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Your guide to Gozo
Welcome to Gozo
The second-largest island in the Maltese archipelago, Gozo is the sleepy neighbour to Malta’s buzzing beaches and tourist-thronged streets. Gozitans like it slow and easy. They’ve resisted plans to link to the rest of the island chain via a bridge or a tunnel, preferring to keep their turquoise waters, peach-coloured beaches, and jaw-dropping landscapes to themselves.
This is the perfect place to switch off and drift. Tiny picturesque villages, the scent of wildflowers, a lazy drink on a cafe terrace before a plod across one of Gozo’s rolling hills (featured on the flag) — that’s about as hectic as Gozo gets.
If you’d prefer to do some exploring, though, you’re surrounded by remarkable antiquities such as the Ġgantija temples; one of the oldest freestanding structures on the planet; the impressive fortified Citadella in Gozo’s capital, Rabat; and natural wonders such as the Inland Sea, a tranquil saltwater lagoon considered one of the world’s best dive sites.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Gozo
Even though Gozo is a slow and sleepy island, the high summer months are the busiest, with numerous day trippers heading over from Malta, so if it’s serenity you seek, avoid July and August as months to book one of the area’s villas. The spring is a wonderful time to visit the island as the crowds are smaller, the heat slightly less oppressive, and the wildflowers at their bloomiest. In autumn, the sea is at its warmest, while the beaches are mainly deserted, so if you’re seeking some coastal solace, this is a fine time to visit. In winter it’s carnival time, with a five-day celebration featuring floats, dancers, and general frivolity taking place in February. In October the Festival Mediterranea celebrates 7,000 years of culture on the island, with concerts and exhibitions scattered throughout.
Top things to do in Gozo
This astonishing megalithic complex of limestone temples was built before the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge and is one of the planet’s oldest human-made religious structures. Local legend claims that giants dropped the buildings onto their current location (hence the name). They are incredibly well preserved and a definite must-see. An attached museum features prehistoric artefacts found at the site.
The Old Prison
Gozo’s capital, Rabat (also known as Victoria), is small but contains a number of fascinating attractions including the Citadel museum, a natural history museum, and this curiosity, built in the mid-16th century to quell rambunctious knights and in use until the 1960s. The ancient collection of prison graffiti is particularly compelling.
The Blue Hole
With miles of beautiful beaches and remarkable natural rock formations, you’ll be getting into the Gozo sea fairly frequently. One of the finest diving spots is this unique geological site, a sheltered pool formed by a limestone sinkhole that’s teeming with unusual marine life. Other diving sites such as the Inland Sea and the Azure Window are close by.