The Top 13 Things to Do on Gozo

Aerial view of Xewkija with the Rotunda St. John Baptist, Gozo, Malta
trabantos / Getty Images

Part of the Maltese Archipelago, Gozo is the second largest of the three inhabited islands of the Mediterranean country of Malta: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. For comparison, Malta has nearly 500,000 inhabitants, while Gozo has around 33,000—it's definitely Malta's little sister.

While Malta is known as a party destination, Gozo is a lot more low-key. Vacationers come here for the quiet ambiance, the warm environment, traditional stone villages, and the crystalline sea that surrounds the island. A couple of days here will give you the chance to explore the island's beaches and bays, small towns, and archaeological sites. In unranked order, here are our top 13 things to see and do on Gozo.

01 of 13

Kayak to Comino's Blue Lagoon

Malta's Blue Lagoon

TripSavvy / Linda Strauta

Triq Kemmuneti, Malta

One of Gozo's most popular destinations is actually on tiny Comino. The Blue Lagoon is one of those "you have to see it to believe it" natural wonders. The protected inlet is wedged between Comino and the rocky outcropping of Cominetto, and its shallow, turquoise blue water is Mediterranean paradise defined. You can get there by ferry from Malta, but it's more fun—and more of an adventure—to kayak over from Gozo. Gozo Adventures has an outpost at Hondoq Bay, and will take you on a guided trip across to the Blue Lagoon.

02 of 13

Storm the Citadel

Cittadella, fortified medieval city in Victoria, Gozo. Drone Aerial Shot
kparis / Getty Images
It-Telgħa tal-Belt, Ir-Rabat Għawdex, Malta

Well, you don't really have to storm the gates to get in, especially since the doors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site are wide open during the day. But it doesn't take much imagination to picture the Cittadella, or the Citadel, as it once was in the Middle Ages. Built atop a neolithic settlement that later became a Phoenician acropolis, the Citadel today is a massive fortress featuring ramparts, museums, a former prison, and an important Catholic cathedral. From the Citadel walls, you can enjoy views across all of Gozo. Entrance is free to the Citadel, with additional small fees to enter the museums and cathedral.

03 of 13

Survey the Xwejni Salt Pans

Sea salt extraction in salt pans, Xwejni Bay, Gozo, Malta
Stefan Auth / Getty Images
36HW+VCV, Żebbuġ, Malta

Salt has always been an essential mineral, and it's been harvested on Gozo for thousands of years. On the northern coast of Gozo, the Xwejni Salt Pans are thought to be among the oldest functioning salt pans in the world. Seawater either splashes or is pumped into the grid of the shallow pools, and as it dries, the salt is harvested. You can't walk among the salt pans, but you can take pictures, buy salt, and, with any luck, watch the salt harvesting process.

04 of 13

Take a Tuk-Tuk Tour

A tuk tuk on Gozo

Yippee Malta 

Triq ix-xatt GHAJNSIELEM, Għajnsielem GSM 9033, Malta
Phone +356 2156 0512

If you arrive to Gozo with no car, no worries. Arrange for a fun tuk-tuk tour with Yippee Malta. The open-air, motorized tuk-tuks hold up to six passengers and zip around the island's main sights, with narration from your guide/driver. Plus, they can reach some remote places on narrow roads you might not want to attempt with a rental car. A one-day tour costs 60 euros per adult.

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05 of 13

Kick Back at Ramla Bay Beach

View of Ramla Bay, Gozo, Malta.
Petroos / Getty Images
Ramla Beach, Malta

Large stretches of sandy beach are rarities on rocky Gozo, so Ramla Bay Beach is a treat for locals and visitors alike. The wide, reddish-tinted beach has areas where you can rent a beach lounger and umbrella, as well as plenty of "free" sand for spreading out a towel. There are a few snack bars, plus the ruins of a Roman villa nearby. If you're feeling energetic, hike up to Calypso's Cave, said to be the very spot where the nymph Calypso kept Homer's Odysseus captive for seven years.

06 of 13

Relax at Marsalforn

The Maltese resort town of Marsalforn on Gozo Island - Malta
Starcevic / Getty Images
Marsalforn, Żebbuġ, Malta

If you want to visit Gozo and base yourself near the water, the cute little resort town of Marsalforn is a good choice. With plenty of hotels and vacation rentals, it's one of the island's most developed towns in terms of tourism infrastructure, yet never feels like one of the glitzier beach resorts on neighboring Malta. And even if you just spend an afternoon here, you'll find a sandy beach right in town, as well as restaurants, bars, and boat rentals.

07 of 13

Trek to the Stone Age at Ġgantija Temples

Ggantija neolithic temple at Xaghra, Gozo, Malta
trabantos / Getty Images
Triq John Otto Bayer, Ix-Xagħra, Malta
Phone +356 2155 3194

As on Malta, Gozo is home to some of the world's largest free-standing stone structures. Part of the Megalithic Temples of Malta UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ġgantija ("giantess" in Maltese) Temple Complex sits inland, adjacent to the town of Xagħra. Archaeologists believe the 5,500-year-old temples were a ceremonial site linked to ancient fertility rites. In Gozitan legend, they were built by a giantess who had a child with a local (mortal) man. The complex includes a small museum and is open Thursday to Sunday.

08 of 13

Duck Into a Church

St. George’s Basilica, Victoria, Gozo, Malta
VFKA / Getty Images

Malta is a deeply religious country, where almost 95 percent of the population identify as Roman Catholic. Of Malta's hundreds of churches, 46 are on Gozo. Most are open all day, meaning you're free to walk in and take a look around (unless Mass is taking place). Highlights include Baroque St. George's Basilica in Victoria, the Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady in Xagħra, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu, located in the countryside near Għarb. 

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09 of 13

Soak up a Sunset

Sunset view over Ta Cenc cliffs on Gozo, Malta
trabantos / Getty Images

Evenings on Gozo offer up some great sunsets, so make sure you're ready when the moment nears. Popular vantage points include the ramparts of the Citadel in Victoria, and the dramatic Ta' Ċenċ Cliffs on the southern side of the island. Sunsets over the Xwejni Salt Pans, or those at Xlendi, are also quite spectacular.

10 of 13

Stand in Line for Ftira at Mekren's

Ftira at Mekren's Bakery, Gozo

Courtesy of Mekren's Bakery

27RQ+28X, Triq Hanaq, In-Nadur, Malta
Phone +356 2155 2342

Ftira is a national food of Malta. The pizza-like bread is either stuffed, topped, or both, with a range of savory items. In Gozo, it's known as ftira ghawdxija, and is sprinkled with sheep's milk, sausages, eggplant, and always potatoes. Gozitans and visitors in the know head to Nadur to wait in line for freshly made ftira at Mekren's Bakery. There's no place to sit down at this hole-in-wall bakery, so diners take it to go, eat their ftira standing up, or head to a nearby park. To complete the experience, be sure to grab a Kennie—the bittersweet orange-flavored soda of Malta—from the vending machine out front.

11 of 13

Snorkel in the Blue Hole

Blue Hole on Gozo
GoodLifeStudio / Getty Images
Blue Hole, San Lawrenz, Malta

Gozo's west coast meets a more untamed sea, and has the geological formations to prove it. Among them is the Blue Hole near Dwejra, a popular dive site that's also suitable for experienced snorkelers. The wave-carved "hole" is rich with coral and marine life, clearly visible in the limpid water. This isn't a snorkeling area suitable for kids, as entering the water involves a scramble over some rocks and timing your entry when there's no sea swell.

12 of 13

Look Through the Wied il-Mielaħ Window

Wied il-Mielah Window, natural limestone arch, located in Wied il-lMielah valley, north of village Gharb, Gozo, Malta
VFKA / Getty Images
36H7+J55, Gharb, Malta
Phone +356 2156 0556

The Wied il-Mielaħ Window ("it-Tieqa ta' Wied il-Mielaħ" in Maltese) is a limestone natural arch on the northwestern coast of Gozo. It is located at the end of the valley of Wied il-Mielaħ, north of the village of Għarb. This natural arch is less well-known than the Azure Window, which collapsed in March 2017 following a heavy storm.

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13 of 13

Linger at Mgarr Harbour

Lourdes Chapel, Mgarr, Gozo, Malta
joe daniel price / Getty Images
Mgarr Harbour, Ghajnsielem, Malta

Your experience at Mgarr Harbour might be fleeting, but this busy ferry port town is worthy of a longer look. Dominated by the hilltop Church of the Madonna of Lourdes, the town of Mgarr was a fishing village before tourism changed its fortunes; however, it still retains some of that sleepy appeal, especially once the ferry boat traffic slows in the evenings. There's a walkable waterfront, plus plenty of unfussy waterside bars and eateries.

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The Top 13 Things to Do on Gozo