We left our Airbnb place in the morning and headed to the East to visit the island of Gozo. Ferries take the 5 km to Gozo in approximately 25 minutes. Our first stop was Dwejra with the remains of Azure Window. We visited the salt pans at the northern coastline, then finished the day at the reddish sandy beach of Ir-Ramla.
Like Malta, the landscape of Gozo is formed primarily of limestone. Its scenery is also similar to the mainland, it is more rural and features more green areas. The underwater landscape is interesting, so the coastline is popular for diving and snorkelling. Its area is only 68 sqm, but we didn’t have time for everything, because we spent there only a day.
Dwejra with the Azure Window
First, we visited the area of Dwejra, which is located on the western coastline of Gozo. The word “dwejra” means “small home” in Maltese, which is named after a small house built on the cliffs and surrounded by the sea. The scenery is gorgeous there with the rest of the Azure Window, Blue Hole, Inland Sea and Dwejra bay. The coastline is a result of geological forces and offers several great hiking paths.
We walked to Dwejra bay to have a closer look at Fungus rock (Il-Gebla tal-General), which is a 65-metre high individual rock in the bay. It was named after a plant known as Maltese Fungus, which was discovered by a commander of the Knights of St. John. This plant with medicinal and healing properties grew on the rock and was guarded by the Dwejra Tower up on the cliff. The tower was built in 1652 and was in use until 1873. In 1999 the restoration works had been finished and now it is open to the public.
In the northern direction, you can see the remains of the Azure Window, the symbol of Gozo. It was a 28 metre high natural arch with 2 vast vertical rocks holding a flat top. The natural landmark was destroyed on the 8th of March 2017 by strong wind and high waves. Still attracts a huge number of visitors.
Walk down on the rocks to the water, just mind your steps. At the bottom of the rock face, the Blue Hole can be found, where the water has a deep blue colour. It is an underwater cave and provides an excellent dive site for experienced divers.
The area on the other side of the rock face is the Inland Sea, a natural lagoon surrounded by tall cliffs. It is connected to the open sea with a 60 metre-long tunnel, called Blue Cave. From the Inland Sea, you can take a boat tour through the tunnel. It is a popular scuba diving site and also good for swimming because it has shallow and calm water with a pebbly shore.
Sea salt production has a long history and tradition on Gozo. A lot of salt pans can be found along the northern coastline of Gozo, along Triq Is-Saghtrija and Triq Ix-Xwejni roads.
We stopped at the Xwejni bay, be aware that walking on them is forbidden. I didn’t know that, but a sign warned us. Only permitted for the locals, who collect rock salts in the morning during summer.
In shops, you can find Maltese sea salt as a gourmet product.
Gozo’s largest sandy beach with bright golden-reddish sand and clear water. Its Maltese name, Ir-Ramla I-Hamra means Red Beach. There are underwater rocks a few meters out in the sea on the central part, so mind your steps. One part of it is a Natura 2000 site. The bay is surrounded by cliffs.
It was busy, but there are plenty of places on the long and wide beach. It was sunny as always, so we rented an umbrella at the kiosks. Foods and drinks are also available there, but only in the summer season.
Read my post about the best beaches in Malta to discover other amazing beaches.
You can visit the Calypso Cave located on the cliffs on the western corner of the beach. From there enjoy the great view of the whole valley.
How to get there?
Between Malta (Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal) and Gozo (Mgarr Ferry Terminal) operates a ferry for passengers and vehicles. Just follow the Ferry Terminal signs for cars/passengers. During the day the ferry leaves every 45 minutes. Check out the timetable here.
We arrived just in time to catch the ferry. There are plenty of places because it has 2 storeys, our car was almost the last one. The crossing time is approximately 25 minutes, so we had time to go up to the deck and enjoy the wind. You have to pay with cash on the way back to the mainland. Standard fare costs 4,65 euro per person, a car with a driver costs 15,70 euro.
On Gozo, we went everywhere by the rented car. If you are using GPS, check out the road type settings, because our GPS brought us to very steep, narrow and rocky roads.
Hop on hop off buses operate on the island. Take a look at the map and details here.
Where to eat?
They advertise themselves with their old and traditional oven cooking. I read about this place somewhere. We arrived at around 5:30 pm, the sign said it’s open, unfortunately, it wasn’t. We haven’t found any opening time, so decided to have dinner later on the main island.
When I got home, I checked their opening time: on Wednesday it’s closed, on the other days it’s open from 8 am to 3 am and between 6 pm and 11 pm. We should have arrived half an hour later.
There’s a lot more to see in Gozo, we had time only for a day. Any other suggestions?