Welcome to the unique island world of Malta and Gozo:

Two of the Mediterranean's most popular destinations, attracting millions of visitors every year.

2.33 million! Are we talking about winning the lottery? No, about 2.33 million tourists from all over the world. This is the number of visitors to the Republic of Malta in 2022, as recently announced by the Maltese Minister for Tourism, Clayton Bartolo. The million figure underlines the popularity of the main island of Malta and its smaller sister Gozo as a Mediterranean hotspot. Mr Bartolo’s ministerial colleague – Clint Camilleri, who has special responsibility for Gozo’s interests in the Maltese cabinet – can also be pleased. The two politicians are successfully working to ensure that when people from all over the world think of EU member Malta, they automatically think of the sister island of Gozo as well as the main island.

Apart from the Corona period, which was so bad for all of us, the two tourist magnets of Malta and Gozo are working extremely well: they continue to enjoy an increasingly good reputation among international holidaymakers as attractive destinations. In fact, the vast majority of tourists who plan to spend most of their time in Malta also plan to cross over to Gozo. At the very least, they opt for a varied day trip. Many people split their holiday experience in the Maltese archipelago right from the start, by booking accommodation in both Malta and Gozo. Of course, island hopping with a focus on Gozo can also be done the other way round: those who opt for an Airbnb apartment, a holiday home or one of Gozo’s many small and large hotels also like to make a detour to Malta. All in all, it is simply because each Maltese island offers a wealth of extraordinary holiday experiences.

Tourists in Inland Sea, Dwejra, Gozo Malta

From Malta's Luqa Airport to the port of Mġarr in Gozo: the "last mile" to Gozo is child's play

For those who have chosen Gozo as their main holiday destination for many good reasons, it starts with arriving at Luqa Airport in Malta. (Unless you come by ferry from Sicily and cross the Mediterranean from Italy). At the airport, many tour operators have vehicles to pick up their guests who are immediately attracted to Gozo. If you are flying into Malta on your own and want to travel to Gozo, you also have to go to the ferry ports of Valletta or Ċirkewwa. This can be done by rental car, taxi or bus. Once you reach the ferries, experienced captains will take you safely across the Mediterranean to the port of Mġarr on Gozo. As for how to get there, it’s best to re-read my blog post from 25 October 2022. Here is a brief summary: While the ferry for passengers AND cars from Ċirkewwa to Mġarr takes about 20 minutes, the ferry for passengers only from Valletta to Mġarr takes about 45 minutes. At the central hub in Mġarr, buses and taxis are available in all directions from Gozo.

It doesn’t really matter which ferry you take to cover the “last mile” to Gozo. Either way, you will find yourself on a very special Mediterranean island. There is a reason why the legendary Ulysses felt so at home here…

Gozo Ferry

What a fantastic sight: The sunset on Gozo is also a holiday experience you won't soon forget.

Sunset at Xlendi, Gozo Malta

And to be honest, every time we have friends from England, Germany, Italy or Denmark visiting us in Xlendi, I never know exactly which highlight of Gozo to tell them about first. The reason is that there are so many. But there is one thing that should always be at the top of the list: The sunset! My wife and I have travelled around the world. But Gozitan sunsets still get a 10 out of 10 from us. To experience this natural event, it doesn’t matter whether you choose the seaward end of Xlendi Bay, Dwejra or Xwejni (all on the western side of the island): It is always a special experience to see the glowing fireball of xemx (the Maltese name for the sun) sink into the Mediterranean in slow motion. On the southern side of the island, these sunsets have the same great effect. Remember the names of the villages of Xagħra, Nadur or Żebbuġ as possible places to admire them. Not to mention that Gozo’s sunsets can also be watched perfectly from the Ċittadella in the capital, Victoria.

Great food with a direct view of the waves, swimming in the clear sea water, and letting your mind wander.

Once the sun has shone over Gozo again the next day, evening entertainment is on the agenda. Trendy bars and restaurants are easy to find. Would you like some examples? Here they are: If you choose one of the many bars on the promenade in Marsalforn, you will always have a direct view of the sea. The nightlife district in Mġarr harbour also offers a wide choice of places with sea views. If you want to go out in style and really enjoy the cuisine recommended by the Michelin Guide, make a reservation at Ta’ Frenċ for example, in the interior of the island, between Victoria and Marsalforn. Wherever you want to spend the evening: There is guaranteed to be something to suit every taste and budget.

I must also mention this mouth-watering tip: be sure to visit the local bakeries! Try a succulent ftira (a kind of Maltese pizza) or a delicious filled pastry called pastizzi. The small selection of “bakeries” I would like to list here include the Mekren or Maxokk bakeries, both in Nadur, then Debono’s Bakery in Għajnsielem and the Traditional Bakery in Qala.

Speaking of Qala, the bay of Ħondoq offers real bathing fun. You can either dive into the crystal clear waters from the small sandy beach… or use the surrounding platform to jump into the Mediterranean Sea. Ramla Bay is also a great place for those who want to have fun with their children. It is not only children who are fascinated by the fine red sand at any time of the year.

Traditional Gozitian Ftira

From the Ġgantija temples to the seawater lagoon at Dwejra to the international hit series "Game of Thrones", a rendezvous with over 5000 years of human history is always easy in Gozo.

But as I said, there is so much to see and do on Gozo that I am spoilt for choice and don’t know where to go from here. But wait. Why not the Ġgantija Temples in Xagħra, which are among the oldest free-standing buildings on the planet? UNESCO declared this mystical complex, which was used for spiritual purposes by its builders from around 3,800 BC to 2,500 BC, a World Heritage Site in 1980 AD. Or should I continue with the places that guarantee unadulterated bathing fun during the long summer months? OK. Then I must mention the Inland Sea at Dwejra, a seawater lagoon separated from the Mediterranean by a high arch, where swimming is excellent, surrounded by steep cliffs. It is also worth taking some time to visit Dwejra, as there is another outstanding site on the other side of the access road. Dwejra has also seen its fair share of filming, with one of the most important episodes of the hugely successful Game of Thrones series filmed here.

Inland Sea, Dwejra, Gozo

Almost all of these hotspots can be visited with a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket. A comfortable ride on one of the green or red double-decker buses that circumnavigate or cross the island at regular intervals. The capital Victoria and Mġarr Harbour are the central boarding and alighting points for those using these buses to explore Gozo.  More information about these buses can be easily found on the internet under the keyword Hop-on Hop-off Bus Route Map.

Xlendi Bay, the capital Victoria, a "pirate restaurant" and one that starts with "K".

Have I said anything about my hometown of Xlendi today? Oooh, oooh… it’s time to catch up. So: Xlendi, where you can stay at the very chic Villa Marni just above Xlendi Bay, is the coastal district of the Munxar municipality. And it’s good to know this before you arrive: Both Munxar and Xlendi Bay have supermarkets where you can buy anything you might have forgotten in your luggage or need during your holiday. If you need anything else, you will find it in Victoria. With its many shops and two large shopping centres, the island’s capital is a shopper’s paradise. Whether it’s a holiday souvenir, the latest swimsuit or whatever else you need, Victoria, just a few kilometres from Xlendi, has everything from sports shops to clothing stores and jewellers.

Xlendi, Gozo, Malta

I close my laptop for the day. And I head to one of my favourite restaurants in Xlendi for fresh fish and a nice glass of wine. One of these favourite restaurants in the bay has a pirate name, and the other has a female first name that starts with K…..

I imagine I’ll see you there on your (next) holiday in Gozo.

2.7 million

P.S.: In 2019, Malta and Gozo even recorded just over 2.7 million tourist guests. Nearly 700 million people are said to have visited the islands for at least the second time, with many of them particularly fond of Gozo.


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