After doing a bit of research, the hop on/hop off tour in Malta offered a Gozo sightseeing adventure that we were excited about. I had fond memories of Gozo from my first time around and wanted to return to see Malta’s smaller neighbor in the summertime. Fortunately, with family in Malta we had our own personal tour guide, a cousin who calls Qormi home. He acted as a tour guide the last time that I visited in Malta and was equally hospitable this time around.
We woke up bright and early and headed down to the promenade near Bugibba Square to grab breakfast at Bagnor Café. We were fueling up for the day and were impressed with how reasonably priced our options were. For both of our breakfasts including drinks, we shelled out €6.80. With sea views from the deck and good service, I don’t know how you beat it.
My cousin met us at Bugibba Square at 10:00AM so we could begin our journey. From there, we headed to the Mellieha area to jump on the ferry to Gozo. After a short ferry ride, we landed in Mgarr, Gozo’s ferry harbor. Our first stop of the day was the Citadella. I had visited Citadella last time I was in Gozo, and the views were equally stunning this time around. The Citadella was a strategic point for Gozitans during the wars and the vista points at the top offer sweeping views of the city below.
From Citadella, we hopped back in the car and headed down to Ta’ Pinu, where the church is the hub of the city. I had heard of Ta’ Pinu even before my first visit last December. My grandpa had little souvenirs strewn about his house as homage to Ta’ Pinu. The pope made a stop off at the church in April when he visited Gozo, and now the place holds some significance for Catholics broadly.
After roaming the grounds at Ta’ Pinu and taking it all in, we made our way down to my favorite place in Gozo, the Azure Window. We headed to Dwejra Bay where the views are dramatic and the sights are breathtaking. The window itself is an incredible sight, but even the fossilized rocks on the walk up to the window are incredible to see. The waters are so unbelievably blue against the white stone that a thousand pictures never seem to be enough; photos can’t quite capture how dramatic the views are.
We wanted to see caves while we were in Gozo and fortunately, there was a hidden cave on the back side of the Azure Window. We climbed down a steep walkway to a tucked away area where a cave sat peacefully, laden with divers. Though there are boat rides that run for €3.50 through the cave and around to the window, the boats weren’t operating due to inclement weather. Instead, we grabbed slushies to fight the heat and sat with our feet in the crystal clear water to cool off for a moment.
We prepared to hit the last stop of the day near Xaghra in Masalforn, an incredible cave that tradition holds may be Calypso’s Cave. Calypso’s Cave is said to be somewhere on the island but we didn’t know exactly where it was. This particular cave was so beautiful and unique that I can only assume that this was the cave from the legend.
Like the Azure Window, the color of the white-washed stone was an incredible contrast to the vivid cerulean waters of the Mediterranean. After doing a bit of rock jumping, we had an incredible close-up view of the cave and the waters beyond.
After our day in Gozo, we headed back to Mgarr to board the ferry back to Malta. In Malta, we were joined by family for dinner on the waterfront at Mamma Mia in the town of Ta’ Xbiex. Almost the entire family was present for dinner to welcome us and to celebrate the birthday of a family member. It was the first time ever that I was meeting some of my mom’s family which made the evening incredibly special and memorable.
For our final full day in Malta, our experience was incredible. Gozo is an absolute gem in my mind, and as much as I had heard about the island growing up, it continues to exceed my expectations. It has a feel that’s different from the main island of Malta, a bit less frenetic with equally enchanting facades and an incredible history. For anyone heading to the area, the general consensus is that to get to know Gozo properly you should enjoy it for 2 – 3 days, and base yourself in a charming farmhouse for the full experience. For another visit down the road with friends or family, I would definitely build two days in Gozo into a weeklong itinerary in Malta.
Ciao from Malta,