A visit to Malta is not complete without spending time on Gozo, the main island in the Maltese archipelago. Located a short ferry ride from the main island of Malta, Gozo is an interesting place, both in terms of its physical offerings, their way of life and their culture.
Visit Xewkija Rotunda: Gozo’s Largest Church
Xewkija is a historic village (the oldest on the island) best known for the impressive Rotunda of its parish church. Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, this remarkable church at the center of the village is Gozo’s largest religious monument; its dome is a distinctive landmark visible across much of the island.
Built in the 20th century, the Xewkija Rotunda is the third largest dome in the world after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The dome is an impressive 74 meters tall by 27 meters in diameter and has a weight of 45,000 tons. In the spacious white limestone interior are eight beautifully crafted columns supporting the dome.
The sanctuary is sparsely decorated with sculptures and modern paintings. The floor is polished marble from Carrara, Italy, and the main altar is also carved in precious marble. The Xewkija parish church is the seat of the present-day Knights of the Order of Saint John (Knights of Malta).
Xewkija is about five kilometers from Mgarr ix-Xini, a beautiful inlet with a small pebbly beach that is popular with swimmers and snorkelers.
Dwerja Bay and the Azure Window
The most famous and photogenic site on the Island of Gozo is the Azure Window at Dwerja Bay, a dramatic landscape that has inspired many painters. The Azure Window is a gigantic 60-meter-high natural window in the seaside cliff, formed from a sheer limestone cliff when two caves collapsed.
Unfortunately in 2017 the Azure Window has collapsed.
With the deep blue waters lapping up against the cliff and boats sailing through the opening, the Azure Window is a spectacular image to behold. The site was featured in two popular movies: The Clash of the Titans and The Count of Monte Cristo. Many tourists arrive here just for a photo opportunity, but it’s also an excellent location for scuba diving.
In front of the Azure Window is the popular diving spot called the Blue Hole, an inland sea pool that is 10 meters wide. Divers pass through a natural rock arch and a tunnel of rock formations before diving into the sea. The clear blue waters at this site are filled with octopus, lobster, parrot fish, sea bream, and other schools of fish.
Go To Ramla Bay
Often sited as the best beach on Gozo, it is certainly Gozo’s only truly sandy beach, with the deep yellow sand beautifully soft beneath your feet. Because of its idyllic spot, soft sand and unbelievably clear water, it can get unbearably busy in the height of summer, so it’s best to arrive either early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds.
Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent, and there is a bar and an ice cream truck almost permanently parked on the entrance to the beach.
If lounging about in the sun gets boring, Calypso Cave is quite nearby, as are the remains of a Roman villa built almost 2,000 years ago. The cave has unfortunately collapsed, but the view from atop is still beautiful.
Pay a visit Ta’ Mena Estate
At Ta’ Mena Estate, you will find yourself immersed in the typical Gozitan country-side, surrounded by a natural and calm environment, and breathtaking views : Malta’s sister is characterised by its peaceful and rural environment, signs of quality and tradition.
The Estate is situated in the picturesque Marsalforn Valley between Victoria and Marsalforn Bay. It includes a fruit garden, an olive grove with about 1500 olive trees, an orange grove, and over 10 hectares of vineyards. It enjoys the panoramic views of the Gozo Citadel and the surrounding hills and villages.
Gozo is surrounded by vibrant and rich marine fauna and flora as a result of the variety in its coastline. From sheer cliffs to caves or wrecks, and sandy or rocky sea beds, there’s so much to explore!
Species likely to be seen by divers include moray eels, dolphins, octopi, stingrays, parrot fish and many more. Corals can be found on arches and in caves.
There are many places to dive around Malta, including Wied il-Għasri, Daħlet Qorrot, Blenheim Bomber wreck (WWII English Air Force) and Crocodile Rock and Coral Cave.
Għarb is a small town located in the North-west part of Gozo. Being located on the highest hill on the island, surrounded by Gozo’s most scenic countryside, and having a population of about 1,600 people, it remains a peaceful village till this very day. Gharb became a small hamlet many centuries ago and became a parish in 1679. The ancient roots of this village can be seen in the core, as many houses have stone balconies which are elaborately decorated.
Are you thinking of where to stay in Gozo, Malta? The absolute best type of accommodation to stay in when visiting is a traditional Gozitan farmhouse.
The term “farmhouse” may bring up images of chickens, cows and a twin bed in a creaky old house – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The farmhouses may actually be a farmhouse in design but it was definitely more of a luxury villa. Some of the farmhouses have heated floors, an in-ground pool, huge bedrooms with private bathrooms, huge kitchens and amazing views.
St George Feast Gozo
The feast of St. George in Gozo, is renowned for more than its sacred celebration. Amidst various attractions, traditional horse races take place in Republic Street, Victoria on Sunday afternoon (feast day). St. George’s Parish boasts a popular brass band known as the Banda La Stella which performs throughout the week in a number of locations.
- Tuesday 16th July – 23.30 hrs – Band marches followed by a ground firework show at St. Francis Square
- Wednesday 17th July – 22.00 hrs – Band march that ends at St. Georges square followed by a flame spectacle at midnight
- Thursday 18th July – 21.30 hrs – Band march that ends with an audio-visual presentation at Sabina square.
- Friday 19th July – 21.30 hrs – Band march that ends at It-Tokk Square
- Saturday 20th July – 22.00 hrs- Big band march that ends with a spectacular fireworks display synchronised with music at Republic Street, Victoria.
- Sunday 21st July – 11.00 hrs – Morning band march that ends in St. George’s Square at 15.00Hrs with a paper fireworks display synchronised to music.
- Sunday 21st July – 19.00 hrs – the start of a solemn procession with St. George’s Statue around the streets of Victoria. The emergence of the statue from St. George’s Basilica is a must see.
San Blas Bay
San Blas Bay is a pretty beach of red sand – a little sister to Ramla Bay. It is accessible from the village of in-Nadur via a narrow road, the last part of which is closed to traffic because it is exceptionally steep. This discourages many people, making San Blas Bay a very peaceful place.
It is naturally peaceful too. Located on the North-East coast of the Island, San Blas Bay lies at the end of one of the most beautiful fertile valleys of Gozo, with no buildings to block the view.
Gozo Island Map
Gozo is the second-largest of the seven-island chain and basks in the Mediterranean off the coast of Sicily.
More rural than its sister island, Malta, Gozo has a population of about 31,000. Home to some of the oldest religious structures in the world, the fascinating Ggantija temples, the island offers dramatic orange-red sands and perfect snorkeling waters at striking Ramla Bay.Places nearby:
Upper Barrakka Gardens: A Peaceful, Tranquil Location With Fabulous Views Of The Grand Harbour 28 km / 17 mi
Things to do in Altavilla Milicia, Italy 230 km / 143 mi
Palermo Cathedral: Sicilian Treasure House 243 km / 151 mi
Teatro Massimo: One Of The Largest Opera Houses In All Of Europe 244 km / 151 mi
La Zisa: Legacy of Arabasque-Italian Architecture in Palermo 244 km / 151 mi