We recently had the pleasure of spending 8 days holidaying in a farmhouse on Gozo. Visiting Gozo is like stepping back in time, church bells ring throughout the day and villagers go about their daily life much as they would have 50 years ago. It’s only a tiny island (14km long by 7km wide) but it’s brimming with history and natural beauty, so there is a vast amount of exploring that can be done.
We were only a short 1.5km distance from the lovely fishing village of Xlendi (pronounced Shlendee). It’s a picture perfect little bay wedged between magnificent cliffs. Colourful fishing boats dot the water, but there are also plenty of designated swim spots including a sandy shallow beach which is perfect for toddlers. The seafront has a number of restaurants, and we spent a number of mornings eating a continental breakfast at St Patricks Hotel admiring the view. Our toddler also enjoyed feeding the tiny fish that came into the shallows with the tide.
The Azure Window
Take a drive out on the windy road to Dwerja Point to see some amazing coastal rock formations. There is a cliff bound lagoon that connects to the open sea via a tunnel. Small boats can pass through this and for a small charge of €3 you can take a ride through the cavern out to the open sea to get a glimpse of the Azure Window, a colossal natural arch in the sea cliffs. Our toddler particularly enjoyed the boat ride through the cave!
Kids always enjoy a good sandy beach and Ramla Bay is Gozo’s largest and most famous. We visited late in the afternoon on a weekend and it was a popular place for locals and tourists alike. It’s a very pretty beach with sand of a golden-red hue and well worth a visit especially as the sun is setting on a hot day. A visit on a weekday might have been a smarter move.
Wander the streets of Victoria
Take a wander around Gozo’s teeny capital Victoria, in particular the narrow alleys around St George Basilica and Pjazza Indipendenza. There is an open air market every morning and open air cafes to sample Gozitan fare. There are also a number of gourmet food shops scattered around Victoria showcasing local specialities, such as Gozo cheese. We picked up fresh ingredients and cooked up a storm back at the farmhouse.
The Citadel or Il Kastell located in Victoria dominates the skyline, and it’s stunning. It’s a bit of a steep walk from Pjazza Independenza (especially with a double buggy on a hot morning) but it’s well worth the effort. The area is known to have been first fortified during the Bronze age around 1500BC, but much of the Citadel as it exists today was constructed by the Knights of St. John between 1599 and 1603. Inside the walls lies the 17th century baroque Cathedral of Assumption, as well as a number of museums, art galleries and shops. Link:
Visit a Festa
Every village in Malta and Gozo has an annual “festa” celebrating the feast day of a patron saint. While we were in Gozo there were a number of festas happening (most occur between May and Sept) and we had the opportunity to go along to the festa in Gharb. Definitely get along to one of these events if you can, it’s a great way to experience the local culture and hospitality first hand. A festa generally involves a Mass, followed by street procession with a band and fireworks. Most kids love fireworks! Click here for more information about festas on Malta and Gozo.
Admire the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island
Everyone says the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island is a must, and based on the photos of the lagoon with its aquamarine water it certainly looks amazing. However, travelling with a 3 month old and 2 year old meant that a ferry trip out to a shadeless beach for a day in 35 degree heat was never going to be a reality for us. If your kids are a little older I’d say definitely go for it. We decided to admire Comino from afar and had lunch at Xerri il-Bukkett on Zewwiega Road. This establishment is on a hill-top and has astounding views across the channel to Comino and Malta. I imagine the view draws in many a tourist but it’s also filled with locals and even has a bocce hall at the front of the restaurant.
The Ggantija Temples (meaning Giantess) are a listed UNESCO world heritage site and they are the largest and oldest of the megalithic temples on the Maltese Islands. At over 5500 years old, some suggest that they may even be one of the world’s oldest structures. The admission fee of €5 also gives you access to the Ta’Kola Windmill.
I love glass, so a visit to the Gozo Glass’ studio was always on the cards. Located in the Ta’Dbiegi Crafts Village near San Lawrenz you can watch the talented craftsmen in action. Our toddler was fascinated with the glass blowing.
Snorkelling and Diving
So this is one that is not for young kids, however, if you’re an avid diver (as my husband is) it would be a shame to visit Gozo and not dive. Gozo offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in Europe as the limestone cliffs have been carved out by waves over the years and have an interesting network of caves for the curious marine explorer, in particular the Blue Hole and the Chimney. For more information on diving in Gozo check out www.dive-gozo.com
For more information about Gozo check out the following links: