There’s nowhere quite like Gozo to get away from it all. This pretty little island is dotted with sleepy villages, where the loudest sounds you’ll hear are the church bells. On the coast, spectacular cliffs are a haven for wildlife, punctuated by idyllic beaches.
With a bit of exploration you’ll be rewarded with some wonderful sights – and as the island is just 9 miles long and 4 miles wide, most of them can easily be reached on foot or by bike. Discover more in this guide to our five favourite spots in Gozo.
Built around 5,800 years ago, The Ggantija Temples are some of the oldest stone structures in the world – predating Stonehenge by hundreds of years. They’re also remarkably well-preserved, complete with altars, decorative carvings, and evidence of a sacred fire.
Archaeologists believe that the temples were dedicated to the Great Earth Mother, goddess of fertility – and you can see this reflected in the structures’ soft curving forms. In ancient Gozitan legend, the temples were said to have been built in a day and a night by a giantess named Sunsuna, while she nursed her baby.
Dwerja Bay showcases Gozo’s rugged coastline at its absolute best. The spectacular Azure Window arch formation frames the sea, whilst further out you can see Fungus Rock – prized and fiercely protected by the 18th century Knights of St John because of the medicinal plant that grows there.
The crystal-clear waters make the bay a haven for swimmers and divers of all kinds. You can float in the shallows, snorkel in the remarkable inland sea, or scuba at the Blue Hole – one of the best diving spots in the world.
As you walk or cycle along the coast you may spot rows of neat squares patterning the rocks, with locals carefully gathering their sparkling contents. These are salt flats, where the finest Mediterranean sea salt has been produced in the same traditional way for hundreds of years.
There’s no technology and no chemicals, just sea and sun – the pans are filled with seawater, which is left to evaporate for seven days. Any remaining water is removed, and the wet salt is left for a further seven days. Next, the salt is swept into large mounds and left until crystals are formed, and finally it is stored in caves until it is ready to be packaged and sold.
To put this labour of love into perspective, it takes 24 litres of seawater to make just one kilogram of salt – but the locals know it is worth it. If you’re lucky, you might be able to taste some in fresh bread, preserved tuna or sundried tomatoes.
Ramla Bay is Gozo’s largest beach, and it’s a beauty. Distinctive red sand contrasts vividly with impossibly blue waters, whilst behind you lies a fertile valley of sand dunes and bamboo. The gently shelving sea is ideal for swimming and snorkelling, and if you fancy a hike you can climb the golden cliffs to Calypso’s Cave – where Calypso held the bewitched Odysseus captive in Homer’s myth.
The beach is popular with local families and holidaymakers staying in nearby Marsalforn, but you won’t find any brash cafes or banana boats here. As with the rest of the island, it remains blissfully undeveloped.
Victoria – known locally as Rabat – is the atmospheric capital of Gozo, filled with winding streets and intriguing little shops. It’s the perfect place to watch the locals go about their daily business.
The mediaeval citadel here protected the Gozitans for hundreds of years – its impressive walls are still visible from almost everywhere on the island, but it’s well worth the hike up the hill to explore it first-hand. You could also find out more about Gozo’s history at the archaeology and folklore museums, or gasp in wonder at the richly decorated St George’s Basilica.
The people of Gozo are famed for their love of opera, so in the evening why not join them for a performance at one of Victoria’s two opera houses, the Astra Theatre and the Aurora Opera House? There is fierce competition between the two, and the Victoria opera season has become a popular choice for fans around the world.
With its meandering paths and quiet trails, this charming little island is the perfect place for gentle adventure on foot or two wheels. Find out more about our holidays in Gozo, or request a brochure.