Gozo, known in Maltese as ‘Ghawdex’, is Malta’s sister island situated on the north-western region of the archipelago. The island is renowned for providing a tranquil haven for tempo and scene change. It is greener, more rural, and smaller with comprehensive history and culture.
Gozo is also often referred to as ‘Calypso’, the nymph from Greek mythology. This symbolism is used since Greek mythology states that Calypso lived on the island.
Like Malta, the island is full of baroque churches, old stone farmhouses, historical sites, forts and a spectacular coastline.
The connectivity from Malta to Gozo has recently been enhanced with the launch of a new fast ferry service, operated via two operators.
We’ve taken the liberty of jotting down five key locations Gozo has to offer.
1. Ta’ Pinu Shrine
Ta’ Pinu Shrine is one of the most visited places in Gozo, and is something not to miss. The venue became popular since in 1883, a woman from the Gozitan village of Għarb, Karmni Grima, heard the voice of Our Lady at the small chapel that then occupied this site.
Subsequently, a monumental shrine to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu was built between 1920 and 1931 in front of the original chapel. The shrine is considered to be an architectural masterpiece and is enshrined with exceptional sculptures and craftsmanship.
Opposite the Church, travellers may find a series of fourteen marble statues, representing the Via Crucis on Ghammar Hill Opposite Church.
2. Ggantija Megalithic Temples
If you’re fascinated about what Malta’s pre-history has to offer, you cannot miss Ggantija.
The temples date back to between 3600 BC and 3200 BC and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site is considered one of the oldest free-standing monuments in the world, preceding Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids.
Some of the megaliths of Ggantija Temples exceed five metres in length and weigh over fifty tons. Giants were believed to have constructed these prehistoric temples, and that is from where their name originates. Certainly, these ancient structures represent a phenomenal cultural, artistic and technological development in a very early period in human life.
3. The Citadel (Gozo Citadella)
The Citadella is undoubtedly the main attraction in Victoria, considered to be Gozo’s capital city. It hosts a fortified city that was recently fully renovated and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, villages and the sea up to Malta. The Citadel is home to a few residents and thus free to enter.
There are several museums you can visit inside the Citadella:
The Cathedral Museum, which includes a collection of religious items used by the Church.
The Museum of Archaeology, which takes you through historical journey from the ancient civilizations living on Gozo until the time of the Order of Malta.
The Folklore Museum, which offers a learning experience about the local lifestyle and traditions.
The Nature Museum, featuring information about local wildlife.
The Old Prison, where you can visit old prison cells used in ancient times.
4. Ramla Bay and Tal-Mixta Cave
Often regarded as ‘Ramla l-Hamra’ (the Red Sandy Beach), this beach is renowned for its golden-reddish sand. Situated at the bottom of a fertile valley in the northern region of Gozo, it easily accessible and reachable.
For history enthusiasts, the area surrounding the beach includes several scenic views of historical importance, which include Roman Ruins and the Calypso Cave that overlooks the western side of the beach. On the western end of the bay, a villa was built by the Romans, which is decorated with marble and stucco. The luxurious villa also had its own hot bath supplied with water from a nearby spring.
One cannot visit Ramla Bay and not visit ‘Tal-Mixta’ Cave, which is situated on the Eastern hill of the bay and offers spectacular views of the bay and is considered to be a beautiful hidden gem. It has recently become an increasingly popular spot amongst both locals and tourists for its breath-taking sunsets views overlooking the bright red sandy beach.
5. Wied il-Ghasri
For those who love walks in the countryside and bike rides, Wied il-Għasri (Għasri Valley) is a marvellous place, especially during winter and spring.
Wied il-Ghasri is a secluded inlet with a tiny pebbly beach wedged between high cliffs. The view of the valley from the top of the cliffs is stunning.
Wied il-Għasri is very popular with divers who like to explore the surrounding underwater caves. The very narrow bay is a haven for those who seek a quiet bathing area.