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The best things to do in Gozo Malta

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Rocky cliff faces and magical sunset locations, crystal blue waters that offer incredible diving and snorkelling opportunities, beaches, history and great food.  Thinking about a trip to Malta?  Be sure to leave some time for the island of Gozo. 

Keep reading for our list of all the best things to do in Gozo, including the must-see locations and the best places to visit.  We’ll also show you some of the best places to eat in Gozo and some of the more adventurous activities.

This is one of the reasons why Gozo is worth visiting - such beautiful boats and one of the best things to do in gozo

No trip to Malta is complete without visiting Gozo.  It’s easy to dismiss Gozo as just being a small island off the coast of the mainland, but scratch under the surface, not very far, and you’ll discover a world that is aesthetically and culturally different to the rest of Malta in so many ways.

North west coast Gozo - things to do in Gozo

Why should you visit Gozo?

A visit to Malta should also mean a visit to  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.  I can almost hear your questions. 

Why would Gozo be any different to Malta?  It’s part of Malta, isn’t it? Malta is so small that the chances of disparate groups would surely be unlikely, right?  Whilst there are of course many similarities, the small divide created by the Mediterranean has allowed those who live on Gozo to create a lifestyle of their own making.

To understand why Gozo is different it is important to understand a little about the past.  With temples touted to be the oldest in the world, it is thought that Gozo may, in fact, be older than the island of Malta. 

Dating right back to around 5,000 BC, Gozo has been inhabited by everyone from the Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, French, British, and many others in between.  It has also been continually tormented over many centuries by pirates and others wishing to control the island.

With the earlier generations having to take shelter often from such invaders, it is little wonder they grew into a reserved population, wary of newcomers and changes in their world.

A day trip from Malta

Visiting Gozo is a perfect day trip.  With the majority of people visiting Malta for seven days, taking one day out to visit Gozo would be typical.  If time is not on your side, spending half a day here would be fine, although possibly a little rushed.  There are also some great locations on the way to the Ċirkewwa Harbour (where the ferry leaves from) that are worthy of a stop.

We stayed at the Hilton Malta in St Julians, not far from the capital Valletta.  With access to a car and public transport, it’s a location that makes seeing others parts of Malta reasonably easy.

The drive along the coast towards the northern tip of Malta takes you out of the tight, narrow streets of the city.  If leaving at peak hour, remember the traffic in the cities is quite bad and getting anywhere can take twice as long.  If possible, get out quite early, or delay your trip until after 9 am.  Once clear of the cities, however, the roads open up, affording you terrific views of the coastline in many areas.

It is along the coastline that further evidence of Malta’s economic progression can be seen, with the skyline dotted with cranes and other tools of construction.  There are modern, mid-range highrises out here, many of them offering resort options to those who want to come and unwind in the one location.

St Pauls Bay

St Pauls Bay is perhaps the most frequented beach area, and Qawra, one of the resort areas here, is instantly at aesthetic odds with the historical city of Valletta.  With many hotels offering the all-inclusive resort-style accommodation, it’s a great location for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere who are chasing the sun.  Many Maltese also have summer houses here.

Top things to do in St Pauls

  • Visit the Malta National Aquarium
  • Eat gelato at Sottozero
  • Visit the Church of St Pauls Bonfire
  • Love cars?  Visit the privately owned collection of classic cars.

Click here to check out the prices, reviews or book hotels in the St Pauls area  

As we near the village of Manikata on the north-west coast of Malta, we passed through the main agricultural area of Malta.  Here, amongst some of the more arid, rocky, desperate-looking land I’ve seen, is where most of the vegetables for Malta are grown. 

Coming from Australia and knowing how our own arid land and drought conditions impact our farmers, I’m equally impressed by those who are able to make a living on the land here.  It can’t be an easy job.

Best places to stop between Valletta and Gozo

There are beaches all over Malta.  Near Ghajn Tuffieha, there are three bays.  All have beaches and swimming areas that are frequented by visitors, and each with their own unique qualities.

Golden Sands Beach

One of the few beaches with sand on the north-west coast, it offers easy access to beachgoers with the sand running immediately into the striking blue waters.  It’s incredibly popular for that reason and as such there are beach clubs here and a hotel.

Golden Sands Beach Gozo Malta one of the best beaches in Gozo
Golden Sands Beach

Need to know about Golden Sands Beach

  • Unlike some of the other beaches, access to the beach is easy. 
  • Reachable by car and public transport.
  • It’s a typical beach area where visitors swim, sunbake, play games and enjoy picnics.
  • Due to its easy access, it gets very busy in the peak summer time and during school holidays.
  • The beach is protected by lifeguards during summer.  Don’t swim when the beach is closed.
  • There are public toilet facilities here.
  • There are cafes and restaurants located near the beach.
  • In summer, it’s a great place to watch the sunset.
  • Arrive early in summer as the beach (and parking area) can fill up quickly.

Ghajin Tuffieha Beach

Ghajin Tuffieha is a red-coloured beach nearby.  A path winding down the hill and a staircase of around 200 steps provide access to this area.

Ghajn Tuffieha Beach
The red sands of Ghajn Tuffieha Beach

The Maltese military history is also on display here, with an intact guardhouse overlooking the coastline.  Built by the Knights of St John, there are 13 of these still remaining on the island.

One of the guard towers built by the Knights still overlooking the coastline
One of the guard towers built by the Knights still overlooking the coastline

Need to know about Ghajin Tuffieha Beach

  • It’s not as popular particularly for children or those with mobility issues as access is more challenging.
  • If you don’t want to walk to steps, there is a winding path.  You can see the path in my image above.
  • The beach is not yellow sand like nearby Golden Sands beach.  Instead, it is formed with small red rocks.
  • Car parking is available at the top but is usually in high demand especially in summer and on school holidays.
  • The beach is patrolled by lifeguards in summer.  Be sure to obey them and the flags.
  • Undercurrents exist here particularly in winter which can make swimming here dangerous.  Do not swim alone.
  • Beach umbrellas and lounges are available for hire.
  • A small cafe provides some refreshments and food.

Popeye’s Village in Mellieha

No visit to Malta is complete without a visit to see Popeye’s Village.  I say this but smile at the same time, as prior to coming to Malta, I had no idea this was here.  Given my age when the Popeye movie was released, I’ll forgive myself for not remembering this!

The village in Mellieha is just beautiful, in parts.  As we came around the corner from the beaches where we had just stopped for a while, the village can be seen at the bottom of the cliffs, sitting alongside the clear, blue waters of Anchor Bay.  It’s straight out of a fairytale and given it was created for one, why shouldn’t it be?

Popeyes village
Popeye’s Village – one of the best places to visit in Gozo for families

Unfortunately, from a purist view, it’s now been transformed into a theme park of sorts.  Whilst I can understand it would be a kids dream to bounce around on the water trampolines now floating on the bay, and playing in the water adventure park, it’s just not quite the same. 

I chose to look at it out of “one eye”, focussing on the village and forgetting that there are now huge brightly coloured toys bobbing around in front of it.  For sake of honesty though, the fuller “picture” is shown below so you can make your own mind up.

Remember though, I’m not writing these articles with kids in mind.  I’m sure that aesthetics aside, it would be a fun day out for the family.

Popeyes Adventure playground
Popeye’s Village has been turned into an adventure playground

Need to know about visiting Popeye’s Village

  • You can drive easily to Popeye’s Village and there is sufficient car parking available.
  • Public transport (bus) is available from Valletta, Sliema and Bugibba.
  • Booking tickets online is the best option, especially in summer and during school holidays.
  • The Anchor Bay Waterpark is nearby so if you are planning a family holiday in Malta, this would be a great combination activity to undertake.

How to get to Gozo

The best way to get to Gozo is by ferry.  Catching the ferry to Gozo is painless.  With transfers occurring from the port at Cirkewwa every 45 minutes, it offers both pedestrian and vehicle passage to the island of Gozo in around 30 minutes. At peak times, the ferries will run even more regularly. The ticket cost of €4.65 return for an adult, is a reasonable fare for the journey. 

There are seats both inside and outside the boat and a shop onboard to buy refreshments. Free wifi is also available onboard.

Note:  The ticket process works slightly differently here.  There is no ticket office at Cirkewaa to buy your tickets.  Tickets are bought upon your return back to Malta.  If you have brought your vehicle with you, join the queue for vehicles and pay at the ticket booth.  For all other passengers, the ticket offices are inside the terminal at the Mgarr Harbour.

See below for advice on how to get to the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal

In a location such as this, I recommend getting a seat, or a standing spot, outside.  The fresh sea air in your face adds to the atmosphere, and it’s usually much cooler outside on a hot Maltese day than being inside.  The ferry runs to and from Gozo every day on a very regular schedule, so there’s no need to book in advance.

Our guide for the day, Maria, told us that this tour was also a fabulous one to take.  If we weren’t with her, we would have jumped at the chance to cover the island of Gozo in a jeep.

Malta to Gozo ferry how to catch the ferry to gozo
The ferry that travels between Malta and Gozo

How to get to the ferry terminal at Cirkewwa

Getting to Cirkewwa by car

Driving in Malta is easy once you leave the busy, car-packed cities.  We had a private tour (which we highly recommend).  As part of the tour, we were picked up from our hotel in St Julians and taken to some of the best places to visit in Malta, en route to Gozo. If you want to self-drive, there are car hire options available in Malta.  Hiring from the airport is easiest.  We use and recommend Rentalcars.

Getting to Cirkewwa by bus

Buses are commonly used all over Malta.  Buses operate on the following routes to Cirkewwa: 41,42,101,221,222,250 and X1 (from the airport).  The buses are slow but inexpensive.

Getting to Cirkewwa by taxi

Whilst taxis would usually be an expensive option, in this instance, they can be a good idea.  Taxis operate from the airport and the major cities in Malta. 

Comino Island

On the way, you will pass the island of Comino, famous for its blue lagoon.  Separate ferries are also available from Ċirkewwa to Comino, should you wish to check it out.  Only four people from the same family have ever lived here, but with the passing of a sibling in 2017, only three permanent residents remain. 

It doesn’t get more secluded than that!  The Hotel Comino – Blue Lagoon is the only hotel on the island, opening from May to October each year.

Tip: Stand at the front of the boat for a fantastic view of Gozo as it comes into view.

Gozo as the ferry comes into port
The first views of Gozo as the ferry comes into the harbour

Top things to do on Comino Island

  • Swim in the Blue Lagoon.  It’s the number one thing to do in Comino.
  • Take a walk to visit the Santa Maria Tower (the view from here is excellent too)
  • Explore Comino’s caves
  • Go diving at Santa Marija Caves

Is Gozo worth visiting?

The ferry brings you into the port of Mgarr, and like any port area, it’s a busy place.  Inbound and outbound passengers jostle to find some space to sit and a path to walk.  Immediately outside, you could be forgiven for thinking that Gozo isn’t any different to a mainstream tourism location, with tour operators and drivers vying for your attention.  Once away from the port, however, the frenzied feel disappears in an instant and it becomes evident that life in Gozo is conducted at a much slower pace.

Funnily enough, the first thing I noticed was the absence of horns.  The Maltese, with their blended cultural norms, clearly align themselves with the Italians when it comes to horn blowing.  Yet here in Gozo, the drivers are patient, courteous, drive more slowly, and could quite easily sell their cars with the horn in perfect condition. 

The second significant thing I noticed was their approach to security.  There was none.  According to Maria, our guide, “They can leave the key in their front door”.  Indeed it seems they can.

Gozo packs 13 villages into its 65km² and 30,000 people call Gozo their home, working predominantly in tourism, fishing and agriculture.  It’s visibly greener here, which isn’t hard when compared to Malta, but it’s nice to see a softening of the tough landscape.

With a name that translates to “joy”, Gozo is the place to come to for relaxation.  A place where time is of no consequence that they don’t wear watches.  In a nod to these attributes, many Maltese own a second home here.

Is Gozo worth visiting?  Yes, it definitely is.

The people of Gozo

People on Gozo are called Gozitans and they speak their own dialect, further distancing themselves from those who would identify as Maltese.  To avoid offending a Gozitan, never call them Maltese.  It might seem right to you, but this subtle naming convention means the world to the local population.

“The Gozitans can speak Maltese, but Maltese don’t speak Gozitan”, Maria tells us.  In fact, I remember Melanie the Marketing Manager from the Hilton Malta and a born and bred Maltese tell us “I don’t understand a word they are saying!”.  It’s a strange situation, but one that has been definitively carved out as a unique identifier of this small population.

What to see and do in Gozo

The Citadel

During British rule, the name of the capital was changed to Victoria but will be forever known as Rabat to the Maltese.  Victoria is all about the citadel.  Sitting on the highest part of Victoria and making its power known to the surrounding areas, the citadel is the main place to visit in Gozo.

The Gozo Citadel one of the must see attractions in gozo
The Gozo Citadel

This site is of great significance to the people of Gozo and bears the scars of years of occupation.  Back in the 1550s when the Turks and various other invaders were operating at their peak, the population of Gozo spent each night inside the walls of the citadel for their protection.  Eventually, the citadel was ravaged and destroyed.  Today’s citadel and surrounding Bishops Palace and Law Courts are the results of rebuilding, many years later.

Gozo citadel
Cathedral Square, Citadel

It also came as no surprise to me, given their years of attack, and considering what a monstrous structure the citadel is that it would also be used as part of the protection strategy during World War Two.  We saw many of these bunkers during our time in Gozo and in Malta.

WW2 bunkers in the Gozo citadel

Once you’ve seen everything of interest up here, and taken in some long looks at the 360-degree views, exit onto Republic Street and head down into the town.  This is where you are likely to come across plenty of tourists, but also the locals too.

Need to know about the Citadel

  • It is free to walk around the fortified walls of the Citadel.
  • Inside the citadel, there are five museums covering wildlife, culture, religion and you can even visit a prison cell.

Discover the sights of Gozo in comfort on the Hop on Hop Off bus.  Book in advance to save queuing.

View from Citadel
View over Victoria from the citadel

St Georges Basilica and Independence Square

The square near St Georges Basilica is always a lively place to hang out and grab a beer or bite to eat.  It’s also where the locals hang out so there’s plenty of sights to be seen here.

St George's Basilica
St George’s Basilica

A small market is held every day here.  Republic St is also the main shopping street although I personally think there are better things to do in Gozo than shopping!

Tip: If you really want to get behind the scenes we highly recommend taking a private tour.  We had a private tour throughout Malta and in Gozo and we loved every minute of it.

markets in victoria

Malsalforn Salt Pans

The town of Marsalforn is one of the most popular on the island, with beaches, a shallow area for swimming and snorkelling and access to offshore diving locations.  Many locals from Victoria also own beach houses here, even though it is only five minutes away.  There is also a large amount of short-stay accommodation here.

Nearby are the Xewejni salt pans, operated personally by the Cini family for over 150 years.  We were thrilled to meet Mr Cini, a talkative, spritely man in his late seventies, who has been working here harvesting the salt for 50 years.  As time marches on, he is handing the business over to his daughter, who with 26 staff, will continue to run this business. 

Mr Cini’s only admission of a change in the process was when he told us “we once hand bucketed water from the ocean, now we use pumps”.  A process improvement I’m sure he was thankful for.

Salt pans in Gozo Xewejni
Salt pans

Talking to Mr Cini, he learned we were from Australia.  Malta and Australia enjoy strong cultural ties, with many Maltese emigrating to Australia in the 1950s.  He told us that he flew “on a plane with the big kangaroo on it”,  our national carrier Qantas, making his way to a regional town to see his extended family.  After such a wonderful visit, we were only too happy to buy some of his salt.

Mr Cini from the salt pans in Gozo
Mr Cini owner of the Xewejni salt pans

The Malsaforn Salt Pans are the largest salt pans in Gozo and would be the best salt pans to visit if you only have the opportunity to visit one.

Need to know about the Malsaforn Salt Pans

  • Harvesting season is during summer, June – August.
  • The amount of salt harvested is affected by the weather.  A good season delivers around 20 tonnes of salt.  The record is 1977 when double that amount was harvested.  In 2019, only 10 tonnes were delivered.
  • Malsaforn is a popular place for holidaymakers in summer.
  • Malsaforn is one of the best places to walk the coastline in Gozo.

Ggantija Temples in Xaghra

My tip would be to visit the Ggantija Temples in the morning before the heat intensifies if you are doing this in summer. The Ggantiji Temples are the oldest freestanding structures in the world. From 1816-1820 they were excavated, uncovering two Neolithic temples dating back to 3500 BC.  To give you a benchmark, they are older than the Egyptian Pyramids. They are known as megalithic structures, given they are prehistoric and made of stone.  In fact, they are the largest megalithic site in Malta and recognised by UNESCO as the largest freestanding rock formation in the world.

They are also older than Stonehenge and given they are such an incredible rock formation and no one really knows how they got there, I can see the alignment.  The Maltese word Ggantija translates, unsurprisingly to giant.  That’s exactly what these rocks are, with some of them weighing over 50 tonnes.

Ġgantija Temple in Xagħra
Ggantija Temple in Xagħra

Need to know about the Ggantija Temples

  • Go early in summer to beat the heat and the crowds
  • Take a hat and water with you if you visit in summer
  • Don’t just visit the temples, take in the amazing view as well
  • An entrance fee exists to visit the Ggantiji Temples

Wine Tasting at Ta’ Mena

Behind a small fruit and vegetable offering, more streetside vendor than a shop, lies Ta’ Mena Estate, the love and livelihood of Joe Spiteri. Established in 1936 by Joe’s grandfather.  In the late 1960’s Joe’s mother took over, creating Ta’ Mena and building a legacy built around winemaking.  In 1972, she opened the shop selling fruit and vegetables, to which Joe’s father responded, “We will be the laughing stock of the Maltese Island”.

Joe Spiteri from Ta'Mena Estate
Joe – the owner of Ta’ Mena Estate

Today everything produced on-site is done with traditional agricultural methods, with no pesticides, only natural fertilisers from the farm being used.  This methodology is further supported by what Joe calls “the island effect”, the sea breezes that blow salt over the land, preventing the need to treat with chemicals. 

It’s also believed that it adds a unique flavour to the wines of Gozo.  When you see the land they use to grow on, you’d wonder how they grew anything at all.

harsh land to grow plants on
It’s a harsh environment to make a living from

As we sat and listened to the stories of Joe, it became evidently clear that the life they were born into was not one they loved.  With four brothers and one sister, Joe grew up “hating the place”, mainly because they “always had to work on their holidays”. 

With the death of their mother, their father continued to run the estate but by this time most of the family had left.  Joe eventually returned with a love for this place that had become his legacy, growing two hectares of land into 25, stocking over 200,000 vines, 1,500 olive trees and a large orange grove.

olive grove Ta' Mena

Having recently completed our first olive oil tasting in Bologna we had our second olive oil experience here.  We didn’t actually get to participate, which is a shame, as I think it is an important aspect of trying to understand the differences between good and bad olive oils.

 
Joe is also a firm believer in “not listening to anyone who tells you a wine tastes like ‘x’.  With over 300 possible flavours, it is unlikely that an unseasoned wine taster will ever be able to single out specific flavours.  I’m in total agreement, drink wines that taste good to you and leave it at that.
 
winetasting at ta mena estate
A little wine tasting

Over 100 beehives help produce flavoured honey (clover, fennel, rosemary, oranges and thyme) and capers are grown, collected and preserved.  We ended our tour with an array of fresh foods put together for us, and a glass or two of the Ta’ Mena Estate’s Vermentino and Rose, both perfect drops for a sticky, hot day in Gozo.

eating at ta mena estate
Fresh bread, oil and konserva, all made on the premises
MUST DO: Visit the shop on your way out and pick up some of the most amazing sweet tomato paste you will ever eat. Called Konserva, it’s perfect on fresh bread, with olive oil
Ta Mena Estate shop

Where: Rabat Road Xaghra XRA 9010 Gozo

Dwejra

Whilst most people may not have heard of Dwejra, many will have heard of the Azure Window.  In fact, it was one of the must-see attractions for us on Gozo.  That was until it collapsed into the sea below in 2017.   Sadly, years of pressure and erosion from the ocean meant this very popular place to visit in Gozo was no longer.

However, there are many other fantastic things to see in this area, that are well worth taking the time to get to the north-western part of Gozo.  Fungus Rock, formed when another arch like the Azure Window collapsed,  was said to have medicinal qualities that could only be received by the Knights.  The fungus, native to North Africa can only be found on this rock in all of Europe.

Dwejra is also the location of several sinkholes, created when the limestone above them collapsed.  The most interesting sinkhole in this area is the Inland Sea.  Once only a sinkhole, it became connected to the open sea via an 80-metre long tunnel. 

The Blue Hole, another sinkhole, is very famous for diving.  Here, divers go down into the blue Hole and then under a seven-metre long arch to get to the open sea.

Ramla Bay

Ramla Bay is a red sand beach and the largest in Gozo.  It’s the perfect location for a family trip to the beach.  The water is relatively calm, it’s easy to access and in summer, lifeguards are on patrol.  Similar to the Golden Sands Beach on the mainland, there are locations to buy food and drinks and public amenities.  Sun lounges and umbrellas can also be hired.

Ta’Pina Basilica

Malta is full of impressive churches and the Ta’Pina Basilica is no different.  Located near the village of Gharb, close to Dwejra, this stone church is a standout.  Inside, the marble and stained-glass windows are impressive.  The view outside isn’t bad either.

Adventure activities

Gozo is one of the best places for activities.  The sea provides the opportunity for diving, snorkelling, swimming, jet-skiing and boating.  The high cliffs and deep holes in some locations even allow for cliff diving.

Some of the best locations for diving in Gozo are in the Blue Hole and Inland Sea.  There are many sunken boats that provide divers with endless options.  

The rugged, stony landscape paves the way for quad-biking and buggies, whilst segways are used in the more urban city areas.  The cliffs hide many incredible caves for caving enthusiasts and hiking is also very common on Gozo.

Check out the best places to go caving

Best places to eat in Gozo

Mekren Bakery

Bread is eaten prolifically in Malta and on Gozo, so the bakeries are always a key part of daily life.  We visited the third generation Mekrens Bakery, an unspectacular looking place from the front, full of amazing traditional bread, pastries and pizza inside.

We watched, fascinated by the way in which the traditional delicacy Ftira were made.  From rolling out the dough, filling with a mix of fresh ricotta and spinach, egg washing and then seeing them pushed into a woodfired oven, we could have easily hung around to eat the finished product.

ftira making in gozo

The ovens aren’t just used for the bakery.  In a process almost too old-fashioned to believe, on Sundays, the women of the families prepare a roast meal for their family lunch at home, and then bring everything down to the bakery to be cooked in the wood oven. 

wood oven at mekrens bakery

All I needed was a personal invitation to a local home to complete the image I had in my mind of a chicken, roasting away with crispy skin, or a piece of pork creating the best crackling anyone has ever seen!

Mekrens Bakery Gozo
Getting to taste the goodies from the bakery

Where:  Triq Hanaq, Gozo

Lunch at Ta’ Philip

Our food experiences continued at Ta’ Philip, with a strong connection to our visit to Ta’ Mena.  Owner of  Ta’ Philip, Philip Spiteri, is Joe’s brother.  Having been in the restaurant game for over 25 years, Philip uses his upbringing on the Ta’ Mena estate to full advantage in his own restaurant, understanding the true value of fresh, organic produce and its linkages to producing great food.  Philip supports his brother Joe by stocking and using products produced on the farm.

From the moment we walked through the front door covered with hanging wine corks, we knew we were in for a great food experience.  Philip welcome us effusively and lead us to a table down the back, near the courtyard. 

He was keen to feed us, but halfway through a week in Malta, we were learning fast!  The food portions served are massive!  Huge! We had dinner planned in the evening at the Blue Elephant in the Hilton Malta and we needed to make sure we had the ability to eat there too.

I was pleased we mentioned this to Philip (tongue firmly in my cheek).  I would have hated to see what he served for us if we said were starving.  Make no mistake, even at fine restaurants in Malta, you will never go hungry.

We started off with a “little” antipasti comprised of sun-dried tomatoes, salad, marinated grilled eggplant, fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella.

antipasti ta philip gozo

This was followed by peppered Gbejniet, a Maltese cheese that has been dried.  We were lucky enough to try this cheese both fresh and dried and just loved it.  Too much cheese in this world, never enough time to eat it all!  Most of the Gbejniet is air-dried, with the salty sea air crucial to the process.

peppered Gbejniet
Peppered Gbejniet

Of course, it wouldn’t be Philip’s restaurant if he didn’t serve some of his brother Joe’s wonderful konserva.  I could eat this stuff all day.  Thankfully, we bought some from Joe’s store to bring home with us.

konserva at Ta'Philip
Konserva

In this modern-looking restaurant, Philip delivers traditional food, often with a twist, and centred around a huge wood-fired oven.  Daily specials are offered and the menu changes weekly  (except for regular local items).  There is always a soup of the day, some pasta and according to Philip himself, “always a rabbit, pig, goat and sometimes lamb on the menu”.

Food is served at the table here, and usually with great flair.  Philip wanted us to have pasta, but we were adamant that pasta was too much.  With a sad face, he appealed to my husband with “just a little for you”, and well, who could refuse him. 

Next thing we knew, he had whipped up something that wasn’t on the menu.  I’m glad I wasn’t contributing to this offering.  As good as it looked, the serving was very large.

cooking the final pasta at the table

Two of the proteins that we were very keen to try in Malta, such is its reputation, was goat and rabbit.  Since we’d already had rabbit elsewhere, when we saw a locally farmed goat on the menu, we knew it would be an easy decision.  I got sidetracked however by the locally farmed suckling pig. 

I defy any meat eater to read “braised and slow-roasted in our wood-burning oven” and be able to pass it up.  We were served up a piece each, making sharing an easy option.  Seriously though, we could have shared this with about five other people.  It was a meat lovers paradise.  Did the meat live up to expectation?  It sure did, falling off the bone at every mouthful.

suckling pig

Open for lunch and dinner on weekends and dinner during the week, there’s plenty to love about this bright and airy space, with a courtyard out the back and a more dimly lit lounge area to relax in downstairs.

Where: Triq Sant’ Antnin Ghajnsielem, Mgarr Malta

Where to stay in Gozo

Despite Gozo being small, there is no shortage of places to stay in Gozo.  If you are planning a short stay in Gozo, staying somewhere central like Victoria is probably the best option.  This is especially so if you don’t have your own transport and are relying on buses and tours whilst you are here.

Duke Boutique Hotel

This is the perfect hotel if you want to be central to everything in Victoria.  Located on the 4th and 5th floors of the Duke Shopping Complex, there are excellent views to be had from this hotel.  It is located 200 metres from the main bus terminal or a short bus or taxi ride from the Mgarr Harbour.  

Look for a room with a view of the Citadel.  The nighttime view is amazing.

As well as the shopping centre below the hotel, there is a bar and restaurant on site.  All other shopping and dining areas are located close by.

Check availability, prices, reviews and book online with Trip Advisor.

Mariblu Hotel 

This is a family operated hotel, where you are made to instantly feel at home, in true Maltese style.  Be sure to try some of their traditional Maltese food as well.

Check availability, prices, reviews and book online with Trip Advisor.

Getting around Gozo

Getting to Gozo is usually done via ferry, an easy and inexpensive process.  Once you get to Gozo, you will need transportation if you are not on a tour.  The island is small, but not small enough to see it all on foot.

Gozo by car

Either drive the rental car that you have brought across from the mainland or hire a car through a local car hire provider.

Gozo by bus

The public transport system operated on the mainland extends to Gozo.  Buses can be caught from the Mgarr Harbour, where the ferry docks, to other parts of Gozo.  The main bus route (301) between Mgarr Harbour and Victoria operates every 30 minutes.  For the latest up to date timetables, visit the official Malta Public Transport website.

The Hop-on-Hop-off sightseeing bus also operates in Gozo.  It stops at all the best places to see in Gozo.  An audio guide delivered via headphones is available for all passengers, providing highlights of the main attractions in Gozo as you pass them by. 

The Hop-on-Hop-off bus picks up passengers from the Mgarr Harbour ferry terminal.  Tickets may be purchased onboard and you can jump on and off, as the bus name suggests, whenever and wherever you like.  For convenience, tickets can also be purchased in advance online.

Gozo by taxi

Taxis are queued up outside the ferry terminal at Mgarr Harbour.  

Gozo by bike 

Mgarr Tourist Services, located at the Mgarr Harbour ferry terminal is the one-stop-shop for all things two, and four-wheeled.  For a slice of adventure, here you can hire bicycles, ebikes, quad bikes and buggies.  For water activities, hire jet skis and boats.

Tours on Gozo

Tours are popular on Gozo as most people who visit do so as a day trip from Malta, so they want to see all the best places on Gozo.  Here are some of the best tours on Gozo.

From Malta: Gozo full-day jeep tour with powerboat ride

  • Pickup and dropoff at hotel in Malta
  • Catch the ferry to Gozo
  • Enjoy a Mediterranean lunch
  • See highlights of the best things to see and do in Gozo
  • Visit the citadel in Victoria
  • Visit the famous salt pans
  • Ditch the return ferry for a powerboat ride back to Malta via the Blue Lagoon and Comino Caves

Check rates, availability and book online.

From Malta: Half-day Quad tour on Gozo

  • Pickup from hotel 
  • Private boat to Gozo (or ferry) – dependent on weather
  • Drop off back to Mgarr Harbour in Gozo or to Gozo accommodation
  • Pickup from Mgarr Harbour to tour starting location
  • Tour guide and helmets
  • Visit Qala Belvedere, Simar Valley, Ghasri Valley and Ramla Valley.
  • Take in the views of the famous Malsaforn salt pans

Check rates, availability and book online.

  • For a full day Quad tour of Gozo including lunch, book here.

On Gozo: Private sunset boat cruise

 
  • Explore the Blue Lagoon without the hordes of people
  • Watch the sunset whilst at sea
  • Explore the caves on Comino Island
  • Go snorkelling, swimming  and cliff diving (if you are game)
  • Explore the southern coast of Gozo
  • Visit the movie locations of the Count of Monte Cristo, Troy and more

Check rates, availability and book online.

Gozo travel guides

We still find travel resources like these useful. All may be purchased online.

More Malta reading

Planning your trip to Malta?  You might like to also read these.

23 thoughts on “The best things to do in Gozo Malta”

  1. I saw Popeyes village on your Instagram feed and had to read more about Gozo. Such a long and varied history. And the food looks wonderful too. Another place to add to the wish list.

  2. As i saw the 1st image of the blog, i decided to add this place in my alley.. Such an beautiful place Gozo is.. I never thought that i would go to Malta but looks like i need to go there soon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This place sounds so amazing and relaxing! I must say that has to be the clearest blue water I have ever seen, I definitely REALLY want to go here now. Everything you did sounds amazing and your pictures are stunning.

  4. Love reading this post and seeing your photos. Gozo is truly amazing, I was there back in 2007 being a typical British tourist. Was there for one week but did a day on Gozo and a day on Comino. Both visits are essential to understand, learn and enjoy what Malta has to offer. Still a shame the Azure Window is not there anymore but mother nature knows whats best ;( . Brilliant post.

  5. Love reading your post and seeing the photos which brought back a lot of memories of my visit to Gozo back in 2007. As a typical British tourist spending a week in Malta, I managed to do a day in Gozo and a day in Comino and enjoyed both of them and are really essential to do if anyone wants to understands the country history and culture.

  6. It looks like you had a great time in Malta. A friend of mine got to live there for a couple of months and loved it. I am yet to visit sadly. I love food and I have made a mental note of Mekrens Bakery. I think its hard to beat anything cooked in a wood fired oven and I bet the smells are out of this world too!

  7. I knew Malta was pretty – but didn’t realise there was so much to do. It may need to go back on our to-do list. 🙂 Popeye’s village looks stunning. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I’ve been to Malta a couple of times when I was a kid and remember loving it, we never made it over to Gozo though and I have always wanted to return as an adult to make the most of it. This post makes me think it should be sooner rather than later!

  9. I absolutely loved Gozo and I can’t believe people who visit Malta don’t always add it to their itinerary! We didn’t really go to the Popeye Village because we focussed mostly on the beautiful beaches and the Citadel, but we’ll give it a go on our next trip for sure!

  10. These pictures are the best I ever seen from this part of the world! Wow you took me right there. So much to do, see and take pictures of. I would love to visit that popeye village it looks amazing. I have heard by a few friends that the food is to die for and they were right! very authentic cooking, yummy!
    I am going to book mark this post…. maybe in he future when its time to think… where to next? It will be Gozo!

  11. I had promised myself to skip Europe this year in favour of some other continent, but your posts on Malta and Gozo are so enticing! Seeing so many details, it is evident that it would be good to put aside more than just a day trip for Gozo. The food and the olive oil would be huge temptations for me, as would be the history and the natural landscapes. And the color of the sea!!!

  12. This is a wonderful destination! I enjoyed reading all the way done! I love the photos, the view from the Popeye’s Village has been turned into an adventure playground, from the Golden Sands Beach, and from The red sands of Ghajn Tuffieha Beach, they were all so perfect. Also the foods that are wooden fire cooked from the third generation Mekrens Bakery. Foods that are featured really looked so delicious. Thanks again for sharing.

  13. I loved Malta when I visited last year! I was only there for a short city break in Valletta so no time to check out Gozo, but I intend to next time!

  14. Martin Mulkearns

    I visit Gozo regularly. Visit Malta & Gozo most years. I spend three or four days In Xlendi Bay on Gozo, before travelling back to Malta for 5 or 6 (more hectic) days in Sliema. It is a very calm,reflective place, with a much more rustic feel to it. Highly recommend it to anyone with the time to spend there.

  15. Hello!
    Great write up. Just wondering how you got around Gozo and if you still had the contact details for your guide? I’ll be going just for a day so a guide would be perfect!

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