Before deciding to visit Malta, I never realised it was actually made up of three separate islands. Even though you’ll find most of the major sightseeing spots on the mainland, I actually loved its sister island of Gozo much more.
As a smaller and less developed neighbour, Gozo is much more rural in comparison, and its quiet, laid-back vibe was just what I was looking for when we came to this tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea.
I’d heard driving in Malta could be a bit… challenging, shall we say, but we’d decided to rent a car during our four-day trip anyway, and honestly, I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s true that traffic can be ruthless in Malta, but thankfully this isn’t the case on Gozo, so even if you don’t fancy having a car throughout your trip, renting one just for Gozo makes it super easy to explore.
Alternatively, you can use the public transport on the island to get around, or there are also two tourist sightseeing buses which operate on Gozo – you can buy tickets for these on the day of your visit.
How to get from Malta to Gozo
Whether you’re going on foot or in a rental car, getting to Gozo from Malta is really easy. There are three ferries which operate daily from Cirkewwa in Malta to Mgarr in Gozo, leaving every 45 mins. It costs just €15.70 for a car and driver return, and €4.65 for a standard passenger fare.
If you’re going in a car, just drive straight up to the queue for the next ferry, and follow the instructions from the attendants. You don’t need to book in advance, and you only pay when you return back to Malta after leaving the ferry.
Things to do in Gozo
One of the best things about sightseeing in Gozo (and Malta in general), is that nearly all of the sites are free! There are several museums around the country which do incur entry fees, but you can easily explore the whole place without shelling out a penny. Here are six things to do on the island of Gozo, as tried and tested by me.
The water around Malta is some of the clearest and bluest I’ve ever seen, and you’ll probably want to get in it as soon as you can. One of the best places to go for a swim on Gozo is at Xlendi Bay, a really picturesque seaside village located at the south-west of the island.
For some history in the area, you can take a walk to Xlendi Tower nearby, which is one of over a dozen lookout posts found across Malta.
There are also plenty of restaurants around the bay which all overlook the water, where you can stop for some delicious food and drinks.
2. Ġgantija Temples
Malta is a haven for historic sites, and the main one in Gozo is the neolithic Ġgantija Temples. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this temple was built nearly 5,500 years ago, meaning it’s even older than the pyramids of Egypt!
Entry to the site costs €10 each, and gives access to a small museum inside with more info and artifacts excavated from the site, before a visit to the temples themselves.
I enjoyed our visit, but if you’re short on time, money, or just don’t fancy seeing all of the many temples in Malta, I’d suggest skipping this one and visiting Hagar Qim on the mainland instead which is much bigger, and costs the same to enter.
3. Blue Hole/Azure Window
Search for photos of Malta, and one of the first images you’ll see will be of the Azure Window, a limestone rock arch which was one of Malta’s most famous landmarks. Notice though that I said ‘was’, because sadly it collapsed into the ocean following a heavy storm earlier this year.
Even though it’s too late to see the Azure Window, it’s still worth visiting the area where it once stood. The scenery here is really beautiful, and you can still see the Blue Hole, a natural round swimming pool on the side of the cliff.
The waves were far too strong the day I visited, so sadly I wasn’t able to go in myself, but if you’re there on a calm day, you can also go for a swim in it!
4. Wied Il-Għasri
If you don’t mind climbing a few steps, this is a beautiful spot that’s perfect for swimming and relaxing. Being off the beaten track, it’s more secluded and doesn’t attract nearly as many crowds as elsewhere on the island.
A series of steps lead down to a small pebble beach here, where you can enter the water in the most picturesque surroundings.
The heart of Gozo is Victoria, its capital, where most Gozitans live. This was the last stop on our day trip, and having spent the rest of the day driving around the coastal parts of the island, the centre is really different in comparison. There’s one main street here lined with modern restaurants, shops and cafes on either side, and makes a great place to stroll through. But the piece-de-la-resistance here is the…
With a fortress, castle and cathedral inside, the Cittadella is a large walled area in the centre of Victoria which has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. The site itself is fascinating to walk around, and offers some of the best panoramic views of Gozo.
If you’re up for learning more about the city, there are also some museums inside including the Old Prison, Museum of Archaeology, and the Natural Science Museum – these have various entry fees and opening times however, so make sure to check before you go.
If you have more time on the island, check out these other bonus stops:
Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs
A beautiful cliff face not far from Mgarr ferry terminal, you’ll need to go off grid to find these cliffs as there are no signposts. But find it, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views completely away from the crowds.
As one of the only sandy beaches in Gozo, and Malta, head here if it’s a lazy sun-soaked day you’re after!
A Roman Catholic church in the countryside of Gozo, with lovely views of the area.
Is Gozo or Malta on your travel list? Have you already been before? Tell me in the comments!