Along Gozo’s coastline, Malta

I have built quite a backlog on my posts. Ever since our trip to Madeira, the following trips to Gozo, and then a short one to Berlin and the one we just got back from, Croatia, seemed to happen in short successions with not a lot of space to sort out the materials.

Gozo wasn’t an easy trip for us. There were some circumstances that made us think incredibly hard if we should go at all or cancel the whole trip. In the end we decided to go anyway, acknowledging that we could leave at any moment if we needed to. We stayed to whole duration, but we also had uncharacteristically wet and windy days for Gozo that’s had the driest winter in years, which got to us sometimes, but considering it was also during the cold snap weather system that’s happening allover Europe, we counted ourselves a bit lucky that at least we’re somewhere relatively warm than the rest of Europe that week.

We did make the best of the trip, though, and in general enjoyed the relaxed charm of the island. But we always feel a natural inclination toward the sea, and for us, one of the most attractive feature of the island was its coastline, with its dramatic cliffs on the south side, and a gentler slopes on the north, dotted with salt pans.

We didn’t cover the entire coastlines (and skipped some seaside towns), but here are our highlights:

1. Ferry crossing and Mgarr

Most people’s first sighting of Gozo’s coast line will be from the Ċirkewwa – Mgarr ferry that takes you from Malta (Malta is the name of the country as well as the biggest island). From the distance it looked like a dry and dusty rock, even though, Gozo is the greener island compared to its sister island.

2. Mgarr Ix-xini

Going south from Mgarr proper, Mgarr Ix-xini is an inlet made by a narrow gorge leading into the most peaceful little pebbly beach at the end. It is the most scenic beach on the island, and the water is clear and calm, the perfect place for a swim and snorkel. You can only reach the beach via small rural roads with no public transportation access, but it’s not a terribly long hike from the main road.

3. Xlendi

Xlendi is small town situated on another narrow bay on the south side of Gozo. From the seaside town, you can also walk along the cliff and small gorges, but the reason we mostly visit this town is food. The small town has more offerings on restaurants concentrated on small area by the sea, that we always ended up coming for dinner, either going for the fresh fish, traditional Maltese or Italian fares. After the first week, this was also where we go to find alternative cuisines, such as Bulgarian and Indian food. I can totally recommend Sapana, the Indian restaurant by the beach.

Xlendi

4. Azure Windows and the Inland Sea

The most dramatic rock formation on the island can be found around Dwejra Bay, with the almost circular Dwejra Bay with its Fungus Rock on one side and Azure Window to another. We visited the site several times during our stay, since we lived close by. It’s one of the most visited attractions on the islands too, owing to the fact that it’s one of the settings of Games of Thrones, but it’s never overwhelmingly crowded.

We had days with gale strong wind, which made swimming in the sea impossible, but made for impressive pictures of huge waves crashing onto the rocks and cliffs.

If the cliffs were turbulent, the Inland Sea behind it is another story. It can get wild during the high winds, but it’s usually a piece of tranquil water, connected to the sea via a small tunnel, protected from most of the elements, and gets warmer than any other natural body of water on the island (in fact, warmer than our own pool). This is The Kid’s favourite place to swim.

5. Western cliffs

The rest of the south and west side of the island is surrounded by jagged rocky cliffs, and on most part very empty. It’s very exposed to the winds and can be dangerous when the wind is strong, but they are not without their own beauty.

6. The northern coast: The salt pans and Ramla Bay

The southern coastline of Gozo is quite different from the other side. Here the coast is shallower and softer. Salt pans, the oldest known industry of the island but still being used and maintained, checkered the coastlines, alongside beaches with coral reefs and marine life.

Ramla Bay, the only sandy beach on the island is also situated on the northern coast. easily accessible with public transport, it’s a popular spot with families, but can get crowded in good weather.  In our opinion, The Inland Sea and Mgarr Ix Xini was a better swimming spot.

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