Exploring the Island of Gozo, Malta
I would be lying if I told you that originally I wanted to visit Malta for any other reason than to see the Azure Window in Dwejra Bay on the island of Gozo. I had seen gorgeous pictures from Jessica at Bon Traveler that quickly had me searching for more information on Malta, a small archipelago in the Mediterranean between Italy and North Africa. Of course the country had much more to offer than just the Azure Window, and thankfully so, because unfortunately the rock formation collapsed into the sea during a powerful storm just a few weeks before my trip.
While planning for my four days in Malta, I knew that I had to take a day trip to the island of Gozo, about a 20 minute boat ride from the main island of Malta. Besides the famed Azure Window, I was looking forward to exploring the small island's beautiful waters, Dwejra Bay and the Inland Sea, as well as salt pans where salt is still naturally extracted from the sea water today. I turned to the experts at Gozo Pride Tours to show me the best of the island in a day. While you can explore the island on your own, the roads are rough and the Maltese are notoriously aggressive drivers. If you're looking for a great small group tour away from the "hop on hop off" tourists, take Gozo Pride's Jeep Tour.
In this post, I'm going to highlight the beauty of Gozo and share the stops we made on the tour. While I enjoyed exploring the main island, Gozo was by far my favorite day of the trip. Plus, you end the tour with a small boat ride over to Comino, the third island of Maltese archipelago, to see the beyond gorgeous Blue Lagoon. Head to Gozo for a relaxed day of exploration, incredible views, and the bluest water.
Our day began on the water as we took the large passenger ferry from Malta to Gozo. We enjoyed gorgeous views on the 20 minute boat ride.
Our guide, Morris, met us at the ferry port and split the larger group into our jeeps for the day. Then, we were off! Our first stop was a gorgeous viewpoint looking back at the Blue Lagoon and Malta.
We had so much fun winding our way through the streets of Gozo's villages in the open jeep admiring the beautiful limestone buildings. Our next stop was another viewpoint overlooking Ramla Bay at Calypso Caves (currently closed, but it's alleged to be the cave in Homer's The Odyssey).
We continued through the countryside past Xlendi, an old fishing village and now a resort town.
My favorite part of the day was taking a boat ride from the Inland Sea through the rocks out to the bay. While not included in the tour, hopefully you'll be given the option to go on about a 15 minute boat ride for about 4 euro. Take it! Yes, that opening below leads out to the bay.
The opening on the other side. Can you believe the colors of the water?
The cliffs are unbelievable from the water. The below picture shows where the Azure Window once stood.
After cruising around for about 15 minutes, we headed back through the small opening to the Inland Sea.
Even though Gozo is only 25 square miles, the island has 46 churches. We visited the Ta' Pinu Basilica, a gorgeous church that was once visited by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
On our way to the capital city, we stopped by the salt pans where a few families still extract salt from the sea water today.
Our final stop of the day on Gozo was the Citadel in Victoria, the capital city. We explored the old fortress town with sweeping views of the surrounding area.
On our way back to the port, we drove past Xewkija Rotunda, Gozo's largest church.
Instead of taking the ferry back to Malta, we took a small boat, stopping at the Blue Lagoon in Comino along the way. You can't make this color up! It was glowing.
Although the Azure Window is no longer standing, there are other cool rock formations and windows to admire.
Beyond the Tour
Where to STay
> Consider renting a house or staying at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz Malta.
What to Do
> Head to the beach! Ramla Bay, San Blas Bay, or Honqoq Bay. Just be aware that sometimes it's difficult to get down to the beaches that are not car accessible.
> Explore Victoria (Rabat), the capital city of Gozo.
> Spend a day on Comino and swim in the Blue Lagoon.
> Swim or scuba dive in the Blue Hole at Dwejra Bay.
Where to Eat
> Ta’ Rikardu - for traditional food in Victoria
TBP Insider Tips
> If you're only visiting Malta for 4 days, a day trip to Gozo is enough to get a taste of the island. If you have a little more time and are visiting during the summer months, I highly suggest planning to stay on Gozo for a night or two to really explore and relax on its beautiful beaches. You can even rent a house, very popular among European tourists during the summer.
> Make sure to ask what fruits and veggies are in season when you order at a restaurant. Gozo grows most of its fresh produce right on the island!
> Better to stick to bottled water in Malta to avoid stomach issues.
> We opted for the jeep tour, so we could focus on the sights, but you could also take the tour on quad bikes. If you're there during the summer, I'd look into the Combination Land and Sea tour. You could also do a half day quad tour and spend the rest of the day swimming.
> No need to worry about getting to the ferry port. Gozo Pride Tours arranges pickup and drop off from your accommodation wherever you are on Malta.
> One thing I'll admit, is the lunch was pretty weak on the tour at Fliegu. Although you're in a small group with your jeep, you meet up with the rest of the groups for lunch. As such, you have to choose your meal in the morning at the beginning of the tour and then everyone gets served at once at the restaurant.
> When locking a door in Malta, you typically have to turn the knob a few times for it to lock. Trust me...I learned the hard way.
> If you choose to visit Gozo yourself, you can take the passenger ferry. You only pay for a ticket on your way back to Malta.
> On the ferry, make sure to stay on the right hand side of the boat as you're facing forward, so you can see your first glimpse of Comino and the Blue Lagoon.
> While cards are accepted on the island, you'll need euro for extras on the tour such as the boat ride from the Inland Sea.