Nature experiences? Epic story? In Malta? The vast majority who visit Malta end up in the popular charter resorts of St Julian's or Sliema. Comfortable and pleasant, but here it is closer to an English pub and shopping than it is to nature experiences and history. But although Malta is often described as a barren stone island by friends who have visited the country, the country has much more to offer than stone. In addition, distance does not exist in Malta and you have time to see more than you think in a short time. The very best memory from our trip to Malta was our day trip to the island of Gozo. Here we found the calm, the views and perhaps one of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean.
It's not difficult to do all of Gozo's sights in one day, but why not stay a night or two on the island? Gozo is worth discovering more and if I had booked the trip today I would have spent more time here. What can you see and experience on Gozo? Here are my eight favorites!
1. Victoria and the Citadel
In the middle of Gozo is the island's capital Victoria (Rabat) and in the middle of the city is located the citadel, the city's old town centre. Why is the city also called Rabat? Rabat means "suburb" in Arabic, which in this case means the city that grew up outside the citadel. The city was not named Victoria until the end of the 19th century, when the British wanted to celebrate the Queen's birthday.
Apart from Victoria having nice squares, markets, eateries and historic houses, it is the citadel that is the city's main attraction. Traces have been found that the city began to take shape here as early as 7000 (!) years ago, but the current thick stone walls that surround the citadel date from the 16th century. A time when the walls too often had to protect the inhabitants against violent attacks. Because if there is something that Malta has been through through the ages, it is occupations by different peoples and countries.
2. Hike at the White Cliffs of Ta'Cenc
One of Malta's most beautiful places can be found on the coast outside Sannat on Gozo. Here the wild ones stretch Take the Cenc Rocks steeply up from sea level, in some places the drop to the sea is over 120 metres. Although there is basically always a breeze from the sea here, the ground is covered with lots of fragrant flowers and cactus plants. The area is also a protected area for birds and it is pure pleasure to look out over the rocks and see the birds dance in the winds.
It is not easy to find the rocks, there are no signs or parking spaces. But once you've found a place to park the car by the side of the road, there are plenty of paths. However, be aware that there are no guardrails anywhere, so keep a safe distance from the slopes. Especially when it's windy.
3. Ramla beach – Gozo's finest beach
Neither Malta nor Gozo are known for their sandy beaches, but there are several fine-grained beaches if you look a little. The very best beach on Gozo is Ramla Beach – a red-orange beach with clear water and nice picnic areas.
4. The salt basins of Xwejni
In Xwejni on the north coast of Gozo, salt farmers still harvest sea salt in the traditional way in salt pans. The salt works are inherited in the family through the generations, but the profession is hard and tiring. Today, only a handful of salt farmers remain. Stop to admire the large seawater windows and buy some salt from one of the few remaining salt farmers. Even if you don't get out on the salt flats, it's easy to enjoy the beauty from the road.
Read more in my post: The salt farmers of Gozo
5. Eat ftira at Maxokk Bakery
Maxok Bakery is a small family-owned bakery in the town of Nadur on Gozo. Here you will find the island's best four - best described as a "potato pizza". In an old brick oven fired with oak wood, these sourdough pizzas topped with potatoes are baked. Thinly sliced potatoes are the basic ingredient, but other ingredients you can find on a ftira are capers, anchovies, olives, eggs or Maltese sausage.
Maxokk Bakery is not a restaurant, so there are no tables. But what does that do? Take your piping hot pizza as take-away and sit down in the sun and enjoy. It might sound like a weird pizza, but I promise you it will be incredibly delicious. And very filling.
6. Admire Ta' Pinu
The Basilica Ta'Pinu, or rather Santwarju Bażilika tal-Madonna ta' Pinu is located overlooking the sea just outside the village of Għarb. The stories about this place have been many over the years. In the 16th century, the old chapel was in poor condition and was about to be demolished, but the builder who struck the first blow broke his arm. So the demolition was canceled and the chapel was allowed to remain. In the 19th century, a woman in the village heard the Virgin Mary speaking to her in the small chapel and the place thus became a place of pilgrimage. But the chapel was small and the visitors many, so it was decided to build a larger church. All said and done, in 1932 the new basilica was ready. The basilica that you can now visit. Or view from a distance like we did.
7. Wied il-Ghasri – The Winding Bay
Nature's beauty comes in all colors and with all kinds of greenery. A little off guard and unexpectedly, I actually encountered one of my top ten most beautiful beaches ever on Gozo. The beach at Wied il-Ghasri. The small pebble beach in the winding bay of Malta.
Wied il-Ghasri is located on the north coast of Gozo, approximately 2 kilometers west of the salt flats of Xwejni bay. Park the car and walk down to the beach. It is quite steep and some stairs, but the beach is definitely worth a visit.
Read more about my visit here: Wied il-Ghasri - The winding bay of Gozo - Malta
8. Dwerja bay and the fallen azure window
Gozo's (and Malta's) most popular attraction is no more. The Azure Window, the rock arch by the sea collapsed dramatically in March 2017. Today, the site is still a popular destination, but perhaps mainly for divers and for those of us who like beautiful nature. For Dwerja bay is still a really beautiful stretch of coast with delicious swimming. For those who want a slightly calmer bath is Inland sea a good alternative with its turquoise water and cool sea cave for boats.
Did we miss any of your favorites while touring Gozo? Or were you lucky enough to see the Azure Window before it collapsed? I want to hear everything!
Do you want to read more from Malta and Gozo?
How was traveling to Malta on the sports holiday? Here are my reflections and…March 7, 2020
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