If you’re in Malta for a long holiday, you cannot miss out on visiting Gozo, the quiet and picturesque sister island of Malta. Steeped in history and natural beauty, Gozo can be easily covered in a long weekend.
We have put together a 3-day itinerary to help you prioritise your plans for your visit to Gozo.
Day 1 of Your Itinerary: Visit the Capital City of Gozo
Known both as Rabat and Victoria, the capital city of Gozo harbours many must-see locations. Getting there is easy. Once you get off the ferry, you can find a GoTo car and head straight up the hill. The great thing about Gozo is that you can get anywhere in just a few minutes. The road signage is also very simple to follow and will always get you to the right destination.
The capital city may be a little busy at the weekend but you need not worry, because GoTo have reserved spots for their cars. So, parking will be easy any time of day and night. Once you arrive, you can take a walk around the Citadel.
Gozo was a privileged Roman Municipality (independent of Malta). The Citadel was the seat of Roman administration as well as the centre of religious and military life in Gozo’s Roman times. The main site where a temple dedicated to the goddess Juno once stood now showcases the main Cathedral of Gozo.
Inside the Citadel different parts date back to different periods; Arangonese, the Times of the Knights and the turbulent times when the marauding Turks and Berber corsairs attacked and pillaged the Maltese islands repeatedly.
The Citadel also houses a number of small museums. You can buy a ticket/pass to all of them from any of the museums.
If you’re looking for a spot to eat after seeing the Citadel, this is probably the best place to get a taste of local cuisine. There are many restaurants dotted around the centre; at the foot of the Citadel, you will also find the local market in the main square.
After lunch you can explore the inhabited part of the city for a peek into local culture nowadays. The houses are very old, some dating back hundreds of years. You will see a lot of history, just walking the streets.
Finally, if you’re looking for a spot of shopping, you can find a shopping complex just a few hundred metres down the hill. Gozo is more affordable than the sister island, so it’s a good place to shop.
In the evening, the best place to be is in Marsalforn. It has many restaurants and bars and is bustling with activity. It’s a good place to meet locals and fellow tourists for a laugh and a drink or a sumptuous meal.
Day 2 of Your Itinerary - Visit the Temples
On the second day, you can visit another unique place in Gozo. The Ggantija Temples date back to around 3600BC; that’s older than Stonehenge. The area was probably used for ceremonial gatherings; many objects and bones were found in the area, which has striking archaeological value. The statuettes found at this temple are housed at the Museum of Archaeology - within the Citadel in Gozo. You may want to make a point of seeing them when you’re visiting on day one.
The Temples are in excellent condition and you can easily walk around and inside. The site is outdoor so you may want to bring a hat and some sunblock so you can take your time to take in the atmosphere and the views. After the Temples, the next place to visit is the Ta’ Pinu Basilica. The theme of the day is places of worship and Ta’ Pinu is definitely one of the sites you mustn’t miss.
On the way to your next destination you can make a little detour through Mgarr, where you will find a couple of nice seafood restaurants. After some lunch, you will already be close to the next destination.
In 1883, a woman from Gharb said that Our Lady spoke to her at the chapel of Ta’ Pinu. The place became a mecca for pilgrims and the little church was soon overwhelmed with the crowds it attracted. In 1920, the current monumental shrine of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu was built to better serve the popularity and signif-icance of this landmark. It is truly an architectural masterpiece, especially the inside. It houses beautiful sculptures that are a testimony to the Maltese stone craftsmanship of the 1900s.
After taking all the beauty in, you can head back down to Marsalform for another fun evening in the bustling seaside town.
Day 3 of Your Itinerary - Relax and Enjoy
On the third day you must visit the Ramla l-Hamra. Known as the beach with red sand, this is the best place to take a dip (if it’s warm enough when you visit) or just take a walk along the beach. It’s a great place to relax and take in the surrounding beauty whether you’re swimming or not. There’s a shack nearby where you can eat and buy snacks and ice creams, so although you’re too far to walk to the nearest village, you don’t need to bring anything with you.
If you’re out here with kids, spending the day will be easy. If you’re not with kids and want a little more adventure, you can go horse riding. There are places that offer this near Ramla l-Hamra and also near Marsalforn.
On your last evening, a walk to Qbajjar to watch the sunset from the picturesque salt pans is a must. Then a short walk back to your, by now, favourite local place at Marsalforn.
The best thing about getting around in Gozo is that you don’t need to hire a car for a long weekend. You can simply use GoTo cars combined with local public transport. Especially in the low tourist season, buses are not hard to catch, and the system is super simple to understand. Of course, it doesn’t run till late, and can be hard to catch when you arrive near the ferry, so we recommend getting a GoTo car to help you get around to these magnificent places.
Register for GoTo’s car sharing service online and verification takes up to 24 hours. You can buy a pre-paid tourist pack that will keep you going, not just for the long weekend in Gozo, but also anytime you need transport in Malta.