Gozo in a Day from Valletta

Malta’s sister island, is around a third of its size and as it’s only a 25 minute ferry ride away from the port of Cirkawwa it is small enough to see Gozo in a day when staying in Valletta. With an even slower pace of life the island boasts welcoming locals, open countryside, rugged coastlines and traditional crafts.

Getting There

To see Gozo in a day we booked a full day trip with SMS Travel for €58 each. The 10 hour day included return coach transfers to the ferry port, return ferry crossings, the island tour and lunch. As an alternative, if you fancy going it alone you can cross as a foot passenger and use the hop on hop off bus tour. Although I doubt there would be much of a cost saving.

With a pick up time of 07.30 to travel to the port at the north of Malta it is an early start. It takes around an hour from the Valletta area to the port. Ferries run approximately every 45 minutes. Costs for a foot passenger were around €4.65 each way if travelling independently. Check www.gozochannel.com for up todate information.

View of L-Imgarr on Gozo from the harbour area where the ferry from Malta docks
L-Imgarr on Gozo from the harbour area where the ferry from Malta docks

The crossing is on a fair sized car ferry and it passes the smaller island of Comino on the way. So you get the chance to have look at it from a distance as well.

First Impressions

Churches on the hillside overloking the ferry port of L-Imgarr on the island of Gozo

Churches on the hillside overloking the ferry port of L-Imgarr

First impressions of Gozo as the ferry approaches are that it appears pretty and perhaps less developed than Malta. The entrance to L-Imgarr harbour provides lovely views of churches set on the hillside. It gives a taster for what the Gozo in a day tour has to offer.

Ggantija Temples

Looking towards the coast from the Ggantija Temples near Ix-Xaghra on Gozo

Looking towards the coast from the Ggantija Temples near Ix-Xaghra

The Ggantija temples in Ix-Xaghra are a UNESCO world heritage site and are over 5000 years old. This predates Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Some consider them to be the oldest standing stones in the world dating from around 3600BC to 3200BC. It is one of the best preserved Neolithic sites on the Maltese islands and if you like your history then this is for you.

There is an entrance fee of €9.00 each if travelling on your own and the ticket price. The ticket also gets you in to the Ta ‘Kola windmill on the edge of the village. Given their age most of the stones semed to be supported by scaffolding when we were there.  So it may help to moderate your expectations a bit before visiting. The site has a beautiful setting on a hillside so you do get good views over the surrounding countryside and Gozo’s central plain. Check out the Heritage Malta webiste for more info.

Farmland stretches all the way form the citadel in Victoria, in the centre of Gozo, all the way to the coast

Farmland stretches to the coast

Dwerja and the Azure Window

Caves at the inland sea at Dwejra on Gozo are used by fishermen to take tourists through to the open sea

Caves at the inland sea at Dwejra

The coastline of Dwerja on the western point of Gozo can be wild. The coastal scenery is stunning with dramatic cliffs, exposed headlands and stunning rock formations. The Azure window, a 328ft high arch of rock was said to be the most spectacular natural wonder in the Maltese islands. Unfortunately it is no more as it collapsed into the sea during a storm in early 2017 shortly before our visit.

Nevertheless the area is still well worth seeing. For €4.00 local fishermen will take you on a 20 minute boat trip. From the ‘inland sea’, no more than an area of shallow lagoon, you pass through a natural tunnel in the cliffs to the sea. It would have given spectacular views of the arch had it been there. However don’t let this put you off as the coastline with its cliffs and sea caves are still a must see.

The main street in San Lawrenz on Gozo is quiet during the heat of the day
The streets appear sleepy during the heat of the day

Back on land there are coastal paths to make the most of the sea views. This part of Gozo is considered to be one of the finest in the Mediterranean for diving during the summer months. If you are fortunate enugh to be there at dusk make sure you take in the sunset which is stunning – weather permitting.

‘Island of Joy’ Audio Visual

The 20 minute audio visual presentation in the Citadel theatre in Victoria might seem dull by comparison with the Gozo coastline but it does bring the islnd to life. It uses more than 1000 pictures it provides an insight into Gozo’s past and an understanding of Gozo today. The entrance fee if you are travelling independently is €7.00 each. Tickets can be booked in advance on line at www.gozo360.com.mt. If pushed for time, dont worry you’ll survive without seeing it.

Victoria  Citadel

The restored limestone citadel in Victoria, Gozo, contrasts beautifully against the blue sky

The citadel in Victoria, Gozo, contrasts beautifully against the blue sky

Victoria, the capital of Gozo is still known as Ir-Rabat by the locals although it was renamed in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. The fortress is for sure the highlight of Gozo. The views from the walls of the small city are virtually 360 degrees around the island.The existing buildings, dating from the 17th century, have all been sensitively restored. This includes the cathedral which has served as a shelter at times of invasion over the centuries. As with Valletta on Malta, the honey coloured limestone contrasts beautifully with the clear blue sky – at least for 300 days a year. Its definately not one to miss.

Victoria Old Town

The panoramic views from the citadel in Victoria, the capital of Gozo

The panoramic views from the citadel in Victoria

A wander through the narrow streets of the old town of Victoria, which sits benath the citadel, gives an insight into the history of the place. It combines its markets and shops with a relaxed atmosphere. Its a great place to people watch and buy fresh produce, cheese and wine as well as local art and crafts.

Impressions of Gozo in a day

We paid €56 each for the ‘Gozo in a day’ trip which seemed like reasonable value for money given that coach transfers, ferry crossings, guided tour, entrance fees and lunch were included. The only extra was the cost of the boat trip at Dwerja to see the fallen arch. Yes, you don’t have as much freedom as you do travelling independently. You can wish for more time at stops that particularly interest you, but you need to balance that with the convenience an arranged excursion provides as well as the knowledge of the guide.

The island itself is relatively small but lovely, with plenty of character and an away from it all feeling. Gozo in a day has more than enough to hold your attention and it is well worth taking a day away from Malta to make the trip.

Looking for More?

If you are looking for some further reading then below you’ll find more of our articles on Malta. For related reading check out the Tag links as well at the bottom of the page.

More Reading on Malta

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