Malta’s quiet and rural sister is just a 25 minute ferry from the main island and yet it seems like a different world. With a population of around 90% less than Malta, it’s easy to find some peace and quiet and enjoy the spectacular views. Gozo was famed for the Azure Window at Dwejra, which unfortunately collapsed in 2017 after heavy storms, so we set out to see what else this small rock could offer.
Gozo is only 9 miles long, but we split our time here staying in Għarb in the west and Xagħra in the east.
WHAT TO SEE
Getting to Għarb from the ferry, like most places in Malta and Gozo, is easy. The bus from the ferry will take you to Victoria, the capital and you change at the main bus station for your onward connection.
Għarb is a good base to explore the west of the island, with plenty of coastal hikes and natural wonders to visit. We enjoyed the Wied Il-Mielah, another arch on the coast and the cliff walk around there. Around the site of the former Azure Window, there is also the Blue Hole and Dwejra Inland Sea an inlet through a cave in the cliffs which can be easily reached by bus and on foot.
Ta’ Pinu is a Roman Catholic basilica between Għarb and Għasri and its stunning architecture really stands out against the Gozitan landscape. You can incorporate this into a good loop, walking through the country lanes and farmland to get a taste of the tempo of life here.
The best area for swimming is Xlendi Bay, and if you are feeling energetic, it’s a one hour hike from Għarb, through the beautiful towns of Kerċem and Fontana. Xlendi Bay is at the end of a fertile valley, home to Tortoise Rock and the Wied tax-Xlendi tomb, which looks like it opens and closes as you walk past it from the road.
If you don’t want to swim at Xlendi, you can hike up to see the tower for some great views of the cliffs or climb up the steps on the right of the bay to visit Caroline Cave. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink here.
The sites near Xaghra are worth a visit, with three beaches within its vicinity its a popular destination for families and couples; Marsalforn Beach is more developed with mini beaches spread across its bay (little sand, more pebbley), there is a wide range of water