The Mediterranean island nation of Malta includes the charming island of Gozo. Spend a few days in Gozo, basking on the beaches and soaking up the local culture. Read on for why you must visit Gozo.
Malta is in the EU Mediterranean. This dazzling country in the Middle of the Mediterranean is one of the smallest archipelagos in the world, with only three of its islands inhabited, one of which is a fabulous day trip from Malta.
The Republic of Malta has a diverse culture, a vibrant history, and warm and welcoming citizens. Every year, three thousand hours of sunshine make it the sunniest place in the EU. Known as one of the world’s best water sports locales, the clean, impossibly blue waters average 65ºF.
The island nation embraces a hidden gem, Gozo, Malta’s little sister. The nine miles long by four and a half miles wide island can feel like a 20-year walk back in time. The rural culture holds fast to the traditional Gozitan way of life that values family and faith above all.
What's in This Article:
More Than a Day Trip from Malta
Unfortunately, for those that travel to Malta, Gozo is often an afterthought, a day trip at best. But the tiny island deserves more than a two-hour bus tour. It is a perfect place to spend a few days basking on a red sand beach, immersing in, on, and under the Mediterranean Sea.
Then, walk through thousands of years of history on paths used by man and beast for centuries while always within sight of the blue Mediterranean, soaring cliffs, and secret beaches.
Next, explore an immense walled city that protected Gozitans from pirates and invaders for hundreds of years, and then wander through Gozo’s temples; one of them is the oldest standing building on earth.
Enjoy a long, lazy lunch at a secluded lido. Indulge in food influenced by the sea and seasons—the celebrated Mediterranean diet. Taste and sip local wines, beer, and liquors produced for centuries on the island.
Fiestas, village holiday parties, art, music performance, and theater are some things to do on Gozo. In addition, museums, spectacular churches, curated tours, Michelin-starred restaurants, cafes in the village square, street markets, 4-star hotels, cozy B&Bs, and more will make a few days on Gozo unforgettable. So try some of my favorite things to do while slowing down and immersing in the serene way of life.
Enjoy the Sun and Swim at Gozo Beaches
Gozo’s beaches are less crowded than those in Malta. Some beaches are sandy, others are covered with pebbles, but all are beautiful and relatively free from crowds. Sunbathe, swim, snorkel, beach comb, and build sand or pebble castles. The following three beaches are diverse, allowing you to see all the beach types on Gozo.
Daħlet Qorrot Bay
Daħlet Qorrot Bay is a unique place on Gozo near Nadur. The narrow bay is home to a small fishing fleet. The fishermen have carved boat and equipment shelters in the sandstone cliffs skirting the bay. They have colorful doors and are one of the best photo ops on the island. There is a rocky beach where you can swim in clear, deep waters. Picnic tables and public toilets are available. In the season, food trucks visit to offer food and beverage.
Ramla is one of Gozo’s most popular beaches. The reddish sand fills the giant crescent-shaped Ramla Bay. Some parts of the beach have pebbles in the sand, and the crescent points are rocky. Still, there is plenty of room for sunbathers on the soft sand. Take a direct bus from Nadur or Xaghra. There is a restaurant and a kiosk for food and beverages. Clean, well-maintained showers and toilets are provided.
Hondoq is a small pebbly beach accessed through the village of Quala. Swimming and diving are especially popular here. The Hondoq Kiosk has food and beverages and toilets for customers’ use. Try their bruschetta; it is our favorite on the island.
Locals Tip: Take along a pair of aqua-soles. They will make walking on the pebbles tolerable.
Visit the Citadel in Gozo
The Citadel in Victoria is an immense bastion used for centuries to protect citizens when invaders came to the islands. Today the walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with museums, galleries, shops, a cathedral, and places to eat. You can spend an entire day here exploring. Start at the Visitor Center; your small entrance fee includes tickets to other attractions.
Enjoy Gozo Walks to Explore the Island
Walking the ancient footpaths is one of the best ways to see the island and its geography, architecture, flora, fauna, and villages. I suggest you try one of the five walks curated by Visit Gozo. They include—saltpans walk, a walk to Ramla Bay, a coastal walk, an inland walk, and a lighthouse walk.
Gozo Temples and Megalithic Sites
Considered the oldest free-standing building on earth, Ggantija was built by people known as the Temple Builders between c.3600 and c.3200 BC. The archeological park includes the temple and an excellent museum showing the life of those that lived, worked, and worshipped on this site. Ggantija is in Xaghra.
The Xagħra Stone Circle
The Xagħra Stone Circle is an underground burial site in Xaghra. Burials began here in 4000 BC. Some of the most outstanding sculptures from the period have been found here. This unique megalithic site is available by appointment only.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu
Ta Pinu National Shrine is one of the most visited churches on Gozo. This inspirational church is a masterpiece of stone and marble filled with priceless art and sculpture.
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called Gozo Cathedral, was built on the site of a Roman Temple in 1697. The unbelievable Baroque church does not have a dome as many do on the islands. Instead, the ceiling is a trump loi of a dome. You will believe it is real.
Eating in Gozo is one of the best things you will do. Food service from Michelin-starred to curbside kiosks offers some of the freshest vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, wine, and beer I’ve enjoyed eating. Mediterranean cuisine is king. Whether traditional Gozation, Italian, or Middle Eastern, you plan dinner while eating breakfast. There are so many outstanding restaurants, cafes, and kiosks on Gozo I can’t begin to list them all. These four are some of my go-to spots, don’t be afraid to try others; you can’t go wrong.
Andria’s is in Nadur’s village square. It is a café serving coffee, tea, wine, beer, pastries, and sandwiches. Andria’s is a social center for the village. Folks gather inside or outside to have a coffee and catch up. It’s the place to meet locals and taste village life. It’s also a great location to wait for the bus to Mgarr Harbor or Victoria. I love this spot; it’s my “village local.”
Tal-Furnar Bar and Restaurant
Tal-Furnar is located in Xaghra and is a highly recommended restaurant in Gozo. Operated by a fourth-generation chef and baker, the food is traditional Gozation fare. The 100-year-old wood-burning oven has been in use longer than any in Malta. Try the suckling pig; you will never forget it.
Step inside Roza just off St. George Square. The simple interior is quiet, comfortable, and relaxing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The family-run restaurant serves traditional Mediterranean dishes made only from locally produced ingredients. Try the fish soup; it is heavenly.
Most folks would call Victoria Central a coffee shop, but it is much more. It’s a coffee roastery, tea shop, café, and meeting place for locals and visitors. Victoria Central is located at the foot of Victoria’s Cittadella and across the street from Independence Square. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering soups, sandwiches, main courses, and pizzas. Breakfast includes shakshuka, eggs, sandwiches, French toast, and vegan avocado toast.
Lodging on Gozo
Gozo has an eclectic range of lodging. Whatever your style and budget, you’ll find a pillow you can’t resist. Choose from bed and breakfasts, guest houses, hotels, apartments, farmhouses, and villas. Look at Visit Gozo’s Where To Stay suggestions to locate your ideal accommodation. You will discover an easy-to-use guide featuring vetted properties and everything you want to know about them.
Getting to Malta
Fly—Malta is a perfect add-on to a holiday in mainland Europe. Summer brings lower airfares from major European cities like Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Porto, and more to Malta. In addition, Gozo is always budget-friendly, with lower rates for accommodations, meals, excursions, and entertainment.
Ferry—From Sicily, you can take a ferry to Malta. The ferry carries autos and foot passengers.
Getting Around Malta and Gozo
I do not recommend getting a car. Both Malta and Gozo are small and easy to get around. Public transportation is excellent and very reasonable. Leave the driving to someone else and enjoy the scenery. Both buses and taxis are available at the airport.
Airport transfers—After you collect your luggage, you will be directed to the Welcomers’ Hall. Go to the Taxi Booth (to your left as you enter the hall). This is the best way to arrange a taxi. You tell the cashier your destination; they collect the pre-determined fare in cash or by card. Approved drivers are waiting there to help with bags and get you safely to your destination.
If you choose a bus, go to the Malta Public Transport booth in the Welcomers’ Hall at the airport for route information and to purchase a bus pass.
Ferry travel—The only way to get to Gozo is by ferry. The Gozo Channel Ferry cruises to Gozo from the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal on Malta’s north end. The ferry operates 24 hours a day. You will find a snack bar onboard. The foot-passenger fare was €4.65 for roundtrip during my trip. You do not pay at the Malta terminal. Fare is collected in Gozo when you return to the main island.
The Gozo Fast Ferry and the Virtu Ferries Gozo cruise to Gozo from the Malta capital city, Valletta. Both are high-speed hydrofoils. The trip takes about 45 minutes. Comfortable seating with Wi-fi and large windows make for a pleasant journey. Some boats have snack bars with sandwiches, snacks, beer, wine, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. During my trip fares range from €3 to €12 one way.
Local’s Tip: Check the ferry’s schedule on their Facebook Page for no operation days due to inclement weather.
Getting Around On the Island
Bus on Gozo—The Mgarr Harbor Ferry Terminal is also a bus terminal with bus routes to every part of Gozo. In addition, many buses go to Victoria’s bus terminal.
Locals Tip: Buy a Tallinja card, then add the Tallinja App to your phone or tablet. The app will help you find the right bus and time, while the card is a cashless way to board. Buy the cards at the ferry terminal and Victoria bus terminal. Bus fare is €2 for each trip, but with one of the Tallinja cards, you can have unlimited rides for as little as €3 per day.
Articles Related to European Beach Destinations
- Top 10 Balearic Beaches Only Accessible by Boat
- Visiting the Canary Islands: To the Moon and Back
- Top 5 Beaches in Marseille to Spend Your Holiday
- 24 Hours in Sorrento Italy
- Phoenicia Malta—Mediterranean Luxury Defined
How about 3000+ hours of sunshine a year and the clear, blue Mediterranean and dazzling beaches? Gozo is a living museum that you visit when exploring man’s habitation since the Bronze Age. Did I mention the food? Hook-to-mouth seafood, farm-to-table meat, vegetables, and fruit. Then there are the people—warm, welcoming descendants of the twelve conquerors of this tiny island nation.
This article doesn’t begin to cover all there is to see and do in Gozo. Instead, I’ve shared some of my favorite places and hope they entice you to add Gozo to your EU holiday or make it your only destination.
For more information about Gozo, go to Visit Gozo. For more information about all the Maltese islands, go to Visit Malta. Let Wander With Wonder beach vacation ideas be your guide to more amazing European destinations.