9 Things to do in Gozo
Gozo is the second biggest island in the archipelago, sitting the farthest north. Despite being more remote, there is still plenty to do in Gozo, particularly for those who love beach hopping; some of Gozo’s beaches are the best in the whole area!
1. Victoria (Rabat) – Top thing to do in Gozo
Victoria is a beautiful fortified city, home to ancient narrow streets, red-domed cathedrals, beautiful gardens, and old limestone houses. Most people come to Victoria for its famous Citadel: an ancient fortress that sits high up on the hill.
Within the Citadel, you’ll find the remains of an old prison (covered in graffiti from the prisoners), museums, and medieval houses. The Citadel has spectacular views that look down over the sleepy farms and sea.
Outside of the Citadel, discover the winding maze of streets in Victoria. Choose a direction and enjoy wandering around, discovering beautiful squares along your way. Enjoy absorbing the buzzing atmosphere and join the locals in eating Pastizzi.
2. Ramla Bay, Gozo
Ramla Bay (Ir Ramla il Hamla) is known as the best beach on the island and is famous for its cliffs and red sand beach. It is one of the only sandy beaches on the island, so it’s very popular for those looking to swim in the calm shallows and snorkel in the clear, turquoise water.
Those interested in Greek mythology should head to the eastern side of the bay to one of the most famous caves on the island. Legend has it that this cave is the famous cave from the ancient Greek literature, Homer’s Odyssey.
3. Tal-Mixta Cave
Tal-Mixta cave sits high above Ramla bay, deep in the hills of Nadur (a small village). The rock creates a natural window that provides some of the most spectacular views across the sea and coastline; a top thing to do in Gozo! It’s thought that the cave was once lived in by Troglodytes (the ancient cave dwellers). Over the years, the function changed. For a time it was even used by the Knights of St John as a place to fire cannons from during pirate attacks.
Good to know: The Tal-Mixta Cave is located on private property. You are allowed to access the cave but respect the owner’s privacy.
How to get to Tal-Mixta Cave
Drive to the end of Triq I-Ghassa Tal-Mahrag road. You can park the car at the end of the road before starting the 5-minute walk to the cave. It is also possible to walk to Tal-Mixta Cave from Ramla Bay but be aware that it’s a steep uphill climb of around 40 minutes. If you’re using public transport, take bus 322 from Mgarr to Rambla bay and hike up.
4. The Ggantija Temples
The Ggantija Temples are a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-see on your trip to Gozo in Malta. These mammoth limestone structures are thought to be even older than the Egyptian pyramids! No one knows how these giant rocks came to be here, but the locals believe only giants could have brought them to this spot, which is why they are named Ggantija (meaning ‘giant’). Archeologists and historians have studied this site and believe it was used for fertility rituals hundreds of years ago.
How to get to the Ggantija Temples: If you’re using public transport, take the 307 bus here from Xaghra.
5. Ta’ Kola Windmill
Close to the Ggantija Temples is one of the last original windmills on the Maltese Island. The Ta’ Kola Windmill dates back all the way to 1725 where it was used to crush the grain into flour with enormous grinding stones. Nowadays, the windmill is a museum with recreated furniture where you can visit the miller’s workshop and living rooms.
6. Salt Pans
The Xwejni Salt Pans sit on the north coast and are one of the best things to do in Gozo. They are still used to harvest salt from the sea, using the traditional methods from Roman times. It’s possible to take a tour and learn about the process, or you can simply come and visit this beautiful part of the island. Looking at the checkerboard salt pans sitting alongside the rocky sea is a sight to remember.
After visiting the salt pans, wander nearby and buy some salt from the local sellers as a memoir of your trip to Gozo.
7. Ta Mena Estate
Ta Mena Estate is the perfect place to learn about the delicious food produced on Gozo! The family-run farm produces olive oil, wines, tomato paste, fruits, and cheese, among other products. They use traditional recipes passed down for generations from times when there wasn’t the technology to preserve food. In these times, the people of Gozo would use natural preservation methods, one of which is used to make the famous tomato paste at Ta Mena Estate.
Now the family offers guided tours and food tastings so visitors can learn about local food, culture, folklore, and the history of Gozo. Best of all, you’ll be doing so while you’re sitting amongst beautiful farmland and rolling green hills; it’s the perfect way to combine food and nature.
8. Comino Day Trip
Malta is comprised of 3 islands, and the smallest island is Comino, situated between Malta and Gozo. It’s incredibly remote and beautiful, with wild nature and very few people living there. Its name comes from cumin, and you’ll see the flowering plant growing all over the island, as well as many other wildflowers and herbs.
Things to do in Comino
- Blue Lagoon. The blue lagoon is one of those bucket list things you have to see while in Malta. It’s intensely blue and feels like total paradise. However, it’s one of the most popular attractions in Malta so please note that in peak season it will be very busy!
- Crystal Lagoon – The crystal lagoon is lesser known than the blue lagoon so it’s a bit more peaceful for swimming. It’s a bit rockier than blue lagoon, and not quite as intensely blue but it’s still a beautiful place to visit and the remoteness of it makes it feel very special.
- Santa Maria Caves – Malta really has it all, Caribbean island style beaches, turquoise lagoons, and even beautiful caves! The Santa Maria Caves are a famous spot for snorkeling – a unique spot where a variety of marine life live. The journey to get there is interesting too, as you have to pass through a cave tunnel from Santa Maria Bay.
How to Get to Comino
The main ferry leaves from Mgarr harbor every hour and costs 6.45 EUR for a return ticket. The alternative is to join a Blue Lagoon boat tour, which may be a bit more expensive but gives you the benefit of having the boat to jump from instead of looking for a spot on the shore.
9. Beaches in Gozo
Gozo’s beaches are some of the best in the entire archipelago, famous for its diving and snorkeling with extraordinary cliffs, archways, and amazing marine life that lives within its network of caves. Some great beaches to visit in Gozo, Malta, are:
Mgarr Ix-Xini is a tiny, pebbly beach surrounded by sheer cliffs which protect the cove making the water calm for swimming. Its crystal clear water and extraordinary marine life make it particularly popular with snorkelers.
Dwerja Bay was most famous for being home to the Azure window arch: an arch created naturally by the elements and the sea. It was used as a film location for Game of Thrones, and it was very sacred to the people of Malta, who saw it as a spiritual place to connect with nature. Sadly, it collapsed in 2017. However, the rocks in the water have now created a very diverse diving site.
At Dwerja Bay, you can also discover the Blue Hole: a 10-meter wide pool where amazing marine life lives like octopus and parrotfish. Pass through some mesmerizing archways and tunnels to reach the pool.
Other nice beaches on Gozo:
- Hondoq ir-Rummien
- Xwejni Bay Beach
How to Visit Gozo
Start your journey by flying into Malta. If you’re planning on hiring a car, you’ll need to head to the northern tip of the island, to a place called Ċirkewwa, to take the Gozo Channel Ferry. The Channel Ferry is currently the only option to bring your car to Gozo. Although it is a bit more inconvenient to go to the north of Malta, the ferry journey only takes 25 minutes. (See the ferry schedule here)
The fast ferry is a relatively new option. It departs from Valletta, which is very convenient and only takes 45 minutes. It’s a passenger ferry, so it is not possible to take your car, but it’s perfect for visiting Gozo on a day trip or if you don’t require a vehicle on your vacation. It’s also just a lovely way to travel, with beautiful views from the deck for the entire journey. You can even see Comino Island on your trip (where you’ll find the Blue Lagoon).
How to Get Around Gozo
Gozo is very remote, and public transport links aren’t always the best. However, it’s possible to take public buses between certain towns on the island. Another great option is to hop on the red Gozo sightseeing bus. It takes you to 14 different stops in 2.5 hours and includes an audio tour.
The best option is to hire a car from Malta and bring it on the ferry. Doing this gives you more flexibility and the opportunity to drive to rural spots in Gozo.
If you’re visiting Gozo for the day, consider booking a private jeep tour from Mgarr Harbor. This way, you can ask your guide to take you to some of the best spots on the island, and you’ll have more flexibility.
Where to Stay in Gozo
Victoria (Rabat) is the central city on the island and is a popular place to stay, with lots of hotels and all the best bars, restaurants, and shops. Marsalforn is also a popular choice: a charming fishing village with good amenities, easy access to the beach, and good connections to other places on the island. If you really want to embrace island life, book to stay in a countryside villa or a rural farmhouse.
Best Time to Visit Gozo
Gozo is beautiful at any time of year, although there are a few things to consider. During the winter months, the landscape becomes much greener and luscious. However, the sea is cold, and there is a high chance of rain. In the summer, it’s a top-rated holiday destination for people from other European countries and locals from mainland Malta. Although it’s the perfect time for a beach holiday, the beaches can get crowded.
Fall is a perfect time to visit – the beaches are empty, and Gozo gets that remote, peaceful feeling back again after a busy summer of tourism.