According to wholevehicles.com, Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. It is located north of Malta, behind the island of Comino. In English, it is called “Gozo”, and in Maltese – “Għawdex” (pronounced Audesh with the accent on the first syllable).
Gozo did not immediately acquire its current names. The Phoenicians, who first discovered it and left information about it, called the island GWL (pronounced [goal]). The Greek name is Gaulos, which means “ship”; the Roman Gaulus, the Byzantine Gaudus, and finally the Arabic Ghawdex and the Castilian Gozo. But one of the ferries that runs between Malta and Gozo is called “Gaudos” – what language is this from?..
But that’s not all. Gozo is also the “island of three hills”, “Calypso island” and even “sister island”! As for the hills, there are actually much more than three of them (in general, from the walls of its main fortress, the Citadel, Gozo resembles a stormy sea with high waves). According to legend, it was here that the nymph Calypso held Odysseus for seven years in captivity (a cave in the north of the island, a radio station, ketchup and, most likely, many other things are named after her). And Gozo’s sister is in relation to Malta, and the youngest:-)
Gozo has about 31,000 people in 14 towns/villages.
Towns and villages of Gozo
Fontana (Фонтана), Għajnsielem (Айнсилем), Gharb (Арб), Għasri (Асри), KerĽem (Керчем), Munxar (Муншар), Nadur (Надур), Qala (Ала), San Lawrence (Сан-Лауренц), Sannat (Саннат), Victoria (Виктория), Hair (Шара), Xewkija (Шевкия), Olive (Зеббудж).
How to call
How to get to Gozo
The time has long passed when large rowing boats, dgħajsa tal-latini, sailed between the islands of Malta and Gozo, carrying passengers from one coast to the other. Now their place has been taken by modern ferries, which are owned by the Gozo Channel company, the monopoly on ferry traffic on this route. So in any case, you will have to use their service – which, however, is quite good.
According to legend, it was on Gozo that the nymph Calypso held Odysseus for seven years in captivity (a cave in the north of the island, a radio station, ketchup, and, most likely, many other things are named after her).
There are three ferries in total. They carry both people and vehicles. People leave their cars in the hold and go either to the salon (where you can sit, go to the toilet, drink tea and coffee and even buy a guidebook or newspaper), or to the open deck. From there you can admire the panorama of the coasts of Malta, Comino and Gozo.
The whole trip takes 20-30 minutes. From Malta, the ferry departs from the town of Ċirkewwa, from Gozo – from the port of Mġarr. If you are traveling by car, you will have to stand in line to load into the hold, but if you are “on your own two feet” – feel free to buy tickets and go through – you will definitely have enough space!
Ticket prices are as follows:
For passengers: EUR 4.65 for all except (1) those traveling at night (i.e. from 8 pm until the first ferry departs the next day, between November and March) – 4.05; (2) those permanently residing in Gozo, 1.15; (3) Maltese and Gozitan pensioners – free of charge; children from 3 to 12 years old – 1.15.
For motorists (car + driver): 15.70 EUR for everyone except (1) those traveling at night (i.e. from 8 pm until the departure time of the first ferry the next day, between November and March) – 12,eighteen; (2) those permanently residing in Gozo, 8.15; (3) Gozitan retirees, 6.95; Maltese pensioners – 11.05.
Prices for other categories of transportation can be found on the Gozo Channel website.
The same site also contains flight schedules. It is important to keep in mind that navigation is summer (July – mid-September), off-season (end of May – end of June and end of September – end of October) and winter (November – May). The exact start and end dates for these seasons vary each year, so it’s a good idea to track this information directly on the carrier’s website.
Gozo, despite its small size, has many beaches. However, if you don’t have a car and you’re not staying in a resort area, getting to most of them will be very difficult: public transport in Gozo is not as efficient as in Malta. Moreover, with the exception of Marsalforn and Xlendi, Gozitan villages are quite far from the coasts with convenient access to the water. So either take a car for the duration of your stay in Gozo (and it’s worth it – the island is charming), or settle in a resort place so that the sea is “at hand”.
There are only two resorts on Gozo – Marsalforn and Xlendi, the rest of the beaches are located next to a particular village.
- Where to swim in Marsalforn (Marslforn): Marsalforn Bay (Marsalforn bay, bulk sandy beach), Qbajjar Bay (rocky beach, where you can also swim with a mask).
- Where to swim in Xlendi: Xlendi Bay (Sandy and concrete beaches)
- Dakhlet Orrot (Daħlet Qorrot) – in the vicinity of Nadur (Nadur). Pebble-rocky beach.
- Dwejra – in the vicinity of San Lawrenz. Rocky beach.
- Khondok ir-Rumin (Ħondoq ir-Rummien) – in the vicinity of Ala (Qala). Sand beach. It is believed that in this place the lowest temperature of sea water in Gozo.
- Mjarr ix-Xini – in the vicinity of Shevkia (Xewkija). Sandy beach at the mouth of wadi Mjar ish-Shini.
- Ramla Bay – in the vicinity of Shara (Xaghra). The most picturesque and popular sandy beach of Gozo with red sand.
- San Blas – in the vicinity of Nadur. Sandy beach with red sand. Very steep descent to the beach itself: it is most reasonable to leave the car at the top and make the rest of the way to the beach on foot.
- View of il-Asri (Wied il-Għasri) – in the vicinity of Asri (Għasri). Pebble beach at the mouth of Wadi Asri.
- Map of Gozo and Comino
Fests of Gozo (by village)
- Fontana (Fontana) – The Holy Heart of Jesus, is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.
- Għajnsielem (Ajnsielem) – Virgin of Loreto, is celebrated on the last Sunday of August.
- Għarb (Arb) – Visitation of the Mother of God by Her sister Elizabeth, celebrated on the first Sunday of July.
- Għasri (Asri) – The Body of Christ, is celebrated on the first Sunday after Trinity.
- Kerċem (Kerchem) – Mother of God “Perpetual Help”, is celebrated on the second Sunday of July.
- Munxar (Munshar) – Shipwreck of St. Paul, is celebrated on the last Sunday of May.
- Nadur (Nadur) – Sts. Peter and Paul, celebrated on the first Sunday following June 29 – St. Peter and Paul.
- Qala (Ala) – Joseph, celebrated on the first Sunday of August.
- San Lawrenz (San Lawrenz) – St. Lawrence, celebrated on the second Sunday of August.
- Sannat (Sannat) – St. Margaret, celebrated on the last Sunday of July.
- Victoria (Victoria) – Assumption of the Virgin, celebrated on August 15, and St. George the Victorious, celebrated on the third Sunday of July.
- Xagħra (Shara) – the Nativity of the Virgin, is celebrated on the Sunday closest to September 8 – the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin.
- Xewkija (Shevkiya) – John the Baptist, is celebrated on the Sunday closest to June 24 – St.John the Baptist.
- Żebbuġ (Zebbug) – Assumption of the Virgin, celebrated on August 15.
Hotels in Gozo
Hotels, boarding houses, farmhouses, apartments, villas, hostels… In Gozo, all this is, generally speaking, either in the resort areas (Marsalforn and Xlendi), or near the main attractions (Sannat, San Laurents, Shara), or close from the port (Mgarr, Ghajnsielem).
- 5* hotels: Hotel Ta’ Cenc & Spa (Sannat), Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz (San Lawrenz)
- 4* hotels: Cornucopia Hotel (Xaghra), Grand Hotel (Ghajnsielem), Hotel Calypso (Marsalforn), St Patrick’s Hotel (Xlendi)
- 3* hotels: Beachview Hotel (Marsalforn), Downtown Hotel (Victoria), Hotel San Andrea (Xlendi)
Boarding houses: Mariblu Guesthouse (Xewkija), San Antonio Guesthouse (Xlendi), Electra Guesthouse (Marsalforn), Lantern Guesthouse (Marsalforn), Marsalforn Guesthouse (Marsalforn), Xaghra lodge Guesthouse (Xaghra)
Farmhouses (farmhouse) in translation means “peasant house”. These are the traditional dwellings of the Maltese, which in recent years have become an unusually fashionable and expensive type of housing: they are really old (read: authentic), stylish, comfortable for life (of course, with all the modern “stuffing”). Often, a swimming pool and a gazebo for relaxation are arranged in the courtyard adjacent to the farmhouse.
Renting a farmhouse for recreation is not a cheap pleasure (the Maltese, for example, do it in a pool of 8-10 people, since there is enough space in such houses for everyone).
Renting a farmhouse for recreation is not a cheap pleasure (the Maltese, for example, do it in a pool of 8-10 people, since there is enough space in such houses for everyone). However, the experience of rest in such conditions can be quite interesting.
There are farmhouses in almost all Gozitan villages (the lion’s share of them falls on the northern part of the island – Arb, Asri, Zebbug, and also the village of Shara).
Hostels: Maria Giovanna Hostel (Marsalforn), Santa Martha Hostel (Marsalforn).
The classification and data are taken from the websites of the Malta Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association and the Malta Ministry of Tourism.
Cuisine and restaurants in Gozo
Restaurants in Gozo are generally cheaper than those in Malta, but this observation does not apply to expensive establishments. The places of their greatest concentration are the port (Mgarr and the adjacent village of Ajnsielem), the resorts of Marsalforn and Xlendi, the capital of Victoria Island. However, it is worth paying a visit to the less “tourist” Gozitan villages (say, such as Arba or Ala) – there come across pleasant and very inexpensive local catering establishments.
- Restaurant 1 categories: Gazebo Restaurant (Kempinski Hotel, San Lawrence), Il-Carruba Restaurant (Hotel Ta Cenc, Sannat), L’Ortolan Restaurant (Kempinski Hotel, San Lawrenz), Trattoria Restaurant (Kempinski Hotel, San Lawrenz)
- Restaurants 2 categories: Grand Restaurant (Grand Hotel, Ghajnsielem), Ta’ Frenc Restaurant (Munxar)
- Category 3 establishments: Nemo Bistrorant (Xlendi)