Comprehensive Guide to Visiting Gozo

Travel Guide and Best Things to do in Gozo and Comino Islands of Malta

Where is Gozo Located?

Gozo is a small island located just off the coast of Malta. Both of these islands are in the Mediterranean sea, and can be found in southern Europe. No trip to Malta should be finished without paying a visit to this wonderful little island, and discovering that while the two islands may be heavily linked, both historically, culturally and geographically, there is still much that separates the two of them. Just to give you a better understanding of the island, here is a small map of Gozo. See how it’s a sister island to Malta as well as Comino? If you need more information about travel to Malta, we have covered that comprehensively on our Malta travel guide page. People sometimes call Gozo, Gozo Malta, but Gozo island is not technically in Malta island. Same thing with Comino. People assume is in Malta. Yes, in a way, Comino is part of Malta just like Gozo is, but it is not located on the main island of Malta itself. 

Map of Gozo
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

What is the flag of Gozo?

The flag of Gozo comprises 3 half-oval shapes linked together. This flag represents the stunning rocky landscape that can be found across the island. Such beautiful scenery is perhaps what makes Gozo so popular amongst all tourists and visitors. 

Flag of Gozo


What is the population of Gozo?

The population of Gozo stands just short of 32,000 people. People from Gozo are referred to as Gozitians. Their population is considerably smaller than its sister island, Malta (500,000). Gozo is the second in a series of three large islands off the coast of Italy – Malta, Gozo, and Comino. This little island actually only measures about 67 kilometers squared. To put that into perspective, it’s about one seventh of the size of Malta, which is the main island.


Relationship between Malta, Gozo and Comino

The island of Gozo was first inhabited by the local Maltese population in the sixteen century, and ever since, these two islands have been very closely linked. The Maltese government has been responsible for creating the economic and social laws of the island of Gozo ever since it was first discovered apart from a brief exception in the 18th century, when Napoleon’s French army invaded the island of Malta, and temporarily held control over both Malta and Gozo.

With regards to Comino, the island was never truly populated until the 18th century due to its sheer compactness. It was, however, used as a prison and a seclusion area for petty crimes during the 16th and 17th centuries. The island of Comino may have served as a useful isolation spot during the times of the plague and cholera at the beginning of 19th century. 


How to get to Gozo?

In order to get to Gozo, you will have to fly to Malta, as there is no airport on the island of Gozo. There is only one airport on the island of Malta, referred to as Malta International Airport. You can fly directly from here to many destinations across Europe, but unfortunately there are no direct flights from North America or Asia Pacific. What it means is that in order to reach Malta, you have to catch a connecting flight in another major European city if you’re not flying from Europe. 

Once you arrive in Malta, you’d need to get to Gozo. In order to get from the island of Malta to Gozo, you will have to take a ferry. This ferry can transport passengers as well as vehicles. The ferry departs from Ċirkewwa, which is the most northern tip of main island Malta, with many trips that frequently depart throughout the night. If Gozo is your main destination when you arrive in Malta, then there is a bus connection which takes you from right outside the airport terminal to Ċirkewwa to catch the ferry. There is no night bus service, however,  and the last bus leaves at 22:50, so make sure to plan ahead if you’re arriving late into Malta.


How to get around Gozo

Getting around Gozo is no longer difficult after the revamp of Malta’s public transport system in 2011. Prior to 2011, it was hard to navigate Gozo. Now, there are many open-top bus companies, which offer services from the ferry terminal every 45 minutes. They are a fantastic way to discover the island if you are only there for a short time. 

However, if you are looking for transport to a specific location, (example hotel or tourist attractions), you can get taxis from the main ferry port, or simply find the phone number of local taxi companies and call them for pick up. Many taxi owners will offer guided tours around the island of Gozo at fairly competitive prices too. This can include a tour of the main sites, time for shopping and pictures stops. 

Comprehensive Guide to Visiting Gozo

Another popular way to get around Gozo is by hiring a car. Thanks to the quiet roads and beautiful scenery along the way, this can make for a relaxing way to truly discover all of the sights that Gozo has to offer. Alternatively, motorbikes and scooted are available to rent. Just make sure to wear a helmet at all times, as auto accidents on this island can be frequent.


What Language is spoken in Gozo?

Like its larger sister island, the main language that is spoken is Maltese. However, you may find that in some regions, particularly rural areas, that a slightly different version is spoken. Some regions on Gozo island will use more archaic words than mainland Malta. But, thanks to the huge wave of tourism that the island has seen in recent years, in many places, particularly the touristic areas of Malta, English is spoken. 


What Currency is Used in Gozo

As Malta is part of the eurozone, the Euro (€) is the main currency that is used. It is unlikely that any other currency types is accepted. Also, you may struggle to find ATM’s outside of the large towns on the island, so if you are planning on visiting for the day, make sure you are well-prepared.


When is the Best Time to Visit Gozo?

The best time to visit Gozo is during the spring, summer and fall months –  this is largely thanks to the warm and pleasant weather. Some tourist areas can be very crowded in the summer time, but the summer months of May, June, July and August have really warm temperatures which allow visitors to make the most of beach visits and diving excursions. You can also plan a visit in November, December, January and February. These are mostly winter months but due to the location of Gozo, the island experiences temperate weather year-round so even though it’s a bit cool and windy in the winter months and you most likely won’t be swimming, you can still enjoy other outdoor and indoor things to do in Gozo. The months of March, April, and May are probably the most pleasant months to visit as well as September and October. But there really isn’t a bad time to visit Gozo. 


Is Gozo Safe?

Like Malta, Gozo is very safe, there are almost no reports of violent crime, and the entire island has a warm and secure ambiance to enjoy. When you are in the major tourist areas, just use common sense as you would in every other place you’ve visited – keep a close eye on your belongings, and you should be just fine!


24 Best Things to do in Gozo:

1. Visit the Megalithic Temples

Perhaps the island of Gozo’s most famous and well-known attraction, the megalithic temples of Gozo were first created five thousand years ago. They are truly a testament to the prehistoric architecture that is unique to this area of the world.

Megalithic Temples, Gozo(Malta)Credits: Wikimedia Commons

It’s no surprise, then, that six of these temples we’re named as UNESCO world heritage sites. This riveting tourist attraction tops our list of things to do while in the Gozo and Malta region.

2. Marvel Salt Pans and Stop for a Photo-Op

Situated in the North Coast of the Gozo island is this beautiful 3km stretch of land which redefines spectacular. These sea-salt pans, which date back more than 300 years, were part of an ancient tradition amongst the islands settlers. It is not unusual to spot locals scraping pieces of salt to be stored, processed, or even sold. Sometimes, it can be carved into a beautiful costal art rock. And it’s relatively cheap salt! 

3. Visit the village of Gharb

Gharb is the second oldest village in the entire region. The fabulous architecture which dates back further than the Middle Ages is what impresses tourists the most, not to mention the rich culture of the town.

Gharb, Gozo(Malta)
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Gharb has a distinctive rural character, as it was largely populated by local farmers until very recently, and still uses older dialect than its neighboring towns and villages.

4. Swim at Dwejra Bay

Dwejra bay has its own stunning, breathtaking scenery. The incredible coastal formations and sound of sea spilling up in the rocks is truly what makes this place so popular amongst the visitors. You can swim in areas across the bay, whether that is in the deep sea, the shallow in-land sections, or around the blue hold, which is Gozo’s top diving site. This area is also home to the fungus rock – a memorial to an Italian lifeguard who fell to his death while quarrying.

5. Blue Hole Gozo

As we mentioned before, the Blue Hole is the most popular diving spot in Malta. Therefore, we think that it deserves its own place on our list. It overlooks the stunning Azure Window, and begins in the fantastic 10m-deep inner swimming pool.

Blue Whole Gozo(Malta)
Credits: Mal B CC BY-ND 2.0

Once you begin to dive, you will notice the natural rock arch with clear blue water leading out to the open sea. A further swim through this gap will take you to some wild marine life such as parrots, octopuses and so much more.

6. Ramla Bay

Ramlah bay is situated at the very bottom of a fertile and rich valley on the south side of the Gozo island. The beach is known to be both very wide, and very sandy. What separates it from the other beaches in the area is its golden sand color. In fact, its name translates directly into the local dialect as “The Red Beach”. The area is well-known for its gorgeous scenery and rich historical culture too. Such as the roman remains which lie hidden beneath the sands. If you are in the area, this Bay should certainly not be missed!

7. Marsalform

During the summer months in Malta, this is the best place to be. Many visitors and tourists will flock to this bay to enjoy the wonderful bay, and the bars and restaurants which open in the area.

Marsalform, Gozo(Malta)
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

A promenade runs right around the bay and offers the chance for a pleasant stroll while overlooking the gorgeous white sandy beaches. This beach is best seen during the night, as a lovely evening gathering for local families and visitors alike.

8. Ix Ixlendi Bay

Ix Ixlendi bay proves to be hugely popular for all sorts of water sports, including snorkeling, diving and other activities. The beautiful sandy beach leads into shallow waters makes it the perfect spot for people of ages, regardless of whether they are young or old. Also, thanks to its reef formations, this bay is the perfect spot to practice your diving skills even as a beginner. This bay, too, is lined with bars and restaurants to keep you entertained once you’re finished.

9. Ta Pinu Sanctuary

This monumental shrine to “our lady” was built between 1920 and 1931. The architectural masterpiece is lined with breathtaking sculptures made from Maltese stone.

Ta' Pinu Sanctuary
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The chapel in which the sanctuary is built in front of still remains intact. If you’re interested in history, or religious relics, then this spot should not be missed on your trip to Gozo as it is one of the best things to see in Gozo island.

10. St George’s Basilica

Not to be confused with St George’s square on the neighboring island of Malta, this chapel can be found in the middle of Gozo’s capital city, Victoria. If you’re planning a visit to this monument, make sure that you have a map with you, as it can be very easy to get lost in the winding narrow streets that surround this church. This church is the oldest parish in the entire region, having originated before 1450, with the foundations of this church being laid down no later than the 17th century.

11. Wied Il Ghasr

Wied Il Ghasri is the perfect spot for a peaceful walk or bike ride around the island of Gozo particularly, during the winter or the spring. The valley begins on top of a hill before rising through a number of villages, before it meets the sea at the jaw-dropping cliffs.

Wied Il Ghasr, Gozo(Malta)

This area has proven particularly popular amongst sea divers who enjoy exploring the nearby underwater caves. For those who are searching for a private bathing area, this bay is the perfect secluded spot to find just that.

12. Dahlet Qorrot Bay

Dahlet Qorrot bay is the perfect place for a visitor to admire the peaceful scene, as well as to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding peaceful bay. It is a small island, but despite that, there are numerous location for all visitors to enjoy the scenery, as well as the tranquil and serene environment, even during the more crowded summer months. This enclosed bay is a must-visit if you are searching for a more relaxing and quiet scene on your trip to Gozo Island.

13. Mġarr ix-Xini

This is another one of Malta’s most fabulous sports for all forms of water-sport including snorkeling, diving much more!

Mġarr ix-Xini, Gozo(Malta)

Although this spot is becoming increasingly popular amongst tourists, it always manages to avoid being busy. This secluded spot is also the destination where Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt filmed, “By the sea” which was covered by both local and national news at the time.

14. San Blas Bay

San Blas bay is a beautiful beach of red sand on the Gozo coast. It is frequently referred to as the little sister of Ramlah Bay. It can be easily reached from the village of In-Naduir via a small narrow road. This little pathway can get very steep, which discourages many visitors from making it all the way to San Blas. If you can persevere and make it through, you will get to the other side, and reach an extremely peaceful and quiet beach. As it is situated on the North-East coast, there are no buildings to block the stunning views once you read the top.

15. Citadella

Its rich history and historical architecture is what makes Citadella one of the must-see spots in Gozo. It has been occupied since pre-historic times and currently stands as a testament to all inhabitants who left to leave their mark on the gorgeous complex that thousands of tourists can see today.

Citadella, Gozo(Malta)

Citadella is a historic city, offering visitors the chance to take a step back to historical and cultural realms that they may not have even known existed.

16. The Inland Sea

This diving spot is conveniently located nearby the Blue Hole, which means that both dives can be done on the same day for any adrenaline-seekers in the area. The dive starts in a 60m wide inlet, surrounded by a range of high cliffs. If you are diving in this area, you should be aware of some boats which may pass through the region. But if diving isn’t your thing, then you shouldn’t worry. There is an astonishing range of marine life which are available in this region for people of all ages to enjoy, including octopus, parrot fish and much more.

17. Tal Mixta Cave

This wonderful cave is situated just opposite the very famous Calypso cave on Gozo Island. This beautiful spot on the west coast of the island can be easily reached by the fantastic public transport system, which makes it hugely popular amongst tourists.

Tal Mixta Cave, Gozo(Malta)
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Despite the long journey, the jaw-dropping scenery is totally worth it, once you reach this setting. It’s no surprise that this destination proves so popular amongst visitors.

18. Ta Cenc Cliffs

This is another one of the most talked-about diving spots across all of the islands in the region. What’s more is, it is actually the highest in the Gozo region. A small platform reaches out from the headland at a depth of 8 meters. This can give you huge peace of mind when diving, as you will know that you have the ideal safety stop as well as good anchorage. Be careful still, as below the platform is a steep drop off with some large boulders.

19. Rotunda of St John the Baptist

This is the largest church on the entire island of Gozo, and is remarkable, the third largest unsupported dome in all of Europe. The parish itself is one of the oldest in Gozo, and construction was first started at the end of the 17th century.

Rotunda of St John the Baptist
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Then, after the Second World War, the local Maltese population wanted to express their wish to construct a newer and bigger parish church. Joseph D’Amato then drew up the plans in Venice and the rest, is history.

20. Villa Rundle Garden Park

The re-generation of Rundle Park now offers a huge range of fantastic recreational activities, such as open space for families. This has come about after the removal of old structures and worn-down concrete passages. What’s more is, a new reservoir was built to retain water which will then be used for watering plants in the Villa Rundle Area. This park also boasts a children’s play area, a visitors’ centre and an area for open-air activities.

21. The Grand Castello Historic House

The Grand Castello Historic House is a group of medieval homes which can be found in the citadel. This museum has a wide collection of archaic monuments and historical collections, which allow visitors to truly step inside of the pre-historic times in this region.

Grand Castello Historic House
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

It offers them the chance to understand the traditional, rural and domestic ways of life from medieval periods on this island. The rich cultural and historical element make this museum a must-visit on the island. 

22. Sanap Cliffs

The Sanap Cliffs are one of Gozo’s most magical (and secret) settings. It is situated on the south coast of the island, and due to its somewhat inconvenient location, many tourists will simply skip past it on their visit to the island. It is one of the highest points in the entire island, and thanks to that, it offers splendid views into the sea, extending further than Xlendi Bay.

23. Ninu Caves

These beautiful caves were first discovered by a local on the island, Joseph Rapa. The cave is now a hugely popular tourist attraction on the island and welcomes thousands of visitors every year. This cave is also very beautiful lit up by a set of electric lights.

Ninu Caves, Gozo(Malta)
Credits: -JvL-, Flickr CC BY 2.0

You can enter the game by a 4m descent, until you reach a chamber stretching more than 20m wide and 8m tall.

24. The Azure Window

After this stunning setting was broken down by nature, many of the locals and frequent visitors were disappointed. However, it could have perhaps been the best thing that ever happened to the country since it was a setting for Game of Thrones. Now, it makes a fabulous spot for deep-sea divers to explore the rocks in the Mediterranean. And with discussions taking place to transform the area into a new, flashy and beautifully designed museum, the rich history and astounding beauty of this area still lives on.

What not to miss in Gozo: St George’s Feast

The feast of St George is held in the largest town, Victoria, every third Sunday in July. It is known for more than just a sacred celebration, with horse races and music festivities taking place on many occasions throughout the week.


Comino Island – (Part of Malta and Gozo Islands)

 

Where is Comino?

 

Comino Island is situated just midway between Gozo and Main island Malta. The island itself is virtually uninhabited, and is almost completely made up of tourists, both from Malta, and further abroad. For the more adventurous Maltese, Comino makes for a popular spot to come on a day hike, or a camping trip.

Comino Island map
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

How to get to Comino from Malta

The most popular way to reach Comino Island is by ferry. The journey itself takes no longer than 25 minutes, and would only set you back 10 euros. The ferry arrives to San Niklaw Bay, on the North Coast of the Island. Also, the Comino hotel runs a ferry service to Malta and Gozo. While hotel residences get priority, non residents can use it as well.


Where to stay in Comino?

 

If you’re staying in Comino, you only actually have one option as far as your accommodation is concerned – Comino Hotel. Luckily, however, you’re in good hands, as the Comino Hotel is widely known to offer incredible service, with kind & friendly staff. It can be found in the beautiful area of San Niklaw Bay. It features two small swimming pools, and two secluded beaches overlooking the stunning, clear water. The fabulous activities on offer, such as diving and other water-spots  and the gorgeous setting is what makes this hotel so appealing to visitors from all around the world.


What to Do in Comino?

1. Blue Lagoon

Blue lagoon Bay is in fact one of the most spectacular sights in the entire Malta region. It can be found on the West coast of Comino, and attracts hundreds of tourists every year to beach. It is undoubtedly the most popular tourist attraction on the island of Comino.

Blue lagoon Bay Comino

It’s shallow and turquoise waters are deeply relaxing. It is the perfect place to chill, swim, snorkel and sunbathe. However, the area can get very busy during the summer months, so you may wish to come early in the morning when there are less people visiting.

2. Santa Marija Caves

The gorgeous Santa Marija caves can be found in the middle of Comino island. There are a total of 10 caves, each with their own distinct shapes and features, making this spot paradise for divers. Gorgeous swim-through, underwater tunnels, and sparkling blue waters are what make this area so unique. The relatively shallow caves mean that snorkelers too can enjoy the gorgeous structures and features of these caves, not to mention that it almost resembles a playground for underwater photographers thanks to these magnificent structures.

3. Santa Marija Bay

If you are looking for a stunning alternative to Blue Lagoon, hoping for fewer visitors and smaller crowds, then Santa Marija is the spot for you. Just a 20-minute walk from Blue Lagoon is the Santa Marija Bay.

Santa Marija Bay
Credits: a.poll_o, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

It also has stunning, clear waters, and is situated right next to the little Police station of the island. It mainly overlooks boats entering the Bay, predominantly locals, and those staying at Comino Hotel, which isn’t far away either.

4. Santa Marija Tower

The scene overlooking the South Comino Channel is dominated by the Santa Marija tower. You would have spotted this tower if you had made the trip to Malta’s sister island, Gozo. The towers main purpose was to prevent attacks from foreign invaders surging medieval times, despite the fact that the tower was only completed in the sixteenth century. The tower was always guarded by 130 garrison men. During the Napoleon invasion of Malta, the tower was used to attacking French positions from as far away as Valletta, the capital city of main Malta island.

5. St Mary’s Tower

St Mary’s tower was another method of defense and better communication amongst Malta’s little sister Islands. The tower played a key role during the British occupation of Malta, and was a key point for communication between Gozo and Comino.

St Mary’s Tower
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

During that time though, time, the tower was considerable damaged, and was thus partly turned into an isolation hospital, and a stable for animals. Today it represents a

6. Santa Marija Battery

The Saints Marija Battery is a historic spot on the eastern end of the island. The semi circular gun platform was originally designed to protect the channel between Malta and Comino. Situated just a 15-minute walk from Santa Marija Tower, it makes for a great afternoon out if you’re a history fanatic.

7. Cominotto

Cominotto is another small little island which can be found on the West Coast of Comino island. Cominotto, in Maltese, refers to “little Comino”. The diving scene on this little island is just as spectacular as it is on its big brother island.

Cominotto
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Island itself is uninhabited, and can be easily reached after just a short swim in the beautifully clear cyan waters. Once you have arrived, you will be situated on a gorgeous white sandy base. It is the ideal location to be on this little island.

8. San Niklaw Bay

San Niklaw Bay is surely one of the most underrated tourist attractions in the entire island of Comino. The fabulous setting is the perfect place to look over the bay and enjoy the ships and boats in the light blue, sparkling waters. The sandy white beaches below also make for a great spot to relax, and soak up the sunshine in front of the calm ocean setting.

9. Crystal lagoon

Like the other beaches and bays on this fabulous island, Crystal lagoon is not one to be missed. The gorgeous scenery, complimented by the fabulously stunning clear waters, is what makes this area so special.

Crystal lagoon

What’s more is, thanks to the more well-known beaches nearby (think blue lagoon and Santa Marija), this beach is less popular amongst tourists, meaning there are fewer crowds, making for a much more peaceful and enjoyable setting.

 

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