Malta's little sister - a quieter, unspoilt haven.
Gozo is the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago, with a population of approximately 30,000 people. Though only separated from mainland Malta by a 5km stretch of sea, Gozo is distinctly different. The Island is about a third of the size of Malta, more rural and simple, its culture and way of life rooted in fishing, as well as in primitive pastoral and agricultural activity.
Gozo's charm is apparent the moment you arrive there. Greener, cleaner, more rural and smaller than Malta, life on Gozo moves at a leisurely pace. The rhythms dictated by the seasons, fishing and agriculture. In winter and spring, the Island is covered with flowering herbs and lush crops. In summer, it’s awash with colourful flowers, such as oleander, bougainvillea and geranium. Gozitans have their own individual character and identity, with noticeably different lifestyles, accents and dialect. Gozitans are known for their friendliness and welcoming nature, often going out of their way to help visitors.
Gozo's rugged landscape and spectacular coastline await exploration. Choose from rocky inlets to red sandy beaches or sail, snorkel, dive and fish. The island’s rocky terrain is ideal for walking and trekking, cycling and rock climbing.Wherever you look, the sea is never more than a stone’s throw away and its Gozo’s remarkable coastline that stimulates the imagination so strongly: tiny creeks, beaches of red sand, turquoise bays, stretches of limestone criss-crossed with tiny saltpans and majestic high cliffs falling in a sheer drop into the clear waters.
History of Gozo
Gozo comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, plus one of the archipelagos’ best preserved prehistoric temples, Ggantija. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ggantija Temples are worth going to visit at least once. Besides beautiful vistas Gozo also has an active cultural calendar and nightlife, yet the busy traveller is still able to find a relaxing dining experience. For those who wish to switch off and regenerate, Gozo is the place to be. Historically, the Island has always been distinct from mainland Malta; different milestones, traditions, happenings and topography have distinguished the Island both on a national scale and as a travel destination. A lower population density and the slower process of urbanisation have contributed to conserving the Island's characteristic aura, which wins over the traveller who is looking to slow down.
Where to stay in Gozo
Finding accommodation in Gozo is easy; not only that there is a variety of good hotels to choose from, Gozo offers the exclusive experience of farmhouse and villa renting. Most come with their private pool and the choices are attractive; opt for an authentic 400-year old restored farmhouse or for a stylishly rustic villa. Farmhouse and villa holidays offer privacy as well as a home environment that can’t be achieved in hotels. Most of these properties are located in villages, offering tourists the opportunity to interact with the locals and live in rhythm of the Island, experiencing the village ambience with afternoon lulls, fresh produce, church celebrations and colourful local characters who are always happy to welcome visitors to their villages.
Dining and wining in Gozo
There are a wide variety of restaurants that offer both fine dining as well as more casual eateries offering traditional food. Gozo hosts to some of the best award-winning restaurants on the Islands and, with picturesque views of the harbours and bays; it’s easy to find a restaurant in a spectacular setting.
What to do around Gozo, diving, events and activities
Gozo also has some of the Mediterranean’s best dive sites as a result of clear, calm waters and a number of underwater caves, wrecks and reefs. An incredible diving experience, the spectacular Blue Hole, beneath the Azure Window is a must for the diving enthusiast. Off-the-beaten track jeep tours are available for the more adventurous traveller, including olive oil and wine tasting. In October, there is the Olive Oil Harvest Festival, ideal for those truly interested in gastronomy. Village bars open early in the morning for the early risers who attend the first mass of the day and close fairly late at night, catering to the socialising needs of locals and visitors.