Most tourists visiting Malta dedicate just a day to the sister island, Gozo and that in our view is a mistake because this little Mediterranean island measuring just 14 kilometres in length by 7.5 kilometres in width has a rural character, is less developed and is a haven of tranquility.
The island, the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago was in world news as the well know Azure Window, probably the most photographed spot on the Maltese islands is no more. The Tieqa tad-Dwejra, as it is known in Maltese, collapsed into the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday 8 March leaving no trace whatsoever.
Apart from being considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean, Gozo has many other natural features including the Inland Sea, also in Dwejra.
So how best to spend a perfect day on the island of Gozo?
To reach the island you need to get a ferry unless you are sailing there. We would recommend that you have a very light breakfast (if you really need one) and head as early as possible to the ferry to avoid the crowds and also to make the most of your day on the island.
Once you take the ferry crossing (which lasts around 25 minutes) you will arrive in the idyllic harbour of Mgarr.
From here, make your way to Victoria (or Rabat as it is sometimes called by the locals). If you have skipped breakfast, head to one of the cafe’s in St’ George’s square hidden just behind the main square. Here, if the weather is sunny, you will be able to eat the local pastizzi (cheese or pea cakes) with St George’s Basilica as the back-drop.
Walk a bit around the narrow streets of the island’s capital before climbing the hill to the Citadel where you will be able to visit the Cathedral and soak in the views of the scenic hills that the island is known for.
From Victoria, head to Kercem to take a look at this stunning part of the coast which features the Ta’ Cenc cliffs among others. Then, take a detour to Xlendi and take a short walk to take in the sights of the amazing Xlendi cliffs. If it is approaching lunch-time you might want to stop for lunch in one of the seaside restaurants here though service and quality can be hit and miss or else head to the other side of the island to Marsalforn passing through Zebbug and then driving down towards Qbajjar where you will see the natural salt-pans before you reach Gozo’s most popular summer resort. It’s maybe not as pretty as some other parts of Gozo but you can have lunch by the sea on a nice day. One of the best spots in Marsalforn is il-Kartell which has changed hands but remains still very popular and just by the water’s edge. Another option would be L’Arzella on the other side of the beach closer to Ghar Qawqla (a great spot for a swim).
Another option is to head to Nadur and ask for Il-Maxokk which serves a typical Gozitan ftira which can be described as a hybrid between the typical Maltese flat bread (ftira) and a pizza. You may need to book in advance if you are in Gozo on a weekend or during the Maltese holiday period.
If the weather is good and you feel like a dip in the Mediterranean sea after your lunch then you should head to ir-Ramla l-Hamra, probably the best beach on the Maltese islands. If not, we would recommend you visit the Ġgantija temples, which, along with the other Megalithic Temples of Malta, are among the world’s oldest free-standing structures.
From here take a trip to Nadur, a hill-top village with amazing views of Gozo and Malta before heading to id-Dwejra. Is Dwejra still worth visiting you might ask now that the Azure Window no longer exists? We would contend that the area which has been the set of Game of Thrones among others, is still a place of natural beauty really worth a visit. Go to the inland sea, take a look at the Gebla tal-general and walk to the place where millions have taken photos of the Azure Window in the background. Sunset here can be pretty spectacular.
By now you should have developed an appetite for a dinner to close a perfect day on Malta’s sister island. If you are heading back to Malta then you should consider It-Tmun in Mgarr Harbour, a great restaurant that serves fish and Mediterranean dishes. There are other restaurants in the Harbour area which are also popular and all locals have their favourites but It-Tmun remains one of the best all-round restaurants on the island.
Otherwise two other great options for dinner are Patrick’s Lounge in Victoria which apart from serving great food has one of the best wine lists on the Maltese islands or Ta’ Frenc Restaurant on the road from Victoria to Marsalforn.