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What to do in Gozo?

8th March, 2023
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things to do in gozo

Things to do in Gozo?

No-one can deny that Gozo has some stunning natural landscapes, historic landmarks and cultural events unique to the island, but there is so much more for visitors to discover and explore. Maltese locals and expats are all familiar with the charming sister island of Gozo, as thousands flock to Gozo on weekends to get away from the frenetic pace of Malta. No wonder it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country… despite its small size, Gozo offers a lot! Even those that profess to know Gozo well are at times surprised when they find out about some of the island’s undiscovered gems!

We list some of the obvious ones but also went digging for some of the island’s best kept secrets.

gozo harbour
  • Sleeping Beauty

    When it comes to scenic beauty, just arrive on Gozo and look around. You have:

    1. Spectacular Mgarr Harbour basin with its cliffs, atop which the Church of the Madonna of Lourdes and the gigantic and historic complex of Fort Chambray act as sentinels to welcome visitors to Gozo.
    2. Towards Victoria is Xewkija with its majestic church known as the Rotunda St. John Baptist Church and it has the world’s third highest unsupported dome. For the curious, an elevator will take you to the balcony that surrounds the dome from where one can marvel at some of the best views on Gozo.
    3. Just past Qala is what many regard as Gozo’s prettiest beach, Hondoq ir-Rummien. With a sandy beach and views of the Gozo channel, this gem gets packed during the summer.
    4. Other beaches include Ramla Bay or locally known as Ramla il-Ħamra, famous for its long red sandy beach, then there is
    5. Wied il-Ghasri adjacent to Zebbug and of course other countless little bays and inlets.
    6. A must-see is Wied il-Mielah which boasts a spectacular arch reminiscent of the Azure Window which collapsed during a storm in 2017.
    7. Although the Azure Window is no more, the very same location at Dwerja still take visitors’ breaths away with natural wonders such as the Inland Sea, Fungus Rock and the Blue Hole. If you find yourself at Dwerja, just look down at the limestone formations at your feet to see fossilised remains of countless sea creatures from millions of years ago.
    8. Just past the village of Sannat one can gain access on a narrow road to the breath-taking Sannap Cliffs which offers has stunning views over the west of Gozo.
    9. At Marsalforn towards Obajjar Bay and Xwejni Bay one can find a much-loved landmark Il-Qolla l-Bajda also known as The White Hillock.
    10. Last but not least on this list of natural beauties is a the inlet of Mġarr ix-Xini adjacent to Xewkija and adjacent to it,
    11. the inlet of Il-Kantra, which is found at the end of the long and winding road that passes the Ta’Cenc Hotel and Spa out of Sannat.

    Gozo is full of natural, undiscovered beauty and swimming spots that are not well-known tourist traps. If you prefer going off the beaten path, the best thing to do is to ask the locals, wherever you find yourself on the island.

citadella gozo
  • Under the sea

When it comes to shipwrecks, Gozo has a large number, amongst them:

  1. MV Xlendi: This 92-meter-long cargo vessel sank off the coast of Xlendi in 1979. It is now a popular dive site, with the wreck resting at a depth of 36 meters.
  2. HMS Hellespont: This British naval ship sank in 1942 after striking a mine. It is located near Qala Point, at a depth of around 56 meters.
  3. Imperial Eagle: This former ferry was scuttled off the coast of Xatt l-Ahmar in 1999 to create an artificial reef. It is now a popular dive site, with the wreck resting at a depth of 40 meters.
  4. MV Cominoland: This cargo vessel sank off the coast of Dwejra in 1952 after running aground. Its remains are still visible from the shore.
  5. MV Karwela: This former ferry was scuttled off the coast of Xatt l-Ahmar in 2006 to create an artificial reef. It is now a popular dive site, with the wreck resting at a depth of around 40 meters.
  6. Most notable of all the shipwrecks in Malta is the the Phoenician Shipwreck of Xlendi: it is a historical shipwreck that was discovered off the coast of Xlendi in Gozo in 2007. The shipwreck is believed to date back to around 700 BC, making it one of the oldest known shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.
  • Let’s dive right into it

When it comes to diving sites, Gozo has too many to mention, but we will tempt you with just a few namely:

  1. Dwejra: the most popular scuba diving site in Gozo. Dive sites in Dwejra include the Inland Sea & Tunnel, the Azure Reef, the Blue Hole, the Coral Gardens & Cave and many more.
  • The Inland Sea: a very popular dive site in Dwejra, Gozo. A tunnel of 80m long connects the Inland Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, providing an amazing scuba diving experience.
  • The Blue Hole at Dwerja has been described as “the most beautiful dive of Maltese Islands”
  • The Azure Reef dive site in Gozo formed when the famous Azure Window collapsed in 2017.
  • The Tal-Barba dive site is also located at Dwejra and the Tal-Barba cave reaches 120m inwards.
  • The Whale Cave dive site is also at Dwejra and is a crack cave open to the surface and has a bottom depth at 25m.


2. Xatt l-Ahmar located in the south/southwest is popular scuba diving site: here you will find the wrecks of the MV Cominoland, the MV Karwela & MV Xlendi and a wall reef with caves.

The full list of wrecks and diving sites is available here:

what to do in gozo
  • Gozo – Guaranteed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you!

    There are few places in the world that can be described as an archaeological treasure trove and that is exactly what Gozo is. Here are just some of the sites that can be visited:

    1. The Ggantija Temples: a megalithic temple complex that date back to around 3600-3200 BCE, making them some of the oldest freestanding structures in the world. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    2. The Xaghra Stone Circle: a Neolithic site that dates back to around 4000-2500 BCE. The site consists of a large circle of standing stones and caves in the surrounding cliff walls, the latter which was used as a funerary complex by the same community that built Ggantija.
    3. The Mgarr ix-Xini area is a picturesque bay on the south coast of Gozo that was an important trading port during the Roman period. Archaeological excavations have revealed the remains of a Roman villa and other structures in the area.
    4. The Ta’ Cenc Dolmens: a prehistoric archaeological site that consists of a group of megalithic structures that date back to the Neolithic period, between 4000 and 2500 BCE.

    Gozo is littered with other historic archaeological places of interest such as cart ruts, caves, Roman-era building remains and many remain undiscovered. The island is a delight for anyone interested in history.

    Caves – not only for bats

    Gozo has a plethora of stunning caves to explore, from small to gargantuan. Always ensure you are accompanied by an experienced local guide. Some are:
    1. L’Ghar ta Santa Katarina – An enormous, cathedral-like cave only accessible from the sea near Xlendi.

    2.  Ras Il-Kanun – Cave Of Wheat near Marsalforn and Xweni salt pans.

    3.      Hondoq Cave – This can be reached by following the coastline from Hondoq beach up the small bay to the right.

    4.      Dragons Breath – This cave is at Mgarr Ix-Xini and can be reached by swimming out all the way to near the end of the bay, on the right hand side.

    5.      Calypso’s Cave – Homer is thought to have mentioned this cave in `The Odyssey‘: the place where Calypso, a beautiful nymph, kept Odysseus as her `prisoner of love’ for seven years. Located near Xaghra overlooking Ramla Bay.

    Game of Thrones

    Gozo has been the setting for many episodes of the popular series “Game of Thrones” and this resulted in many die-hard fans visiting the island to experience these locations first hand. Some locations included the Victoria Citadel, a fortified city located in the capital of Gozo. It was built in the 17th century by the Knights of St. John as a defence against Ottoman attacks and is immensely popular with visitors. Another location was that of Dwerja and The Azure Window which keeps the fans coming, although sadly the famous limestone arch is no more. Many other Hollywood block-busters have featured some of Gozo’s stunning locations and backdrops.

gozo game of thrones filming

The tradition of festas and the joy of carnival

Like elsewhere in Malta, Gozo has its traditional festas throughout the year. Here’s a list of the dates to make a note of when each Gozitan village has their festa:

  • 10th February Saint Paul                                Marsalforn
  • 12th March Gregory The Great                  Kercem
  • 7th May Saint Joseph                            Xlendi
  • 28th May Paul Shipwreck                   Munxar
  • 4th June Anthony of Padua              Għajnsielem
  • 11th June Corpus Christi                         Ghasri 
  • 18th June Sacred Heart of Jesus              Fontana          
  • 22nd June Our Lady Karmni Grima          Ta Pinu
  • 24th June St John the Baptist                  Xewkija           
  • 29th June Peter and St. Paul              Nadur 
  • 2nd July Visitation of Our Lady             Gharb 
  • 9th July Our Lady of Perpetual Help    Kercem           
  • 16th July St George Martyr                    Victoria          
  • 23rd July Margaret                           Sannat            
  • 6th August Saint Joseph                            Qala   
  • 10th August St Lawrence                             San Lawrenz   
  • 15th August The Assumption of Our Lady  Victoria          
  • 27th August Our Lady of Loreto                  Ghajnsielem   
  • 27th August The Assumption of Our Lady  Zebbug           
  • 3rd September Our Lady of Mount Carmel     Xlendi 
  • 8th September The Nativity of Our Lady         Xaghra
  • 17th September Our Lady of Graces                 Victoria          
  • 8th December Immaculate Conception          Qala

The Gozo Carnival is celebrated each year, usually in February. It is a celebration of life and joy and is marked by colourful parades, lively music, and vibrant costumes. The streets come alive with people of all ages dressed in elaborate costumes and there are all kinds of stalls and kiosks with toys and sweets. Most notable are the performances of the brass bands parading through the streets. The event has a rich history which has evolved over the years into a beloved tradition that attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike.

carnival in gozo

These boots are made for walking

Gozo may be a small, but it is a beautiful place to explore on foot. With its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and historic villages, Gozo offers a range of walking trails that are perfect for both casual strolls or more challenging hikes. We look at some of the most popular walks:

  1. The Victoria-Gharb walk: this takes you from the capital city of Victoria to the charming village of Gharb. Along the way, you’ll pass through countryside dotted with small farms and vineyards About 7.5 km long and takes around 2-3 hours to complete.
  2. The Xwejni Salt Pans walk: this takes you on a circular route around the salt pans just the other side of Marsalforn that are still in use today. The trail offers great views of the sea and the surrounding countryside, and you’ll also have the chance to see some interesting wildlife, including migratory birds and lizards. The walk is relatively easy and takes about 1-2 hours to complete.
  3. The Ta’ Cenc cliffs walk: this one is a must-do. It takes you along the cliffs that line the southern coast of Gozo, offering breath-taking views of the Mediterranean towards Comino. The walk is around 5 km long and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. It’s well worth the effort, has stunning scenery and do not forget to pop in at Il-Kantra for a swim to cool down!
  4. The Sanap Cliffs walk: Located close to Sannat, this walk will take your breath away. A broad, paved path meanders atop of the cliffs and will lead you through farmer’s fields all the way to Xlendi.

Gozo is the perfect place to explore on foot, and the island’s well-marked trails make it easy to get around.

The grape escape

Gozo is not only well-known for its authentic Maltese cuisine, but also for its wine. Everywhere you go you will see tiny vineyards used for the production of organic, homemade wine which is usually only for consumption by family and friends. Getting hold of one of these bottles is very difficult unless you have the right connections!

That said, there are bigger wineries on Gozo that produce sought-after wines and these enjoy protected designation of origin or DOK certification as it is known. This happens to be the highest level of certification that can be achieved. Most of the bigger vineyards are on the north-eastern part of Gozo and wine-lovers appreciate the wine for its unique flavour influenced by the island’s terroir and close proximity to the sea.

Poplular grape varieties include Syrah, Chardonnay, Gellewża, Merlot, Girgentina and Vermentino. The big three commercial estates are Tal-Massar Winery, Ta’ Mena Estate and well-known Marsovin located in the Ramla Valley Estate. If you are after local certified wines from Gozo, look for the wording DOK ‘Gozo’ and the pale yellow banderole.

Gozo – a world of charm all on its own

Being only about 7km at its widest point and only just over 14km in length, Gozo may be small but it packs a punch! According to the National Statistics Office of Malta, in 2019, a total of 727,241 tourists visited Gozo in contrast with its 39, 287 permanent residents. This represented an increase of 8.6% compared to the previous year and calculates to roughly 18.5 tourists per resident visiting the island in one year. It is therefore no wonder that hospitality and tourism form a major part of the island’s economy. In fact, so many visitors are swayed by the charm of Gozo that they either buy a holiday home on or move to Gozo permanently. Gozo truly is the beautiful emerald in the crown of Malta.

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