Top 10 Tips for Gozo visitors

I rent holiday houses in the island of Gozo. Here are the top 10 tips I give my visitors.

1. Wear Sunscreen

If you’re visiting Gozo around July/August get ready for the heat! It’s basically an open-air tanning salon here. Most of our visitors come from sun-deprived northern countries and as soon as they see the blazing sun they throw their pale bodies under it for hours with no protection. Bad idea. It’s not the first time visitors ruined their holiday by spending their first day baking on a sun lounger and the rest of their days here dealing with fever and dehydration. Check the UV index online and if it’s more then 8.. start looking for the shade. Even though you probably chose Gozo for the sun, on hot days try to avoid it between noon and 3pm. You can still get yourself a tan worthy of jealousy after a week spent under an umbrella at Ramla Bay.

2. Rent a jeep and get lost

The public transport network in Gozo is excellent. Buses are air-conditioned and normally on time. Tickets are cheap and there’s a bus-stop at walking distance from all our houses. You can go to every village and all the major beaches by bus. BUT… the best way to explore the island is undoubtably by renting a car. Or better yet, renting a jeep. Having your own transport gives you freedom to go wherever you want and stay out late after al fresco dinners in Marsalforn or Xlendi Bay.

It’s easy to get lost in Gozo, but it’s hard to be too far away from where you want to go. The best places are always the places you visit accidentally! A Norwegian family staying with us one summer got lost on their way home and ended up at the location in the photo below, which they thought was never before discovered! (They did seem a bit gutted when I told them we knew about it and it’s actually called Wied il-Għasri)

3. Get adventurous

Gozo is more then just a summer destination. Travellers on a tight budget come to Gozo in Oct, Nov, Feb or March when the flights are cheaper and accommodation is half the price. Gozo’s unspoilt rural areas are great for tracking, camping, mountain biking, horse riding, kayaking and climbing. You can also organise your favourite activities before you come with Gozo Adventures. If you prefer a more laid back activity there are 2 great wine tours. There is one in Xagħra and another one (my fav) in Marsalforn. Both end with a generous wine tasting session under the starry sky!

4. Get religious

Gozo is made up of 18 villages. Each village has a church. Each church has a Festa, which is usually celebrated on a summertime weekend. From June till September there is almost a Festa every weekend. Gozo Festas are a treat to the senses! There will be brass bands, street decoration, processions with statue, fireworks, food stalls, church decorations, light shows and you will get to meet all the village lady mamas in their gladrags and jewellery! The Festas are a celebration of our culture and tradition. Which is something we are really proud of.

5. Don't go to the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon has Bahamas-like neon blue beaches worthy of a postcard. It’s a little paradise on an island called Comino, between Gozo and Malta. The only problem is that the bathing area is tiny and VERY popular. During July and August there are boat loads of visitors constantly arriving from Gozo and Malta which mostly consist of summer language students. The best time to visit the Blue Lagoon is in June or October. This is when the weather is warm enough to swim and the beach is not crowded. If you happen to be in Gozo in July or August, tell your taxi boat captain to take you to Santa Maria Bay or a trip around Comino to see the caves instead. Both alternatives are terrific! There are taxi boats from different companies doing trips to and from Comino every few minutes. No need for booking, just show up at the ferry port with a bathing suit.

6. Day trip in Malta

Call me biased, but I think Gozo is much better then Malta. It’s more rural and less noisy! But having said this, it’s a good idea to take your rented jeep for a day trip in Malta. Plan your ferry trip and go visit Valletta and Mdina. It would be a shame if you came to Malta and didn’t visit these two historic cities.

7. Avoid the tourist-trap restaurants

Unfortunately every tourist destination has its tourist traps. Here are a few good restaurants that won’t disappoint: Oleander at the Xagħra village square for some great seafood, Tmun at Mġarr for some fancy dining, Ta’ Karolina in Xlendi for Mediterranean dishes, Mojo’s in Victoria perfect for a quick lunch in the city, Dbar at the Qala village square where the pizza is great, Beppe’s in Marsalforn with a great selection of dishes and Ta’ Frenċ, halfway between Victoria and Marsalforn for some silver-spoon dining. Bon Appétit!

8. Group chef cooks a meal

Since all our houses have a kitchen and most of them have a BBQ, visitors tend to cook a lot at home. So it’s good to find a good grocery to get your things from. The best supermarket in Gozo is Arkadia foodstore in Victoria. (Another good one is the Duke supermarket also in Victoria.) As tempting as the mega structure LIDL is, do avoid it. The quality of their goods is so bad you wouldn’t want it for your family. The butcher at Arkadia is good but a bit pricey compared to local village butchers. Arkadia also has a Waitrose section for the visiting british who are missing their Queen. The green grocer is OK, but if you want the best fruit and veg you should go to Daily Fresh. The street farmer trucks are also good if you’re not looking for something ‘exotic’ like spring onions.

9. Ask a local

I hear it a lot from our visitors. The best thing about Gozo is not the sun and beaches or the culture and tradition. It is the friendliness of the people. Our holiday houses are dotted all around Gozo. Within village communities were your neighbours are probably farmers or fishermen. They will be the best neighbours you ever had. For any difficulty, question or curiosity.. ask a local. If you’re looking for the postoffice.. ask a local. If you want to know the best restaurant for rabbit stew.. ask a local. If you want directions to a beach that only the locals know about.. ask a local. Always ask a local. They are Gozo’s best asset.

10. Follow us on Instagram

Let’s say it’s your last day in Gozo and you’ve been having so much fun you completely forgot to take a good Gozo selfie. Tragic! What you should do is go on our Instagram. Choose your favourite photo. Go there. Take the same shot with you in it. Upload it on your Facebook and get ready for some co-worker envy when you go back home!

My name is Michael. I manage a few family-run holiday houses in the sunny island of Gozo near Malta. Houses have two to five bedrooms and all with a private pool. Prices from €550 per week. Message me if you’re looking to visit.

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