Exploring the Island of Gozo and its Mediterranean Treasures

The last part of our trip in Malta was to the little island of Gozo. After exploring the prismatic Popeye Village we finally drove towards the Cirkewwa port to take a ferry to Mgarr seaport in Gozo. We parked our car in the ferry and climbed up to the deck for amazing vistas of the perpetual blue Mediterranean waters.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Once out of the Mgarr Harbour the first striking landmark we remarked was the Ghajnsielem parish church perched high on the hill. The aura of the city with the beige bathed buildings and colorful boxed windows were charmingly alluring.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Xewkija Rotunda Church

The Xewkija Rotunda Church in the historic village of Xewkija has the third-highest unsupported dome in the world. The 20th-century Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist is inspired by the Santa Maria Della Salute church of Venice. The interior is embellished with finely sculptured columns and exceptional paintings.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Once we drove past the bustling capital city Victoria the terrain was mostly desolate punctuated with grass rolls against the sloping hills. We decided to take a break to stretch our legs and breathe in some fresh air. And we spotted a flock of ducks waddling towards the bushes to save themselves from the scorching midday sun.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

We spotted several elegant small churches all along the way.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Azure Window

We could soon see a stretch of cerulean waters receding into the blue skies at the horizon. We parked our car and walked towards the shore scanning for a glimpse of the famed window. And, there it was, the spectacular arch towering over the shimmering azure waves lapping at its base. The amazing rocks formations along the coast had cavities making for natural salterns.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Tourists were ubiquitous looking for vantage points to pose for the best possible picture with the window. The crystal clear calm waters of Gozo makes for an ideal location for adventure activities like sailing, windsurfing, diving, and snorkeling. Sadly, the famous ‘Azure Window’, the photographer’s delight collapsed into the lap of the sea early this year(2017). We find ourselves lucky enough to have visited this wonder while it was still there magnificent and stunning.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Inland Sea or Qawra

Inland Sea or Qawra is a bay surrounded by high rocky cliffs and connected to the Mediterranean Sea through a narrow tunnel. Tours can be arranged with the fishing boats that take visitors through the tunnel cave to nearby natural spots, the Azure window, and the fungus rock.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Fungus Rock

Yet another wonder around the Azure window is the Fungus Rock. The Fungus Rock is a massive limestone rock in the Dwejra bay. It gets its name from the Malta Fungus growing on the rock which was believed to have medicinal properties. We could, unfortunately, make to neither of them and had to drive back satiated with the beautiful Azure window.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

We stopped uphill for a final glimpse of the scenic vista and stood raptly. Spellbound. The bright rays of the sun piercing through the clouds looked like spotlights all over the glistening tranquil blue sea. And the Dwejra Tower dominated the dramatic arid landscape.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Basilica of Ta’ Pinu

The 20th-century Basilica of Ta’ Pinu built in the Romanesque style is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and stands in the midst of the rustic landscape of Gharb Village. It is a prominent pilgrimage destination.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

The interior has elegant carvings on the pillars and remarkable stained glass windows. A room in the church holds offerings from the pilgrims who have been cured miraculously from their prayers to Virgin Mary. The 61 meters high bell tower stands as a campanile to the magnificent basilica.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Across the street opposite to the entrance to Ta’ Pinu, a path leads uphill dotted with fourteen remarkable marble statues depicting the Way of the Cross. The stations represent the journey of Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion.

We drove through more of the countryside and farmlands dotted with grass roles.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

We spotted a gigantic statue of Jesus on the top of a hill. The statue of Jesus stands atop the Tal-Merzuq Hill or the Ray of Light. The twelve meters tall statue is supposedly inspired by the famous statue of Jesus the Redeemer found in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Calypso Cave

On the way to the Calypso Cave through the village of Xaghra, we found this marvelous Xaghra Parish Church. This was actually one of the numerous red domed Baroque churches dominating the skyline of Malta.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

The cave located in a cliff is believed to be the cave Homer referred to in his poem`The Odyssey’ where Calypso imprisoned Odysseus for seven long years.

The Calypso cave was unfortunately closed when we visited and we could only get a stunning view of the Ramla Beach from the cave entrance.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

The route back from the cave winded downhill through a steep road which continued into the sprawling city below. A cemetery on the slopes of the hill looked impressive dotted with several marble sculptures.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Sunset at Xlendi

Initially, we were dispirited by the sun obscured by the overcast sky. But then swiftly the bright orange ball popped out of the cloud. We captured the awe-inspiring pictures of the sunset till the sun disappeared behind a large rocky cliff.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

There is a small watchtower Xlendi Tower near Xlendi Bay dating from the 17th century which offers some of the remarkable vistas of the surrounding cliffs.

The Cittadella

The 16th-century fortress atop a hill in Victoria was built in the late early 17th century. The narrow alleys winding through the fortress are marked with several museums and an old prison. Within the ramparts of the citadel is a splendid cathedral. During the ancient times, the Gozitans took refuge in the defensive walls of the fortress for protection against invaders and eventually settled down building a city.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

On the way back to the port we spotted the Xewkija Rotunda Church illuminated with a reddish orange glow.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

We had one last look at the Ghajnsielem parish church lit with the golden lights and proceeded towards the port to head back to Malta.

Gozo can be easily covered in a day if you have your own car and can maneuver through narrow alleys of the city. As per the reviews on the internet, the public buses are less frequent and the waiting time for the HOHO buses can seem like forever.

Day Trip Gozo Island Malta

Our trip to the wonderful country Malta teemed with culture had come to an end. The slow pace life, the rolling countryside, and the gorgeous coastline will be etched into our minds for a long time to remember.

Have you been to Gozo or Malta and explored its natural gems? Do share with us in comments.

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19 Comment

  1. I’ve never been to Malta but I will, as I will visit every country in the world. After reading about Gozo I think I’ll make the effort to visit this part. I’m inspired by your photos!

  2. Gem says: Reply

    The pictures are surreal! And I love the little history associated with each of them.
    I didn’t even know Gozo existed till I read this. You learn something every day, right? I will definitely add this place to my long list of places to see.
    Happy traveling!

  3. I’ve been to Malta and Gozo and they are amazing. We had only three days so we want to come back and enjoy it in a slower pace. Looks like you had great time! Nice article and lovely photos!
    Thank you!

  4. Chuck says: Reply

    That looks like it was a great trip. I need to add this to my to do list.

  5. This island looks incredible. It has a combination of my favorite things to see in a travel destination. The beautiful architecture, the gorgeous coast and amazing cliffs!

  6. Malta is really fascinating. Interesting rock formations and stunning architectural details, My favourite from this post is the Xaghra Parish Church with that amazing red dome.

  7. Jess says: Reply

    Gozo looks beautiful! I’ve only ever heard good things about Malta.The gorgeous coastline and stunning churches are all amazingly enticing. I’d love to go someday!

  8. Emily says: Reply

    It’s such a stunning coastline isn’t it? I’ve visited Malta and sailed around Gozo but haven’t been there. It looks beautiful! Looks like I missed out!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes it is 🙂 You should definitely make a visit to Malta soon…

  9. I’ve heard so many great things about Malta (one of my mum’s friends fell in love with it so much that she visits every year) and, after seeing your photos and reading your post, I completely understand why. It seems like such a gorgeous place!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Wow.. how lucky.. Malta is a beautiful country indeed. Wish we could visit every year too 😉

  10. Gozo looks incredible. I’ll admit, I don’t think I know anyone personally who has travelled to Malta and this is probably one of the only posts I’ve seen on it thus far but I’m impressed! Definitely on the list!

  11. Lana says: Reply

    Looks so gorgeous! Loved the photos and the guide, definitely will put it on my list 🙂

  12. There it is, the iconic Azure window. The pics with the sun piercing through looks really amazing.

  13. Emma says: Reply

    So many different churches, all in different styles and all amazing in their own way. And the colour of that water – absolutely stunning!

  14. Such a small island seems to have so much do…interesting! How does one get here? Arent flights from India too expensive?

  15. Looks like an amazing place to visit. I have been seeing more and more articles about malta lately. The church with the dome is ultra impressive. I think hiring a car like you did is a great way to see the many things malta has to offer

  16. I did not know there was so much to see in Malta. I actually had to double check the location, as I couldn’t guess in what languages the names you mentioned were written.
    The views are stunning, especially the sunset!

  17. Neni says: Reply

    Malta seems so different. It´s European but yet, not. I love that about the island. I hope I can get there soon. 🙂

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