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Gozo Gozo | 01


Photo: Ted Attard

Azure Window, Dwejra

Gozo | 02


An undiscovered jewel Beautiful bays hug the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, cliffs rise up from a gently lapping sea, and stunning beaches give way to untouched landscapes dotted with villages, ancient monuments, majestic churches and farmsteads. Tiny Gozo is Malta’s sister island and it beckons those who long to take things at a slower pace and immerse themselves in spectacular natural beauty. Gozo’s land, waters and wildlife are protected by innovative environmental and ecological schemes and the island is well on the way towards achieving its vision of being an eco-island by 2020. Caves and coves, world-class diving and rock climbing, wildflowers and wildlife, walking routes and cycle paths, local food and crafts… there is so much to discover.

CONTENTS

02 About Gozo 04 The Gozitans – an island race 06 Beaches & coastline 08 Diving & kayaking 10 History 12 Eco Gozo 14 Natural highlights 16 Architectural highlights 18 Award-winning 20 Feasts & festivals 22 Tours 24 Walking 26 Cycling 28 Climbing 30 Arts & crafts 32 Food 34 Restaurants 36 Sustainable stays 39 Agri-tourism 40  Did you know? 41  Map

Gozo | 01


Xlendi Bay

Photo: Viewingmalta.com

About Gozo

02 | Gozo

For such a small island Gozo packs a powerful punch. Its charms are easily accessible and a short boat ride links it with Malta, just 5 km away. With no airports, motorways or railway lines, the island exudes a special peacefulness.

Byzantines, French, Romans, Arabs and British have lived and ruled here over Gozo’s 7,000-year history and have influenced its food, culture and architecture. It’s thought Gozo’s first inhabitants crossed the sea from Sicily in 5,000 BC; the


“The rural tranquil haven of Gozo is an authentic, sustainable oasis steeped in rich history and cultural beauty. Visitors can admire dramatic coastlines and lush green landscapes dotted with beautifully adorned limestone houses and an abundance of historical treasures.” PAUL BUGEJA, CEO, MALTA TOURISM AUTHORITY

Italian island, just 80 km north, remains a strong influence. Gozo is oval-shaped and roughly 14 km west to east and 7 km north to south. Exploring its treasures is easy on foot or by bike, and buses and taxis service the whole island.

Around 32,000 Gozitans live here permanently – well known for their friendliness, they happily share their rural idyll and stunning coastline. Come to experience their warmth and discover just why they love their island so much. Gozo | 03


06 | Gozo Photo: Clive Vella

Photo: Rene Rossignaud

Photo: Ray Attard


The Gozitans – an island race Spirited, friendly, proud and passionate about their island, the Gozitans are particularly lovely hosts. They gently protect their traditions, dialect and lifestyle while giving a big welcome to holidaymakers who come to enjoy this sustainable oasis. A strong farming community tends the fertile land to produce fine fresh food for themselves and for the island’s restaurants and hotels. The rhythm of life for

farmers and smallholders seems unchanged by time. Their routines dance to the sun’s tune and in the hottest months many locals retreat to cool interiors during the middle of the day. Siesta time, when dogs sleep in the shade and church clocks ring out over empty village squares, imbues the island with a real and rare sense of peace. Gozo’s population is steadily growing and initiatives to improve the

island’s prosperity will ensure more of its young stay on to raise their own families here. Many students make the 5-km commute to Malta’s university. Gozo is a super-safe island. There’s virtually no crime and you’ll feel happy and carefree wandering at any time of day or night.

Clockwise: playing Brilli, the Gozitan version of boules; traditional dancers; village square life; shepherd. Gozo | 05


Ramla Bay

On 43 km of sun-kissed coastline, limestone rock reflections produce a mesmerising array of blues, turquoises and greens‌ a stunning backdrop to your swimming and sunbathing.

Photo: Visitgozo.com

Beaches & coastline


All bathing sites in Gozo were rated as ‘excellent’ in the EU’s annual bathing water quality report and environmental policies are in place to ensure the island’s waters remain among the cleanest in Europe. RAMLA BAY The Bay of Red Sand in the north is one of Gozo’s largest and most popular bays. It’s underdeveloped, yet there are a couple of cafés for lunch. It’s said Roman remains lie underneath the fertile valley behind. SAN BLAS If you’re up for a steep downhill walk, take the narrow road to golden sands and a small café bar. A jeep will take you back up again for about €2 (late morning, high season). MARSALFORN AND QBAJJAR BAY Marsalforn is a lovely seafront village that’s popular with holidaymakers and locals. The

seafront has plenty of bars, shops and hotels, a sandy beach, a sweeping promenade for evening strolls and a small harbour. Around the corner at il-Qbajjar (Qbajjar Bay) is a quiet, shallow bay for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. ĦONDOQ IR-RUMMIEN BAY Just below Qala on the south east of the island, and facing Comino, Ħondoq ir-Rummien Bay is a small sandy beach popular with swimmers, kayakers and novice divers. It can get busy during highseason weekends and is a favourite barbecue spot. XLENDI BAY Beautiful Xlendi (pronounced ‘schlendi’) is justifiably popular. The bay is in a large rocky inlet and the inner beach is lined with lively cafés and restaurants. There are steps into the water, with a small jetty for fishing boats on one side and a walkway on the left of the cove with bathing steps and diving

platforms and views of the cliffs. Don’t be surprised if you see some eerie underwater lights in the bay while dining at night – the inlet is a popular location for adventurous night divers. MĠARR IX-XINI This rocky inlet used to be one of the main harbours. It has a small pebbly beach and lots of sea caves, making it a diver’s paradise. The Mġarr ix-Xini watchtower (visits by appointment) was completed in 1661 and was once armed with powder guns. More recently, the bay was used as the location for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s film, By The Sea. DAĦLET QORROT BAY In this fisherman’s bay boathouses have been hewn from the limestone rock. The blue-doored boathouses are also used as beach huts by fishermen’s families when they come to swim, eat and relax next to the tiny pebble beach.

Ramla l-Hamra Gozo | 07


Gozo | 10 Photo: Markus Kirchgessner

Photo: Paolo Meitre Liberatini

Photo: Gozo Adventures


Diving & kayaking

DISCOVER GOZO’S MOST POPULAR DIVE SITES:

Gozo bustles with marine life, dramatic underwater scenery, rock formations, caves, wrecks and grottoes. It’s possible to embark on a different voyage of discovery every day. The waters suit all levels, with visibility up to 40 metres, little tidal movement and temperatures of between 12°C – 24°C. Many dive sites are in protected areas equipped with access ladders and you’ll find artificial reefs, too.

DIVE SCHOOLS

•T  he Blue Hole, a favourite of Jacques Cousteau. •T  he Double Arch, with a scenic swim-through arch. •T  he MV Karwella, a purposely-sunk ferry that creates an interesting artificial reef dive site. •M  ġarr ix-Xini, caverns at 10m and 16m.

If you can’t wait to explore underwater Gozo, these schools have all the expertise you need. •A  tlantis Diving Centre, atlantisgozo.com •B  lue Waters Dive Cove, divebluewaters.com •B  ubbles Dive Centre, diving-gozo.com •C  alypso Diving Centre, calypsodivers.com •C  omino Dive Centre, divemalta.com •E  xtra Divers, extradiversgozo.com •G  ozo Technical Diving, gozodiving.com •G  ozo Aquasport, gozoaquasports.com •M  oby Dives, mobydivesgozo.com •N  autic Team Gozo, nauticteam.com •S  cuba Kings, scuba-kings.com •S  t Andrew’s Divers Cove, gozodive.com •U  tina Diving College, utina-diving.com Gozo | 09


Thousands of years of history have left their mark and your visit will be rich with cultural surprises. Pottery remains found in caves around Il-Mixta suggest Gozo was inhabited before Malta and distinct traces remain of races that have lived here over the island’s 7,000-year history, notably of the Ottomans, Sicilians and Romans. Perhaps Gozo’s most famous historical sites are Victoria’s fortified citadel with its tiny streets and the Ġgantija complex of temples. The 5,000-year-old Ġgantija temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the complex is one of the oldest freestanding structures in the world, dating to around 3,600 BC. Incredibly, parts of walls and altars 10 | Gozo

Photo: Clive Vella

History

are still intact. The name Ġgantija derives from ‘giant’ and it was believed the temples were built in one day by a giantess. The darkest time in Gozo’s history was in 1551 when the Turks of Sinam Pasha took the entire population into slavery. When the island was repopulated, with Maltese and Sicilians, it wasn’t until 1637 that they stopped sleeping in the Citadel for protection, lest more pirates arrived.


Photo: Viewingmalta.com

Ä gantija temples (opposite) and aerial view of Cittadella Gozo | 13


The natural beauty and clean air and waters deserve special protection and the enlightened Maltese government has a vision to make Gozo an eco-island by 2020. Environmentally-friendly practices are promoted for the education, sport, transport and agricultural sectors and there are hundreds of schemes to generate renewable energy, keep pollution to a minimum and create efficient water saving and rainwater harvesting. Becoming an eco-island isn’t only about reducing carbon and water footprints, it is also about protecting traditions and ways of life and funding social and economic development. 12 | Gozo

Photo: Mario Galea

Eco Gozo


“Our ecoGozo vision is not merely thinking green, but a vision to achieve a stable and healthy environment for a better quality of life.”

Left to right: view of Ta’ Pinu; Qorrot country walk; Xewkija

Photo: Ted Attard

Photo: Mario Galea

MALTA TOURISM AUTHORITY

The ecoGozo vision will protect the Gozitan lifestyle, education system, culture and identity, as well as the island’s environment. The promotion of Gozo as an unbeatable tourist destination is part of the initiative and will help create a bright and prosperous future for Gozitans. Gozo | 13


Photo: Viewingmalta.com

DWEJRA – THE AZURE WINDOW Dwejra is a special marine protected area, home to the Azure Window, a natural limestone arch, much photographed thanks to the intense blue of the sea beneath; geologists believe it was once a cave. Such is its striking beauty that scenes from Clash Of The Titans and Game Of Thrones were filmed here. 14 | Gozo

DWEJRA – FUNGUS ROCK Now a limestone islet rising 60 metres out of the sea, this was where the Knights of The Order of St John (who ruled Malta from 1530-1798) discovered a tubular plant believed to cure dysentery.

THE BLUE HOLE Just beside the Azure Window, dive 20 metres through glassy waters to

Photo: Michele Sarlo

Photo: Maurizio Modena

Natural highlights

caves and a coral garden; halfway down, swim through a passageway out to the sea.

CALYPSO’S CAVE The limestone cave at Ramla Bay is where, in Homer’s Odyssey, the nymph Calypso kept Odysseus prisoner for seven years. The cave is closed, although you can access a spot that overlooks the bay.


Photo: Maurizio Modena

Photo: Mario Galea Photo: Fabrizio Novali

TA’ CENC CLIFFS AND BIRD RESERVE Towering 140 metres above sea level, this is the highest point on Gozo, and a refuge for birds. It was once the breeding ground for the Maltese falcon and is now home to the blue rock thrush – the Maltese national bird – cory’s shearwaters, and yelkouan shearwaters. The Borġ I-Imramma temples are here,

too, and the remains of a dolmen and of cart ruts said to date to the Neolithic period.

DAĦLET QORROT At this quiet fisherman’s bay boathouses are hewn into Globigerina limestone and doors are painted bright blue – it’s a popular swimming spot for locals with its tiny pebble beach and clear water.

XWEJNI SALT PANS The saltpans near Marsalforn are a series of squares cut into a plateau of limestone just a few metres above sea level. The pans are hundreds of years old and are filled with saltwater from larger square wells. When the water evaporates the salt is swept up. Local man Emmanuel (‘Leli’) tends the pans daily and sells salt from a stall. Gozo | 15


18 | Gozo Photo: Maysun Abu-khdeir Granados

Photo: Mario Galea

Photo: Viewingmalta.com

Photo: Maurizio Modena

Photo: Paulo Andrade


Architectural highlights Victoria, called Rabat by locals, is the capital of Gozo. The majestic Basilica of St George sits in Independence Square where lively daily markets encourage you to stop a while and soak up the atmosphere. In the backstreets find ornate doorways, balconies hung with a thousand flowers and locals sitting outside their homes in the warm evening air – it’s a tonic after the touristy buzz of the main square.

Securely in the middle of Victoria are the tiny stone streets of the Citadel where locals took refuge when corsair ships were sighted off the coast. Find museums of nature, folklore and archaeology, Gozo Cathedral, a 16th -century prison and small shops and restaurants. Dominating the landscape is the Xewkija Rotunda church that has room for 3,000 worshippers. It has the third largest supported dome in the world – take

a lift up the side for spectacular views. In the valley between the Għarb and Għammar is Ta’ Pinu, a beautiful Roman Catholic church with ornate sculptures, stained glass windows and carved stone. In the 1860s, it’s said Our Lady spoke to a local woman in the original chapel.

Clockwise: Ta’ Pinu; Cathedral ceiling ‘trompe d’oeil’; Citadel streets; Xewkija Rotunda; Gharb Church Gozo | 17


Photo: Viewingmalta.com

Aerial view M치arr Harbour

20 | Gozo


Award-winning

Gozo is one of Europe’s most sustainable tourism destinations and was awarded the prestigious Vistas award for responsible tourism. • It was voted the third most sustainable tourist destination among the best 100 European coastal destinations. • Malta and Gozo are consistently recognised as being among the top three diving destinations in the world. • Maltese waters were ranked among the top in Europe for the best bathing waters by the European Environmental Agency. • Gozo was named the third best island in Europe by TripAdvisor. • Three EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence) awards have been given to Gozo for St Lucija, Nadur and Għarb. Gozo | 19


Feasts & festivals

ST GEORGE’S FESTA St George, the island’s patron saint, is celebrated reverently on 23 April and rather more wildly over three weeks around the third Sunday in July. Expect pomp, ceremony and revelry. CARNIVAL WEEK Fun in February – a joyful, colourful week of performances, processions, partying and fancy dress. Valletta in Malta is considered the hub of carnival activity, but all towns and villages have their own distinctive celebrations. 20 | Gozo

EASTER Find live reenactments of the passion of the Christ, music, feasting, processions and displays of local traditions and folklore. As you wander through village streets, religious icons set upon windowsills add to the atmosphere. There are Good Friday processions in Victoria, Xagħra, Nadur, Qala and Żebbuġ. A sombre mood gives way to joyful celebration come Easter Sunday. GAULITANA MUSIC FESTIVAL The Gaulitanus Choir organises a spring programme of international artists that spans two months. Discover haunting music performed in stunning settings; nearly all performances are free. QALA INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL A September celebration…

Photo: Mario Galea

VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL An idea conceived by the resident choir of St George’s Basilica in 1998 has become a five-week internationally-renowned music, poetry and performance festival.

performances of music, dance and folklore entertain and the village square comes alive as everyone joins in with an al fresco feast of traditional food. OPERA Gozo has a fine musical heritage with two opera houses, the Aurora and the Astra, both of which are on Republic Street in Victoria. Catch performances in October and November.


Photo: Ted Attard

Photo: Mario Galea

Photo: Ted Attard

Clockwise: Citadel Sbandieratori display; St Mary’s Feast, Victoria; St Mary’s Feast, Victoria

Gozo | 23


Tours

Photo: Gozo Adventures

For a truly rewarding glimpse into authentic local life and ways that Gozitans enjoy their island’s natural beauty, book yourself onto one of these tours. Meet experts at work and at play, learn how salt is panned, how to make the traditional cheese, set off on a kayaking adventure to secret coves or take a scramble up rocks.

24 | Gozo


Photo: Viewingmalta.com

Photo: Gozo Adventures

GOZO ADVENTURES

XLENDI WATER SPORTS

SAIL GOZO

Try sea kayaking, underwater safari, climbing, abseiling, aerial runways and biking, all with experienced guides. Or try the Eco Tour that offers a glimpse into Gozitan culture. gozoadventures.com

Cruises, water sports, private charters and self-drive boats with pick-up points in Marsalforn and Xlendi. xlendicruises.com

Sail Gozo runs sunset sailing tours on a Beneteau 47-foot sailing yacht, calling in at Comino and the Blue Lagoon for a swim, followed by a meal and wine. sailgozo.com

GOZO PRIDE TOURS Taking off in a jeep or on a quad bike you’ll be led to Gozo’s hidden corners. Breathtaking views are guaranteed! gozopridetours.com

MERILL ECO TOURS Learn how salt is panned, how to make Ġbejniet and how to play the ball game boċċi. Tours will give you a real insight into the island’s traditions and craftspeople. merillecotours.com

SEGWAY On motorised scooters be guided to places inaccessible by car and take in sights, smells and sounds along the way. Seven tours are available. gozosegway.com Gozo | 23


Walking

New walking trails encourage you to go off the beaten track with confidence and to make a deeper exploration of Gozo’s rural tranquillity and historic treasures. THE WALKING PATHS INCLUDE:

Photo: Mario Galea

• Daħlet Qorrot (10 km) • Dwejra (13 km) • Ħondoq Ir-Rummien (10 km) • Ramla (8 km) • Saltpans (12 km) • Ta’ Ġurdan (10 km) • Xlendi (12 km) • Xagħra (10 km) • Comino (7 km) Coastal walking in Gozo is stunning – take in the views, spot ships and kayaks and keep your eyes peeled for fossils, wildflowers and the blue rock thrush, the national bird of Gozo. • Xlendi to San Lawrenz (11 km) • San Lawrenz to Marsalforn (11 km) • Marsalforn to Mġarr (16 km) For more information on walks, go to visitgozo.com/en/ content/country-walks-rambling-169


Opposite: Ta’ Gurdan walk; this page, off the beaten track


Cycling With a mild, sunny climate and gentle hills, cycling on trails in Gozo is a sustainable and memorable way to explore the countryside, coastal roads and narrow, walled streets. Gozo has a network of bicycle routes that are part of the SIBIT project, a cycling scheme funded through the Italia-Malta programme that focuses on the rural territories of Sicily and the Maltese Islands. The tracks cover over 1,000 km of cycle routes for beginners to advanced, with dedicated bike hotels. For more information, visitmalta.com/en/cycling

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Photo: Markus Kirchgessner

MÄ ARR TOURIST SERVICES Will deliver bikes anywhere in Gozo free of charge. gozomgarrtouristservice.com

ON TWO WHEELS BIKE RENTALS

Photo: Gozo Adventures

Mountain bike rental for everyone from age 10, with baby seats and child tandem attachments available. Delivery, pickup and 24-hour breakdown service are included. on2wheelsgozo.com

VICTORIA GARAGE A selection of bicycles with free delivery anywhere. victoriagaragegozo.com To order a cycling guide to Gozo (and Malta), plus a sample trail map, go to cyclemaltandgozo.com Gozo | 27


Photo: Gozo Adventures

Climbing

Gozo has more than 300 sport climbs over 12 locations and the climate makes them pleasurable all year round. Some of the best climbing locations include The Underworld, The North Coast, Wied il-Mielaħ, Tower of Power, Daħlet Qorrot and Munxar Valley. The ‘King of Kings’ is one of the longest roof climbs in the world, at 55 metres; Mġarr ix-Xini has 16 different climbs; the Black Slabs at Kerċem has 22. At the Gozo Sports Complex in Victoria you’ll find an indoor climbing wall.

GOZO ADVENTURES Climbing, aerial runways, rope bridges and abseiling are available, with experienced guides. gozoadventures.com


Photo: Gozo Adventures


32 | Gozo

Photo: Camilla Morandi


Arts & crafts The natural beauty of Gozo has inspired artists for thousands of years. For John Grech, an artist and metalworker at Inkwina in the Ta’ Dbieġi Crafts Village, the sea is his special inspiration. “Every morning and every evening you see a different picture,” he says. Also at the Ta’ Dbieġi Crafts Village see fine silver filigree jewellery and beautiful glass ornaments being made; buy Ġbejniet cheese, fine lace and local liqueurs. Taking home local arts and crafts created on the island helps to support local communities and the economy. For more info, visit islandofgozo.org

BASTION LACE SHOP In one of the tiny streets in the Citadel witness the making of intricate lace panels; traditionally each family in Gozo had their own patterns passed from mother to daughter. Maria Mizzi inherited the shop from her mother and some of her pieces take months to make.

CONNECT2GOZO Activities include one- or two-day courses sculpturing with local clay, painting with natural pigments, abstract painting, making jewellery from ceramics and metal or silversmithing. connect2gozo.com For an insight into other traditional crafts, here are some more contacts: • Knives, Wenzu Formosa, +356 2155 7745 • Lace, Consiglia Azzopardi, +356 7927 0064 • Clocks, Mario Camilleri Cauchi, +356 9922 8556 • Hasira (canopies), Zarenu Xuereb, +356 7904 8019

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Food Gozitan food reflects the island’s history: marauders, invaders, conquerors, North Africans, the Turkish and Italians have created a rich food heritage. The most popular Gozitan food is the sheep or goats’ milk cheese that is served in small and round portions as Ġbejniet. It’s also eaten fresh, creamy and soft, and stored like mozzarella, or marinated in spices and oils. Pastizzi, mini pasties, are filled with Ġbejniet cheese – they’re in such high demand that they’re baked all day and you’ll

32 | Gozo

usually find some warm and fresh from the oven. Local bakeries also sell typical Gozitan ftira (pizza) and fresh bread. Strong flavours of olive oil, garlic, capers, zesty herbs and salted fish such as anchovies mimic the gutsy cuisine of Sicily and Puglia in southern Italy. Fish freshly hauled from the Mediterranean needs little adornment, yet in cooler months the aljotta fish stew is a favourite. A popular picnic dip, bigilla, is made with dried broad beans, herbs, garlic, parsley and chillies.


Gozo | 35

Photo: Viewingmalta.com

Photo: Mario Galea


A gorgeous position, with tables set outside in the main cobbled square in San Lawrenz. Fresh fish is delivered daily and house specialities include lobster and homemade ravioli.

TA’ RIKARDU

Dining at Xlendi Bay

Restaurants After a day by the beach or exploring the island, what a pleasure to wander among the harbours, cobbled streets and town squares in search of a delicious dinner. Enticing aromas emanate from busy kitchens, music drifts on the warm night air, candles twinkle and a special Gozitan welcome awaits at all these restaurants. 34 | Gozo

A traditional restaurant tucked away in one of the tiny streets of the Citadel. Try rabbit stew and fresh and dried Ġbejniet handmade with Ta’ Frenc

Photo: Visitgozo.com

Photo: Viewingmalta.com

TATITAS


milk from their farm. Rikardu also serves his own wines.

PATRICK’S TMUM Find an extensive award-winning wine list and delicious extra virgin olive oil grown in Sicily especially for the restaurant. The six-course tasting menu includes delicacies such as Kobe beef carpaccio and fresh pea samosas, with wines to match each course.

IL-KARTELL On the water’s edge at the quieter end of the seafront at Marsalforn. Try mixed local antipasto, rabbit and stuffed aubergine and fresh fish. The restaurant’s eco policy strives for single-figure food miles.

IL-KCINA GHAWDXIJA Try Ġbejniet t’Għawdex Moqlija (deep fried Gozo sheep’s cheese glazed with honey), Gozitan rabbit stew or fresh fish. Traditional desserts include Imqaret – pastry filled with dates – followed by the traditional ‘cooked coffee’.

DVENUE A modern bar and restaurant on the main village square in Xaghra where specialities include fresh pasta and fish. Eat on the upper terrace for views of the square. There’s live music here on Friday nights from October to May.

TMUM MĠARR

TA’ FRENC

On Mġarr harbour. Fresh fish is a big feature and swordfish and calamari are popular.

For a special dining experience try the three-course ‘market menu’ or six-course tasting menus. Excellent vegetarian options, home baked bread, and meat reared specially for the restaurant.

Many of Gozo’s restaurants have pledged to take exceptional care of customers and uphold Gozo’s international reputation. Here are those that have been recognised for

high quality hospitality, food and service and awarded with the Malta Tourism Authority’s Quality Assured Seal. 1T  he Boathouse Restaurant, theboathousegozo.com 2C  ountry Terrace, country-terrace.com 3D  a Manuel Restaurant, damanuel.com 4D  venue Restaurant, dvenuerestaurant.com 5 Il-Kartell, il-kartellrestaurant.com 6 Il-Kcina Ghawdxija, ilkcinaghawdxija.com 7 Kantra Lido, tacenc.com 8P  orto Vecchio, portovecchiorestaurant.com 9 Pulena 10 S  tone Crab restaurant, thestonecrab.com 11 Ta’ Frenc, tafrencrestaurant.com 12 Z  afiro restaurant, hotelsanandrea. com/zafiro-restaurant More information: qualityassured malta.com/restaurants Gozo | 35


The Olives

In olive groves, among lemon trees, above beaches, on tiny country lanes, traditional accommodation on Gozo includes limestone houses built from centuriesold stone, quirky Trulli roundhouses and country 36 | Gozo

villas. Staying in such places tunes you in to the rhythm of life for Gozitans. For those who want something more 21st-century, there are swish apartments, smart hotels and family-friendly modern homes, too.

All the places listed are eco-certified and seek to conserve energy, respect the environment, minimise waste and contribute to local culture.

Photo: Baron Group Ltd

Sustainable stays


Hotel Ta’ Cenc

IL-MARĦAB

HOTEL TA’ CENC & SPA

Stone farmhouse in Xewkija: vaulted large rooms, upstairs loggia, lovely pool and garden. Sleeps 8.

A five-star hotel where each room has its own little garden. Set on a 160-hectare historic nature reserve that has archaeological and geological features dating back to the Neolithic period, Ta’ Cenc has a private rocky beach and restaurant just a few minutes away at Mġarr ix-Xini Bay. tacenchotel.com

WEST GARDENS PANORAMA UNIT 3 A generous amount of space and panoramic views, cinema room, wine cellar, indoor pool and large deck and outdoor pool. Sleeps 6.

Photo: Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz

Photo: Hotel Ta Cenc & Spa

Photo: Ted Mizzi/First Gozo

Il-Marhab

Kempinski Hotel

KEMPINSKI HOTEL SAN LAWRENZ There’s a cool Mediterranean vibe in the rooms and the grounds. In the hotel garden see the courgettes, aubergines, pumpkins and herbs that will land on your plate. Lovely rooms and three pools. kempinski.com/gozo

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DJAR TA’ MENZJA NO. 1

Photo: Ted Mizzi/First Gozo

Photo: Baron Group Ltd

Djar Ta’ Menzja No. 1

Find a super pool and garden, big living/dining area and space for 6.

two-bedroomed villa, plus pool and terrace. Ramla Bay is a few minutes’ drive.

THE OLIVES

VILLA XINI

There’s 10,000 sq ft for you to stretch out in, in the western and most rural part of Gozo. Sleeps 8.

A traditional Gozitan villa for 7 with a private courtyard. There’s a pool, roof terrace and large kitchen and you’re 10 minutes’ walk from the Mġarr ix-Xini bay. Transfers can be arranged from the ferry.

TA’ LUCIJA FARMHOUSE Valley views from this newly built 40 || Gozo 38 Gozo

Trullo Gozitano

TRULLO GOZITANO A roundhouse with a conical roof – quirky! Splash about in the infinity pool, explore the south-facing garden, walk to the beach. Set in the peace of Xewkija, the oldest village on the island. More information: visitmalta.com/ en/where-to-stay • mta.com.mt/eco-farmhouses


For a real flavour of local food and a fascinating insight into Gozo’s rich farming heritage visit the food heroes that run these farms. TA’ MENA ESTATE

TA’ RIKARDU

Ta’ Mena is an agri-tourism complex that allows guests to get in touch with nature and tradition. Try, and buy, the estate’s food, wine, oil and liqueurs, all imbued with the magic of the Mediterranean sunshine. tamena-gozo.com

Rikardu produces his own wine and cheese and sells and serves the produce in his shop and restaurant in the Citadel. Visit his agriturismo and experience milking and cheese-making.

The Tal-Massar family runs boutique vineyard tours and wine-tasting sessions. You can try four wines with authentic Gozitan finger foods – traditional galletti (crackers) with dips, sheep’s cheese and traditional bread with sundried tomatoes and cold pressed Gozitan olive oil. massarwinery.com

Ta’ Mena

SAVINA At the turn of the 20th century, the trading and geographic centre of Gozo was at Pjazza Savina in Rabat and this is where the Magro brothers first traded. Today visitors can watch food and sweet delicacies in the making at their Savina creativity centre in Xewkija and buy local arts and crafts and Gozitan foods. magro.com.mt

Photo: Visitgozo.com

TAL-MASSAR

Photo: Visitgozo.com

Agri-tourism

Tal-Massar Gozo | 39


Did you know? The Ġgantija temples date back to around 3,600 BC and are older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt ● Gozo is more lush and green than Malta because the soil contains blue clay which makes it more fertile ● Although the official name for Gozo’s capital is Victoria, locals call the city Rabat ● Arabs named the island Għawdex (pronounced ‘ow desh’), meaning ‘joy’; the Spanish later translated this into the Castilian word Gozo ●

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ferry that is in Ċirkewwa in the north of Malta.

FROM MALTA TO GOZO gozochannel.com links Ċirkewwa in Malta with Mġarr in Gozo in just 25 minutes. There are ferries every 45 minutes (timetables are seasonal) and it costs €4.65 per walk-on passenger, paid on the return trip. There is free Wifi in the terminals and on the ferry.

ARRIVING IN GOZO There is a hop-on, hop-off public bus service, or you can hire bikes or cars.

Getting there OVERLAND

BY PLANE

You can travel overland to Malta via Italy, taking the train to Syracuse in Sicily, then onto Pozzallo to catch a catamaran to Malta (a 90-minute crossing with virtuferries.com).

Malta International Airport, 10 km from Valletta, is easily reached from a range of UK and European airports. From the airport it is a 45-minute taxi or bus ride to the

•v  isitmalta.com/en/gozo-andcomino •v  isitgozo.com • islandofgozo.org •e  cogozo.com •v  isitmaltauk #visitmalta • f acebook.com/visitmalta •y  outube.com/Malta •p  interest.com/visitmaltauk  • instagram.com/visitmaltauk Gozo | 41


Photo: Pete Bullen

Photo: Ray Attard

This guide is based on Greentraveller’s Guide to Gozo, written and researched by Yvonne Gordon. See greentraveller.co.uk/gozo. It has been produced and designed by the Greentraveller Media Group for Malta Tourism Authority ŠGreentraveller Limited Photo credits: @viewingmalta.com, islandofgozo.org, visitgozo.com, Gozo Adventures, pergolafarmhouses, gozo.com, firstgozo.com. Cover photo: Clive Vella Disclaimer: The contents of this publication are believed correct at the time of printing. Nevertheless the publisher can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions, changes in the detail given or for any expense or loss thereby caused. 44 | Gozo

Gozo  

This guide is based on Greentraveller’s Guide to Gozo, written and researched by Yvonne Gordon. See greentraveller.co.uk/gozo. Produced an...

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