Gozo: the unspoiled island that’s just a short ferry ride away from Malta. You’ll find that despite its size and its relaxed vibes, Gozo offers plenty of activities and places to visit, making the island a destination of its own. Get ready to discover historical sites, crystal blue waters, limestone cliffs, and panoramic viewpoints. You’ll even savor some of the best cuisine of the Mediterranean Sea! Enjoy Gozo, Malta with this list of best things to do in and around the island.
Top 12 things to do in Gozo
Gozo is located in the northern part of the country and is the second-biggest island in the Maltese archipelago. Despite being more remote, there is plenty to see in Gozo. The island is a destination on its own, and deserves a few days to explore all its beauties!
1 – Victoria (Rabat), the capital of Gozo
Victoria, or Rabat as the locals know it, is the capital city of Gozo and is home to a beautiful Citadel, with ancient narrow streets, red-domed cathedrals and old limestone houses.
The most memorable place to explore in Victoria is the Cittadella. Within the Citadel, you’ll find historic buildings, museums and even an old prison (covered in prisoners’ graffiti). The Citadel also offers a spectacular view over the whole island, all the way down to the sea.
The Citadel is open for walking around and is particularly beautiful to explore first thing in the morning, when the sun isn’t so intense and crowds are yet to gather.
Good to know: while the Citadel itself is free, there is an entry fee for the sites, such as the visitors’ center, the museums, the prison, and the Gran Costello Historic House. Heritage Malta offers a “Discover Gozo” pass which includes several attractions all around Gozo. Purchase your ticket here.
Outside the Citadel, take the time to discover the old town of Victoria and its labyrinth of narrow alleyways. By wandering the streets, you will find unique sandstone buildings with fascinating balconies and shutters, but also beautiful squares along your way.
Do not miss the beautiful St. George’s Basilica just off the main square It-Tokk. It is a historical Baroque church, built between 1672 and 1678. Covered with marble, this parish church is also home to a very impressive bronze and gold guilded canopy over the high altar, based on the design of Bernini’s in St Peter’s Rome. But the main attraction is a statue of the patron saint, St. George, sculpted in wood in 1838.
2 – Blue hole and the remains of the Azure Window at Dwerja Bay
At Dwerja Bay, you can discover the famous Blue Hole, a natural circular rock pool carved out by thousands of years of wind and wave power. Even though it looks completely surrounded by rocks, an underwater arch located 10 meters below the surface links it to the sea, making it a unique geological formation. This area is considered as one of the most sought-after dive sites in the Maltese islands.
Dwerja Bay was most famous for being home to the Azure window, a natural arch created by erosion, which sadly collapsed in 2017 after a storm. Although the site gained a lot of popularity in recent years after being featured in Game of Thrones, it remained a beloved place for Gozitan and Maltese alike.
3 – Day trip to Comino
Between Malta and Gozo, there is Comino, the smallest of the three Maltese islands. It’s incredibly beautiful, with wild nature, crystal blue waters and very few inhabitants.
A day trip to Comino is a must-do when in Gozo. Once there, you can go on a boat tour for 12€/person and explore the incredible rock formations around the island. Hiking across the wild and rocky landscapes is another fun activity you can do in Comino.
Things to do in Comino
- Blue Lagoon. The Blue lagoon is the most popular attraction in Comino, and an absolute must-see in Malta. With its turquoise waters, it is a true paradise. Get there early, it gets crowded very quickly during peak season!
- Crystal Lagoon – The crystal lagoon is another beautiful lagoon in Comino. Though it is lesser known and rockier than the Blue lagoon, it is however more peaceful.
- Santa Maria Caves – The journey to get there is quite the adventure: you need to pass through a cave tunnel from Santa Maria Bay! The Santa Maria Caves are famous for their fascinating cave systems and the variety of their marine life, which makes it a perfect snorkeling and diving spot!
How to get to Comino from Gozo: The main ferry runs between Mġarr (Gozo) and Comino every hour.
Another option is to combine the trip to Comino with a boat tour to the caves and rock formations. Book it here.
4 – Ggantija Temples
The Ggantija Temples are a must-see during your trip to Gozo in Malta. These temples are a megalithic complex from the Neolithic age, and are a UNESCO Word Heritage site. They are more than 5500 years old, which makes them older than the Egyptian pyramids! Researchers don’t know how these giants limestone rocks were brought to the site but according to local Gozitan folklore, a giantess (ggantija means ‘giant’) bore a child from a man, and with the child hanging from her shoulder, she built these temples and used them as places of worship. Archeologists and historians have since confirmed the temples are elements of a ceremonial site in a fertility rite.
Don’t forget to check Ta’kola Windmill
Next to the Ggantija Temples, you will find one of the last original windmills on the island. The Ta’ Kola Windmill was build in 1725 and is now a museum, where you can discover the miller’s workshop and rooms.
You can visit both of these sites with the Heritage Malta pass.
5 – Salt Pans
The Xwejni Salt Pans are one of the best things to do in Gozo. The 350-year-old checkerboard salt pans stretch about three kilometers along this northern coast and are a sight to remember. This site is believed to be the world’s oldest working salt pans, the tradition going back all the way to when the Phoenicians occupied Gozo (750 BC to 450 BC). The families harvesting the salt from the sea still use the traditional methods from Phoenician and Roman times. You can even buy salts from their shops, it’s quite a souvenir to bring back home.
6 – Watch the Sunset in one of these spots
Sunsets in Gozo can be quite spectacular. And there are gorgeous spots to watch the sun descend into the sea, painting the world in incandescent colors.
- Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs
Rising more than 150 meters above sea level, these cliffs offer an amazing view over the sea from the coastline.
7 – Explore the incredible villages and churches of Gozo
L-Għarb is one of the oldest and most idyllic of all Gozitan villages. In the traditional main square, you will find a baroque basilica dedicated to the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. It was built between 1699 and 1729, making it one of the oldest parish churches still remaining on the island. It is often compared to Francesco Borromini’s Church of Saint Agnes in Piazza Navona, Rome.
The traditional village of In-Nadur is famous for its beautiful views over the island and the sea. The baroque church dominates the village and is dedicated to the apostles Saints Peter and Paul. Its foundation stone was laid in December 1760, however the façade and aisles were built at the beginning of the 20th century. The feast of Saints Peter and Paul, also called “L-Imnarja” is celebrated on the 29th of June.
Ta’ Pinu Basilica
The Sanctuary of Ta’ Pinu is an architectural masterpiece located in the valley between the villages of Għarb and Għammar. It is a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu and was built between 1920 and 1931.
Ix-Xewkija is the oldest village in Gozo and is popular for its spectacular church at the center of the village. Also called the Rotunda due to its massive dome, it is the third-largest unsupported dome in the world (28 meters in diameter, 75 meters tall, weighting 45000 tons). It was built in the 20th century and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
8 – Wied il-Mielaħ Window
Though the Azur Window doesn’t exist anymore, there is another spectacular natural Window on Gozo. And this one is a true hidden gem, surprisingly unknown by most. Wied il-Mielaħ is a limestone natural arch on the north-western coast of the island of Gozo.
Good to know: The Window is located at the end of the Wied il-Mielaħ Valley and there is a direct road from Għarb. At the end of the valley, parallel to the old river bed, you’ll find a narrow staircase alongside the rock. That path will take you directly in front of the Window, and the view will leave you in awe.
9 – Tal-Mixta Cave
Tal-Mixta cave is located above Ramla bay, high up in the hills of Nadur. The natural rock window offers one of the most stunning views you’ll get to see on your trip to Gozo! This cave used to serve as a home to ancient inhabitants, the Troglodytes, a people that lived in caves. It later became a place for the Knights of St John to fire cannons and protect the bay from pirates.
Good to know: the Tal-Mixta Cave is located on private property, but you are allowed to access the cave by foot. However be respectful of the owner’s privacy and do not venture outside the indicated path. It is less than a 5 minutes walk from the allowed parking lot (at the end of Triq I-Ghassa Tal-Mahrag road). If you don’t have a car, take the bus 322 from Mġarr to Ramla Bay. You also can hike to Tal-Mixta Cave from there, but be aware that the climb is abrupt and the hike lasts for 40 minutes.
10 – Wine Tasting at Tal-Massar
Wine production in the Maltese Islands dates back to the aforementioned Phoenician/Punic period, way before the Roman domination of the Mediterranean Sea. But what make Gozitan wines so particular? The answer is a mix of natural elements proper to Gozo: the climate, the sun exposure, the clay soil, the wind and last but not least, the sea salt which sprays the island regularly. All of these combined give the wines their strong, twisted flavors.
And Tal-Massar Winery is the perfect place to learn everything you need to know about the delicious wines produced in Gozo! The family-run winery produces a variety of wines: white, rosé, red but also dry and sweet ones.
The family offers wine tasting sessions and a tour of their vineyards so visitors can learn about Gozo’s wine history, local food and culture. Best of all, you’ll be enjoying the winery’s refined wines with homemade food while admiring the view over the island during golden hour.
11 – Best beaches
Gozo’s beaches are some of the best in the entire archipelago, which makes it a perfect destination for relaxing, swimming and simply enjoying the sun. Here are some of the best beaches of Gozo:
One of the island’s sandy beaches. It is a curving bay of red and gold colored sands. You can find Roman ruins buried under the sand, and the Calypso Cave overlooks the west of the beach.
This is a small pebbly beach. Thanks to the cliffs surrounding the cove, the water remains undisturbed and perfect for swimming. It is also a popular spot for snorkelers.
Other nice beaches on Gozo:
- Hondoq ir-Rummien
- Xwejni Bay Beach
- Wied Il-Għasri
12 – Diving in Gozo
Did you know Gozo is the best place to dive in Europe?
Waters are very clear and calm, the temperatures can go up to 28˚C in the summer months and visibility up to 30 meters! Gozo also offers a wide diving range, open to all levels, from first-timers to life-long divers. In total, there are around 80 dive sites on the island: therefore there is a spot for everyone. And since the island’s relatively small, you can easily access a wide variety of diving sites.
What particularly makes Gozo a great diving destination is the incredible underwater topography. First, you have the famous Blue Hole. This legendary dive into clear waters will take you to caves, drop-offs and chimneys, passages and arches dug into the limestone by millions of years of erosion, all combined with plentiful marine life!
Secondly, you’ll be able to dive into deep caverns, calm bays and swim throughs all around the island. In addition, you can find three shipwreck sites in the waters at Xatt L’Ahmar.
You can also dive around the island of Comino, as it is home to some incredible diving sites, including Santa Maria Point and the Comino Caves. There is also the wreck site of the former patrol boat P31, scuttled…especially for divers!
How to get to Gozo
First, you need to fly to the main island, Malta. If you’re renting a car, you’ll then need to drive to Ċirkewwa, at the northern end of the island, and take the Gozo Channel Ferry. Currently, it is the only way to bring your car to Gozo. The ferry journey only takes 25 minutes, and you’ll pay on your way back, at Gozo Mġarr Terminal. The ticket costs 15.70€ for a car and its driver, each additional passenger costs 4.65€.
Another option is to take the fast ferry from Valetta, which is a passenger-only ferry and lasts for 45 minutes. So if you’re not renting a car, that might be the most convenient alternative for you.
How to get around Gozo
The best option to explore Gozo is to rent a car from Malta and embark with it on the ferry. This will give you all the flexibility you will need while giving you access to more remote parts of the island. Book your rental car here.
Be careful: in Malta, you drive on the left side of the road.
It is possible to take public buses between certain towns on the island, but public transportation is not always reliable.
If you decide to visit Gozo only for one day, you can hop on the red Gozo sightseeing bus. In two hours, you will see 14 different places on the island.
Where to stay in Gozo
As Gozo is quite small and compact, you can easily and rapidly access all sites around the island if you rent a car. Therefore, you can choose to stay anywhere.
I stayed at Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz on the western side of the island. This five-star hotel provides amazing levels of service and comfort. Amidst a semi-tropical garden, it offers elegant rustic rooms and suites as well as a range of distinctive dining venues. One of them being L-Istorja, a gastronomic Maltese and Gozitan restaurant that I highly recommend.
The resort also features three swimming pools (one reserved for adults), perfect for sunbathing and swimming during the hot summer days. Book your stay here.
If you’re not renting a car, staying in Victoria will be your best option, as it is central and best served by public transportation.
Best places to eat in Gozo
Gozitan and Maltese cuisines are a must-try. And there are many great restaurants all around the island that you can enjoy. My favorites were:
- Qbajjar restaurant, in Xwejni
- Maxokk Bakery for a delicious Gozitan Ftira (take-away), in Nadur
- One 80 Kitchen, in Mġarr
- Ta’Karolina, in Xlendi
- L-Istorja, Kempinsky’s gastronomic restaurant
Best time to visit Gozo
Gozo is beautiful all year round. Even during winter, the island enjoys a nice, pleasant weather. However, different seasons offer different experiences. The best months to visit are between March and October. More precisely, during summer, you will be able to enjoy festivals (June), beaches and European summer vibes. But it can also be quite crowded and hot. During the winter months, the landscape becomes much greener but you won’t be able to enjoy the beach, as it is cold, and you might experience some rain.
Spring and fall are a lovely time to visit. You’ll be able to enjoy the places for yourself, as Gozo is more peaceful and less busy during those months.
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