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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

7 Causes You will Fall In Love With Gozo, Malta

The ferry strikes easily throughout the two.5 miles of impossibly blue Mediterranean water between Malta and Gozo. The village of Għajnsielem and its golden sandstone buildings sit upon the terraces climbing from the harbor to the hilltop.

The crossing is fast, about 25 minutes, simply sufficient time for a cool beverage earlier than deboarding. The tiny island of Gozo and its 10,000 years of historical past await.

The place Is Gozo (And Why Haven’t I Heard Of It)?

Inform somebody you’re going to Gozo, and their response is perhaps, “Properly, the place is that, and why are you going?” 

The Republic of Malta is an archipelago within the middle of the Mediterranean. The three inhabited islands are Malta, Comino, and Gozo. The diminutive island nation has that celebrated Mediterranean local weather; clear, glowing, heat water; and hook-to-mouth seafood introduced in each day.

When visiting Malta, most folk by no means make it to Gozo. Because of this, they miss a journey to a slower tempo and a rural tradition practiced for hundreds of years. Gozo could also be small and sluggish paced, however there may be lots to do. I’ve spent weeks there and nonetheless haven’t seen all the island.

My photographer companion, Kevin, and I’ve picked seven causes we imagine will make you fall in love with the Mediterranean island of Gozo.

1. Location, Location, Location

Gozo is 60 miles south of Italy, 176 miles east of Tunisia, and 207 miles north of Libya. Additional away, however nonetheless shut, are Greece, Türkiye, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Spain, and France. This tiny island nation is within the middle of the Mediterranean — the crossroads of historical past — surrounded by Europe, the Center East, and Africa. All are a ferry trip or a brief flight away.

The strategic location has made it a helpful naval base. Many powers have conquered and occupied Malta, together with Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Spaniards, Knights of St. John, the French, and the British. Every new conqueror left a mark on the nation’s historic tradition. Right this moment Malta is a powerful mélange of meals, music, artwork, structure, language, and historical past.

Ta Cenc Cliffs on a Yippie Tuck-Tuck tour of Gozo, Malta

(Photograph Credit score: Mary Charlebois)

2. Scouting The Island

Gozo is small, 9.5 miles lengthy by 4.5 miles broad. That’s an space of 26 sq. miles. It’s simple to scout in just a few hours. I counsel a guided tuk-tuk (small group) tour with Yippee. You will notice locations the large tour busses can’t go. It’s an ideal Gozo overview.

Yippee is domestically owned and operated. They organize chauffeur-driven tuk-tuk excursions, quad excursions, self-drive e-Jeeps, and GoCar adventures. All drivers and tour guides are multi-lingual and deeply educated about Gozo, its geography, tradition, and historical past.

The tuk-tuk excursions embody a standard Maltese lunch in a beachside café that offers you a style of that well-known Mediterranean food regimen. Climate allowing, you’ll hop aboard the SS Yippee and head to Camino Island for a swim or stroll on the cliffs.

You be part of your tour or decide up your self-drive automobile in Mġarr Harbor. Tour begin and finish occasions are coordinated with the Gozo Channel ferry arrival and departure occasions.

Hobs Biz-Zejt - Gozo
Hobs Biz-Zejt or ‘Maltese bruschetta’ varies with the season

(Photograph Credit score: Mary Charlebois)

3. Meals, Meals, Meals

Eat the native delicacies should you can solely do one factor on Gozo. The meals in Malta is classy. Seafood is on each menu and within the meals shops. It comes from superbly clear waters each day. Frequent fish on Gozo are lampuka (mahi-mahi), swordfish, seabass, grouper, sea bream, shrimp, king prawns, mussels, clams, oysters, and urchins. All can be found many of the yr.

Shrimp at the fish market - Malta
Mediterranean shrimp on the Sunday fish market. Marsasloxx, Malta

(Photograph Credit score: Mary Charlebois)

Gozo grows a stunning quantity of fruit and greens on the accessible farmland. Incredible olives, dates, figs, lemons, tomatoes, potatoes, broad beans, arugula, fennel, pumpkins, and melons are typical.

In fact, you possibly can’t overlook libations. Maltese wine has been made for hundreds of years. Native wine is extensively accessible and really fairly priced in retailers and eating places. Crimson, white, and glowing wines are made for Maltese meals or for sipping the solar down.

My favourite white was the girgentina. The Maltese grape has been cultivated on the island for eons, however its origin is unknown. Some say it’s like chardonnay, however I discovered it to be lighter and a greater pair with fish.

Cisk beer (pronounced ch-isk) has been Malta’s favourite since 1929. Accessible in six types, I loved the easy-going pilsner with most meals and as a day cooler. Cisk is in every single place in eating places, bars, kiosks, and retailers.

Country Terrace - Gozo
Lunch with a Mediterranean view at Nation Terrace, Ghajnsielem, Gozo.

(Photograph Credit score: Kevin Scanlon)

Two Culinary Experiences Not To Miss

Have a lingering alfresco meal at Nation Terrace in higher Għajnsielem. Tables on the tiered stone terrace overlook the harbor, Camino, and Malta. It’s the very best restaurant view in Gozo or Malta.

Nation Terrace is the gorgeous marriage of Gozation hospitality and Italian–Mediterranean delicacies. Savor alfresco eating with the very best Gozo affords from land and sea, accented by Italy, 60 miles away. The service is outstanding. You’ll really feel like a part of the household the minute you arrive.

Ta Mena Wine n Cheese cellar - Gozo
Wine and cheese cellar at Ta Mena Vineyard, Ix-Xewkija, Gozo

(Photograph Credit score: Kevin Scanlon)

Fill your larder and picnic basket at Ta Mena Vineyard and meals store. You’ll uncover a various and real style of Gozo farmland. Attempt the Ta Mena Expertise to pattern wine, cheese, charcuterie, the world’s finest tomato paste, honey, jams, spreads, and every kind of goodness. Every thing bought within the store is grown on Ta Mena Property and produced on the vineyard and kitchens within the constructing. Ask for a tour of the vineyard or the property for an excellent deeper immersion into Gozation meals.

Ġgantija - Gozo
Ġgantija temple stays in Xagħra, Gozo

(Photograph Credit score: Kevin Scanlon)

4. Exploring The Large

One of many world’s earliest free-standing stone buildings is on Gozo. Ġgantija Temples had been constructed between 3600 and 3200 B.C. — earlier than Stonehenge, earlier than the pyramids in Egypt. Folks now known as “temple builders” created temples massive and small throughout Gozo. Because the title implies, Ġgantija is big.

Earlier than wandering by way of the temples, spend a while within the museum. The displays, artifacts, and movies do an impressive job explaining the tradition, the way it was constructed, the invention of the runes, and the preservation scheme.

Professional Tip: Plan on stopping in at Ta Mina Vineyard after you go to Ġgantija. They’re in the identical city, about 1.5 miles aside.

Citadel, Victoria - Gozo
The Citadel in Victoria, Gozo

(Photograph Credit score: Mary Charlebois)

Seeing Gozo on foot is the easiest way to rise up shut and private. Gozo is circled and crisscrossed by footpaths connecting the 18 villages on the island. Some have been in use for hundreds of years.

One in all my favorites is the Saltpans stroll. Starting and ending in Victoria, you’ll make a loop from the Citadel to the coast and again.

Victoria’s Citadel, a fortification constructed within the 1600s, is your place to begin. This magnificent fortress homes a cathedral, chapels, museums, historic buildings, retailers, and eating places. On the high of the ramparts, you should have a 360-degree view of Gozo and Malta past. You may simply spend a number of hours on the Citadel studying the way it protected the world’s residents from pirates and invading armies over the centuries.

On the shore, you possibly can discover the salt farms which were in use for lots of of years. Then return to Victoria by way of a unique path. Alongside the way in which, you’ll encounter swimming zones, villages, church buildings, aqueducts, and farms. As well as, there are relaxation areas with breathtaking vistas, cafes, retailers, B&Bs, and pleasant of us to assist should you get misplaced.

Professional Tip: A number of curated walks of Gozo will immerse you into the stunning, slower lifestyle. Discover them just about right here, underneath “Walks in Gozo.”

6. Getting To Know The Locals

The Maltese, the overwhelming majority of which converse English, are the warmest individuals I do know. Pleasant, pleased, and all the time prepared to assist a confused customer, they make you are feeling welcome in every single place you go.

Supply a greeting or pleasant smile, and you’ll make an instantaneous pal. Attempt stopping right into a sidewalk café or espresso store. Strike up a dialog with somebody. Ask for instructions or a suggestion for consuming or purchasing. Earlier than you realize it, you’re chatting like outdated schoolmates.

Gozo Channel Ferry at sunrise - Gozo, Malta
Gozo Channel ferry leaving Mgarr Harbor at dawn. Gozo, Malta

(Photograph Credit score: Mary Charlebois)

7. Getting There — It’s Half The Enjoyable

There is just one option to get to Gozo — by boat. No bridges or tunnels span the two.5-mile channel between the principle island, Malta, and Gozo. So ferries are the way in which to get there should you don’t have a ship.

Ferry Service To Gozo

  • Gozo Channel ferry service serves Gozo from Ċirkewwa on the north finish of Malta to Mġarr Harbor on the southeast aspect of Gozo. The big ferry accommodates vehicles, bikes, bicycles, and foot passengers. There may be indoor and outside seating and a kiosk serving snacks and libations. Fares vary from free to €15.70 spherical journey. Ferries run 24-hours per day.
  • Gozo Quick Ferry and Virtu Ferries Gozo serve Gozo from Malta. Each operators use a dock on the East aspect of Valletta, subsequent to the Three Cities Ferry dock. Each corporations use high-speed boats that make the journey from Valletta to Gozo in about 45 minutes. Onboard could be very cozy seating with Wi-Fi. They provide sandwiches, snacks, beer, and wine along with espresso, tea, and delicate drinks. Fares vary from €4 to €12 a method. The final ferry is at 9 p.m.
  • Unbiased operators are sometimes within the Gozo harbor. They provide shuttles to Camino Island and different well-known caves, blue lagoons, rock formations, and extra. Some bigger operators will method you as you exit the ferry constructing, however they aren’t pushy. Lined up alongside the harbor wall are a number of tour distributors. You’ll want to ask the precise value and the way lengthy the journey lasts to keep away from misunderstandings.
Mgarr Harbor from Quala - Gozo
Gozo’s Mgarr Harbor seen from Qala, Gozo

(Photograph Credit score: Kevin Scanlon)

Air Service To Malta

In fact, earlier than you get to Gozo, it’s worthwhile to get to Malta. You fly into Malta Worldwide Airport (MLA). There are direct flights from many EU nations. In case you are coming from the U.S., count on to vary planes in a kind of nations.

To Get To The Gozo Channel Ferry From Mla

  • By taxi, this prices about €38. Go to the taxi desk contained in the airport. You guide and pay on your cab primarily based in your vacation spot. A tip might be included. A cab will take 35–45 minutes.
  • The X1 bus on to Ċirkewwa is round €2. The bus has loads of room for baggage and takes about an hour and quarter-hour. The bus stops in entrance of the ferry constructing entrance.

A visit to Gozo is a go to again in time, the place life takes a slower tempo, of us are welcoming, and historical past runs deep. Take your time there; take your time, whether or not you have got a day or per week. Sit only a bit longer over breakfast, cease and sit on the park bench. Take heed to the ferry’s horns and whistles as they arrive and go within the harbor. Ask to share a desk at a sidewalk cafe, and provide your bus seat to an area. Watch dawn and sundown. Stand within the steps of Bronze Age man. Take your time.

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