So you are planning to visit Malta soon? Great idea! Thinking to include a trip to Gozo? Even better! In this guide, I will give you all the ‘local’ tips but also all the good reasons why you should stay over and enjoy the magical island of Gozo in 2 days.
Most of the visitors take one day trip to Gozo. You can either take an organised excursion or use the Hop on Hop Off bus. If you are short on time, understandably, this is a great way to visit. However, if your schedule allows it I would wholeheartedly recommend spending 2 days in Gozo – Malta’s sister island.
Are you asking why?
It will give you a completely different perspective on Malta’s little sister island. You will be able to stay in a charming B&B, often transformed from an old stone house or farm. The most popular accommodation type in Gozo. It will also be a great way to slow down a bit and unwind, especially after hectic and tourist-packed days in Valetta, Balutta or Mdina.
I find Gozo magical. Architecture like nowhere else in the world, some historical sites older the Piramides and fishing villages turned into charming resorts. Still not covered with crates and endless building sites, slow-paced and mostly traditional. It will be like stepping back in time.
But most of all – it is just so nice not to feel rushed. No one dictating how long have you got at one place before being hurried and transported into a different location. And if you fancy it – you might as well do as little as your heart desire.
My personal recommendation for the best 2 days in Gozo is visiting two or three of your chosen sights a day and then relax at one of the gorgeous beaches or bays. Watching a sunset in Dwejra Bay (or any other Northern located bay) is a must. I mentioned this in a few of my Malta posts but I could not stress it enough. Malta and all of its islands offer some of the most spectacular sunsets.
So without further ado – here is my guide.
How to get to Gozo
The only way to get to Gozo is by taking the ferry. You can take one from Cirkewwa. The fee is €4.6 however you will only pay it on your way back. The journey itself lasts 20 minutes and the ferry runs regularly throughout the day until the late hours of the evening. You can check the timetable here.
You can also rent a car in Malta main island and drive to Gozo. I, however, normally take a bus or taxi to Cirkewwa ferry terminal and board the ferry on foot. Once on the other side, you will also have plenty of option to get around or rent a suitable vehicle.
How to get around Gozo
My all-time favourite way is to rent a quad bike. Streets in Gozo can be small and at times steep and meandering. Traffic is not as bad as in Malta so riding a quad is safe and a lot of fun. I find a quad bike to be a perfect way to move around the island. And it is perfectly legal to use it on the main roads – you will just need a valid driving licence. You can either rent it for a day, take an organised day trip. You can also rent it for a couple of days, as I did.
You will find quad rental shops just outside of the ferry terminal, those, however, are on first come and first gets basis. I know – annoying. First time I decided to rent a quad I tried booking it online only to find out on my arrival that there were no quads left. Luckily I was spotted by one of the tour organisers and they contacted Edward from Go Gozo Company.
The service they provided was excellent and very friendly. I had no problems renting a bike for 2 days and I received all the secret ‘tips’ on the best places to go by bike. I was not paid to say this by any means so it is a genuine recommendation. Visit their website for your inquiries.
Another great way to go around the island is on a Hop On Hop Off bus. For a daily fee of €18, you can visit all the most popular sights, get off and get back on at any time. Just like all other Hop On Hop Off busses around the world. The bus runs throughout the day, but timetable changes depending on the time of the year so click here for the official site, available stops and current timetable.
Finally, Gozo has a semi-decent bus infrastructure. It is not as extensive as on main Malta island but you can get pretty close to all the sights and potentially include a little walk or hike. Bolt or other taxi apps don’t work in Gozo so make sure to get a number for a taxi company if you are planning on taking one. You can find them at the front of the Ferry Terminal. Its always a good idea to get a taxi number in case you venture too far and no public transport is at hand (hmm.. personal experience)
Bicycle and car rentals are also available .
Where to stay the night
You can stay just about anywhere in Gozo as nothing is ever going to be too far away. It will depend on what you are looking for. There is plenty of remote, village farmhouse guests houses or traditional B&B’s available for rental. Many offer swimming pools and great panoramic views. This is another reason why staying in Gozo for 2 days is a great idea!
I, however, like to stay closer to the ‘civilization’. Just so I can unwind in the evening and take a nice meal in the restaurant with a nice glass of Maltese wine without having to go too far. In all Gozitan resorts as well as in Victoria you will have the option of staying either in traditional or more modern accommodation type. As I mentioned earlier I recommend authentic, traditional accommodation. You probably won’t have many chances to experience it anywhere else in Europe.
For the resorts or towns, I have 3 main recommendations: Victoria, Xlendi and Marslforn. You will find detailed info below in ‘what to see and do’ guide. Last time I spent two days in Gozo I stayed in a charming B&B in Victoria but next time I will definitely stay in either Marslaforn or Xlendi.
And finally, as you found your accommodation and rented the quad bike….
Best things to do and see in Gozo
Victoria and the Citadella
Victoria (formerly known as Ir-Rabat) is Gozo capital. This town is the heart of the island but never overwhelmingly busy. What is interesting about this city, and I found out firsthand before I even read about it, is that all roads in Gozo lead to Victoria. This is exactly why Victoria would be a great place to stay the night if you are thinking of driving on your trip.
In he centre of Victoria is Pjazza Indipendenza, also known as it-Tokk. In the mornings, there is an open market that shares the square with several open-air cafes. There are also numerous places of historical and cultural interest in ir-Rabat (Victoria) but a visit to the Citadel is a must.
Citadella (also known as the Castello), which was restored and officially reopened in June 2016, was part of Roman Acropolis in the times of the Roman Empire. However, it is believed that it was first constructed as early as during the Neolithic period
The history of this fortification is innwind with the dramatic history of the island and makes a very interesting read so if you are interested click here for more information. Now the Citadella is home to a number of interesting museums, a couple of traditional restaurants, old medieval houses, as well as old prison. It often hosts temporary art exhibitions.
The views from the top of the fortifications are breathtaking. Probably incomparable to any other on the islands. You will be able to enjoy a full panoramic view of the whole city and island. Highly recommended.
This, in my opinion, is the most lovely seaside town in Gozo. I highly recommend staying here for the night. Located on the south-west of the island and nestled within the picturesque bay and surrounded by cliffs, the bay is a popular swimming, snorkelling and diving spot. Very scenic indeed.
You can take a walk around the cliff sides which are dotted with caves or simply enjoy a lovely meal out in one of the seafront restaurants. The area still retains its natural tranquillity although it became very popular in recent years. Great place to enjoy an evening meal right at the seafront and take a rest after a day full of sightseeing.
This is another one of former fishing villages transformed into seaside resorts. It is the largest and most developed resort in Gozo with plenty of restaurants, hotels and cafes yet, in my opinion, it misses the charm of Xlendi. It is however great base if you are planning to see the neighbouring attractions like Salt Pans for example. This area of the island also offers great walks and sea views so I can truly recommend this location.
There is a small family-friendly beach as well as some rocky spots also suitable for swimming or snorkelling. Very popular amongst locals so can get crowded in the summer months.
Around 20 minutes walk from Marslaforn you will find famous Salt Pans situated at the Xwejni Bay. Take a walk in the morning to watch the salt be collected. If you have never witnessed salt harvesting, this will be a great opportunity. The salt tradition here has been passed down within certain families for the past 350 years.
This is also very picturesque site and a great spot for those Instagram snaps. Once there you can continue walking or driving alongside the seaside road and you will be able to discover even more gems. One of them is…
It is a secluded, very narrow, fjord-looking bay wedged between high cliffs. Can be accessed by boat or from the land by the man-made steps. At the bottom, you will find a small pebbly beach, ideal for a peaceful swim. It is very popular with divers who like to explore the surrounding underwater caves.
Steps leading to the bay are cut into the rock and pretty steep and can be slippery so take caution. I love this spot, a true hidden gem.
No Azzure window? No problem. Further down passed the Wied il-Għasri you will find another hidden gem – the Wied Il-Mielaħ window. It is absolutely incredible that this window was created purely by nature by the sea cutting through the rock. Best of all, the stone that forms the top of the arch is still in great condition, so it is a window that you can walk on. And the views of the surrounding cliffs will not disappoint either.
From the top of the cliff, you will find probably the most incredible views across the whole country of Malta. Absolutely jaw-dropping. This one is definitely one of the hidden gems of Gozo and worth making a trip to.
Dwejra is one of my favourite locations, with its dramatic coastal formations and sea spilling over the rocks. This is also probably one of the most spectacular sunset spots around the country. People would gather in the evening, sometimes dancing and playing instruments clapping to the setting sun. Fantastic experience.
Just for this it is worth staying two days in Gozo. Stay to admire the sunset in this incredible location and then take a short taxi trip to your resort.
You will find many stunning sights around the area, therefore, it is one which you just simply can not miss:
When the Azzure Window collapsed in 2017 it was a very heartbreaking moment for many Maltese and Gozitan citizens. A symbol and true icon of Malta for many which featured in many films and series including famous Game of Thrones.
The inland sea – a spectacular small bay surrounded by high cliffs and connected by a cave that leads you out to the open sea. Several small boathouses can be found along the shoreline, housing the locals’ fishing boats. The tunnel is a popular diving location and you can take a boat trip through the cave, out to the open sea.
The Fungus Rock – Azzure Window was not the only arch which collapsed due to erosion. Fungus rock is the remaining stack left after the collapse of an arch that connected it to the mainland.
Blue whole – 10-meter wide inland sea pool is also one of the famous diving sites not only in Malta but also around the whole of Mediterranean.
Ramla Bay beach is the most famous and prominent beach on the island of Gozo. And for a good reason. Surrounded by green hills and caves it is a long stretch of red-golden sand heading to clear blue water. Beach is safe and offers various attractions and amenities including restaurants and water sports. A fantastic place to relax and enjoy Gozitan seascapes.
This is also where the famous Calypso cave is located. The legend has it that Gozo is Homer’s Island of Ogygia and the calypso Cave is where the beautiful nymph Calypso kept Odysseus as a “prisoner of love” for seven years. The cave overlooks the whole of Ramla bay but unfortunately, it has now been closed due to danger of it collapsing.
On the other end of the bay however, you will find another Cave. One that hasn’t got a romantic story attached to it but offers equally astonishing views – Tal-Mixta Cave. This cave is accessible for tourists and is a famous photography spot.
You can access the cave from the top and this is the most popular way. I have not seen anyone trying to climb up from the actual beach so if you are planning to drive or quad bike head towards the Triq I-Ghassa tal-Mahrag road. You can park 5 minutes away from the cave and then take the stairs down to the cave.
Other more off the beaten beaches – San Blas, Dahlet Qorrot and Mġarr ix-Xini
Malta has plenty of and a great variety of beaches. Gozo hosts some of the most beautiful ones. You can visit my guide to the best beaches in Malta main island here.
Gozo has quite a few beaches spread across its coast. The mentioned three, however, are my favourite and in my opinion most picturesque and worth then trip. All three are located in the deep valleys hence if you are planning to walk, get prepared for a bit of a steep hike. If this is scary for you you can drive as well as there are parking facilities available.
Dahlet Qorrot – It is a serene bay where you can relax and avoid the crowds at the same time. There is a little pebbly beach however the bottom of the sea is sandy. On both sides of the actual beach, there are quayside and rocks taking you straight into deep water. Popular among local fishermen it is also a great spot for snorkelling. Very picturesque and tranquil. Minimal facilities are on offer here yet there is a mobile bar and toilets. What more one needs for a perfect beach day 🙂
San Blas – Even more beautiful than the latter. And much harder to get to given a very steep descent. The path to the beach is concrete however, it is so steep that a slow pace is recommended. Oh, and then you will have to come back up 🙂
But it’s definitely worth the effort. It is a delightful bay offering red sand and pebble beach dotted with boulders and picturesque rocks. Located in an unspoiled location, very off the beaten track it is the best location for snorkelling or summer picnic. There is a kiosk/bar on the beach but no other facilities are available.
Mġarr ix-Xini – both above beaches are located on the north coast of Gozo while Mġarr ix-Xini can be found on another side of the island. A narrow inlet flanked by rock is located in the south near Sannat. There is a small pebbly beach and along the sides of the bay are rocks from which you can swim or jump straight into deep water. Yet again, perfect swimming, snorkelling or diving location.
Mġarr Ix-Xini was the location where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt shot their film ‘By the Sea’ and in 2015 the location was named by CNN as one of the top 10 places to visit before they are changed forever. So you better hurry up 🙂
Ta Mena Winery and farm
Apart from resorts and bays Gozo also offers agritourism and winery visit should be on your list if this is something that you are interested in. Ta Mena is situated in the picturesque Marsalforn Valley. Wine and food tours are on offer here however those are scheduled occasionally, therefore, book your visit head. This estate offers an experience where you can be in touch with nature and tradition while enjoying typical local foods, wines and liqueur.
Ta Pinu Basilica and the Ghammar Hill
The Ta Pinu Basilica is one of the most famous churches in Malta and is visited by a number of pilgrimages on a daily basis. It is a historical sight noting back to the 16th century but also of great religious importance to many. Located near the village of Gharb in the North-Western Part of the island – it stands lonely on the hill surrounded by the peaceful countryside.
This church is Boasting breath-taking scenic views and is considered to be an architectural masterpiece mainly due to its interior. The church parvis is covered in beautiful mosaics.
Across the church, you will find a track leading up to the Grammar Hill, which is punctuated by marble statues representing scenes from the stations of the cross starting with the Last Supper of Jesus right up to the crucifixion and burial.
Fancy stepping into the past? You have to visit the Ghantija Temples. This megalithic temple from the Neolithic period is the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta and is older than the Pyramids of Egypt or Stonehenge. Fact that those were built more than 5500 years ago makes them the world’s second-oldest existing man-made religious structures
The temple’s name originates from a popular local myth saying temples were constructed by a gigantic race of people– Giants. Ġgantija means ‘Place of Giants’ in Maltese.
Hiking in Gozo
And finally?My favourite! You can visit any of those sights on foot and I do recommend doing it. There is a number of marked trails all around the island. I do recommend however taking those hikes outside of summer months as it can get really hot and humid.
Take a coastal walk to admire wonderful bays and cliffs. Or Xlendi Walk which will take you from southeast to southwest part of Gozo. This clifftop route offers the best views of the wild landscape before turning slightly inland within the range of Munxar down to Xlendi Bay.
Stock up on water, snacks and comfy shoes and enjoy Gozitan country site.
I hope you will be able to visit this beautiful little island. I myself, visited quite a few times and always enjoyed its peaceful character and magical sights. I hope I gave you all the reasons why you should spend 2 days in Gozo. Still, if you decide only on one day – you still won’t be disappointed, nevertheless.