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Gozo is a neighboring island of Malta which is easily accessible by ferry as a day trip. If you’d like to a bit more time there you could decide to split your holiday between Malta and Gozo, or you could just spend one day in Gozo and see the highlights.
I visited Gozo with a few blogger friends and we took the ferry from Cirkewwa in Malta, which is on the north coast of the island. We departed in the morning and returned about 6pm, although we wished we had longer. You can check the ferry times listed on www.gozochannel.com.
If you’re planning to do a Gozo day trip make sure you leave early in the morning because Gozo is stunning and you’ll probably never want to leave! The vibe on Gozo is quite different to Malta; it’s smaller, quieter and generally less built up. It’s a very relaxing island and definitely worth the trip.
This handy guide covers some of the best things to do in Gozo plus places to eat while you’re there.
How to Get to Gozo from Malta
For your day trip to Gozo you can catch a ferry from the port of Cirkewwa in the north of Malta. To get to Cirkewwa we took a taxi but you could also take the bus. Several bus services stop at Cirkewwa, including the 222 from Silema, the 41 & 42 from Valletta, and the airport bus route X1.
The ferry to Gozo takes roughly 20-30 minutes and it arrives in a place called Mgarr. There’s a cafe on board the ferry so I took the opportunity to try some Maltese pastizzi, which are basically puff pastries stuffed with savory fillings such as pea and ricotta. They’re delicious.
Ferries to and from Gozo depart every 30-45 minutes and the fare costs around €4.65 – pretty cheap! You don’t actually have to buy a ticket on the way to Gozo, you just have to buy your ticket on the way back.
Getting Around Gozo
There are quite a few different options for getting around Gozo.
Renting a Car
The first option is to rent a car and there are a couple of car rental places close to the port- it shouldn’t be too expensive.
Be aware that they drive on the left in Malta and Gozo. If you’re from the UK or Australia, you’ll have no problem driving on the left hand side of the road. If you’re from a country that drives on the right, stay alert and keep reminding yourself.
Hop on Hop off Bus
The other option is to ride the Hop on Hop off Bus (tickets €20) which will take you to all the major points on the island, including:
- Ramla Bay
- Savina Creativity Centre
- Ggantija Temples & Ta’ Kola Windmill
- Calypso Cave
- Marsalforn Bay
- Victoria Bus Station
- Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary
- Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Village
- Dwejra Bay
- Xlendi Bay
- Xewkija Square
The only downside to the Hop on Hop Off Tour is it has a set loop and takes nearly 3 hours to complete, so it might not be the most efficient way for those who are short on time.
We only rode it for part of the way. Since we only had one day in Gozo we took a taxi to Victoria and and then boarded the Hop on Hop off Bus at Victoria bus station, getting off at the Azure Window, Xlendi Bay and finally the Mgarr port.
Buses and Taxis
The third option is to ride the public buses (the cheapest but slowest option). Bus schedules are the same throughout winter and summer and you can find all the information on the Malta public transport website. Buses usually run every hour, except for the route between Victoria and the Mgarr ferry terminal, which runs every 30 minutes.
If you want to save time then you can take a taxi (more expensive but fastest option). Taxis are painted white and have the word “Taxi” written in red. You can find taxis at the ferry terminal in Mgarr, as well as the capital of Victoria and various taxi stands around the island.
Tuk Tuk, Quadbikes, GoCars
There are also some fun modes of transport you can use to get around Gozo.
A relatively new and novel way to get around Gozo is by doing a Tuk Tuk tour. You can opt for a self-drive tour where you drive the car yourself and follow a guide, or you can opt for a chauffeur tour where someone else does the driving for you.
Another option is to take a GoCar Tour which involves riding around the island in a fun little vehicle with three wheels. The tour includes lunch and a briefing on how to operate the vehicle conducted by an expert guide.
If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can book a self-drive quad bike tour and drive around the island on a four-wheeled ATV for the day. Make sure that you bring your driver’s license with you for any of the self-drive tours.
Phew! That’s a lot of ways to get around Gozo!
Day Tours to Gozo
If you don’t want the hassle of planning your trip to Gozo, you could also book a tour. Here’s a selection of tours that will take you to Gozo:
- Gozo, Comino, Blue Lagoon and Sea Caves: Full-Day Sightseeing
- Gozo: Full-Day Jeep Tour with Lunch and Powerboat Ride
- Gozo Full-Day Sightseeing Tour of Malta’s Sister Island
Things to do in Gozo
Get sand between your toes at Ramla Bay
Ramla Bay is a rugged bay on the north coast of Gozo and one of the best beaches on the island. You can sunbathe on the fiery orange sands next to a statue of the Virgin Mary, which was placed on the beach in commemoration of a shipwreck.
Tourists come here for the bay’s natural beauty and there’s virtually no development here, aside from a couple of kiosks. You can get here by tour, bus or taxi, or rent a car and drive to it.
Found on the north coast of the island, the Xwejni saltpans are used to harvest salt – one of Gozo’s important natural raw minerals. In Gozo this is an important tradition and the process of making salt through evaporation on Gozo dates all the way back to Phoenician and Roman times. The sunlight reflecting on the pattern of saltpans is a beautiful sight to see and makes for a great photo opportunity.
Ggantija Temples & Ta’ Kola Windmill
Ġgantija is a complex of temples that are older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids! Located in the central east of the island, these temples were built between 3600 and 3200 B.C and are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Ġgantija comes from the Maltese word for ‘giant’ because Gozo’s inhabitants believed that the temples were built by giants.
The temples are made of enormous limestone rocks and there’s evidence to suggest that the inner walls were plastered and painted.
Nearby you’ll find the Ta’ Kola Windmill which dates back to 1725 and is named after the last miller, Żeppu ta’ Kola. It’s one of the few remaining windmills on the Maltese islands.
You can view the workshop which contains an array of historic tools, as well as a recreation of the living quarters of the miller and his family.
Soak up the View from the Citadel in Victoria
Victoria is the capital of Gozo and the main attraction here is the Citadella- a historic fortified city/castle perched on a hill. In the main square of the citadel you’ll find the baroque Cathedral of Gozo, the Law Courts and the Bishop’s Palace. Close by you can also visit several museums as well as a state-of-the-art visitor’s center. Tickets for the museums can be purchased here.
We climbed up the stairs and took a walk along the fortified ramparts to admire the breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Gozo’s hills and valleys, villages and churches.
Officially called ‘The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta‘ Pinu‘, is monumental shrine that was built between 1920 and 1931. The shrine is built from Maltese stone and has a beautiful interior with stained glass windows and marble sculptures.
The shrine was built on the site of a small chapel, where a local woman called Karmni Grima supposedly heard the voice of Our Lady in 1883. It became a popular pilgrimage site and attracted visitors from around Gozo, Malta and beyond. The shrine has been visited by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on their visits to Malta.
Look through the Azure Window
The Azure Window was one of Gozo’s main attractions and was especially popular because it was featured in the popular TV series ‘Game of Thrones’. This scenic rock arch was created when two limestone caves collapsed and was popular with scuba divers. Sadly it collapsed in March 2017 after a period of heavy storms. I’ve left it in this list so you can see what it looked like!
You can still visit the area though to see the stunning blue water, the dramatic scenery and the natural caves.
Eat fresh fish in Xlendi Bay
Xlendi Bay was my favourite spot on Gozo. The beach here is minuscule and pebbly, but that didn’t stop us parking our towels and going going for a swim.
The bay itself is really scenic, with crystal clear, turquoise blue water and caves in the cliffs surrounding it. Xlendi is also lined with fish restaurants, so you have many options for lunch.
We dined at Churchill restaurant and this was probably the best meal I had on the entire trip to Malta and Gozo. We started with some seafood pasta, followed by freshly caught sea bream and calamari, then finished off our meal with a couple of drinks in the sunshine. This is the kind of place you can easily while away an afternoon with an Aperol Spritz!
Where to Eat on Gozo
In addition to Churchill restaurant, here are some restaurants you can try across the island:
Maldonado Bistro – Located in the back streets of Victoria (Rabat), Maldonado Bistro offers a Mediterranean menu with a contemporary twist and dishes are made with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients.
Ta’ Rikardu – Situated inside the citadella walls, this restaurant makes its own wine and cheese at its vineyard and farm on the island. It also boasts a terrace with scenic views.
Il Kartell – If you stop in Marsalforn, pay a visit to Il Kartell restaurant which has been a family affair since the 1970s. This restaurant serves a variety of pasta, meat and fish dishes in a beautiful setting by the sea.
Your FAQs About Gozo, Answered
Personally I felt like a day in Gozo just wasn’t enough. I’d suggest spending two days here so you can explore the island at a more relaxing pace. Of course, if you’re short on time it’s completely possible to do a Gozo day trip.
The ride takes around 20-30 minutes.
The two islands are quite different. Gozo more laid back and much quieter. The island is rugged and less populated, so it has a very relaxed vibe. Visiting Gozo was the highlight of my trip but I enjoyed exploring Malta because the island has a lot of things to see and do.
Yes, there are beaches on Gozo. Check out Xlendi, Ramla Bay, Dwejra Bay, Mġarr Ix-Xini and Hondoq ir-Rummien. If you’re looking for a sandy beach, the only one is Ramla Bay, which has golden sands. The rest of Gozo’s beaches are pebbly.
There are lots of attractions on Gozo! Don’t miss Victoria and the Citadella, Ramla Bay, Xlendi Bay, Ta’ Pinu and the Ggantija Temples.
No you don’t need a car. There are so many fun ways to get around the island, including Hop on Hop off Bus, quad bike tours, tuk tuk tours and GoCar tours! You can also get around the island by regular public bus or taxi.
A Final Word…
If you’re visiting Malta, don’t skip Gozo. Plan at least a day trip to Gozo or possibly stay overnight so you can explore as much of the island as possible. There are now lots of fun ways to get around Gozo and while I didn’t get to experience it, I think riding around Gozo in a Tuk Tuk or a GoCar would be really fun!