Xlendi is a small tourist resort located in the Southwest of Gozo, in the Maltese Islands. Once a small fishing village, this bay, flanked by high cliffs attracts considerable crowds throughout the whole year. A 17th century tower rises on top of the high cliffs, adding to charm of the place. The town is surrounded by greenery that provides an opportunity for great walks. The pristine greenery hosts various flora and fauna, some of which are rare, such as seagulls, the Maltese Freshwater Crab and the national plant 'Widnet il-Bahar'. The town probably gets its name from the word "xelandion" which was a kind of Byzantine boat that possibly used this port. Xlendi is surrounded by the villages of Munxar, Fontana and Kerċem, and just recently, Xlendi got its own mini-administrative council that is responsible for the main activities in the area.
The main church is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whose feast is celebrated in the second half of August. As happens in all feasts in Malta, the event brings together band clubs, decorated streets and fireworks, under the religious devotion to Our Lady who watches the place and protects it. Particular to this feast is the traditional ‘ġostra’, where competitors fight for a trophy attached to a greasy pole is set up like a plank at the water’s edge. Although Xlendi is particularly known for its beach, in the area tombs dating to the Punic-Byzantine times were found, a few at St. Simon Point and others in the valley. Romans used the sheltering port of Xlendi since the cliffs protect the bay from high winds. There is a reef in the bay that caused many shipwrecks, leaving a number of Roman amphora on the seabed.
The topography of the area is panoramic, with rather high cliffs separated by a valley that carries rainwater from the surrounding villages into the bay. The valley is one of the few where the Maltese Freshwater Crab lives. Previously, Xlendi bay was a sandy beach, however, with natural processes and human interference, the bay is now pebbly. This does not reduce its popularity though; swimming, sunbathing and diving are prevalent. The tower overlooking the port was built by Grandmaster Lascaris in 1650, with the intention of repelling pirate attacks. This tower was important also during British times since it is the only defence structure in the area. Din l-Art Helwa are now the guardians of this tower, and restoration work is imminent.
In 1955, the Xlendi mill was cut out into the cliffs behind the Mount Carmel church. The mill consists of an entrance tunnel 30 metres long, leading into a large chamber divided into three floors, storing the grinding and milling tools. There is a silo at the back of the mill, holding up to 1,000 tons of wheat, connected to the mill by a mechanical engine. Although it took a huge effort to construct, this mill was never actually used.
Things to see and do:
Xlendi Bay: Xlendi Bay is a lovely site that is very popular for swimming, diving, sunbathing and romantic sea-side walks.
Visit Caroline’s cave: The cliff sides on the right are dotted with caves, the most famous being Caroline’s cave, a cave that can be reached by stairs. Caroline was rich lady from Rabat, who founded the Augustinian sisters, and donated her land including this cave to them. The sisters used this cave as a hideaway whenever they went to swim, not be seen by other people in the bay. Catherine of Siena Cave is also on the right side of the bay, famous for the clear blue water. In the 17th century, the people who lived around this cave, built a church just on top dedicated to St. Catherine, and that is how the cave got its name.
Hike up on the cliffs and watch the panoramic views below.
Bus number 306 from Victoria, Gozo