Spring is the season when Gozo discloses its full beauty. The island awakens to rolling hills of burgundy and gold, as patches of clover and haystacks adorn the countryside. This is the ideal time to visit Gozo and enjoy walks and the coast which Edward Lear (1812 – 1888) the jovial writer of nonsense verse and migratory landscape painter, in his letter to Lady Waldergrave in 1866, described as Ponmskizillious and Gromphibberous: “Did I tell you of my visit to Oudesh, vulgarly called Gozo? It was a most pleasant one and with the aid of Giorgio (his man-servant) I drew every bit of it, walking fifteen or twenty miles a day – Its coast scenery may truly be called Pomskizillious and Gromphibberous, being as no other words can describe its magnificence.”
Summer; Fireworks, band marches, beautifully decorated village churches and patron saints in spiritual guard. Add crowds of people, local food and a vibrant atmospehere and enjoy the sight and sound of a Gozo festa. The festa season in Gozo starts in May, though it is in summer that the majority of local feasts take place. Practically, every week during summer has a festa dedicated to a patron saint in a locality around Gozo, showing that this island is passionate about religion celebrations and traditions. Each locality strives to have the best fthat every festa has a surprise in store for its visitors. esta, nothing is spared and organising groups of volunteers, young and old, come together in every locality to put up the best festa programme for the enjoyment of locals and lucky visitors. This is the culmination of a year of prepartions and dedicated work, of secrecy about novelties to be introduced in the next festa and the intense competition among villages which ensures that no word is spread about new ideas and initiatives. Without a healthy dose of pique, festas would not be the same.
Summer is also the ideal time to enjoy Gozo’s many beaches and the leisurely way of life that this season brings with it. Just take life at face value, and enjoy a sip of local wine in the traditonal pubs in village squares, places where you can meet the locals and enjoy the laid back way of life. You can enjoy some of the local delicacies like the traditional Gozitan ftira (a delicious oven baked dough topped with ingredients such as fresh cheese, maltese sausages, tomatoes, anchovies/tuna, maltese sausages and tomatoes) or ħobż biż-żejt (bread spread with locally made olive oil). Even if you do not opt for something fancy, you can still have a good time and enjoy the food at the local band or football club, often adorned with trophies of past victories or old black and white photos of life gone by.
Autumn is a great time to visit Gozo for anyone wishing to enjoy the island without the summer crowds and with mild weather that allows swimming till well into November, without the scorching sun. While the excitement and bustle of summer may seem to have ebbed away, Gozo is still replete with wonder as the first rains start giving the island a new lease of life as the warm weather generally persists. People are still enjoying swimming and diving continues unabated, the outdoor summer life lingers on as winter seems to be willingly postponed. Patrons still eat out enjoying the open terraces of the various dining places spread around the island, or on beaches where delicious local snacks of fresh bread, tomato paste, pickled onions and goat cheeselets fill the air and tempt the senses.
Winter; Mild sunny winters are one of Gozo’s many blessings. If it is cold, dull or snowing anywhere else in Europe, you can count on Gozo for warmth and bright days. The island can be the perfect winter destination with a choice of health-restoring activities. Climbing, hiking, biking or simply walking in the countryside are ideal from October till April when the weather is mild and not prohibitively hot. For the less adventerous, unwinding in one of the spa facilities around the island is pure therapy for the mind and soul. Spas offer a wide range of treatments and therapies from across the world as well as saunas, jacuzzis, steam rooms and indoor swimming pools. One can also try the oriental hammam experiences and the authentic indian ayurveda, promising rejuvenation and deep relaxation. Yoga, pilates and aquaerobics are also available.
Gozo still brims with activities during the winter season. Christmas and Carnival are the two main winter festivals celebrated here, with an in-between cultural calendar that attests to a thriving artistic community. Christmas is a very special period in Gozo, a great time to enjoy local customs, traditional crafts and typical seasonal cuisine. Villages prepare live cribs and live reenactments of the nativity scene. A whole area in Għajnsielem is transformed to re-create the nativity scene, immersed in the core of a Gozitan village. Long forgotten customs and traditions are again re-lived by those attending this event. This custom also takes places in other localities around Gozo where old farmhouses are transformed into living nativity scenes.