Malta Gozo Azure Window

How I Spent A Day On The Island Of Gozo

They say the early bird catches the worm, but what does a traveler who wakes up with the sun get? A whole day of exploring the gorgeous island of Gozo. Malta isn’t short of stunning attractions, making it impossible to get bored, and as if that wasn’t enough, they had to have another two islands that are every bit as interesting as the main one. Gozo, the second largest island, located a short ferry ride away, is more rural, focused on fishing, agriculture and crafts. Since we only had one day, we decided to go the easy way and take the hop on hop off bus, rather than spending time waiting for buses and figuring out routes.

We visited most of Gozo’s highlights on a perfect sunny day and I liked it so much that when I’ll go back to Malta, I’ll definitely be looking for accommodation in Gozo. Curious? Here’s what made me fall in love with this island.

Let me start by saying that waking up at 5 AM while you’re on holiday is NOT fun, even though I AM a morning person. But since we’ve seen a couple of days before how crazy the ferry station can get, we decided it would be best to take the first ferry, which also meant taking the first bus. From Sliema (where we were staying) to Cirkewwa (where the ferry station is) is little over an hour with the 222 bus. If you’re ever curious as to what it’s like to stay inside a freezer, you should definitely visit Malta, because the buses love the AC so much that I had to bring a hoodie every time, even though it was super hot outside. Luckily, early in the morning the temperature was fine and I could nap until I reached the destination. Come to think of it now, I started to miss the AC in Malta, considering how there are 40 degrees Celsius in the buses back home….

One coffee and one ferry ride later, I was in the city of Mgarr, a small fishing village with many boats just like in Marsaxlokk. We bought our bus tickets and if we had more time to kill we would’ve visited the Parish Church, a replica of Mosta’s Rotunda. We hopped on the bus, got our headphones and started the tour. After learning a bit about Gozo (and wondering if I got enough sunscreen), it was time for the first quick stop, 15 minutes at the Savina Creativity Center which is said to be a feast for all senses, a place where you can buy local products, anything from candles to jam and other sweets. I got a few spices in cute little jars and one of them will probably last a lifetime because it’s so spicy that even an eighth of a teaspoon is too much.

The first real stop was at the Ġgantija Temples, one of the oldest free standing monuments in the world, a large megalithic complex dating from 3600 BC which was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only it is a fascinating history lesson, but it also offers some great views of Gozo from the garden.

Since this was the first time we were on a hop on hop off bus, we didn’t realize we may not find any seats on the upper floor when we returned. Luckily, the distances are short and we stopped at the Calypso Cave in no time. This is only a 10 minute photo stop, but you are free to spend more time and take the next bus. Since it was very crowded, we settled on taking a few photos of the splendid Ramla Bay with its empty beach that was calling my name.

A lot of people got off in Victoria, the capital of Gozo, but we decided to make that our last stop and head to the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary, an imposing church renowned for its miraculous healing powers, the walls in the back being filled with letters from people all over the world expressing their gratitude and devotion.

Perhaps Gozo’s most famous area, the breathtaking Dwejra Bay with the Azure Window and Fungus Rock was our next stop. A Game of Thrones filming location (the place where Daenerys got married to Khal Drogo), it is a stunning area to take photographs, swim in a natural pool or go diving. We spent a lot of time here admiring the view, drinking a delicious coffee and tasting the Maltese prickly pear liqueur (made with the juicy pulp of the cactus plant).

After this, we thought that nothing could surprise us, but Gozo really wanted to be sure we will come back one day. As we stopped at the Xlendi Bay, thirsty and a tad sweaty, we noticed a lot of people eating some delicious looking fruit salads so we each got one and sat down by the water. Luckily, the vendor understood that I don’t want kiwi, otherwise the story wouldn’t have had a happy ending 😉 We explored the caves for a little bit, before carefully running on the rocks to catch the bus back to Victoria.

We wandered on the streets up to the citadel which was under renovation so there was a lot of dust, but we managed to see the Cathedral of the Assumption right before it closed, and it turned out to be my favorite cathedral in Malta. I can’t wait to go back and revisit the citadel after it’s finished, it would have made a lovely afternoon of walking on its narrow streets and looking at the island from above. Instead, we got back to the bus, not before I bought a lovely owl pendant from a Romanian lady. It’s always surprising to hear your own language when you’re abroad, isn’t it?

We took the ferry back with what seemed to be a billion chatty old people, but at least there was wifi. On our return to the main island we were welcomed with a bus strike and delays, so we waited for a while until the right one arrived, to take us straight to the hotel. It had the AC turned on on full ice cube mode. Oh, joy!

Tour details

The ferry ride from Malta to Gozo takes about 25 minutes and costs around 5, paid at the booth in Gozo (you don’t pay anything when you leave). A ticket for the hop on hop off bus costs 20, but ask around, we got a nice discount and paid only 15 at the booth in the ferry station from Mgarr. However, someone was complaining that they paid 25, because they bought the tickets from a booth in another city so be careful about that. The buses come every 45 minutes and that gives you plenty of time for exploring at each stop. You can see below a map of the route and click on it for a bigger size.

Gozo Hop On Hop Off Bus Map

Despite waking up early and some minor hiccups, I had a blast on my day in Gozo and I eagerly look forward my return.

What do you think, does Gozo look just as beautiful as Malta?

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Malta's second largest island is just as beautiful as its bigger sister, offering many different attractions for its curious travelers.

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  • The bus tour sounds fun. I love lazy, effortless sightseeing 😉
    And every time I see these open landscapes – the hills and such – all I can think of is, where is my horse?!

    • Where is your horse indeed? 😀 The bus tour was indeed the perfect way to see the island.

  • This looks amazing!! I’m such a Game of Thrones nerd, so I have this entire mental bucket list of filming destinations I want to see, haha 🙂 I agree, waking up early on vacation feels so terrible at first but it’s usually always worth it!

    • There are a lot of Game of Thrones locations in Malta, most of them from season 1, so not many people remember them, haha. Though I’ve heard that Joffrey’s wedding was filmed at a cathedral in Malta – not sure if this is true though.

  • Lucy Dodsworth

    I remember that same thing with the overactive AC in Asia too, I had to carry a jumper for every bus trip or shopping centre! Gozo looks lovely though, I’m impressed how much you managed to squeeze into one day.

    • Because of the AC, there were days when I had a sore throat and felt sickish. Which is a shame, because Malta has delicious ice cream and I couldn’t always had it 🙁 Gozo is a really small island – the whole bus route takes less than 3 hours, without hopping off and we spent around 9 hours there.

  • John Pilkington

    Fantastic photos – would you go back to Gozo if you ever go back to Malta?

    • I’d definitely go back to Gozo and actually book accommodation there, instead of the main island. It’s cheaper, there are some gorgeous flats and I could easily take day trips to Malta.

  • These are gorgeous photos! I went to Gozo on a day trip from Malta when I was about 12, but I don’t remember much of it now. I still have a piece of Gozo glass I bought there though. #MondayEscapes

    • I’ve only bought traditional Maltese liquor in Gozo from a very friendly old man who told us he rents a holiday house on the island, haha.

  • This is amazing Vlad!! It looks more remote than Malta, and I love that.
    Love your pictures!!
    Are you allergic to Kiwi?
    😀

    • Thank you, Allane! Haha, I’m not allergic to kiwi, but it makes me throw up by just smelling it. And I used to love it as a kid 🙁

      • Ohh nooo really? 🙁 how weird!! Then no kiwis for you when you come to Munich 😀

  • Susan Dalzell

    Gozo looks amazing! So does Malta. Adding another location to my bucket list! #MondayEscapes

    • Malta is indeed a beautiful destination and I feel like it’s going to become very popular in the future.

  • Wander Mum

    I’ve never been to Malta or Gozo – but it is utterly beautiful – I’m sold! Another destination to add to the list. #mondayescapes

    • You would love it, there’s something for everyone there 🙂

  • kidGLloves

    The Mother says – It looks absolutely beautiful and I love the Mgarr. Your photos are beautiful. #MondayEscapades

    • Thank you! 🙂

  • So gorgeous – when I was in Malta, lovely and laidback as it is, I was told that when the Maltese get stressed they head to Gozo. I’m not sure if there’s anywhere more chilled out or perhaps the Gozitans never do get stressed! it’s so lovely, and I thought Victoria and Gjantija were both fabulous. #mondayescapes

    • I found there was indeed a more quite and relaxed atmosphere in Gozo, not that Malta was so stressful anyway, haha.

  • I’m so glad you wrote a post about this – I’ve wanted to visit Gozo for ages and now you’ve just confirmed why. You’re also not the first person to tell me they would prefer to stay there for the whole holiday. Fab photos. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    • You would love it there! Both Gozo and Malta are perfect for a family vacation 🙂

  • beatravelling.com

    Didn’t make it to Gozo during my Malta vacay. Next time! Loved Malta though 🙂 #MondayEscapes

    • Well now you have a reason to go back 😉

  • I think it’s so great reading about a place that’s not considered one of the top vacation places in Europe – but really should be. Beautiful!

    • I was surprised to find that Malta is so underrated and quite shocked that some bloggers find it boring. It’s absolutely a perfect destination 🙂

  • Gozo looks unbelievably beautiful, Vlad. You don’t realize how lucky you are to be able to travel while you are still young. When I lived in Romania all these places were so close and still I couldn’t get to see any of them. Being a morning person has its advantages when you travel. In most places you have to start early if you want to avoid the crowds. Ilove the pictures you took i Gozo.

    • I always prefer to wake up early to avoid the crowds and take photos in a better light, but sadly not always the people I travel with agree with me.

  • Ruth Rieckehoff

    What a beautiful island! I would not miss it! I also like to make the most out of the day when I travel. I try to be up around 7:00 or earlier. I prefer to go back to my hotel room early and rest for the next day.

    • I usually like to get out early to explore but still stay up late to take pictures in the evening. For some reason, this isn’t as tiring when I’m on holiday, haha.

  • Alissa Apel

    It is such a pretty place! I have a friend that lived there for a few years. She’d post such pretty pictures. She was an animator for some company there.

    • I bet it must be great to live there and have warm temperatures all year. 🙂

  • Great photos – Gozo is not somewhere I know a lot about so have been very interested to read your account of your trip there it looks a very beautiful island!

    • I think both Gozo and Malta are highly underrated, but they are beautiful islands worth exploring.

  • I have to confess I’d never heard of Gozo before, but judging from the beautiful photos you’ve shared I can see why you would like to return. You’re lucky to be living in Europe. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to visit than it would be for us Americans.

    Dan and I are fond of using a HOHO tour bus to get an overview of a new place. Considering you only had one day I think you were very wise to choose that option. I’m sure you won’t bother with it on a second visit.

    Are there any places you particularly want to visit the next time you go?

    • I’d love to explore a winery and all the beautiful bays the next time I go there. And there are a lot more places on the main island that I want to visit when I return.

  • Pamela Loh

    I am sure my Asian tongue would love to have some of that spicy spice! 😀

    • It’s so spicy that if I had a grudge against someone, I would make them eat the whole jar, haha.

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  • Sabina Quing

    I love your recommendations we going to Malta this month for 6 nights and this was really helpful .