Malta’s sister island, Gozo, is definitely worth a visit, either as a stand-alone destination or else for a day trip, using one of the ferry-boats connecting the islands. Definitely a quainter alternative to the mainland, with more green areas, Gozo is more sparsely populated and yet offers a myriad of attractions for the young and young at heart! A 25-minute ferry trip from the Cirkewwa terminal, found in the North of Malta, or a 45-minute ferry from the capital city Valletta, provides visitors and locals alike an experience of a more rural way of life.
Visitors can experience old traditions such as the milking of goats and sheep and watch as this milk is prepared into traditional Gozitan cheese. Ranging from 5-star hotels to hostels, Gozo also affords the self-catering visitor with a large selection of traditional farmhouses, most of which are equipped with pools and situated in tranquil locations. Gozo does not lack in visitor experiences – with the world’s oldest free-standing temples of Ggantija, a UNESCO world heritage site. This majestic site, situated in lush countryside, is made up of two massive temples. The rocks are so large that it is not a surprise that many locals used to believe that they were built by giants!
In the vicinity of Ggantija, one can also find the Ta’ Kola Windmill, which gives visitors an insight into how Gozitans from yesteryear used to grind their wheat in order to make bread and other baked goods. The recently restored ancient town of Cittadella, located on top of one of Gozo’s famed three hills, stands high and proud, dominating skylines around the island. Adjacent to Gozo’s Capital, Victoria, Cittadella is made up of a maze of quaint streets, weaving in and around the bastions surrounding the town and the Cathedral! However, Gozo is not only for history buffs – it also provides some fantastic gastronomy options, with Michelin plate restaurants, as well as some of the best examples of traditional local cuisine. Many of which either grow their own produce or are related to someone that does!
Fresh fish is widely available and the numerous fishing boats in Gozo’s harbours are proof! For the fun-loving younger set, Gozo hosts a couple of clubs which, especially in the high season, see a varied selection of entertainment. Gozo is also the destination of choice for a number of festivals, mainly taking place during the Summer months. One must not forget the beautiful walks which are available all around Gozo’s majestic cliffs, and particularly the Inland Sea in Dwejra. This site is also renowned by stargazers as one of the best sites for observing the night sky, as it is completely free from light pollution. Located between Malta and Gozo, one can find the charming Island of Comino. Just a short 10-minute boat ride from Gozo and home to only one family! Other services to Comino abound from private charter boats to day trip specials leaving mostly from Sliema, Malta. The seas around Comino are wonderful, with the famed Blue Lagoon and the Crystal Lagoon being the top attractions. The fantastic sea visibility has also led to Comino being one of the top diving destinations, with all sites being boat dives. A 17th Century watchtower is the highest landmark on the island, aptly named the Santa Marija Tower. This tower was built by the Knights of St. John and was used as a prison by the Knights! This watchtower was constructed in the 16th Century. When the Ottoman Turks attacked the Maltese Islands, they first completely wiped out all the inhabitants on Gozo and Comino. Therefore, this tower added a level of security. After visiting the tower, one may meander towards the Isolation hospital, which as per its name, was used in the 19th and 20th Centuries to isolate any person who was diagnosed with the plague or cholera. This hospital was always used to house German prisoners during World War I. Comino is mostly uninhabited, with just one permanent residence, and a few campers throughout the year. This adds to the exotic and adventurous feel of this island.
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