Malta’s Island of Gozo has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is known for its gigantic Neolithic temple ruins, as well as for its rustic beaches, hills, and other natural features, but visitors can also see artifacts and structures left behind by some of the many groups that have conquered the island over its long, long history, such as the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs, the Sicilians, the British, and the French.
Let’s take a look at some of the many things you can do on this ancient island.
What Is the Best Time to Visit the Island of Gozo, Malta?
With hot summers and relatively warm temperatures all year round, any time is a good time to visit Gozo. The best time, however, is in the spring or the fall, when the weather is not as hot and the big crowds the island sees during the summer are absent.
Our Favorite Things to Do on the Island of Gozo, Malta
Visit the Cittadella
Located in Gozo’s capital city of Victoria, the Cittadella is a fortress inside which you can walk the streets and immerse yourself in local history. You can visit several museums, such as the Cathedral Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Nature Museum, and the Museum of Archaeology, as well as the Old Prison, where you can see the place where criminals from times long past were once kept. You can also go shopping at the daily market, or climb up to the top of the city’s walls and get a spectacular view of the island and the sea surrounding it.
Go to the Beaches
You can’t possibly visit an island like Gozo and not spend some time on its beaches. The most popular beach here is Ramla Bay, due to its unique red sand. In fact, many visitors say that this is the best beach in all of Malta… which means it is usually pretty crowded! If you find yourself wanting a bit more space to stretch out on the sand, you can also visit the pebbly beach of Dahlet Qorrot or San Blas Bay with its large rocks and shallow, crystal clear water.
Take a Hike
Hiking season in Gozo stretches from fall to spring, when the temperatures are more bearable for doing things that cause physical exertion. No matter what your level of hiking prowess is, you can find a trail here for you. The paths along the coastline are great for beginners, and the ones that go up into the hills are better for those who want more of a challenge. In either case, you’ll get to enjoy some beautiful natural sights, like the rippling blue sea, the emerald green grass, and the wildflowers blooming in the hills.
Some of the Best Attractions on the Island of Gozo, Malta
Who doesn’t want to go to an island and look at fungus, right? Don’t worry, this attraction isn’t just for scientists. Fungus Rock is a 65-meter-tall rock near the sea where the Knights of Malta found a plant they believed to be a miraculous form of fungus. They dried this fungus and used it to heal wounds and cure various illnesses… even if later it was discovered that this fungus wasn’t really a miracle cure for anything at all. Regardless, the rock still acts as a sort of natural memorial to the Knights and their passion for healing the sick. As a neat aside, the area in which Fungus Rock is located in, Dwejra, was also the backdrop for multiple scenes in the wildly popular television series Game of Thrones.
Speaking of miracles, nearby Ta’Pinu Basilica is a site of pilgrimage for many residents of the Maltese Islands. Local legends say that in 1883, a local woman heard the voice of the Virgin Mary herself speaking from inside what was just a regular, unimposing little church at that time, and then suddenly miracles began to happen in the area. As a result, the residents of the village built a bigger, more extravagant church in Mary’s honor, and now you can see the newer, larger basilica with its marble walls, stained-glass windows and sculptures in the front and the original chapel where Mary first spoke and did miracles in the back.
In English, “Ggantija” means “giant,” and there has never been a more fitting name for an attraction. The enormous Ggantija Temples have been standing since before both Stonehenge and the pyramids in Egypt, and they are a huge mystery. Some of the stones here are over five meters long and weigh over five tons… so how in the world were people able to construct these temples without the aid of machinery? You can form your own theory as you explore the two temples here, as well as the on-site museum.
Other Sights Worth a Visit on the Island of Gozo, Malta
The Island of Gozo is filled with both historical and natural sights to explore, and it’s just one of the best vacations spots in Malta. Another stand-out is the Ta’Cenc cliffs in Sannat, where you can walk among the rocky hills 130 meters above the sea.
One last tip for visiting Gozo is to bring a really good pair of shoes with you: if you want to really dive in and see all this island has to offer, you’re going to have to do a lot of walking!