Known for the unique rural experience it offers, Gozo, dubbed as the Isle of Calypso, has the perfect balance between country and modern. Its lands, vastly undeveloped, are home to about 30,000 Gozitans enjoying the fresh air and yields of the country and deep blues. On top of the gratification from the abundant natural resources, the island’s tourism has since been on the rise with almost 200,000 foreign visitors in 2016 alone; a trip these travelers surely enjoyed. So, before you wander into this beautiful haven, here are 10 fun things to do in Gozo:
Visit famous annual events
Although smaller than its sister island Malta, Gozo is not last when it comes to celebrations. One of its earliest celebrations to mark in your calendars is the Carnival; a five-day event where locals paint their island with vibrant colors thanks to their floats and costumes. The event has been a long-standing village tradition both locals and tourists enjoy.
Nostalgic for your childhood? Try the Gozo Kite and Wind Festival; a kite flying event held every third week of October guaranteed for family fun the old-school way.
Try water and land sports
Your trip to Gozo would not be complete without trying one of these land and water sports: biking, diving, kayaking, horse riding, and abseiling, rock-climbing, and bouldering. Many establishments cater for these land and water sports, offering great deals for quality services.
Enjoy the pastures
Thanks to its dominant geographical features, Gozo has one of the most fertile and beautiful pastures. You can enjoy the areas and their views while walking in the countryside; maybe hand-in-hand with your partner or children, with the wind blowing your hair like in hair product commercials.
Dip into the blues
Being in the Mediterranean, it would be a big loss if you missed the chance to dip into the sapphire blue of Gozo’s ocean. Top of many traveler’s list are the Dwerja Bay where the Azure Window lies – a picturesque rock formation part of many tourist’s pictures; and, the Ix-Xatt l-Aħmar, which literally translates to “red beach”, a lesser known beach perfect for swimming and diving while being surrounded by breathtaking coasts and crystal clear waters.
Satisfy your taste buds
The best thing about the country is their food; thanks to fresh produce and catch, many of the restaurants in Gozo serve the freshest and most delicious native and adapted cuisines. A must try restaurant is the Il Terrazo, a 20 year old establishment known for its dining experience and views; you can enjoy your first-rate meal overlooking the Xlendi Bay.
Apart from serving excellent meals, the locals are keen in making wines. The Tal-Massar Boutique Winery is one of the few wineries in the island. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, they offer vineyard tours and wine tastings where you will be acquainted with splendid views of the medieval village of l-Għarb, and taste four different wines and three Gozitan finger foods.
Wander into the past
Gozo, little as it may be, is home to many famous archaeological sites; topping the list of which is the Ggantija Temples. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is known for its enduring designs, and age older than the Egyptian pyramids.
Another site to wander about and marvel at is the ix-Xagħra Stone Circle, a burial site first used around 4000 BC. Notably, the site is only 400 meters from the Ggantija Temples. Most of the excavated artifacts from the site are housed in the Gozo Archaeological Museum.
Experience the island
Complete the Gozo experience by wandering into the quaint towns and villages of the island. By doing so, you will truly experience the rural life the Gozitan way. The ir-Rabat or Victoria is the capital of the island, yet still not as sizeable as frequented capitals in other places, even more its villages. However, the ambience, view, and warmth of the locals compensate for its lapses in land area.
In each village there are established parish churches. The Gozitans predominantly practice Roman Catholicism, and are deeply involved in their religious affiliations as painted with the ringing of the church bells every mass or prayer.
Marvel at architectural blessings
Apart from its archaeological sites, other monuments of history in the island are its architecture. Due to the rich deposits of limestone in the island, its buildings are mostly made from the sedimentary rock. Thanks to its enduring composition, many of the structures – homes and other buildings alike – stood for decades, and are standing still.
Many of the architectural beauties in the island are churches and parishes. Due to the religious abeyance of most of the islanders – past and present – these houses of worships stood the test of time and are marvels to many tourists. To say that these holy buildings exemplify grandeur and opulence remains an understatement.
Try available tours
Seeing as Gozo is currently at a rise when it comes to tourism, the island has many establishments that offer great deals on tours with activities involving adventure hiking, mountain biking, swimming and snorkeling, and climbing and abseiling. Different seasons in the island are perfect for different activities as well; the island’s mild winter is perfect for outdoor activities, and its hot summers perfect for delving into the deep blues.
Shop ‘til you drop (or get hungry)
There is only a reasonable number of shopping places a person can go to without the risk of having sore feet. In Gozo, although relatively fewer than larger cities or places, you will enjoy going from one shopping place to another. Apart from the decadence of shopping in places with buildings seemingly out of the movies, these places offer many souvenir choices.
Most of the shopping is done in the capital, ir-Rabat, where both shopping and food establishments are found. Want to know more things to do in the Isle of Calypso? On visitgozo.com you will find a lot of useful resources to plan your trip to Gozo.