Your Ultimate Guide to Malta’s Gozo Island
Gozo is a peaceful counterpart to the main island of Malta. Smaller in size and just a 25-minute ferry ride away, making it an easy day trip destination. Come here to visit its ancient archeological sites, stunning natural rock formations along the coast, pilgrimage churches, and picturesque fishing villages. Gozo is the legendary isle of Calypso described in Homer’s Odyssey.
Points of Interest
Start with a visit to the impressive Ggantija Temples. They are one of the oldest monuments in the world, predating both the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the temples were built between 3600 BC to 3200 BC.
Visit the temples on our Malta Itinerary – find out more here!
The temples were named based on the Maltese word for giant because it was believed only giants could have moved the 50-ton megaliths (massive limestone blocks) into place. The entry path leads past beautiful countryside views to an Interpretation Center that helps visitors understand the believed purpose of the temples and shows exhibits of artefacts found here. The site itself is comprised of two temples enclosed by a perimeter wall. There is also a terrace at the front that was used for ceremonial rites.
The Citadel of Victoria
Gozo’s capital of Victoria was originally known as Rabat but renamed for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
The historic centre of Victoria was built on a hilltop enclosed within a Citadel, constructed by the Knights of Saint John. From the immense golden stone ramparts, visitors can see gorgeous panoramic views of the Gozan countryside and out to the sea. A maze of winding streets cuts through the inside of the Citadel.
The Cathedral of the Assumption was built in 17th-century Maltese Baroque style. Inside you’ll find beautiful works of art. Be sure to look above the nave, where a trompe l’oeil painting tricks the viewer into believing that there is a dome!
Within the Citadel are several museums, the Folklore Museum, which presents traditional clothing, arts, and crafts of Gozo and the Museum of Archaeology, which contains prehistoric statuettes from the Ggantija Temples.
Xlendi is a picturesque seaside fishing village on the southwestern side of Gozo. This jumble of houses surrounding a beautiful bay is a great spot to settle in to one of the waterfront restaurants for lunch in a perfect setting.
This section of the Gozan western coastline is filled with dramatic rock formations and stunning coastal scenery. Although the famous Azure Window collapsed in a storm in 2017, the setting remains a gorgeous meeting of land and sea.
The Blue Grotto is a natural swimming pool that is a collapsed underwater cave. It sits at the foot of where the Azure Window once stood. Just a short distance away is the Inland Sea, a saltwater lagoon with a pebbled beach and surrounded on three sides towering cliffs. A small tunnel in the rock wall leads to the open ocean.
The Basilica of Ta’ Pinu
The Basilica of Ta’ Pinu is an important pilgrimage church devoted to the Virgin Mary. Seen from afar, the church impressively dominates its surroundings. The Mediterranean Sea provides a dramatic backdrop to this sandstone Roman Catholic Basilica.
The building of the Basilica in the first half of the 20th century was inspired by the occurrence of several miraculous events that occurred here. At the entrance, two large, curved mosaic walls make a magnificent entrance into the shrine.
Inside the basilica, you can admire Maltese craftsmanship in its stained-glass windows, sculptures, and mosaics. The Sanctuary Museum highlights the history of the Basilica and exhibits the art of Maltese painters Giuseppe Briffa and Emvin Cremona.
Malsalforn Salt Pans
The Malsaforn Salt Pans are the largest salt pans in Gozo. They are an intriguing site to see on the northern coast of the island. A salt pan is created when pools of seawater evaporate. Some Gozan families have traditionally harvested this mineral from the sea as their livelihood. The harvesting season for the salt is during summer from June to August.
Gozo’s stunning natural beauty make it a perfect choice to escape the bustle of Malta for a day. Admire its historic citadel and ancient temples, pictures churches and dramatic natural coastal rock formations. You can see the highlights as part of our 7-day Malta tour, which includes a day dedicated to the beauties of Gozo.
Tags: Gozo, Ggantija Temples, Blue Grotto, Must See