An authentic island experience
Why visit Gozo
A green trip to Gozo starts with the channel crossing from Malta to its smaller sister island. As the ferry approaches the sleepy Mgarr Harbour, you can sense the charm that little Gozo has to offer. Although just a 25-minute ferry ride away from Malta, the contrast is stark. Gozo is quieter, greener, more rural than Malta, and, although smaller, has its own myths, traditions, and a year-round cultural calendar. Its clear waters are a treat to swimmers, divers, and snorkelers; its countryside is a breath of fresh air; its cuisine will delight your taste buds; and the traditions will intrigue you. Are you ready to fall in love with Gozo?
Discover the best of Malta in Gozo, a scenic 25-minute ferry ride to an authentic island experience. Gozo is your best island destination.
While the excitement and bustle of summer may seem to have ebbed away, autumn gives Gozo a fresh new look as the first rains breathe life into the countryside and the warm weather generally persists.
Culture & Local Life
The island’s strategic position in the Mediterranean, which facilitated trading routes in the olden days, has shaped its rich history. The first proof of human settlement on the island dates back to 7000 years ago when Neolithic people are believed to have moved to Gozo from Sicily to create a simple agrarian society. These people possessed a considerable degree of technical and artistic ability. The still-standing Ggantija Temples, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and the museum adjacent to the temples are testament to this.
Gozo was eventually colonised by the Romans, Turks and later the British but now has a distinct culture all of its own built on the many practices experienced over the years. The island’s thriving cultural scene has year-round events, many of which link to its strong Roman Catholic faith and involve colourful fiestas, carnivals and pageants. A strong sense of community prevails on the island of Gozo.
Start planning your green trip to Gozo by booking ahead your choice of transportation. Many international airlines operate regular scheduled flights to and from Malta. Once at the Malta International Airport, you can make use of the public bus service from the airport to Cirkewwa, the northernmost point of Malta. A bus ride to Cirkewwa will take you approximately one hour. Alternatively, you can also make use of a taxi or cab service. At Cirkewwa, you can board the Gozo ferry for a scenic 25-minute crossing to Gozo’s Mġarr Harbour. The ferry service runs every 30 minutes during daytime and regularly during night-time and carries passengers and cars.
Public transport in Gozo is inexpensive and efficient and runs several scheduled routes to and from Victoria, Gozo’s main town. Bus routes in Gozo can take you to all of the island’s villages and seaside resorts, main beaches, and the Mgarr Harbour where you get off/board the Gozo ferry. There are also plenty of taxis and car hire garages as well as bicycles and boats. If you’d like a guide with your vehicle, you can always take a tour. All of these transportation choices will help you get the most out of your green trip to Gozo.
Nature & Wildlife
From lush rolling farm valleys to characterful coastal cliff paths, Gozo is indeed an island of diverse landscapes. Its terrain and topography are dramatic and dense but never ever dull, with many opportunities for unique habitats. The flora and fauna can transform before your very eyes as you journey even small distances on foot.
Whether you are exploring the beauty of Dwejra’s cherished Natura 2000 site or taking a scent-laden Cliffside tromp through the untamed rugged beauty of Sanap Cliffs, there’s a wealth of beautiful nature just waiting to be discovered. And if you think you’ve explored all wildlife on land, then you’d be amazed at what wealth of wonderful marine life awaits under Gozo’s crystal clear waters.
In view of Gozo’s high dependency on tourism, a sustainable tourism plan was devised to ease the burden of mass tourism on such a small island. Initiatives have been taken to encourage visitors to spend more than a day in Gozo, thus limiting the negative impact of day trippers on the island’s infrastructure. The charms and aspects that differentiate Gozo from other destinations are being preserved, encouraged, and brought to the fore for visitors and locals to experience. Moreover, the island is striving to achieve international standards for its natural assets.
Three of Gozo’s beaches have a Blue Flag status, a standard achieved through a diligent Beach Management plan. The island’s heritage sites, such as the splendid medieval Cittadella, and the world’s oldest freestanding temples of Ggantija, have also been noticed by UNESCO. The island also promotes eco-education in schools through different NGOs programmes and there are many initiatives that promote clean energy use.
Health & Safety
Many COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed in light of the decreasing amount of active cases on the island. Restaurants and bars have now re-opened, with the facility of serving their customers both indoors and outdoors. Indoors, the distance from the back of a chair to the back of another chair behind it shall be 2 metres apart while the distance is down to 1 metre for outdoor seating. Groups of 6 people or less can all enjoy a dining experience.
The Malta Tourism Authority has also issued a compliance badge and is awarding it to all establishments that are compliant with COVID-19 protocols. This means that the establishment has reached the highest levels of cleanliness and safety. This gives clients peace of mind that the establishment is safe. Many accommodations are also open and ensuring maximum safety for their clients by disinfecting properties in-between stays.
Good Practice Story
The village of Xagħra in Gozo operated as an uncontrolled landfill site from 1968 until 2004. During this period, around 0.6 million tonnes of waste were deposited there, causing significant negative impacts on the environment and affecting the local population. To put an end to these problems, a restoration and rehabilitation of the site was planned to create a safe and pleasant environment that could be enjoyed by the general public. The result has been highly positive, with almost 23,000 native trees and shrubs planted and the terrain returned to its natural state. Now residents and anyone else who wants to can enjoy this space and the views of the bay.
Good places to stay
We recommend these places because they are committed to responsible tourism, checked and certified by independent auditors and ecolabel programs such as one from Malta Tourism Authority.
Travel tips from our editors
Spend more than one day in Gozo
Gozo is a unique island to discover and delight in, with charming bays and beaches, astounding architecture, impassioned people, rich culture, sensational cuisine and more importantly a relaxed and laid-back vibe which positively influences all who stay here. The island is also home to world-renowned dive sites, a Neolithic temple older than Egypt’s Pyramids, a medieval city, and transfixing dark skies attracting stargazers from far and wide.
Visit outside the peak season
While every season is a good reason to visit Gozo, the island is quieter, and naturally more beautiful outside the peak season. Between autumn and late spring, Gozo’s countryside bursts into life revealing an incredible wealth of flora and fauna – particularly colourful wild flowers and scented herbs. With a temperate Mediterranean climate where sun and warmth are the norm even in winter, Gozo is perfect for an out-of-season holiday. Oh, and Gozo’s mild climate allows you to swim, snorkel, and dive in Gozo’s waters well outside the summer season.
Go for a walk
Gozo is a small island with marvellous landscape and a rich history providing many wonderful experiences for the rambler. From peaceful country and hill walks to rambles along cliff-tops with panoramic views; from coastal paths past extraordinary natural features to heritage trails through the alleyways of the Knights of St John or the unique prehistoric landscape, there is something for everyone.
Just dive in
The water is a crystal clear azure and warm for most of the year – perfect for swimming, snorkelling, diving or just splashing about. Indeed, Gozo is also home to some of the best diving in the Mediterranean. There are dive spots suitable for all levels of experience, from beginners to practiced divers looking for a new challenge. The underwater landscape here is spectacular, the visibility excellent.
Enjoy a sunset
Perhaps one of the biggest treats of being on a small island like Gozo is the sheer amount of opportunities to enjoy a sunset over the horizon. Places like Sanap Cliffs, Xlendi, Xwejni, and, especially, Dwejra, are amazing spots to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Every evening, you’ll catch dozens of people flocking to these spots to watch the glowing golden sun dip down into the Mediterranean Sea. Gozo is the stage for some veritable shows of inspiring sunsets.
Experience a cultural event
It’s always a good timing to go on your green trip to Gozo because Gozo has an incredibly active year-round cultural life, quite remarkable for such a small place. Gozo’s vibrant calendar of annual events includes its own distinct carnival, an opera festival and numerous summer festas, as well as whole-hearted celebration of the larger religious festivals. Every year also sees an eclectic blend of one-off local and international events, performances and exhibitions.
Gozo was selected to both the 2020 and 2021 Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories. For three consecutive years the island has won awards from Green Destinations.
Gozo received the ‘Best of Culture and Communities’ at the 2019 ITB Berlin for its global leadership in protecting culture and tradition, involving local communities, and avoiding over-tourism.
Gozo received the QualityCoast Gold Award. Furthermore, three of Gozo’s beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag award.
What does it mean?
- They have shown at least 60% compliance with the Green Destinations Core Criteria.
- They have submitted a story that was selected to the list for its innovative, effective and / or transferable good management practice.
Gozo Good Practice Story
Gozo submitted Good Practice Story’s. It was about a restoration project of a windmill undertaken by the Ministry of Gozo benefiting all stakeholders. Read the full story here.
Measures have been taken by the Government of Malta to make the island of Gozo an attractive destination all year round. Eco-friendlier activities are being promoted to encourage people to visit Gozo outside of the peak season. This would ensure a healthy flow of tourists to the island all year round rather than risking overcrowding during the summer season. Traditions of communities are not just being protected, but also incentivised to be brought to the fore so everyone can experience the island’s and its communities’ unique charms. Gozitans, as people from Gozo are called, are genuinely friendly and very hospitable and will go the extra mile to make visitors feel welcome. The island is very safe and human rights are very well respected.