Top 10 (alternative) places to visit in Gozo
Are you heading to Malta's sister island in the near future and thinking of what to do in Gozo? Is Gozo worth the hassle of driving up to Cirkewwa and catching the ferry and then getting lost in the tiny streets of this small island? Definitely yes!
Gozo is only 67km², 14km wide and about 7km long. Yes, the island is fairly small, but that doesn't mean that there isn't much to see or do. This only means that the attractions are more concentrated and you don't have to travel for hours in between places. Which to me seems very convenient.
I've been to Gozo countless times, but each time I go I manage to discover something new and visit places I've never been before. I like to return to Gozo's capital Victoria, walk up to Citadel, see the sunset at Dwejra or have a swim at Ramla Bay, but there is so much more!
Here is my list of TOP 10 rather alternative places and attractions that you can visit in Malta's sister island Gozo, so let's get you inspired! :)
I think that this Grotto one of the best kept secrets of Gozo. It’s situated underneath a private house in the village of Xaghra and the tour is guided by the owner herself. The Grotto was discovered by her grandfather Mr. Anthony Xerri in 1923 when he was digging a well to find water. And what can you look forward to? For a nice cool down during the summer months as the constant temperature in Xerri’s Grotto is 19 degrees. But most importantly for some impressive stalagmites and stalactites that took thousands of years to form, especially considering the lack of water on the island. You will find yourself approximately 7 meters below the surface and the guided pathway is about 17 metres long and the tour takes about 15 minutes. The entrance is only €2,50.
Welcome to Ghasri Valley also known as Wied il-Gharsi, gorgeous inlet just down the hill from Zebbug. Wied il-Ghasri is a secluded bay with a tiny pebbly beach wedged between high cliffs. The view of the valley from the top of the cliffs is stunning. The outstanding natural beauty of this place will blow you away. There are about 100+ steps to reach the small pebble beach, but I'm sure you will have numerous breaks to take pictures or selfies. But once you there, surrounded by the natural beauty, crystal clear water and hardly any people, you feel like you found a paradise. Just be there earlier in the morning before it gets busy with people and divers.
3) Tas-Salvatur Hill, Marsalforn
If you are up for a nice hike rewarded with great views and a close up look at the statue of the Risen Christ, make your way to the outskirts of Marsalforn. Here you'll find, on top of Tas-Salvatur Hill, the statue of the Risen Christ. According to oral tradition, the first stone statue of Our Saviour was placed on top of the hill in 1870. The statue was replaced couple of times due to its exposure to the elements. The present statue is 6-metre hight and its arms stretch 6 metres wide. Five times smaller than the one in Rio de Janeiro, but still pretty impressive.
If you find yourself in Nadur, it's most likely because of their traditional Ftira Ghawdxija – a Gozitan style of pizza with potatoes. If so, get your takeaway box here as this is the perfect place to enjoy this delicious meal. Ta’ Kenuna Tower is situated on top of a hill offering outstanding views of Malta, Comino and Gozo. It’s surrounded by a small botanic garden, with a fresh water pond and a nice wooden bridge. There are plenty of benches to choose from to sit down and enjoy the views. The tower itself was built in 1848 and when telegraph service was introduced on the Maltese islands it served as one of the telegraph stations.
When you arrive in Gozo, Fort Chambray will be one of the first things you will come across. The Fort is situated in the area of Ghajsielem (where the Christmas Nativity Village takes place) and it was built in the mid-18th century by the Order of Saint John. The Fort was meant to be the new Citadel and actually replace the current Cittadella and serve as the island’s capital, but that obviously never happened. It was used during the French invasion and also served as a military hospital. I’ve never been inside, but it’s listed on Booking.com and if you wish you can book your holiday stay right here. I just explored the Fort for the outside and walked all the way around it ending up in the Mgarr Harbour.
Ta’ Kola Windmill is located just few hundred metres away from the Ggantija temples in Xaghra, Gozo. If you are visiting these megalithic temples, dedicate some time to also see one of the few surviving windmills dating back to the Knight’s Period, the Ta' Kola Windmill. The last miller of Ta’ Kola Windmill was Guzeppi Grech also known as Zeppu Kola. He was born on 12th April 1900 and he took over this windmill after his father’s death in 1926. The miller lived on the first floor and visitors can walk through his kitchen, dining room and bedrooms. The round central tower is also accessible to admire the milling machinery.
7) Xlendi Tower
The village of Xlendi is a popular tourist destination, however not everyone makes the effort and walk to the Xlendi tower which is visible from the bay and there is a path walk leading up to it. Well until the very end, when it gets a bit rocky, but still manageable. The Xlendi tower is situated at the entrance to the bay and it was built in 1650 making it the oldest free-standing coastal watchtower in Gozo. Its original purpose was to defend Xlendi Bay. The tower is currently closed for reconstruction, but the surrounding areas with the view of the cliffs is so beautiful that if you are looking for a nice scenic walk, this can be a good option for you.
This is definitely one of the must-see places in Gozo. It’s so unique and out of this world that you cannot miss these salinas. And if you start walking from Qolla I-Bajda point (marked on GoogleMaps), you can stroll casually along the coast admiring these beautiful salt pans all the way to Wied il-Ghasri, which I already mentioned. This is approximately 3km long walk. Plus let's not forget the history of these rock-cut salt pans. They origin from the times of the Romans, who converted the unsorted pans into square constructions and equipped them with an irrigation system. In those days salt was a vital commodity at least for food preservation.
As you may already know, Gozo is home to Ggantija Temples, the oldest free-standing structure in the world. Much older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids in Egypt. But it’s not the only temple in Gozo. If you are looking for something less touristic, much quieter, combined with a nice easy walk and breath-taking views of Dwejra, then Wardija Punic Temple is your best bet. It’s situated on the Ras il-Wardija promontory, isolated from the island’s life, easily reached on foot, ideal for all the adventurous backpackers.
The Maltese summer is very hot and quite exhausting especially when you are out and about sightseeing. Luckily Gozo’s capital city Victoria has a great ‘hiding’ place where you can sit down and rest your feet surrounded by beautiful flowers and palm trees. This public garden is located in the lower part of the Republic Street and offers plenty of benches, wooden gazebos as well as a playground for children. The Maltese islands also get rather brown and dried up during the summer months so it’s nicely refreshing to come across such a beautiful garden in the middle of a city.
I hope you got a couple new ideas of where to go next time you are in Gozo. :) Let me know in the comments if there are other places that are definitely missing on this list! Thank you! x