Thirteen great reasons to visit Gozo this Spring- Malta.

The Azure Window and Blue Hole in the foreground. Gozo, Malta
The Azure Window and Blue Hole in the foreground.

 

Something I wrote this time last year...

 

As the second time our family had ever gone abroad together, my Mum chose well with Gozo. Visiting in the Spring, it was warm (but not roasting!), the flowers were blooming and most importantly for the Featherstones, we almost had the beaches to ourselves. 

Gozo is one of the Maltese Islands, little dots in the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya...

 

 

Here's why you should visit this Spring:

 

1. Crazy rock formations

 

For dramatic, weathered limestone sculptures head to San Lawrenz- here you'll find Dwejra Bay, the famous Azure Window, Blue Hole, Inland Sea and Fungus Rock...

 

The flat top of the 60 meter high lump at the entrance to Dwejra Bay, Fungus Rock, is covered something known as Malta Fungus. It's a kind of parasitic flowering plant and apparently has a repulsive smell. Doctors at the time of its discovery around 300 years ago, believed that it had medicinal properties and apparently used it as a dressing for wounds and cure for dysentery. Funnily enough I didn't see any on sale.

 

According to Wikipedia, Grand Master Pinto valued this fungus so much that he decreed Fungus Rock out of bounds in 1746- trespassers risked a three-year stint as oarsmen in the Knights' galleys. As a precautionary measure, he ordered the sides smoothed to remove handholds, posted a permanent guard there and even built a precarious cable-car basket from the rock to the mainland. I would have loved to see that!

 

It's not just around San Lawrenz that you'll find crazy cliffs- explore the coastline and find your own spot to dangle your legs over the water. 

 

Fungus Rock, Dwejra Bay Gozo, Malta
Dwejra Bay with Fungus Rock in the background.
Mgarr, cliffs, Gozo, Malta
View over the cliffs with Mgarr behind.
Ta Cenc cliffs, Gozo
Ta Cenc cliffs, Gozo
fossils, Gozo, Malta

2. Fossils

 

Despite growing up on England's "Jurassic Coast", I've never seen so many fossils!

 

The geology of Gozo is largely formed of limestone sea beds built up from sediment over 25 million years ago- the fossils of hundreds of sea creatures are easily spotted on the exposed rock around Dwejra Bay and the Azure Window. 

 

 

Azure Window, Gozo, Malta
Azure Window

3. The Inland Sea

Even when the sea is rough around the Azure Window, the Inland Sea is calm enough to paddle about. If you're a decent swimmer you can go right inside the cave and feel the swell coming through the channel. With a few concrete beach huts and a flock of tourists it's not as picturesque as it could be, but sheltered from the elements and a nice spot to relax.

 

Inland Sea, Gozo, Malta

 

4. Architecture

 

Gozo is mostly rural, but the capital Victoria (Rabat to locals) and other sleepy villages such as the unpronounceable Xaghra, Nadur and Xewkija boast impressive churches and solid limestone architecture. 

 

The hilly island creates a perfect setting for rambling streets and quirky corners. From the Citadel walls in Victoria you can see views of the whole island on a clear day. 

Citadel in Victoria, Gozo
Citadel in Victoria.
Victoria, Gozo
Victoria
luzzu boats, Gozo, Malta

5. Colourfully decorated boats

 

A luzzu is the name for these traditional fishing boats.

 

The colourful design, with eyes to protect fishermen at sea, is iconic of the Maltese islands. It's thought to have existed in some form since ancient times.

 

The fishing villages of Xlendi and Marsalforn are good places for boat enthusiasts. 

 

 

boats, Gozo, Malta
luzzu boats, Gozo, Malta
boats Gozo, Malta

 

 

 

6. Salt Pans

 

These 350-year-old salt pans create a surreal fringe for the crashing waves along almost three kilometers of the Northern coastline. 

 

Locals still scrape the salt before storing and processing it in caves that have been carved into the rock. If there is anyone about, you can even buy some to take home.

 

Salt Pans, Gozo, Malta
Salt Pans, Gozo, Malta
Ramla Bay, Gozo, Malta
Ramla Bay

 

7. Nearly deserted beaches

 

Ramla Bay is the biggest, most popular of Gozo's beaches and apparently gets quite crowded in the Summer. In Spring we only had to share it with a couple of other families. The rocks around the sides of the bay are a good place to snorkel, find some sea creatures and enjoy the amazing water visibility. 

 

A sandy path on the eastern hillside leads up to Calypso Cave. This is apparently the same cave Homer mentioned in The Odyssey where Calypso, the nymph, kept Odysseus as a prisoner of love for seven years. Although Calypso promised him immortality to stay with her, he escaped and returned to his wife Penelope. It's relatively unimpressive these days and you'll need a torch, but I like the story.

 

 

San Blas Bay (below) is more secluded and just as pretty.

San Blas Bay, Gozo, Malta
San Blas Bay
San Blas Bay, beach, Gozo
San Blas Bay
Ġgantija temples, Gozo, Malta

8. Ġgantija Temples

 

The Ġgantija temples (near the little town of Xaghra) are the earliest of a series of megalithic* temples in Malta. They were erected during the Neolithic Age (c. 3600-2500 BC), which impressively makes them world's second oldest man-made religious structure.** 

 

Archaeologists suggest that the temples, figurines and statues found at the site might point towards it being the site of an ancient Fertility cult.

 

The local myth is a little more flamboyant. The story describes a giantess who ate nothing but broad beans and honey. She had a child with a human man and then, with the child hanging from her shoulder, built these temples as places of worship.

 

*A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word "megalithic" describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or concrete, as well as representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions.
**The oldest is Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. 

 

Ġgantija temples, Gozo, Malta
Ġgantija temples, Gozo, Malta
Flowers, Gozo, Malta

9. Wild flowers

 

This is why you need to visit in Spring... 

 

Flowers, cliffs, sea, Gozo, Malta
Flowers, Gozo, Malta
Flowers, Gozo, Malta
Flowers, Gozo, Malta
Flowers, Gozo, Malta

 

10. Local handicrafts

 

Have a look for locally made lace, silver jewelry and over-sized knitted jumpers like this lovely woolen cardigan of mine... 

11. Dazzelingly clear water

Gozo, Malta
Walking around the Northern coastline.
Comino, Malta
Comino

12. Visit nearby Comino

It's possible to see most of Comino in a day trip. Boats leave from Mgarr on the Eastern side of Gozo and you can walk around the little island yourself. The Blue Lagoon below is a beautiful place for swimming and snorkelling around the rocks. It's popular though, so you may like to discover your own little spot elsewhere. The jagged limestone blocks, caves and cliffs surrounded by crystal clear water make Comino even more stunning than Gozo in my opinion.

 

Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta
Blue Lagoon
cliffs and sea,Comino, Malta
cliffs and sea,Comino, Malta
cliffs and sea,Comino, Malta
Sunset, Gozo, Malta

 

13. Sunsets

 

With a 360 degree coastline you'd be hard pushed to find a spot that wasn't perfect to see the sun either rise or sink down into the sea. 

 

---------------------------------------

 

I travelled to Gozo with my family and therefore had the luxuries of accommodation, food and travel organised for me. Wow. If I were to travel there alone I'd try and find camp-sites and either hitch-hike, catch buses or cycle to get around. There's plenty of great hiking opportunities and it would be a wonderful place for kayaking.  

Sunset, Gozo, Malta










Thank-you Mum and Dad.

Write a comment

Comments: 19
  • #1

    Becky (Tuesday, 31 March 2015 10:19)

    I went here on a day trip from Malta's main island once, I wish I got to spend more time there it's so beautiful. All those flowers look lovely!

  • #2

    Becky Padmore (Tuesday, 31 March 2015 18:51)

    Love the rock formations! Looks like a great place to visit!

  • #3

    featherytravels (Tuesday, 31 March 2015 19:10)

    Thank-you both Beckys! I hope you get a chance to visit.

  • #4

    Mary-Ann (Tuesday, 31 March 2015 23:48)

    I had forgotten the flowers, but remember the beautiful turquoise water and the swallowtail butterflies. The snorkelling was very cold, so a little disappointing after expecting a warm sea, but is was only Easter time.

  • #5

    featherytravels (Wednesday, 01 April 2015 19:39)

    Yeah, I do remember you shrieking a bit as your toes dipped in Mum!

  • #6

    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) (Monday, 06 April 2015 23:47)

    I had never really considered a trip to Malta or Good before but 've seen a few blog posts about these places that have tempted me. I had thought there wasn't that much to see in Gozo but this post has definitely persuaded me on all the smaller and larger sights to take in and I would absolutely love to snorkel in that stunning water ☺

  • #7

    featherytravels (Tuesday, 07 April 2015 11:29)

    Thanks for dropping by Shikha. I would never have thought of Malta either, but my Mum visited when she was a child and loved it. When we saw that the main island was very built up, we decided to go to Gozo instead. My family love to get away from everyone else! I hope you get a chance to visit some time too!

  • #8

    Franca (Wednesday, 08 April 2015 19:04)

    I have to admit that I've never thought of visiting Malta, I don't know why. But the idea of seeing amazing rock formations and have the chance to enjoy the beaches and have them almost to myself sounds awesome, maybe I should reconsider. :)

  • #9

    featherytravels (Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:22)

    I think you should Franca!

  • #10

    Holly (Tuesday, 02 February 2016 15:08)

    Funny we were thinking of going at Easter! Thanks for the info!!

  • #11

    Katie Featherstone (Tuesday, 02 February 2016 15:40)

    Glad it was useful :)

  • #12

    Natasha von Geldern (Tuesday, 02 February 2016 21:44)

    I am very attracted by the idea of Malta as a Spring or Autumn destination, and Gozo in particular. I can imagine you would like a quiet beach, being used to Islay! Thanks for sharing your photos and memories.

  • #13

    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) (Thursday, 04 February 2016 23:28)

    Funny to have seen this post on a week when I was researching Malta and Gozo but this post has definitely confirmed it to me that I really would need at least a full week if not longer here rather than just the long wknd I was pondering! Would love to snorkel in Comino and see the Azure window!

  • #14

    Katie Featherstone (Thursday, 04 February 2016 23:38)

    Thanks guys!

  • #15

    Christina (Tuesday, 09 February 2016 00:21)

    Looks like a dream! Thanks for sharing!

  • #16

    Katie Featherstone (Tuesday, 09 February 2016 10:34)

    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • #17

    Duke Stewart (Thursday, 11 February 2016 23:59)

    That looks like a pretty solid 13 reasons I should want to visit Gozo, huh? Honestly, I'm not the best with geography and had never heard of this place before. How do you keep finding these awesome spots that were previously unheard of by me? Is it just my lack of knowledge? I'd go for the clear water and those cool looking temples, if you asked me.

  • #18

    Mary{The World Is A Book} (Friday, 19 February 2016 08:09)

    What a great collection of photos! I have always heard wonderful things about Malta and I love all the reasons you listed here. It's so enticing and I would love to visit one of these days. Love all the colors of the water and rock formations.

  • #19

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 19 February 2016 11:26)

    Duke- thanks :D You've found some pretty nice spots yourself over the years!

    Mary- I hope you make it to Gozo some day. It's quite out of the way, but worth the trip!

Phone Credit For Refugees and Displaced People is a volunteer run organisation. I can't stress their importance enough - please click on the image below and join the facebook group to find out how you can help. If you are not on facebook, you can still donate here

 

You can find Feathery Travels on facebook, twitter and pinterest.