Gozo is a small island in the northwest of Malta. Super tiny – only 67 qm, but so much to discover! Easy to get there from Malta by ferry. The capital of Gozo is Victoria, which has nice bars, pubs and restaurants. The surrounding villages have a much more quiet character and many bars close early or remain closed at low season. Gozo has many small villages where time seems to stay still. I felt so relaxed in Gozo. Gozo might be crowded during high season but is a beautiful empty nest at low season (we went in Decembre) with the perfect temperature to hike along the cliffs and discover the nature and beauty of Gozo.
From Malta to Gozo by ferry
You can easily get to Gozo from Malta Island by ferry. The public Gozo Channel Line leaves every 45 minutes during the day. Not even 5€ for the return ticket without a car and 15,70€ if you travel by car. Affordable adventure that´s for sure. The ferry ticket can be bought directly at the harbour Cirkewwa of Malta in the northwest of Malta island. The boat ride takes less than 30 minutes. Spend the time on deck wonderfully by looking at the sea and the waves. I recommend taking the ferry in the evening to see the beautiful sunset on the boat. Take a look at when the sun goes down and start the cruise accordingly. You will be payed of by a dreamlike sunset. It can get pretty windy on the boat – take a warm jacket. From the harbour Mġarr you can take the bus no. 322 to the capital Victoria and change to any other bus from there.
Victoria Rabat – the capital of Gozo
Like many other cities in Rebublic of Malta, the capital of Gozo has two names. The official name is Victoria and the Maltese name is Ir-Rabat. The city has many things to offer: a Citadelle, narrow streets and old buildings. There are many churches and you can visit them during the day. I have been wandering around the streets and got lost meanwhile. Victoria is a beautiful mix between the arabic and the western style and still has its own style.
There are delicious restaurants and a nice bar to find. Christian, the local which we met through Couchsurfing, took us to the Cafe Jubilee at Pjazza Indipendenza. The prices are good and the food is excellent. The bar has an original and cozy atmosphere and offers small snacks on the house to the beer to quench your thirst. We spent hours here.
Citadelle of Victoria
The old Citadelle in Victoria is a great place to visit. The Citadelle was build in the 15th Century. The entrance is free and you have a stunning view over Victoria and Gozo. There are many stairs to climb but it is definitely worth the view. But not only the view is magnificient, the Citadelle itself has its own magic vibe. Take some water with you as the walk will make you thirsty.
Salt pans in Gozo
Sea salt is mined in Gozo at the salt pans next to Xwejni bay in Zebbug. The salt fields are impressive. Small catch basins were built high on the offshore rock plateaus from mud more than 300 years ago. The sun evaporates the water and leaves thick salt lumps. The air smells salty and the location invites for beautiful pictures. We found this place by accident and were so happy about our discovery. It seems to be a pretty famous place anyways, but at low season you are probably going to be the only one there.
Qolla l-Bajda Battery
Qolla I-Bajda Battery in Xwejni next to the salt pans is an old historical battery from the 18th century. It served as an observation post during World War II but is abandoned nowadays. It is closed to the public, but it is still possible to get inside…
Exploring the inside of the abandoned battery
Since Tibout and I are adventurers we were magically attracted by the old building with the impressive lock and its stunning view over the ocean and the salt fields. The thick lock blocked the entrance. Of course, the lock did not stop ourselves from our desire of discovering the inside. Looking for an entrance, Tibout found another door – bricked but with missing stones and big enough to climb through. And as we discovered later, there are several of ruins like this one on Gozo, but also on Malta. On the discovery tour, we concluded that it had to be used as an bar at some point, no matter what the sign says. Windows, a terrace as well as tables and bars were our pieces of evidence. You can find another abandoned buiding in Gozo in the eastern village Qala.
Using Couchsurfing in Gozo
While me and my friend were eating pizza in the capital Victoria the next day, I browsed through Couchsurfing by using the feature “hangouts” and got in touch with a local: Christian. We were not looking for a place to stay as we rented an Airbnb in one of the villages, but wanted to get in touch with the Maltese people. Christian suggested picking us up after work by car. We enjoyed the rest of the pizza and were waiting for our new friend. At my request to find a nice place to see the sunset (I am a sunset lover!), he suggested the beach next to Dwejra Bay close in San Lawrenz and told us about the Azure window on the way to the beach.
Dwejra Bay – San Lawrenz
Dwejra Bay used to be famous for the natural wonder of Gozo called Azure Window: a natural bridge build by a huge rock formation. Unfortunately, it collapsed on the 8th of March 2017 during a storm. When people arrived the next morning to have a look at the beautiful natural bridge – it was gone. Until that day, a trip to San Lawrenz was a popular destination for tourists. But even without this bridge it is definitely worth the drive. Since I usually discover a place without reading about it beforehand, I did not expect to see a natural bridge anyways and was still impressed by the place. That is what I love so much about travelling with no plan: you cannot get disappointed and every place is full of secrets to discover.
We watched the sunset and started chatting about travelling, the life in Gozo and Malta and Couchsurfing. When the sun slowly disappeared, the tourists made their way their cars to head home. We kept sitting on the cliffs waiting for the night to come out. The darkness filled the place and the moon climbed up to the sky. After a while, the sky was full of stars. Sitting high above the ocean, we listened to the waves, smelled the salty air and laid back for stargazing.
“At night, when the sky is full of stars and the sea is still you get the wonderful sensation that you are floating in space” – Natalie Wood.
Ramla Bay and Calypso Cave
The next day we caught up with Christian again and headed to Calypso Cave to eat pizza. The cave is supposed to be closed but still accessible. The legend says that a nymph named Calypso kept Odysseus as a prisoner of love for several years in this cave. The cave is the perfect place for lunch with a magical view over the beautiful Ramla Bay and its red sand.
Cliffs of Gozo
The cliffs of Gozo are stunning. We did not had the time to explore all of them but made it to Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs and Sanap Cliffs Sunset (Munxar). A great area to hike during the day and to chill for sunset: the cliffs turn into red and yellow and the sea reflects the warm light. A decent hike with a great view.