Gozo is the second largest of the Maltese islands, yet at only 14km by 7km at its widest point, nowhere in Gozo is too far away, making it the ideal choice for a walking holiday. The slow pace of life along with the air of tranquillity also makes Gozo the perfect place to relax. Rich in history and culture you must visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ggantija Tombs at Xaghra, the oldest freestanding temples in the world dating back to 3500BC, and the Ta' Pinu sanctuary.
The walks guide you around the island's impressive coastline and through the cobbled streets of the traditional towns and villages and you'll have plenty of time for exploring, swimming and just soaking up Gozo's tranquil atmosphere. Its rugged landscape ensures spectacular views including Fungus Rock, a natural stone outcrop in the centre of Dwejra Bay, and the Inland Sea. Between autumn and late spring, the countryside bursts into life, revealing an incredible wealth of flora and fauna, with colourful wild flowers and scented herbs.
You stay at the wonderfully secluded Hotel Ta'Cenc, set in 400 acres of private grounds and built on one level to blend in sensitively with the natural surroundings. The hotel offers complete serenity and a friendly atmosphere just a short taxi ride from the island's capital of Victoria. There are swimming pools, a hydro-massage Jacuzzi, a fitness centre and tennis courts. You stay in tastefully furnished, air-conditioned single storey stone buildings, each with its own terrace. Breakfast is a delicious hot and cold buffet, and evening meals offer a mouth-watering selection of Gozitan and Italian specialities, served al fresco on the patio under a 200-year-old carob tree.
Read more about this holiday in The Telegraph.
The terrain is moderate with some small hills and the walking is often along ancient roads and old farm tracks. There are some steep descents to the coast and the occasional rough, stony section. Otherwise the walking is essentially 1-boot level.
Our taxi meets you in Malta and takes you to the ferry for the 25-minute trip across to Gozo.
Mgarr is Gozo's port, full of traditional and colourful luzzu fishing boats, and dominated by the 18th century Fort Chambray, built by the Knights of St John. The path from here hugs the coast as far as the narrow creek of Mgarr ix-Xini where Turkish raiders landed in 1551 - the perfect place for a picnic and swim. From here, you follow an old mule track up through the hotel's rocky grounds with fine views across to Malta, stopping to explore the remains of a copper age temple and Neolithic dolmen.
The north western corner of the island is only accessible on foot, along easy to navigate farm tracks. First stop is the remarkable neo-Romanesque basilica Ta' Pinu, a huge national shrine built on the site of a miracle in 1923. Your route then leads through unique ravine-like wieds (streams) to Gharb with a stunning Baroque church dating from 1699 and traditional stone houses. The final stretch takes you along the striking cliffs of the north coast where you are rewarded with fantastic views across Gozo's famous salt pans.
The cliffs near Sannat are the highest and most dramatic cliffs on Gozo and in late spring are alive with Mediterranean shearwaters. The route includes breathtaking views to Comino and Malta as it winds down through tamarisk trees to the gorgeous Xlendi Bay. Then it's up through the terraced fields, bright with poppies and gladioli cultivated in rows like Provencal lavender.
Today you could take a ride on one of Gozo's quirky buses to Xaghra and head towards the Ggantija Tombs, a massive freestanding temple of 6 metre high monoliths, and Calypso's Cave. Have lunch on Ramla Bay, undeniably the best beach on the island, then perhaps head on to the lively capital, Victoria, for the afternoon. The bustling market square, used as a meeting place since Roman times, is dominated by the medieval citadel with spectacular views over the whole island. However, the real charm lies in the maze of tiny back streets clustered around the Basilica, with carved stone balconies, flower-decked doorways and statuettes of the Madonna in street-corner niches.
To the west coast and the fascinating Punic burial site at Wardija Point. There's a mythical feeling here, like being on the edge of the world. Narrow stone-walled lanes lead down to bamboo groves and to Fungus Rock (named after the 'magic' plant which grew there), the former site of the Azure Window and the Inland Sea.
Beginning at Qala, it's an easy stroll to Dahlet Qorrot, a tiny harbour with gaily coloured boat houses. Then it's on through fragrant lemon groves and vineyards and past fig and peach trees to San Blas Bay, a hidden beach with gorgeous ochre-coloured sand. Your final stop is Nadur where the spectacular views at the end of the day are a great finale to your week.
The Hotel Ta'Cenc has an inimitable setting, scattered across the Ta'Cenc cliffs, just near the town of Sannat. This is the highest point on the island, and the views from the hotel's 400 acres of ground sweep across the entire island to the sea, even taking in Malta and Comino.
Room upgrades: Trullo Room, Deluxe Junior Suite or Suite.
Trullo rooms: Super King size (75' width) bed and are larger and round in shape with a beehive style roof. They have an additional seating area and a patio area. Deluxe Junior Suites: larger with a contemporary feel and a King size (69' width) four poster bed. They have a seating area and an outdoor terrace and offer tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV, Ipod dock, hairdrier, safety deposit box, air conditioning/heating, modern bathrooms including a jacuzzi bath and a separate double shower. Suites: larger than standard rooms with a Super King size (75' width) bed and an additional seating area with a private patio or terrace. Suites also offer tea and coffee making facilities.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
NEARBY:The Hotel Phoenicia is a large, elegant hotel just outside the old city walls of Malta's capital, Valletta, and just 3 minutes walk from the city gate. It has retained its original architecture based on the grand style of the 1920's, with a luxurious classical decor and a blend of warm hospitality and old world service.
NEARBY:The 5 star Excelsior Grand Hotel Malta has magnificent views overlooking Marsamxett Harbour and Fort Manoel and is ideally placed just 2 minutes away from the walled old town centre of the Maltese capital of Valletta. It is a relaxing haven in the bustling city and its facilities boast both an indoor and outdoor pool, (pool towels available), gym, hairdressing salon, relaxing bar area with beautiful views, restaurant and impressive spa facilities.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
This was my first experience of an "unguided" walking holiday. The walks are detailed but the directions are not always very clear and do need updating. Lovely walks, scenery and points of interest but found some of the walking along road became a bit tedious and repetitive. Having a good map or GPS allowed us to "personalise" the routes! Easy to get around the island on the buses when needed. The 7 day unlimited travel card was perfect. Squeezed in a day trip to Valletta. The Hotel Ta' Cenc has a 5* location. Beautiful cliff view point. The hotel itself doesn't quite hit the 5* rating today, but has a certain charm and quirkiness with lots to recommend it. Relax, keep a sense of humour and enjoy the differences!
An excellent holiday, but the experience was let down by no local Rep input. The return travel arrangements to the airport were eventually sorted by the excellent team at the Hotel.
Well sited hotel with plenty of flexibility
Very good. Route guides need updated. Hotel Ta Cenc very good. Rooms not 5* but food and service were.
it is very well worth going up to the lighthouse on the Ta' Pinu day, because the views are great. Also on that day, it’s worth adding the “stages of the cross” walk, again for the views
We added three nights in Valletta and would recommend that to others doing this trip. One day we used the hop on and hop off bus tour to see more of the island and would strongly recommend a visit to Mdina. We also recommend the harbour tour by boat from Sliema, and the military/history museum at the old fort in Valletta.
Hotel meals were excellent great range of choices every evening. Staff exceptional very friendly and helpful. The hotel is in a fabulous location some areas of the site need refurbishment but the main areas of restaurants,pools and gardens are well tended. Transfers went very smoothly with a very helpful driver Pierre who pointed out various sites of interest on the way to Gozo.
I would recommend this self guided walking tour of Gozo to anyone.
Perfect shoulder season easy walking destination; well chosen hotel and helpful guidance notes for each walk.
If you’re allergic to cats, this hotel is Not for you! At least 8 roam the complex. Breakfast was great but evening meal disappointing. Great menu but tired ingredients. Vegetable selection poor and overcooked. Meat and fish overcooked. No freshly made desserts.
Dear Mrs Spencer, thank you for summarising your experience at the Hotel Ta Cenc. We are very sorry to learn of your disappointment during meal times, please be assured your invaluable feedback will be passed on to the Hotel Ta Cenc for them to review and ensure they are able to make improvements. Thank you for choosing Headwater and we look forward to welcoming you on many more holidays in the near future.
Headwater Customer Service Team
Overall this was an excellent holiday: we had a great time. As ever, there is always room for improvement: the route notes need slight updating; the staff and ambience at the hotel are excellent, but our room needed some refurbishment in the bathroom (the shower was very scruffy). The transfers to and from Gozo worked very well and our driver (Vincent) was very helpful and informative.
Although we are restricted to short/morning walks, there are plenty of options. Longer ( more than 8 miles) are also available. Local buses very convenient. Hotel excellent with both indoor & outdoor pools, a gym & excellent food (large portions). Kantra restaurant at Mgarr-ix-Xini excellent for lunch & or rest day. Walking notes v good, but take extra care between Calypso's cave & Ramla Bay. Our trip was unusual, as we arrived by cruise ship at Valletta port & returned home by air. The booking was made in Jan/Feb 2020. The Maltese authorities required our vaccination certificate to be via nhs app ( rather than the paper version) which caused us some anxiety - I don't know whether that was because we arrived by ship; I suggest you confirm the exact requirement for customers arriving by air. This was the 4th time we've stayed at Ta'Cenc & we enjoyed our 12 days gentle 1 boot walking (up to 4miles/day)
Very happy with hotel accommodation, food and taxi transfers. Hotel staff were pleasant & helpful. We are confident and experienced walkers who enjoyed the holiday and were able to work around difficulties encountered, but some may find certain omissions and changes to the guidance notes challenging. For example: There was no 'Headwater Information File' in the hotel. There was no hotel shuttle bus service. The walking routes were good and covered all of the features of the island but they were all longer than stated. Some of the route notes were out of date as directional landmarks were no longer present or the route was blocked by fences and/or private land and in one case by bridge repair works, in particular walk 9, walk 13 and walk 21.
Thank you Mr Bardsley for your invaluable feedback, your feedback has been passed on to our Senior Programme Manager in order that we can ensure we make improvements to our literature provided. We look forward to welcoming you on many more self guided holidays with Headwater.
Headwater Customer Service Team
Very relaxing holiday in pleasant location. Walking easy but walks could be extended.
Hotel facilities very good and staff friendly and helpful. ONLY down side was the weather - torrential rain and wind for two days but it was November! But hotel facilities good pool - fitness suite spa so no problem filling in the day.
The first time for many years that the Gozo ferry had to be cancelled! All in all an enjoyable break.
Dear Mrs Baker
Thank you for a lovely review. We are glad that you had an enjoyable holiday , despite the weather! Unfortunately something that none of us have control over what ever the time of year.
I do hope that we will be able to welcome you on another Headwater holiday in the not too distant future.
A lovely hotel and flexible itinerary made for a great holiday.
Excellent hotel on Gozo, lovely walks and scenery, and friendly locals. But don't expect any support from a Rep.
Dear Ms.Short, thanks for leaving your review. We are pleased that you loved your experience in Gozo. I am sorry if you were under the impression that this holiday is managed by the Headwater Representative; This particular holiday is actually managed by the hotelier. If it is a holiday supported by a 'rep' that you prefer please speak to our team who will be more than happy to advise you on any future bookings.
Again, thank you for taking the time to review your holiday.
Headwater Customer Service
A very enjoyable trip with generally easy walking, albeit on a lot of paths and roads with no shade. Some of the directions are a little ambiguous whereas others are detailed and completely accurate. Very little was open though even in late May, so we soon learnt not to rely on a cafe or bar at any of the towns/villages. Good hotel with friendly staff and good food.
Walking mixed, not Headwater's best. Not much variety. One of the very best hotels Headwater has provided. Very friendly and helpful staff, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and Gozo people generally.
Arriving late into the evening we were made very welcome with room service which we were not expecting. The rest of the holiday was excellent only 2 afternoons of rain which was unusual for Gozo in May. We did all the walks detailed on the notes and only missed out on 1 part of 1 walk due to the gradient of the climb. Would definitely recommend visiting Gozo if only to stay at the hotel as it is located looking over the cliffs and Malta in the distance. The hotel was definitely worth its 5 star rating.
This was yet another excellently put together, self guided walking holiday - our 6th with Headwater. Staff & brochure provide excellent & accurate descriptions of venues & accommodation to allow an informed choice. The walk notes are very detailed &; accurate &; totally relate to what is on the ground. Over the years the standard of Headwater accommodation &; food has really improved yet it remains extremely good value for money. Walking on Gozo was a delight in May spring sunshine ( albeit some rain!) &; the coastal paths along dramatic cliffs were surrounded by flowers.
Hotel Ta Cenc has an amazing setting with views across to Comino &; Malta. I can recommend upgrading to a Trulli room for just more space given you are there for a week - No 133 looked directly out over the cliffs. Every evening there was a 4 course meal with 4 different choices of each course - all freshly cooked & well presented.
I would also recommend a stopover in Valletta - one night there gave us a full afternoon, evening & following morning to explore.
( a slight hiccup on arriving at our Valletta hotel with no booking found was very quickly sorted by Headwater who were at the end of the phone & kept us informed at each stage)
Flights & transport all went to time.
Look forward to our next holiday with you.
Good to have our own relaxing and private space with sea view. Magical coastal walks. Abundance of flowers. Regular and efficient buses to all parts of the island.
Very enjoyable holiday. The hotel was excellent and traveling around the island was so easy thanks to the great bus service.
Make sure you download the walking notes. Don't leave home without them.
Lovely hotel and location on a fascinating island, On the upper range of a one-boot as quite a large amount of walking on stony or concrete paths. A good Spring break as there were beautiful flowers out. A good holiday for cat lovers as the hotel has a number of friendly cats roaming around. We would recommend the upgrade to a Trullo room as this was light and more spacious.
Perfect place for resting and relaxing, whilst giving opportunity to recharge your energy. Gozo is great for walking and the climate was just right, Ta Cenc was a wonderful place to be over the christmas period.
We had a good walking holiday. However I think Gozo footpaths etc need to be developed with better planning and signposting. A lot of the walking was on road, it would be beneficial if more off-road walking could be planned. Overall, Gozo is a good place to visit.
An very enjoyable week of walking based at an excellent hotel. Although Gozo is a small island there is enough variety for a one week holiday.
Good location, comfortable hotel, nice spa.
The clearest and most comprehensive walking notes we have come across, taking us to lovely places with stunning scenery and lots of history. The hotel was of a very high standard but the choice of vegetarian food was limited. The customer service offered by Headwater was brilliant with very quick and efficient responses. All the arrangements worked like clockwork.
This is the third time that we have travelled with Headwater. Their choice of hotels is excellent, the walking notes are accurate ( but don't try to second guess them) in wonderful locations.
We stayed at Ta' Cenc on Gozo and did the six walks recommended based in the one hotel in late September 2018. The hotel rooms are all on ground level surrounding the 3 pools and we ate outside under the massive ancient Carob tree. The walks were accurately described and we enjoyed the treasure hunt aspect of finding the next turning. We only went wrong once on the very first morning through hubris, swiftly learning to read the instructions carefully after assuming there was only one supermarket in the town and forgetting to read the name properly. The weather was hot and humid on the first two days and water and sun cream and headgear are essential. As is mosquito repellent. My wife was & bitten to death &, probably while eating our evening meals. Owing to the locals' penchant for shooting there were disappointingly few birds to be seen though we did spot plenty of Sardinian Warblers, a Honey Buzzard, a few Blue Rock Thrushes and a Tawney Pipit. It helped to have an appreciation of the various forms of limestone. Two of the walks are quite short and could be combined if necessary. Highlights for us were the locality around the hotel, Ta' Cenc is a nature reserve with fabulous sunsets and ancient cart ruts and dolmens scattered around. The local bay at Mgarr in Xini is great to swim, snorkel and dive off the rocks. The hotel minibus will take you there and back free of charge. The island bus service is superb, punctual and cheap. The Inland Sea near Fungus rock is also worth swimming in and take the boat trip through the cliff to the sea: the light filtering through azure water is stunning in the caves. The local cafe there had welcome and cheap beer and sandwiches. Marsalforn (not on a walk) is worth a visit as are the salt pans along the coast from there past Xweini Bay where we bought sea salt from Leli, who recently featured looking bemused on The Apprentice. Other must sees are The Citadel in Victoria and the ancient temple at Ta' Kola which can be combined with a tour of the restored windmill on the same ticket. All in all we loved it.
Excellent walking in unusual destination . Brilliant accommodation
Gozo on first visit - walking was the best way to see the Island, its archaeology and meet people
Excellent flexibility for a walking holiday which can be adapted to include very good public transport if walks considered too long.
Great location for a walking holiday. A lovely island, very friendly staff. The hotel was particularly helpful and the service was excellent. Very useful courtesy bus service. This is a lovely island for walking in springtime with beautiful wild flowers and pleasant early summer temperatures. There are lots of choices for walks and it is easy to work out alternatives to those suggested. Great picnic available from the little cafe near to the main bus station. Buses run on time and are cheap, we would suggest buying a bulk travel card as this makes travel to anywhere on the island an easy prospect
Excellent place to visit for walking, history and culture. Bit disappointed there were not many birds.
The hotel was excellent with friendly staff. Springtime is probably the best time to go due to the abundance of flowers and before the summer heat builds up which makes walking much harder.
Pleasant walking with some good sunshine while UK still dismal. Great for wild flowers in spring, might be less attractive later in year.
Hotel the highlight of the holiday as it is in a stunning location. Quite remote but a good bus service and local taxis if you haven't hired a car. Walking notes disappointing, not detailed enough if you haven't got GPS. Walk descriptions do not provide accurate description of the terrain.
Dear Mrs McLaren,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday feedback. It was great to see you had an enjoyable holiday overall. We were however sorry to read you felt the route notes required more detail. This is the first time we have received this kind of feedback, however please be assured we realise we cannot afford to let our high standards slip, so with this in mind, we will review the notes on our next resort visit and ensure additional details are added as required.
We would like to thank you for choosing to travel with Headwater and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service Team
We loved the mix of level 1+ easy walking (our level) with interesting historic sites, and nature conservation sites in an unspoilt beautiful landscape, and a good public transport system. Also the quality, comfortable hotel with excellent food and good friendly service in beautiful surroundings. The hotel staff could not have done any more to make our better. We would go on more similar holidays.
Excellent weather & hotel. Walking just right with few little challenges. Gozo bus service made it so easy to cross the island for walks. Our first 'independent walking' but instructions made it easy.
Our first attempt at a walking holiday and this week in Gozo was spot on - an introductory but interesting & varied level of walks ('one boot'); a very pleasant hotel with an excellent level of service and very efficient and friendly admin by Headwater
Extensive coastal walks, quiet roads and peaceful traditional villages.
I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and the guide notes for the walks were excellent.
The walk suited us and the various views were amazing
Lovely walks covering a substantial part of Gozo. A great mixture of coast, countryside and villages with excellent scenic views and local interest.
Stating at Garb--Salt pans--Marlsaform then bus to Victoria. The walking instructions for the Azure window are not that clear and could be improved, easy to end up on the cliff path which can be a bit scary if it's a little windy. The hotel could sell bus passes, rather than having to go to Victoria. The three bays walk from Quala and ending at Ramla is an excellent alternative. Get the bus from Ramla to Xewxija and walk back to hotel. The small cafe by the main bus station in Victoria offers a brilliant takeaway salad, sandwich and is very cheap
For an off season break, the Ta Cenc Hotel has outstanding staff, attentive and helpful, good food and away from it all peaceful location. A few too many walks on roads, but the coastal ones were marvelous.
Gozo is a small, friendly Island with dramatic coastal walks, a lush, flower-filled interior and beautiful churches. Headwater's excellent walking guides combined with Gozo's efficient bus service enabled us to easily visit nearly all of the Island. The Hotel Ta Cenc was a very comfortable base. The only down-side to Gozo is the 'traditional' shooting and netting of small migratory birds. Avoid the shooting season and you will enjoy a lovely holiday with relaxed walking.
Very enjoyable holiday. Booking process easy and efficient. Transfers via ferry very well organised. Hotel was comfortable and staff extremely pleasant and helpful. Walks as per grading with options on some and they took us to all the island's attractions.
Excellent service from start to finish. Quality accommodation. Gozo was a lovely island & we managed to explore every inch with the information provided.
Hotel Ta' Cenc is comfortable and friendly. Gozo is a good winter walking destination varied walks and very friendly locals. Excellent local bus service. The Citadel in Victoria was well worth a visit (allow several hours). Disappointed to see so much bird trapping activity on the coastal walks (perpetrators not quite so friendly).
On Malta we explored Valetta (busy and pricey) and Mdina / Rabat (not as busy as expected) worth seeking out the catacombs in Rabat.
Hotel Grand Excelsior large and somewhat impersonal, food and drink in the hotel is expensive. A lot of roadworks nearby at present and a stiff walk up into Valetta centre (where the outside catering opportunities are).
A lovely holiday apart from the Rep. She did not understand what headwater holidays involved at all and was only interested in promoting what she could book.
5 star hotel rating is over generous, though location is superb. Lounge, multiple pool facilities, and ambience are good. Plumbing is of sixties origin and need upgrading. Food of good quality and well presented. Al fresco eating would be unpleasant if you had a cat phobia, though indoor dining was always available. Hotel courtesy bus proved very useful and was complemented the excellent public service buses. Walking was enjoyable and not too strenuous. As birds were migrating, finch hunting was evident on most clifftop walks prompting frequent shot gun blasts and diversions round bird netting traps. Overall a good location for walking with a variety of routes and places to visit. .
Walking with confidence and accommodation with comfort.
Gozo & Malta, a great combination for peace & tranquility & great walking opportunities in Gozo at Ta Cenc plus all contrasting attractions of Malta!
Walking notes were excellent, the hotel was very comfortable if maybe a little formal for us. We had no problems getting around the island but it was very windy while we were there and some of the cliff edge walks were a little scary
Gozo is rather small to provide long enough cycle rides. We did not expect wind and would have found it helpful to be told about how windy it can be. It was a lovely holiday with enough variety to keep us interested. The Cornucopia food was very disappointing and the breakfasts unappealing.
A very enjoyable holiday, that matched our expectations derived from the description of it in the brochure.
The hotel was excellent - beautiful surroundings and facilities. The food was varied and plentiful and you were spoilt for choice with local dishes included. The staff were very friendly and Gozo is a lovely unspoilt place where you felt safe to walk in the countryside and enjoy the wonderful scenery. It was a place to relax and unwind. The walking routes took you through a lot of different scenarios and gave options to visit sites of interest.
Nice hotel with friendly staff. Coastal walking was good. Some of the walks involved long stretches on road, and although there is not much traffic, this is quite tiring.
Gozo is a small island but packed with interest. We loved the Hotel Ta Cenc, its architecture, location, friendly service and very good food. The walks were excellent and took us from quiet villages to fantastic coastlines through terraced valleys. It was sunny and mild and just what we needed after a very wet and very windy winter..
Although Ta Cenc is a lovely hotel with a great location it cannot be really classified as a typical 5 star/top of the range hotel; the bedrooms/bathrooms are rather dated, there are not staff always available to help/advise. We had to search for things rather than them being provided. Hotel staff were friendly, the food particularly the breakfast buffet and in the restaurant (il Cantra) at the beach were excellent. Having stayed in a number of 5 star hotels this isn't one. However, we really enjoyed ourselves at the hotel and had no complaints.
Gozo was a lovely surprise (the lovely weather helped!) with pretty villages, friendly people and a very efficient bus service. However, overall there is too much walking on roads; we recommend that people use the buses to avoid some of this (a 15 euro pass for 12 trips was great value and we could use it on Malta) There are also additional walks we were told about including one of the best walks we did from Gharb up to the coast and then along to Marsalforn which is part of the coastal walk; there is a brochure called the Gozo coastal walk - perhaps George could have told us a bit more about where to get bus passes, other walks and local information and a bit more about the hotel. Whilst pleasant we had the impression he has done it so many times before he has become a bit stale!
On Malta the Phoenicia is a great location; it has a 5 star appearance but the breakfast buffet wasn't as tasty as Ta Cenc; the serving staff, while many of them, were not too attentive to our needs. It did not have the same friendly feel as the Ta Cenc - there was no personal feel, they were going through the motions rather than making any real effort.
If you want any clarification of the above please let me know; hopefully this 'summary' adds a bit of colour to the ratings above. Overall we all had a really great time and would recommend it to anyone but people need to know what to and what not to expect.
Gozo is a lovely location. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the island and will likely visit again to see more. We'd be unlikely to stay at Hotel Ta Cenc again though ...
Hotel service was a mixed bag - front desk were ok, bar/restaurant were good, housekeeping were good.
Room was poor. Mould on the walls and a very strong smell of damp which was reported to reception but they were unable to do anything and there was no offer of an alternative room. Our clothes smelled of the damp by the end of the week as well. The kettle leaked, and was replaced. A leg fell off the bed, and was promptly repaired by staff. The room and hotel in general was tired-looking and really needs some TLC.
Food in the main hotel restaurant was ok, but we needed a change after about 3 or 4 days. Breakfasts were very good, though. Make sure you try the honey rings!! An evening meal at the Kantra restaurant was excellent, despite the stormy weather.
Charging for wifi in the rooms feels like nickel and diming the customers in the 21st century.
Holiday was well organised by helpful staff. Flexibility on departure airport is a big plus.
Lovely hotel on the beautiful island of Gozo. Natives very friendly!
A lovely way to get to know a charming island, in a luxurious hotel. Gozo is easy to navigate around and the paths have been upgraded recently. A very enjoyable and relaxing holiday.
Headwater take the pressure of organising your holiday off you and have never disappointed us in their attention to detail.
A great holiday.. enjoyable as other HW holidays we have had!.
A little too hot...perhaps we should have waited for 2 weeks later in September.
September is a poor choice for a walking holiday on Gozo. The interior is typically very hot and humid and the landscape very dry and baron. There are few trees on the island and the sun beats down on you all day. The coast is lovely and there was, at times, a small breeze, but most of the suggested walking routes are not coastal. We were told by locals that the landscape is lovely and green, with lots of wildflowers, around May,and the temperatures more suitable for walking. Ta Cenc is a comfortable hotel but more like a -4 star hotel, rather than a 5 star.
It was a very relaxing holiday and the Ta Cenc hotel was fabulous.
A very enjoyable experience overall; the hotel is very comfortable and the food is first class, but some of the directions for walking in the quarry areas in the west of the island are wrong or inadequately explained, so some trial and error was involved.
Delightful walking week in very pleasant hotel.
Excellent. We enjoyed the combination of great walks during our peaceful relaxing stay at Ta Cenc on Gozo and our extra nights at the Phoenicia enabling us to explore the fascinating city of Valletta.
This was the first holiday of this type that we have taken. I have had some health issues so was concerned that this might be a problem, but there was complete flexibility regarding which walks we could do, and the grading of the walks was so accurate, that this simply wasn't an issue. The hotel was really lovely, the briefing from our holiday rep was extremely useful, and all the travel arrangements worked perfectly. We are very impressed and are hoping to be able to take another holiday with Headwater in the Autumn.
lovely hotel, beautiful location and scenery, reasonably demanding walks.
The holiday was well planned and organised but, because we were in one hotel, we had the flexibility to change the order of the walks to suit ourselves. This meant no pressure to be at a certain place by a certain time - very relaxing.
Excellent holiday, Gozo in the spring is a great place to have a walking holiday. The hotel is first class, very welcoming and good service and food
Much prefer guided walking holidays - I could have put together this package myself.We got lost a few times as the island is very well signposted and it would help if there was a few suggestions where you could go to the toilet and eat/drink.On one of the walks it should be emphasised you need to take a packed lunch.The hotel though excellent in many ways had dinner too late[7pm onwards] which meant you couldnt go anywhere else say for a folk evening or pub quiz because they started about 7.30.As the hotel didn't have anything on in the evenings unless you missed dinner[which we did] you were a bit trapped at the hotel.The rep didn't make any suggestions as to what was on in other locations - the pub quiz on Friday in Xlendi was really good and there are some excellent restaurants there to eat.
It was as described and very well organised and thought through
A very good week's walking with opportunities to see the culture and history of Gozo, whilst accommodated in a comfortable hotel of good standard. The local people are most welcoming and helpful. The only dark cloud is the continuance of the Maltese habit of shooting small songbirds, which is no longer necessary 'for the pot'. Any open area is blighted by the presence of pathetic looking men in camouflage clothing, sheltering in stone hides, waiting to shoot small birds trapped on the ground by their wires and nets, using large bore shotguns. The sporting etiquette of only shooting a bird that is flying, and thus requiring some skill, most certainly does not apply! Walkers must be continually aware of wires that stray across footpaths and the potential field of fire from these hides.
Dear Mr Smith,
Thank you for taking the time to write in with your feedback. It was lovely to see that you enjoyed your week in Gozo, taking in the sights and sounds this unique region has to offer .We were also sorry to read of the upset the bird shooting caused you and Mrs Smith. Please be assured that we have passed on your comments to our local agent and have asked them to highlight your feedback to the necessary governing body in Gozo.
Disappointed because Headwater had informed us that an area (the Kantra bay and café) would be unavailable because of filming - only to arrive and get message that whole swathes of land were inaccessible and our Day 1 walk wasn't possible. (We were able to walk the start of the route, but then had to turn around.) Film unit security was spread across a wide area from close to the hotel, and we were challenged regularly by security personnel if we got anywhere near to the unit. We hadn't been given to understand that the restrictions would be so all-enveloping. We believe filming will continue until November.
Well organised, lovely hotel and location. Good well described walks. Very good holiday. Thoroughly recommended.
Walking in Gozo is almost too good to share. By turns breathtaking (cliffs) and relaxing. Returning to Ta Cenc every day was bliss.
Gozo was a great island to explore on foot. The local bus service was excellent and buying a weekly ticket was excellent value. The walks along the cliff tops were spectacular. The hotel was lovely and the pools a perfect place to relax aftrea days walking.
this was wonderful holiday based in an amazing hotel with superb facilities
Can trust the organisation and information
Fabulous hotel with excellent facilities, food and staff. Gozo is great for walking as it is so small. Beautiful views and lovely wild flowers. The bus service is excellent and very cheap - a weekly season ticket is only 6 euros 50. Very good comprehensive walking notes which were usually very clear, but we did have a couple of incidents where they could have been better explained. Our boat trip to Comino was great - the Blue lagoon is beautiful.
Gozo is a delightful little island with beautiful scenery and flowers. Ta Cenc was a totally relaxing place to be and the staff were excellent.
Beautiful setting, no hidden extras, peaceful.
Was not sent any walking notes which was a problem. Hotel had none and Rep-George- in his 60 second briefing- was uninterested in this. After some nagging he sent me some notes-but they mainly concerned the cycling holiday based in another hotel which with 24 km cycles etc was not that much use. Sorted myself out eventually as I managed to get hold of a good map which had good walking routes linked to bus routes which was great. Hotel excellent and travel arrangements fine.
One of the best walking holidays we have had. Easy route notes to follow which took us to every corner of a small island using good local buses to get us to and from the walks which did not start or finish at the hotel. We were based at a superb luxury hotel with a fantastic relaxed atmosphere with superb views of Malta and bedrooms in a fantastic garden setting and overlooking the pool. The friendly staff and the service they gave were in a class of their own as was the breakfast buffet and the choice of dishes for dinner each evening was also excellent.
We found Gozo quite charming and we believe we visited at just the right time of year - we do not think we would go any later because the holiday was enchanting principally because of the spring flowers and scenery at this time of year . Also the hotel was probably just sufficiently busy but not overcrowded which it might well be later in the year . The principal attractions of spring flowers, easy walking , friendly people and an excellent hotel made for a memorable 7 days
We were looking for a more relaxing walking holiday and this was perfect. We have had many holidays with headwater and the standard is always good. I have introduced friends to this company.
Ta cenc was a lovely hotel, very comfortable, big rooms, good food, friendly and helpful staff. Walks in Gozo were beautiful around the cliffs and through the valleys but some of the road walking was less pleasant and unavoidable.
Gozo is a lovely unspoilt Island - very green with lots of wild flowers in early spring.
The Ta Cenc Hotel has a wonderful location. The staff are very friendly and helpful.
All in all a most enjoyable weeks holiday
Excellent destination (Gozo) for gentle walking at this time of year. Great feeling of solitude, some days we hardly saw anybody else out in the countryside. Very friendly staff; whole island seemed safe, easy to get around, welcoming, low-key. Excellent views, wild flowers, dramatic coastlines, interesting archeological sites.
For what we required-an escape from rain and winter dismal Ta Cenc was fine,and the walks laid out in your leaflet were easy enough to cope with for an oldie (84) like me who can no longer cope with real peaks and the tougher walking of middle age. Returning daily to the warm water pool and jacuzzi was a real bonus. But and we think you should Know this, Ta Cenc is getting a bit tired. Staff were delightful and the room very comfortable, BUT the lighting was abysmal if you wished to read in bed. Plumbing too was poor-no pressure on sink taps and infuriating variations of temp in the shower:quite dangerous in fact as nearly scalding water gushed unexpectedly. Infuriating when it ran bitterly cold We complained but it wasn't fixed. There was also a a 60 euro miscalculation on the bill which to be fair was rectified with good grace. No wonder that the owner Mr Borgon turned on max charm while we were waiting to be taken to the airport.. Just a tad complacent all round we thought.
Dear Mr Blain,
Thank you for taking the time to complete our on line questionnaire and for the feedback you have provided.
We were pleased to read that you enjoyed your holiday and found the walks suitable for your level of ability. It was also good to see that you enjoyed the facilities that the hotel has to offer.
I am sorry however that you had some issues with the maintenance and plumbing in your room. We have passed on your feedback to the hotel, they have offered a sincere apology to you and Mrs Blain and have assured us that they have fixed the issues you had reported. Including replacing the light bulbs for brighter ones and fixing the pressure issue in the bathroom.
Please be assured that we do realise how important it is to maintain our high standards of accommodation and service, and we do appreciate we cannot afford to let our standards slip.
We will continue to monitor this hotel to ensure that the high standards that both our customers and Headwater expect are maintained.
We would like to thank you for bringing these matters to our attention, and apologise most sincerely once again that you had cause for complaint.
You did it again, a fabulous chill out holiday in a delightful hotel. So quiet and peaceful, helpful, friendly staff could not have done more for us. The scenery and flowers were fabulous a great time of year to visit. The first time we have been to hotel where all the gym ans health centre equipment worked! Walks fantastic well done, we did not get lost.
Buses fabulous and punctual so easy to use I was a bit put off using them for the walks ,but so easy and cheap, punctuality could teach the uk something.
We would definitely return.
Excellent accommodation and location for a walking holiday outside the peak summer.
Beautiful hotel in excellent position. Very good and easy bus service on the island, limited hotel courtesy bus in the winter, but the bus stop right outside the hotel makes it easy to get transport into Victoria. Staying in the one hotel makes for a more relaxing holiday, walking as much or little as you want to.
This was our first walking holiday with Headwater - we had previously had cycling holidays - and it was very enjoyable. The fact that it was a one centre holiday we particularly enjoyed because it gave us flexibility in what we chose to do - we particularly wanted to have a day in Malta for instance . The Hotel was excellent with very good facilities and superb food. For anyone wanting a flexible holiday - as much or as little exercise as you want - this is well worth considering.
An excellent destination for coastal scenery, swimming and snorkelling if you don't mind the bird shooting.
Excellent hotel and very good food. We saw nothing of the local representative at any point.
Some of the walking instructions were confusing and we got lost twice - once on the Ta Pinu and Lighthouse walk and once on Fungus Rock and Azure window.
We were charmed by the single-storied hotel set so sympathetically on the cliffs. The layout of the rooms and the terrace gave a feeling of privacy not found in a conventional hotel. The staff, particularly the cleaners and in the restaurant, were very friendly and helpful. Considering there are no signposts or markers for walkers on Gozo we thought the route notes were pretty good. You must be careful, but as long as you ensure that what you are seeing exactly matches the description in the route notes you really shouldn't go wrong. The weather was a little warm for us in September but we bought the 7-day bus pass and cut two of the walks short by getting the bus at villages slightly before the end of the walk. It also meant we were not tied to the times of the hotel courtesy bus and we would recommend purchasing it for the flexibility it provides.
Hotel was fabulous. We had not realised it would be so hot, or the landscape so barren at the time of year we had chosen so I would advise potential travellers to do a bot more research than we did before booking!
I spent a very pleasant week exploring Gozo on foot, and undertook all six of the supplied walk routes. The route descriptions were at times excellent, at times difficult to grasp. Informal discussion with another 'headwater' traveller staying at the same time as me revelead they had similar problems, so I don't think it was purely me! I did not find the map supplied particularly useful, and actually ended up buying a cheap basic map from the local representative in Gozo whilst I was there. Maps are individual, and I realise what did not suit me may suit others. The weather was very hot. The sea breeze helped, but I agree with Headwater that this is about the latest in the summer you could undertake these walks - particularly towards the middle of the day.
The hotel has super staff and a relaxed feel to it, is in a stunning situation and has a nice layout with individual bungalows. There are some features that are not the standard which I would expect from a five star hotel. One of these I brought up with the hotel at the time, and others mentioned in the feedback at the end of my stay (a holiday is, after all, meant to be relaxing and not a series of complaints). The room was spacious but the bathroom was very dated (painted murals on the tiles suggest it had not been refitted since 1991) and there was a large crack in the sink in the room. The small spa on site had a changing room and showers. In these there was a lot of green and black mould on the tiles of the shower area. I mentioned this to the hotel spa staff at the time and the next day it was better but not gone. This disappointed me from a five star hotel. The package had half board included, something I would not normally choose. On several nights, particularly over the weekend when we arrived, service was very slow and meals arrived looking like they had sat around for a long time. The waiting staff were, on the whole, excellent, but the food was disappointing. I also found the four courses included too much every day, and would have preferred to have some days without dinner at the hotel so I was free to explore local restaurants. I was asked to specify dietary requirements (no fish in my case) with Headwater but the hotel seemed unaware. On days when the antipasti were fish, I always had to say I did not eat fish. Sometimes I was offered an alternative, sometimes not. Hotel guests are advised local water is safe but unpalatable, however the still bottled water I therefore ordered with dinner each night was charged for, and at over 3 euros a bottle I thought this was a bit much. Do they expect those on half board to just not drink anything with dinner?
Finally, transfers were very efficient. Paradoxically, on the way out I had a large minibus all to myself, yet on the way back I was squashed in the back seat of a normal car with two other guests I did not really know (slightly embarassing as there was not much room) as a normal taxi was taking 4 of us to the airport.
Overall I had a great time and would definitely visit Gozo again, but was a little disappointed with the details described above, given then star rating of the hotel and cost of the package.
Good walking across the island with some wonderful scenery. Need to pay very close attentin to the route notes as there are no waymarkings. Found the notes for the walk to Fungus Rock and th Azure window difficult to follow and ended up having to make a detour. No problem with the other walks although notes could be clearer. Very good local bus service for getting to the walks. Excellent for seeing wildlife including insects, lizards and non venomous snakes.
It is some years since we have used Headwater, having previously travelled with them to over 30 itineraries since the company was first formed. It was reassuring to find that standard were fully up to the excellent levels we have always experienced.
We greatly enjoyed Gozo and our stay at Ta Cenc. The hotel staff were extremely good and the hotel very comfortable. The bedrooms, with en suite bath, very quiet and secluded. The breakfasts were very good, the dinners not so good. Would give dinner B ; adequate but not imaginative. The wine was extremely expensive. Perhaps if we had had the 'a la carte' dishes the food would have been better, but that would have added considerably to the cost of the holiday.
The local buses are good, mostly punctual but occasionally a bus does not turn up. There is always another one. Buses may be very crowded in the high season. Worth getting the weekly season ticket. Check bus numbers as some of these have changed since Headwater notes published.
March was a brilliant time of year for a walking holiday in Gozo. We had almost continuous sunshine but temperatures of 15-17 degrees made for comfortable walking - any warmer and it could have been a struggle at times as there's little shelter on many of the walks. The scenery was fantastic and we really felt we got to know Gozo in the week we spent walking round it. The walks were of comfortable length and enabled us to spend time admiring the scenery, both coastal and inland. A thoroughly enjoyable, peaceful and relaxing holiday.
A real surprise package. Gozo has everything in a small area. The people are very friendly and helpful. The bus service is excellent, and the scenery and walks are very tranquil yet quite dynamic with the sea at every turn..
Ta Cenc hotel was well positioned for all activities yet in many ways remote from the town.Whether we ate in the hotel, in the towns or at a beach bar the food and service was very good.
A superb holiday with flexibilty for as much or as little walking as we wanted.
Found Hotel Ta Cenc, to be really fantastic. All staff were so friendly and welcoming. Very professional. Lovely hotel set up - bar and restaurant super. Very unspoilt island. All the transfers from airport to ferry to hotel and back - a pleasure.
It was one of our most enjoyable headwater holidays. The sun shone everyday and it was perfect weather for walking. We enjoy going off season and avoiding the crowds. Ta Cenc is the best Headwater hotel we have stayed at with an excellent restaurant and service. Malta really loves Britsh tourists and everyone speaks English. A very welcoming destination.
Ta' Cenc was a fantastic hotel for location, service and food and peace and quiet in February - exactly what we wanted. Opportuntiies for walking were wonderful, although definitions of flat may vary!
Others taking a similar holiday in the hotel did not have access to Headwaters walking notes - until they complained and got copies.
They were more likely to use Headwaters in future, since they had not used the company before.
This was a great holiday. We walked every day, and had time for some sightseeing as well. We very much enjoyed the comfort, food and ambience of the hotel ta Cenc.
the hotel Ta Cinc was advertised as a 5 star hotel but did not live up to that standard in respect of accommodation and food. I recommend that you remove th 5 star from the brochure then customers will not have such high expectations of the hotel and consequently will not have to cope with the disappointment.
This was our 6th holiday with Headwater and is the only one that we would not repeat due to the hotel. We would go back to Gozo but would stay in a different hotel.
Thank you for your feedback on the Ta Cenc, we have been working with this hotel for many years and it is a real surprise that it didn't meet expectations. The hotel has undergone an extensive renovation programme over the last couple of years and the feedback we've receive is generally very good indeed. I can assure you however, that your comments have been noted, and forwarded to the Programme Manager in order to be raised with the hotel.
The last thing we ever want is for people to return home disappointed and we offer our sincerest apologies if this was the case. We will be monitoring feedback for the Ta Cenc very closely over the coming weeks, and if we feel there are any areas that require improvement, we will work with the hotel to rectify this.
Excellent hotel, beautiful location, stunning scenery, warm,sunny weather, friendly and hospitable islanders
Hotel Ta Cenc is very well located, in a lovely situation with views, and the most delightful staff.
New Year was a good time to visit - it was so quiet and tranquil, and we had sunshine. We wondered whether we'd like it so much with lots of people round the pools etc.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 7 night self-guided walking holiday includes:
Single-centre accommodation in a hotel
All buffet breakfasts and evening meals
Management by local hotelier
Route directions and maps
Standard transfers to/from your hotel (if booking inclusive flights)
How to book:
For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or click on the 'check availability' links below to complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).
To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or click on the 'Check availability' links below to complete our holiday enquiry form.
|20th Aug 2022||US$2349||Tour only: US$2349||Check availability|
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|30th Sep 2023||US$2449||Tour only: US$2449||Check availability|
|7th Oct 2023||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
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|16th Dec 2023||US$2449||Tour only: US$2449||Check availability|
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|30th Dec 2023||US$2499||Tour only: US$2499||Check availability|
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by hotelier.
Selected dates from 20th Aug 2022 to 30th Dec 2023, for 7 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All buffet breakfasts and evening meals
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Malta Luqa airport at 15:35, and back to Malta Luqa airport at 11:15.