You’re planning to visit Gozo during your next trip to Malta? You want to know everything about the island’s must-see attractions?
You’re at the right place, and you will for sure love Gozo, the more rural, more authentic, little sister of Malta. Here no big cities, no traffic jams, just nature and calm.
In order to help you plan your stay, I have created this guide of the 10 best things to in Gozo. In addition to the list of the best places to visit, points of interest and activities, I will give you itineraries to visit Gozo in 1, 2 or 3 days as well as my selection of the best places to stay on the island, depending on your budget.
1. Victoria and the Citadella
Let’s start your trip to Gozo with Victoria (also called Rabat in Maltese), the capital city located in the center of the island.
The Citadella is for sure the main attraction in Victoria. This fortified city was recently fully renovated, and offers a great 360° view over the surrounding countryside, villages, the sea and up to Malta. The view from the ramparts is really worth it!
There is no entrance fee to the Citadella, and you’ll be able to enjoy its streets freely. You can also visit the baroque Cathedral of the Assumption for a small fee.
In addition, there are several museums inside the Citadella:
- The Cathedral Museum has a nice collection of religious items used by the Church like crucifixes and chalices
- The Museum of Archeology will take you on a historical journey from the ancient civilizations living on Gozo until the time of the Order of Malta
- The Folklore Museum, to learn more about the local lifestyle and traditions
- The Nature Museum, about local nature and wildlife
- The Old Prison, where you can visit old prison cells
After visiting the Citadella, stop by Independence Square to wander through the daily market, and go to St. George’s Basilica. As the outside is entirely covered by marble, it was nicknamed the Marble Basilica. The inside is also worth a look, with some wonderful paintings on the ceiling.
Once you’re done, take a walk in the city center’s narrow streets. You’ll find there plenty of gift shops, coffee shops and restaurants.
If you’re looking for more shopping options, go the Republic street, the city’s main street. There you can find the 2 shopping malls of the island!
You will probably need a break after all this shopping. The best place for this is for sure the Villa Rundle public park. Just sit and relax, while enjoying one of the few shaded areas in Gozo.
2. Dwejra and the Azure Window
On the North-Western part of Gozo is Dwejra, home of the Azure Window. So yes, I know, it -unfortunately- collapsed in 2017, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing left to see there!
Here is a list of other natural wonders to see in the area:
- The Fungus Rock is located at the entrance of Dwejra bay. The legend says Knights Hospitaller discovered a special kind of fungus on this rock. Believed to have incredible medicinal properties, only nobles could benefit from the fungus. It was said to cure infections, dysentery, ulcers and more. Such a precious plant had to be protected, so access to the rock was restricted and even watched by a guard! Later on, modern medicine showed that the plant wasn’t in fact that incredible…
- The Inland Sea is a seawater lagoon linked to the sea by a 80 meters long tunnel going under high cliffs. It’s the perfect spot to go swimming with children, as the water is calm and warmer than in other places.
- The Blue Hole is a famous diving site in Gozo. You dive in the hole and then reach the sea through a 7 meters underwater arch. I will tell you more about this place below, in the scuba diving section.
3. Ta’Pinu Basilica
Not far from Dwejra bay, you can find another must see attraction in Gozo: Ta’Pinu Basilica.
There’s no place like it! This impressive construction is located in the middle of nowhere, lost in an ocean of hills with the sea in background. The esplanade with its mosaic and statutes combined with the landscape around is perfect for a great souvenir photo!
The basilica is also an important pilgrimage site for Maltese people. It all started in 1883, when a woman from the village heard the voice of the Virgin Mary coming from what was then just a chapel. Several miracles followed, so the villagers decided to build a bigger church to honor the Virgin Mary.
Ta’Pinu Basilica was completed in 1931. Both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI came there to pray. You can also see the original chapel, located just behind the basilica.
Even if simpler than other Maltese churches, the inside of Ta’Pinu Basilica is a pure architectural masterpiece. The marble canopy, mosaics, stained-glass windows and stunning Maltese stone sculptures are definitely worth a look.
You’ll also be able to visit the ex-voto gallery: all the letters, portraits and various objects left by people to honor the Virgin Mary miracles are kept there.
In addition to the visit of this architectural masterpiece, you can enjoy a short walk with a marked path in front of the basilica. It features numerous statutes along the way symbolizing the Stations of the Cross. Once you have reached the top of a hill, you can enjoy the amazing view over Gozo and its surroundings.
4. Marsalforn salt pans
Marsalforn salt pans is my favorite spot in Gozo, I highly recommend adding it to your itinerary.
To reach the salt pans, you’ll have to pass by Marsalforn. During summertime, this is a top beach town destination for both locals and tourists. Let’s be honest, I don’t personally find this city very interesting: there are nicer places in Gozo to swim or stay at!
However, if you keep going West of Marsalforn you’ll reach the 350 years old salt pans. It’s a wonderful promenade area spreading over 3km. The salt pans are still exploited today by several families, specifically between May and September, when salt is harvested. During high season, you can purchase some from vendors on the side of the road.
5. Ramla Bay and other beaches in Gozo
Ramla Bay is the largest and most beautiful sandy beach in Gozo thanks to its red sand. Some people even consider it’s the best beach in Malta! No need to say it’s quite crowded during summer.
It’s very easy to get there, you can park next to the beach on the free parking. In addition, water’s depth is very gradual and it’s guarded, making it the perfect beach if you have children.
The beach also has various amenities: a restaurant, a coffe shop, ice-cream vendors and public bathrooms. You can also rent sunbeds and umbrellas.
However, if you’re looking for less touristy options, I recommend you these 3 beaches in Gozo:
San Blas Bay: a small bay located close to Nadur village. It’s a lovely spot with ocher sand and big rocks. Water is shallow and very clear. You can only access it on foot. Beware of the way back, it’s quite tough!
Dahlet Qorrot: also close to Nadur, Dahlet Qorrot is at pebbles beach, very popular among locals.
Hondoq Ir Rummien: a small beach in front of Comino. You can reach it from Qala village.
6. Hiking in Gozo
Gozo is a great place to hike. There are several paths along the coast, almost all around the island. They’re pretty easy hiking trails, totally suitable for beginners.
Some parts, especially along the cliffs, can be a bit dangerous though, so always be careful. Don’t forget to wear hiking or comfortable shoes as you’ll probably walk through rocky areas.
The best hiking season is from fall to spring, when the hills are green and flowers are blooming. Avoid July and August because it’s too hot, there is no shade and the landscape is pretty dry.
Paths aren’t marked so I recommend getting the 10 detailed hikingtrails books collection. You can download them here for free (PDF format).
You’ll also find the Gozo Coastal Walk PDF: it suggests an itinerary around Gozo via the coastal paths, with all the information you may need to plan your hikes (distance, duration, difficulty level).
7. Ggantija temples
Ggantija megalithic temple complex is located in Xaghra, East of Victoria. This Unesco World Heritage site is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge!
“Ggantija” means “giant” in Maltese. Gozitan people were conviced that only giants could have been able to carry and put together such massive rocks. Some of them weigh more than 5 tons and are 5 meters long. Even today, no one really knows for sure how did the rocks get there, so I’m inclined to believe the giants theory, it’s the coolest one!
The site is made of 2 temples: the South and the North one. Both form a vast 40 meters long and 6 meters high complex. It’s the biggest megalithic complex you’ll find in Malta.
There is also a small museum with additional information about the site and artefacts found there.
8. Ta’Cenc cliffs
Ta’Cenc cliffs are located South of Victoria, in Sannat.
As it’s not very easy to find, let me tell you the best way to get there:
- First, go to Sannat Square
- Then, follow the signs to Ta’Cenc Hotel.
- From there, take the road on the left of the entrance to get to the edge of Ta’Cenc Cliffs.
You’ll find on the right a nice walking path along the cliffs, 130 meters above sea level. It’s quite impressive! Definitely one of the best places to visit in Gozo during your holidays.
9. Diving in Gozo
Thanks to its reefs and caves, Gozo is a renowned island for scuba diving. Diving conditions are optimal all year long, with a generally calm sea, crystal clear and warm water. With many diving options, Gozo is great both for beginners and experienced divers.
The best diving sites in Gozo :
- Blue Hole: go deep underwater via a big vertical chimney and reach the sea by passing under a arch. There is also a large cave. Suitable for all levels.
- Crocodile Rock: is home to a lot of fish species. groupers, tunas and barracudas. Suitable for all levels.
- Fungus Rock: not much sea life there but a beautiful landscape with a cave, gullys and vertical walls. Suitable for all levels.
- Inland Sea: a 80 meters long underwater tunnel.
- Reqqa Point: the top of the reef is home to groupers, scorpion fish and the Shrimps Cave. Suitable for all levels.
- Fessej Rock: ideal for deep-sea diving
- Wreck of the MV Karwela: this ferry was sunk for diving purposes
- San Dimitri Point: good chances of seeing huge shoals of fish there
- Wied Il Gashri, the best place to sea seahorses
- Double Arch Reef: a rock cut into 2 arches, where you can see cuttlefish, octopus and sea urchins
10. Visit Comino
From Gozo, you should go to Comino, malta’s smallest populated island, with only 4 all year long inhabitants.
You need to take a boat from Mgarr to get there. Round trip-tickets are 10€ and it takes about 15 minutes to get there. During high season you can also take the boat from Hondoq Ir Rummien beach.
The main attraction in Comino is the Blue Lagoon. This beautiful turquoise water lagoon is a great place to swim, however it’s really crowded during summertime.
There, you can find a few food trucks for your lunch, along with public bathrooms and one hotel. The hotel is a bit further away from the Blue Lagoon: it’s located next to Santa Maria bay, a quieter sandy beach. A very lovely spot!
The island is so small that everything is reachable on foot. For example, you can go up Saint Mary’s tower and enjoy the view. Quick tip: You can visit the tower only if the flag is raised.