How to Spend a Week in Gozo, Malta
If you’re looking to spend a relatively affordable week in guaranteed sunshine, in your own farmhouse, with your own pool – then the Island of Gozo in Malta is definitely one to consider.
Having never been to Malta before (and having been given the task of organising the annual summer trip on behalf of a group of four), I was sceptical and unsure where the best place to stay would be. I’d heard some horror stories from my parents from the 80s, which included them staying in a far from desirable all-inclusive resort, nothing like the gems you'd find today, so I was keen to get it right.
After some extreme googling and Instagram stalking I set my sights on the tiny Island of Gozo, just 5 km north of mainland Malta.
Here's a list of the top places to visit while you are on Gozo:
Scenic Gozo - Image: Faye Howard
Scenic GozoImage: Faye Howard
After a midnight ferry crossing from the Cirkewwa passenger terminal on Gozo (ferries run 24 hours a day), we finally arrived at the peaceful hamlet of Santa Lucija (Saint Lucia).
Mainly inhabited by locals and farmers, this is a small cluster of farmhouses located a short drive or a 45-minute walk from Gozo’s capital Vittoria (Victoria). This quiet village is full of rustic charm with traditional Gozitan houses scattered around a sleepy square and chapel.
There’s really not much going on here but if you are looking for a slice of what it’s like to live like a local in Gozo, this is the perfect option.
Gozo Coast - Image: Faye Howard
Gozo CoastImage: Faye Howard
Vittoria is the ideal place to go on your first day if you are looking to get your bearings or pick up some groceries. This is Gozo’s capital city with a large medieval citadel and basilica. There are many cafés and bars dotted around the central square of Saint George, as well as a market selling local goods, which runs most days during the high season in summer. You can eat in most restaurants for around 20 euros per head (for two courses) but if you’re looking to splurge then I’d recommend booking into Brookies – a lively restaurant and music bar in a converted farmhouse. Here you can enjoy a quintessentially Mediterranean menu with live music most evenings.
Gozo Seafood - Image: Faye Howard
Gozo SeafoodImage: Faye Howard
We soon realised that nothing on Gozo is more than a 15-minute drive away. Which for a car-less group of four, made it ideal for getting around by taxi. It’s easy enough to rent your own car though, just chat to your Travel Consultant who can book one for you. On our second day, we decided to venture out to Xlendi Bay.
Built around a small harbour on the south west coast of the island, Xlendi is the perfect example of a traditional Gozitan fishing village and is a popular spot for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Disclaimer, if you’re looking for sandy beaches you won’t find them in Xlendi. Instead, you’ll find a long stretch of rocks that border the bay with diving boards and steps down into the water.
After working up an appetite swimming, we headed up to Cima, a bar and restaurant built into the hillside overlooking the seafront. With panoramic views of the bay, this made for the perfect spot to enjoy the sunshine while knocking back a few glasses of local wine.
Malta architecture - Image: Faye Howard
Malta architectureImage: Faye Howard
Aside from Vittoria, this is probably one of the largest towns you will find on Gozo. And if you’re craving a proper sandy beach, then you’re in luck (albeit a small one).
We arrived mid-afternoon so decided to swerve the beach activities and head straight to the marina for a bite to eat. There are many options to choose from but we set our sights on Il Gambero, which comes highly recommended if you are looking for a selection of fresh dishes – as well as a warm welcome from the owner and his family!
After lunch, we followed the path along the coastline to the Xwejni bay in the small village of Zebbug. We also stumbled across the famous 350-year old saltpans that locals still use as a method of producing Sea Salt. These chequerboard-like engravings span about 3km along the coastline and were nothing like anything I’d seen before. This is also a more peaceful spot to swim, if you are looking for something away from the hustle and bustle of Marsalforn.
Gozo Malta - Image: Faye Howard
Gozo MaltaImage: Faye Howard
The Blue Lagoon
If you’re travelling between June and August then this place is not for the faint hearted. But it is well worth the visit for some of the clearest waters you’ve ever seen (and I’m talking south pacific clarity).
Taking a boat from the main port of Gozo, the waters became gradually more and more turquoise as we approached the island of Comino. We’d been told previously that this would be majorly touristy, and after spending the past few days in idyllic locations like Xlendi Bay and the Zebbug, the amount of people was quite the shock to the system.
After assessing the lack of sunbeds at the actual Blue Lagoon we decided to soften the blow with a fresh pineapple full of our favourite cocktail, consulted google maps, and proceeded to embark on the half mile trek over to the lesser known Crystal Lagoon. I immediately regretted choosing my Birkenstocks over a pair of trainers as there was no clearly marked path - so sensible shoes would be advised. Also beware that if you do decide to walk round to the Crystal Lagoon, as opposed to taking a boat, access to the water is via a 15m jump (suitable for adrenaline junkies only) or a short scramble down the rocky hillside.
So, if you’re looking for a relaxing retreat to an idyllic and peaceful island offering ample opportunity for hiking, snorkelling and diving as well as plenty of delicious local food to try, Malta’s Gozo is well worth a visit.