Gozo may be even tinier than Malta, but it’s jam-packed with things to do, places to visit and sights to see.
1. Visit the capital
No trip to Gozo is complete without a visit to Victoria, or Rabat, as it is also known. Pjazza Indipendenza, affectionately known as it-Tokk, is the square at the centre of the town – start your day off with pastizzi (cheese or pea cakes), washed down with a hot glass of tea at one of its many traditional cafes. The square is also home to a lively daily market where hawkers sell sunglasses, hats and costume jewellery. Once you’re finished browsing the stalls, stroll through the web of ancient backstreets around St George’s Basilica, or head right on over to number two.
2. Discover the restored Cittadella
Rising majestically over Gozo’s capital city, the Cittadella has recently undergone an extensive restoration project that has seen it return to its former glory, putting it firmly back on the map as a must-visit site on the island. As you enter the arched entrance, you’ll immediately notice the imposing Gozo Cathedral across the square, as well as the Law Courts and the Bishop’s Palace. Climb up to the very top - few other places in Gozo offer such sweeping panoramic views.
3. A trip to the museum
The majority of Gozo’s museums are dotted around the capital, Victoria, and include the Cathedral Museum, the Museum of Archaeology, the Folklore Museum and Museum of Natural Science. The Folklore Museum documents the traditional Gozitan way of life within a cluster of medieval houses that belonged to wealthy families back in the 1500s; the Museum of Archaeology showcases remains dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze ages, while the Museum of Natural Science is ideal for nature lovers. Finally, the most recent addition to Gozo’s museums, Il-Haġar – Heart of Gozo - demonstrates how the Gozitan community was shaped by its religious tradition.
4. Tour the historic sites
Gozo’s Ġgantija Temples are among the oldest free-standing monuments in the world, preceding Stonehenge and even the Egyptian pyramids. The name given to these temples derives from the Maltese word for giant, ġgant, as the site is believed to be associated with a race of giants. The complex, consisting of two temples, dates back to between 3,600 and 3,200 BC; an interpretation centre provides insight into the area and its history.
5. Head to the beach
You can enjoy the beach in Gozo all year round – long beach walks are great in autumn and winter, and the braver amongst us can take a dip as early as April and May. Xlendi, Ramla Bay and Marsalforn are three of the most popular beaches, while Dwejra Bay, the Inland Sea and the area surrounding the rock formation formerly known as the Azure Window are ideal for bathing, snorkelling and diving.
6. A walk in the country
Malta’s scenic sister isle is widely known for its countryside, and no matter your fitness level and walking experience, boasts a number of routes depending on the level of difficulty and type of walk you’re after. It’s perfect to explore on foot, whether you’re keen on country paths or winding through charming village streets. If you lose your bearings, rest assured you’ll likely encounter a farmer or villager walking along the same route as you, who will be more than happy to offer directions.
7. Get crafty
Located on the way to Dwejra, on the outskirts of the island’s oldest village of Għarb, the Ta’ Dbieġi Crafts Village complex is made up of several individual shops, each specialised in a specific craft. Here, you’ll find everything from silver filigree, lace-making, pottery, leather-making and blacksmiths to stone decorators and glass-blowers – all the crafts the island is so well known for – and in most cases, you can even watch the artisans at work in many of their shops.
8. Take a spin
Gozo’s countryside and scenic spots can be enjoyed not only on foot, but also on bicycle, quad bike or segway. Local rental companies provide the opportunity to do just that, and even advise you on the best places to visit depending on your preferred choice of transport. You can also opt for a guided tour rather than going at it alone, depending on how familiar you are with the island, and of course, how confident you are with your sense of direction.
9. Enjoy some delicious food
Whether it’s a Mediterranean feast of fish by the sea, a char-grilled steak enjoyed al fresco or a romantic meal accompanied by a bottle of fine wine, you’re sure to find something to your taste in Gozo. Top areas for dining out include Xlendi, which boasts several eateries dotted along the coast, Victoria and Marsalforn, not to mention other eateries located in more remote areas across the island.
10. A night at the theatre
Gozo has a thriving opera scene, with several productions taking place throughout the year. If you’re a fan, be sure to pencil in a visit to either, or both, of Gozo’s theatres – Teatru Aurora and Teatru Astra, both located in Victoria.