Is there anyone more than me who has thought about the travel magazines' recurring lists of the world's most beautiful beaches? How come the beaches that are mentioned most often are the big and already known beaches? For me, a beach is most beautiful when it is wild and untouched. When I can sit down at the edge of the beach and just hear the sea rattling around among the stones of the beach under my feet. In my eyes, a beautiful beach needs neither palm trees nor chalky white sand. 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.
The winding bay of the sea
The road to Wied il-Ghasri is not just any road. However much adventure our little rental car was capable of, this is one of the many roads on Gozo that we simply have to say "no thank you" to. We park a little Maltese on the side of the main road and walk instead. It's only a few minutes' walk to the end of the road, so it's definitely a win-win to both be able to move in the spring sun and also not have to worry about the rental car's off-road insurance.
We are on our way to Wied il-Ghasri, the narrow little sea gorge with the small beach that is the gateway to Gozo's most famous underwater cave – Cathedral Cave. However, we are not here to dive in the cave, but to visit the beach. According to what we read, it should be small but gnawingly good.
The way down to the beach is down 100 steps, carved into the porous walls of the sandstone. We barely have time to go down the stairs before the winding bay appears below us. Like a turquoise sea serpent, the sea here has created a 300 meter long bay, surrounded by steep cliffs and caves. The color of the sea is almost luminescent in the sun. Neon blue. Is that color available? Regardless, it's so beautiful that we can't help but stop for a bit and look out over the gorge before continuing down the cliff.
The very longest stretch down the cliff is a single flight of stairs, but the last bit of stairs has definitely seen its best days. Both steps and railings are missing here. My guess is that winter storms and big waves have eaten a little extra at the fragile stone. You have to be a little creative and resort to both a small jump and a half split to get down. But it's definitely worth it. Because the view that awaits down on the beach is more than memorable.
The sculpting sea
On a February day like this, no one has laid out any towels on the beach. Two younger couples have a picnic on the rocks and we meet some visitors on the way down. But it is far from crowded. It's basically just us and the turquoise bay.
The soft stones of the beach are colored golden yellow in the water by the shore and the rattling sound of stones moving in time with the waves is almost a little hypnotic. Stones are ground down to sand. New stones roll in. Stones are ground into sand. On repeat.
Although the gorge and sea passage look narrow from above, are viken the wider seen here from down on the beach. Over the years, the swirling sea has carved out the sides of the gorge, creating caves and pockets below the water's surface. It is definitely not completely uncomplicated to swim here. Underwater currents and high waves can cause even the most experienced swimmer to go wrong and be sucked away or injured here among the rocks.
The world's most beautiful beaches
I don't know what it is about this beach that makes me fall. It could be the silence. The individuality. The dramatic nature. Or maybe the S-shaped bay with the neon blue sea. Regardless, this beach ends up on my post about "Top ten most beautiful beaches in the world". If I were to ever write that post. Or by the way, maybe this beach doesn't deserve to be on the list. Perhaps it deserves rather to be allowed to continue to be a little secret and solitary. So that it can continue to be so beautiful. Maybe that's why there are always only large beaches on the travel magazines' lists of the world's most beautiful beaches. You prefer to keep the most beautiful little treats to yourself.
With Wied il-Ghasri at our back, we head up the stairs again. A small lizard runs past my feet. So fast that I don't have time to photograph it. That Gozo would be Malta's calmer little sister is true on many levels, but at the same time Gozo is the wilder little sister. In any case, if you are talking about nature experiences.
How do I get to Wied il-Ghasri?
Wied il-Ghasri is located on the north coast of Gozo, approximately 2 kilometers west of the salt flats of Xwejni bay. There is a 'car road' all the way to the stairs at the edge of the gorge, but I would recommend parking the car at the junction on the 'main road' Triq Is-Sagħtrija.
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