Go-Go-Gozo!

What to do and see with 5 days free in Gozo

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If  a  relaxed pace, interesting sight-seeing, rural scenery, transparent-sea – green water and a variety of beaches is your thing then perhaps Gozo is for you?

How to spend five days in Gozo

The only way in to Gozo, currently is by ferry from Ċirkewwa on the north-west coast of Malta to the port of Mġarr on Gozo. There are many crossings each day and a fully synchronised bus service once on Gozo.

Gozo Ferry  – Bus Service

There are a total of 15 different routes on Gozo many of which pass through Victoria, the capital.

http://www.transport.gov.mt/land-transport/bus-service

Rent-a Car You really don’t need to worry if a car is more to your liking. Cars are cheaper to hire on Gozo than in Malta and taxis are inexpensive. Car hire: https://maltafirstcarhire.com/?gclid=CPGRvabzlM8CFVYz0woda-UNcw

Or,

https://www.sixt.co.uk/?prpd=Y&pccstatsugg=Gozo&c=GB+-+Outbound+MT&adg=GB+-+MT+Gozo+Hire&kw=car%20hire%20gozo&mt=exact&sxamc=Google|Search&sefir=41&gclid=CIzVtfHzlM8CFQjgGwod49wBZA&_rfa=1

Cycling is viable – the roads are quiet and safe – there are even organised cycle tours if groups are more your thing.

Rent – a- bike – http://www.victoriagaragegozo.com/ (Rabat)

Rent- a-bike –   http://www.gozomgarrtouristservice.com/ (At ferry port – Mgarr.)

Rent – a- bike http://www.on2wheelsgozo.com/  (Marsalforn)

Or maybe you’d prefer to get about cycling in a group?

Then check out:

Organised Cycling Tours http://gozoadventures.com/discover-gozo

bike

Maybe you fancy  a full circuit of the island? (I did!) It’s only 9 miles long by 4 miles wide so it’s easily achievable. If  you want to walk  March – May, or October – December is preferable.

For independent walking try :  http://www.visitgozo.com/en/content/country-walks-rambling-169/ or the Ramblers of Malta –  http://www.ramblersmalta.org/ are very accommodating and friendly.

You don’t need to join an expensive walking holiday. Try booking a flight, maybe:    http://www.airmalta.com/ then organise your own accommodation.

I stayed at Xlendi Bay, but there are a range of other places.

Visit: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malta/gozo/hotels  for an excellent guide to where to stay.

Five days in Gozo

Day 1

Firstly, familiarise yourself with the island by boat. There are so many  opportunities for diving, snorkelling, water sports as well as swimming. Gozo is known as a world class place to dive. So, give it a go. There are very supportive dive centres dotted about Gozo. Personally, I haven’t dived yet, but it is on the cards!

See http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malta/gozo/activities for further information.

1472579365153-3-copy
Blue Lagoon, Comino

Xlendi Pleasure Cruises do a fantastic Round Island Tour, including a trip to the famous blue lagoon on the neighbouring island of Comino (ten minutes by boat) The cruise stops at most beaches on the island and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable should you have questions. They also provide a delicious lunch and have a bar.

For further details see my Round the island of Gozo blog for more details

https://julieadexter.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/round-the-island-of-gozo/

http://www.xlendicruises.com/

In the evening why not have a fish dinner at one of the waterside restaurants on Xlendi Bay? – It is a beautiful location and the fish restaurants – all – have a wealth of choice including gluten free options!

http://www.malta-info.co.uk/resorts/xlendi_gozo.htm

 

gozo
Xlendi bay dotted with all types of restaurants in a beautiful setting at the water’s edge.

 

Day 2

In contrast to your first day why not spend the second day in the island’s capital, Victoria? Victoria is known to the locals as Rabat. There’s so much to see and do. You’re spoilt for choice!

You’re going to want to visit the Citadel:

citade
Citadel, Victoria, (Rabat)

A good place to start is at the free visitor centre which is very informative.

Things to do around the Citadella

It could be that you decide spend a half day at the citadella – there is so much to see.The citadel is a prime example of Aragonese and medieval architecture. It has ramparts fortifications  and  city walls which offer 360 degree view of the city. But if you want to do something different after  a walk around the Citadella, then you could visit the smaller museums.

Very close by is Gozo Cathedral, which was once a sight of a Roman place of worship to the goddess Juno;  as well as: The Cathedral Museum, the Museum of Archaeology, the Folklore Museum, the Gozo Nature Museum, the Old Prison, the Old Gunpowder Magazine, the Grain Silos, the Battery and the World War II Shelter.

So much choice! – Choose according to your interests.

 

Food: If you don’t want to leave the citadel just yet, you could try the Café San Martino, a short walk from the Pjazza Katidral, (Cathedral Museum Piazza), yet still within the citadel at St Martin’s demi-bastion. So you can continue your tour without leaving  the citadel.

san-martino
Café San Martino, Rabat.

Alternatively,  if you want to head back to the main square for lunch, try Il Tokk http://www.it-tokkrestaurant.com/Home.aspx  or stop by Grapes bar café near the Basilica. Both are traditional Gozitan fare providers, try the stuffed vegetables, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, or octopus stew – stuffat –tal- qarnit and the cheese platter with Gbejna, a Gozitan cheese is to die for.

grapes

 

You’ll get a first class view of the Basillica if you eat there!

basilica

 

At the end of the day why not head to a beach for a refreshing swim. West may be best for the sunset

From Victoria take bus 310 to Marsalforn

File:Xwejni Bay Marsalforn.JPG

 

or bus 304 to Ramla bay, alternatively take the 306 to Xlendi Bay.

File:Gozo - Rambla Bay.jpg
This beach is beautiful and the sea is hyper salty!

 

Day 3

You could start the day with an early morning swim with a snorkel and breakfast, or lunch at one of the beaches  before heading off to Ggantija temples. They are a world heritage sight and a MUST SEE.

Further details on this interesting archaeological sight can be found here: https://julieadexter.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/the-ggan tija-hagar-qim-and-mnajdra-temples-of-malta-and-gozo/

Take your time after wards and have a lazy dinner at Qbajjar restaurant in Marsalforn. There you can feast on local dishes, classic dishes such as fish, steaks, or even  pizza. Locals flock here. So the proof of the pudding must be in the eating, so say they! Besides, what  could be better than a sea view? http://qbajjarrestaurant.com/

 

 

Day 4

Today why not be a little nautical? The Kelinu Grima Maritime Museum is a privately owned museum in Nadur that has a great collection of exhibits that will take you through an interesting journey of three centuries of maritime history. You can find rare and priceless items, such as original pieces of timber from Lord Nelson’s ship,  the HMS Victory, the first US warship, the Constitution, battleships and also one of Lord Mountbatten’s gold epualettes which was worn during his duty in the Mediterranean.

If a church is more your thing (and  there are 50 of them on Gozo),  the astounding Rotunda church is well a worth a visit. It was made by the people for the people and took 20 years to build. Some people were killed in their devotion to making it. Fortunately, now there is a lift to take you to the top where there is an automated clock. It is remarkable in that its shell went up around the existing church, so it is actually two churches in one. And it is bigger than St Paul’s cathedral in London.

It is an architectural masterpiece and the third largest unsupported dome in Europe – remarkable for a small island!

rotunda1-rotunda

The views from the top are excellent and it is well  worth a visit – and do climb to the top (or take the lift).

Nearby there are restaurants cafes and bars for refreshments amongst them the only stone oven on the island. Try Gozitan pizza there – you wont’t regret it!

In the afternoon if you haven’t already passed by –  take a visit to the salt pans at Marsalforn.

 

 

For Dinner why not head to the ferry terminal and harbour at Mgarr for the fresh catch of the day? Porto Vechio, Martino Garces Street in the yacht marina, Mgarr, or Manoel’s restaurant are particularly good.

Day 5

Go on the trail of Edward Lear – if you fancy! He visited Gozo for one week in 1866 where he coined the term pomskizillious and gromphiberous to describe the Gozitan scenery. Head to the village of Xaghra (Shara) to the Pomskizillious Museum of Toys.

dsc_0214-2ed-leardsc_0238-2dsc_0266dsc_0278

Inside the museum as well as a late 18th century Maltese Doll with carved wooden head and some Italian Presepio and figurines dating from 1790’s, there is a 1930’s Noah’s Ark as well as other lead toys including zoo and farm animals, cowboys and indians, aeroplanes, ships and soldiers and an abundance of very spooky dolls on display

Of Edward Lear himself there is a poem written by him to the nymph Calypso and a diary entry which reveals his account of his painting Xaghra, as well as a visit to the temples. There is a spooky life size replica of him in a display case along with a first edition Laughable Lyrics and Nonsense songs from 1872 and his Nonsense songs, stories and botany, Alphabets. Early edition (1872).

In the afternoon kick off your shoes and chill  at one of the gorgeous beaches you haven’t yet visited, before dancing the night away in the fantastic club La Grotta club -inside a cave  at Xlendi.

*  *  *

I stayed at Gozo for four days at the end of August when even in summertime it wasnt over crowded. I’ll definitely be returning.

For further details see https://www.lonelyplanet.com/malta/gozo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Julie A Dexter

Here are a selection of my journals, observations written whilst travelling. Also a Lonely Planet.com Pathfinder See more here: https://auth.lonelyplanet.com/profiles/julieadexter Other: Specialist Teacher for schools in and around Newham, London, UK. Other Writing: Working on a novel for reluctant readers aimed at 10 to 13 year olds and a crossover novel for Young Adults. Three short stories published in the Tresco Times and Creative Week, 2001, 2002, 2006.

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