The sea is so turquoise, that you have to make sure, it’s not your sunglasses. The water is filled with fish and dolphins. And it has the coolest name: the Maltese island of Gozo!
I’ve been here a couple of times, since neighbouring Malta is my 94-year old grandma’s favourite place. The small island of Gozo along with the extremely small island of Comino are part of the 3-island kingdom of Malta only 80 km south of Italy.
Only about 45.000 people live on Gozo, so it’s also very easily overrun. It has an interesting history, but there are almost no cultural monuments. So come for the natural wonders.
Here you find tips on how to get there and the top sights on both Gozo and Comino:
THE BLUE LAGOON, THE CRYSTAL LAGOON & AZUR WINDOW
The nature is the main reason to go to Gozo. Also the island is exceptionally green due to some algea (I’m a cultural traveller, not a nature expert).
The famous Azure Window is on Gozo – or rather it was. It collapsed partly in 2013 and completely in 2017. So if you didn’t see it, you missed it. You can see it the first season of GOT. It was the main tourist attraction and was on the tentative UNESCO list.
The blue lagoon is one of the most famous lagoons in Europe. It’s actually not on Gozo, but on the tiny island Comino on the way to Gozo from Malta. The colour is something you usually only see in the Caribbean – completely azur. Bring a snorkel and a waterproof case for your camera, since you’ll find colourful fish. And just when you thought you were finished with the azure, then no, there’s also the Crystal Lagoon with caves and picture perfect stone formations. The extraordinary natural sights are definitely why you go.
You can see from the top picture, that I’m not a sailor. But all around the entire island of Gozo, there are turquoise waters splashing against the grey cliffs, so remember the swimsuit as well as the camera.
THE CAVE OF CALYPSO
So maybe turquoise waters is not enough for the cultural traveller. But be ready to inhale the air of greatness – on Gozo you find the cave, where the Greek hero Odysseus was held captured by the nymph Calypso for 7 years trying to get home to his family from the Trojan War. Even the god Hermes is amazed of the beauty.
Homer paints just as lovely a picture with words as I do with photographs (or try to…). Here’s when he arrives at the cave to free Odysseus:
A great fire was burning on the hearth, and from afar over the isle there was a fragrance of cleft cedar and juniper, as they burned; but she within was singing with a sweet voice as she went to and fro before the loom, weaving with a golden shuttle.
Round about the cave grew a luxuriant wood, alder and poplar and sweet-smelling cypress, wherein birds long of wing were wont to nest, owls and falcons and sea-crows with chattering tongues, who ply their business on the sea. And right there about the hollow cave ran trailing a garden vine, in pride of its prime, richly laden with clusters. And fountains four in a row were flowing with bright water hard by one another, turned one this way, one that. And round about soft meadows of violets and parsley were blooming.
There even an immortal, who chanced to come, might gaze and marvel, and delight his soul; and there the messenger Argeiphontes stood and marvelled.
How does that sound! Travel agencies should use more ancient quotes…
And to something more ancient: Ġgantija temple is a UNESCO site and considered as one of the oldest free standing monuments in the world preceding Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.
The name Ġgantija comes from the Maltese word for giant as the site was thought to be by giants. The site consists of two temples dating back to between 3600 and 3200 B.C. There’s a newly constructed information centre, which I haven’t seen yet. If the weather is hot, remember to bring water and a hat. And a granny to pose in the pictures!
Ta’ Pinou is a national shrine. Allegedly it is the site of several omens and miracles. So obviously this is an important pilgrimage site. If you want to know what the Pope said, when he came to Ta’ Pinou, it’s on the Vatican site.
To the North is salt pans, which are always funny to see, but can be found all over the world. The Salt Pans are just next to the small city of Marsalforn. If you don’t find anything to eat or drink here, head for Ta Mena Estate for some wine and food.
You come here for the nature, but there are a also museums of nature and archaeology, which even I haven’t seen. Read more on the official heritage site.
When your eyes get tired from staring at all the blue, you need to find some sleep. We always stay on Malta, but you can either go for the full pool experience (in the bluest waters?) on Kempinski, but I would myself choose a small farmhouse lodging like the atmospheric looking Ta’ Leli
HOW TO GET TO GOZO
To get to Gozo, you first have to go to Malta. To get to Malta you take a plane or you can sail from Sicily in less than 2 hours. See directferries for routes. From Malta you take a smaller ferry, and it only takes about 25 mins. See Gozo Channel for itineraries.
If you’re an island lover, I can also recommend or 6 summer islands in Europe for the cultural traveller
Where’s your favourite island?