Last year I had the amazing opportunity to visit my motherland, Malta. To make the most of my trip, I visited all of the Maltese Islands (yes, there is more than one island…not many people actually know. Check out my previous post on ‘5 Reasons why you need to visit Malta in 2017‘ to learn more, it’s pretty interesting!) Whilst I cannot pinpoint my favourite part of the Maltese islands (simply because I loved all of it!), Gozo and Comino certainly had a lot to offer! So, in true Journeys of C fashion, I’ve decided to share with you the best bits of my exploration through Gozo and Comino, so that you know what to see and do upon your visit. Just a pre-warning – after reading this, you’ll totally be wanting to book your next trip to the Maltese Islands 🙂 You ready? Let’s do this!
Gozo is a picturesque, yet stark island and shares much of the same history as the mainland of Malta. However, Gozo has endured more devastation, such as pirate attacks and slavery of its citizens. On a lighter note, Gozo now attracts thousands of tourists each year, all wanting to embrace its beauty and quiet atmosphere.
Within the main town of Victoria, It-Tokk is the cultural centre and hub of activity. In the morning (on most days), the main pjazza (square) and surrounding side streets fill with market stalls run by the locals. In these stalls, you can buy heaps of souvenirs and little knick-knacks to take home. However, you cannot leave It-Tokk, or Gozo for that matter without trying some of their famous liquer, nougat and ‘bankuncini’ (almond based cakes) – they are to die for!
The Citadel and Cathedral
The Citadel is a fortified medina located in the heart of Victoria and whilst most of the citadel is in ruins, the cathedral and fort walls are still in tact. The coolest part of the Citadel is its age (the fort walls date back to the 16th century), and despite this, it is still used by the locals today – the Old Courts of Law and Old Governor’s Place house the current Law Courts of Gozo – awesome huh!?
The Cathedral is the most in-tact building within the Citadel and is definitely one of the most visited. The Cathedral was designed by the Maltese architect, Lorenzo Gafa and was built in the form of a Latin Cross between 1697 and 1711. My favourite parts of the Cathedral are the high altar, which is made from precious malachite (a beautiful green gemstone made from copper) and the Baptismal font, which is made from Gozo Onyx. Both are breathtaking and are completely different from most ornaments you see within a typical cathedral.
Ggantija Temples, or ‘The Giants Tower’ are the best preserved prehistoric temples located within the Maltese islands. These temples were discovered in 1826 and consist of two separate courtyards and temples. The South temple, which dates back to 3600 BC is better preserved than the North temple, which also dates back to 3000 BC. For history and architecture nerds (like myself), I suggest having a wander around these temples to learn more about the early life on Gozo. If you’re anything like me, then the older the ruins the better – and let me tell you, these ruins more than 5000 years old – yep, they’re a total jaw-dropper!
Dwerja – Inland Sea and Azure Window
Dwerja is a rugged and rocky region on the north-western coast of Gozo. Two of Gozo’s most visited attractions, these being ‘the inland sea’ and Azure Window are located in Dwerja. The inland sea is a sea-filled basin surrounded by high cliffs and a pebbly beach. There is an amazing natural tunnel or grotto located within the cliffs, I suggest going for a dip or simply chilling out and admiring the beauty around you. With clear water, the inland sea is a great attraction for all ages and a total hotspot for getting some awesome go pro footage – thank me later hahah!
Just 200 metres away from the Inland Sea is the world famous, Azure Window. This massive natural archway is really the gem of Gozo and most popular tourist attraction. You can stand on the cliff and take in its natural beauty – perhaps take a few pictures too. However if you decide to take some photos, be sure to arrive fairly early to avoid having other tourists in your shot! Some other cool activities you can try around Azure Window is snorkelling at its base, as well as taking a fishing boat cruise around Azure Window and Fungus Rock.
The tiny island of Comino is located next to Gozo and is in fact about an hour’s ferry ride away. Famous for it’s crystal waters and Blue Lagoon, Comino is now home to a handful of residents and a hotel. Whilst the island is largely uninhabited, the coast of Comino attracts thousands of tourists each year as they marvel at the beauty of the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon
I have two words to describe the Blue Lagoon – simply breathtaking. If I could have spent more time at the Blue Lagoon, I completely would…and in a heartbeat! Why you might ask? Well, if the picture below doesn’t answer the question, let me just say that the crystal blue water and relaxing atmosphere is enough to put any worries or stresses at bay. The crystalline waters and white sand beach are perfect for snorkelling and swimming – you’d be crazy not to! If you’re not into either of these things, you can always grab a cold drink or ice cream from one of the many food stalls perched high upon the cliff and spectate from under one of the beach umbrellas set up along the coastline – this will set you back 5 Euros but is completely worth it! This is a place, I strongly suggest you visit within your lifetime because once you do, you’ll be wanting to return in no time!
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have visited Gozo or Comino before, I’d love to hear about your experience!