine and watching the sun set over the sea. Try scuba diving together and make memories of seeing amazing underwater vistas. Take a trip to the island of Comino, a tiny island with a chapel in the middle, a perfect place to be quiet and secluded, strolling around the ancient old town and swimming in the clear sea at the famous Blue Lagoon. Alternatively, with ferry trips to Malta taking just under half an hour, a day trip or two to the larger island aren't out of the question. Valletta, Bugibba or Mellieha are all excellent places to spend an afternoon.
You’ll encounter a number of important and intriguing historical sites during your holidays in Gozo, whether situated in the lively capital or dotted around the beautiful countryside. Exploring Victoria’s mesmerising citadella will expose you to an array of architectural delights and religious structures, and while the city may not resemble the grandeur or significance of Valletta or the retail accessibility of Sliema on Malta, there is an infectious charm that shrouds this destination. Away from Victoria and out in the sticks you’ll find even more signs of Gozo’s history - none more enthralling than the Ggantija Temples near Xaghra and the towering Ta’ Pinu Basilica.