Krista the Explorer
A Complete Guide To the Top Things To Do On Gozo, Malta
Updated: Apr 18
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Are you planning a day trip to Gozo? Or maybe you prefer to stay for a week so you can see as much of the island as possible. Either way, there are many fantastic things to do on Gozo from visiting its beautiful bays and beaches to discovering its unique past and dining on local cuisine. And luckily the island couldn’t be easier to get to from Malta’s mainland thanks to the modern ferries that run 24/7 for both foot passengers and visitors with a vehicle.
Spending a day on Gozo has always been a popular option for the Maltese as well as tourists thanks to its laid-back atmosphere, rural landscape, and tranquil beaches. But beyond this Gozo has a lot more to offer. It’s almost like the island has been frozen in time with its narrow roads winding between the small villages, abundance of historical sites, and stunning untouched landscapes and coastlines. No two attractions are more than a 30 minute drive from one another so be prepared to have a very full Gozo itinerary.
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Things To Do On Gozo
There are a lot of interesting places on Gozo to visit that are easily accessible by car or public transportation if you haven’t rented a vehicle. If you do plan on driving in Malta, and subsequently Gozo, the drivers here are a little crazy so be extra cautious. They also drive on the left side of the road like in the UK which was something I didn’t realize until I sat down in my rental car.
This short list of the top things to do on Gozo covers some of the island’s most popular attractions but also mentions a few hidden gems and secret places on Gozo that can sometimes be overlooked by tourists.
Explore Victoria and its citadel
One of the first things we did after arriving on Gozo was to visit the famous Cittadella in Victoria. This ancient fortified city is one of the top things to see on Gozo and the main attraction in Victoria. Inside the citadel’s walls are several small museums, a few shops, an 18th century cathedral, and a lot of historical streets to walk among. For €13 the Discover Gozo pass gave us access to the museums here and some attractions just outside of Victoria.
I would suggest planning 2-3 hours for the citadel before turning your attention to Victoria itself. This is the main town on Gozo and the unofficial capital of the island. There are plenty of shops and restaurants dotted around within easy walking distance of the citadel, and it’s always nice to walk around the streets of Victoria and see what hidden gems you can come across.
Go coffee cupping at Victoria Central
Do you consider yourself a bit of a coffee aficionado? Then you’ll definitely want to grab a seat at Victoria Central and try their coffee cupping experience. It’s located across the road from Pjazza Indipendenza and is one of the best places in Malta for specialty coffee. They source only the finest coffee beans from various parts of the world and do all of their roasting in-house so you won’t find their unique blends anywhere else.
We sat down for one of their coffee cupping sessions with their head roaster, Azzurra, who talked us through all of the steps that go into making their specialty blends. During the coffee cupping experience we also sampled several of their most popular blends, as well as a couple of new additions to their shelves. This is one of the most unique things to do on Gozo and I guarantee you won’t have this experience anywhere else in Malta.
Drive down to Mġarr ix-Xini
If you’ve rented a car in Malta then you can’t miss the opportunity to drive down to Mġarr ix-Xini. It’s a very secluded inlet that’s becoming increasingly popular for divers but due to its lack of a sandy beach you won’t find it too busy. For those of you who like coastal walks there’s a 17th century watchtower located nearby with a recently renovated path leading up to it.
Visit Gozo's oldest village
Victoria may be the largest town on Gozo, but the title of the oldest village goes to Xewkija. There isn’t too much to do here in terms of attractions but it’s home to the Rotunda of St. John the Baptist which is a must-see on Gozo. A church has stood on this site since the 17th century, but the enormous structure seen today dates back to the late 20th century. It boasts the third largest unsupported dome in the world and for just €3 you can gain access to the roof and bell tower for some incredible views of Gozo.
Relax at Hondoq Bay
One of the best beaches on Gozo can be found at Hondoq Bay. The crystal clear water here is breathtaking and on a clear day you’ll be able to pick out different shades of blue in the water. If you’re planning on visiting in the summer season I would recommend coming as early as possible to ensure you have a spot on the small sandy part of the bay. In the off season though you should have this hidden gem on Gozo all to yourself - if you dare to take a dip!
Take a walk around Xlendi
There are many beautiful coastal locations on Gozo to visit but Xlendi needs to be near the top of your list. Xlendi Bay is one of the most jaw dropping areas of Gozo, with its quaint fishing village giving way to dramatic cliffs and bright blue water. This is another great diving location on Gozo, and if you like hiking there is a relatively easy trail leading from the bay up to Xlendi Tower where you can get a fantastic view of the coastline from a unique perspective.
Step back in time at the Ġgantija Temples
If you love history you can’t visit Gozo without visiting the fascinating Ġgantija Temples. These prehistoric temples were built before Stonehenge, between 3600 and 3200 BC, and weren’t fully uncovered until the 19th century. Before visiting the temples you’ll pass through an interpretation centre where you can read about the history of these temples before entering them. It’s an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the top things to do on Gozo at any time of the year.
Take in the views from Tal-Mixta Cave
Ramla Bay is home to one of the best beaches on Gozo, if not Malta, with its unique soft red sand set among an underdeveloped rural landscape. Compared to other beaches on Gozo, Ramla Beach is quite large so you should have no issues finding a relaxing spot to soak up the sun. But for a unique view of Ramla Bay you’ll need to head up to Tal-Mixta Cave.
This cave can be accessed by driving along a small uneven road not far from Ramla Bay. You’ll get to a point where the road becomes private property so you’ll need to park the car and walk an additional 5 minutes to the cave entrance. The cave itself offers one of the most spectacular views in all of Malta and has a history dating back to the prehistoric period when habitants of the island would shelter here in bad weather.
Admire Ta’ Pinu
As you make your way around the island you’ll notice that there are a lot of religious buildings on Gozo. One of the most impressive of these though is Ta’ Pinu. Located just outside of the village of Gharb, where you can also find the Ta' Dbiegi Crafts Village, the Ta’ Pinu National Shrine is a major pilgrimage site and is one of the most important things to see on Gozo.
Entry is free but you’ll be required to cover yourself if you’re dressed in summer clothing out of respect. For a great photo of Ta’ Pinu there are several parking spots along the road where you can see the entire shrine in all of its glory.
Explore the coastline at Dwejra Bay
If you want to see a lot of attractions on Gozo all at once then Dwejra Bay is the perfect option. This dramatic coastal location is one of the most popular places to visit on Gozo and was where the famous Azure Window stood before it collapsed. You’ll also find Dwejra Tower, Fungus Rock, the Inland Sea, and the very popular and unique Blue Hole all nestled in this bay. The Blue Hole on Gozo is a popular swimming spot when the water is calm so make sure you bring your swimming gear!
Spend sunset at the Xwejni Salt Pans
There are plenty of places to see the sun setting on Gozo, but one of my personal favourites is at the salt pans in Xwejni. The salt pans that sit along the island’s northern coast, a short drive from Marsalforn Bay, are still harvested today using ancient techniques to create artisan salt. There are shops across from the salt pans where you can purchase bags of this unique salt but unfortunately they’re closed near sunset so you’ll have to arrive earlier to get some.
Best Restaurants On Gozo
Gozo may be a small island but it’s certainly not short of unique places to eat. Victoria has a large selection of restaurants to choose from but there are many more spread throughout the island that are worth driving to. Here are some of the best restaurants on Gozo that we came across during our week-long stay.
One of the top restaurants on Gozo is located in the back streets of Victoria and will instantly get your taste buds flowing with its modern take on Mediterranean cuisine. Maldonado Bistro is located in the basement of an historic Maltese townhouse that dates back over 300 years and the original walls are still a dominant feature of the interior. Their menu is created around locally sourced produce so everything is incredibly fresh and tasty. Maldonado Bistro also offers a wine tasting experience and cooking classes if you’re looking for something unique to do on Gozo when it’s raining.
Let’s get back to the food at Maldonado Bistro. The smoked aubergine tartlet is a great starter for vegetarians or if you’re feeling adventurous you can try the citrus glazed octopus which is presented beautifully. For a taste of the Mediterranean I would suggest ordering the pan-roasted red snapper. If you enjoy pasta though the black truffle agnolotti is bursting with flavour and was one of my favourite dishes of the night. Their desserts change regularly but they’re all made in-house so make sure you leave some extra space for one.
We had an incredible dining experience at Maldonado Bistro and were blown away by not only the ambiance of its historic setting but also the unique flavour profiles that came with each dish. It’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best restaurants on Gozo.
Noble Café Bistro
If you’re looking for a modern and affordable place for lunch on Gozo you have to check out Noble Café Bistro in Victoria. They have a fantastic menu available with all of your favourite lunch dishes but you can expect some of them to have a unique upgrade too. They’re only open until mid-afternoon during the week, however they’re open late into the night on weekends so it’s up to you when you’d rather visit.
We were feeling quite hungry when we stopped by so we opted for their bites platter which was a massive plate full of deep fried goodness with three sauces of our choosing on the side. One of the specials of the day was the El Ranchero Burger which came with avocado fries and a shot of tequila. The pulled pork burger is also a great option if you want something on the “lighter” side but still fancy a burger. There are fresh smoothies available too which are nice and refreshing, especially on a hot day.
Noble Café Bistro is a very trendy place to eat on Gozo that you should add to your itinerary if you’re visiting Victoria and the surrounding area.
Al Sale Restaurant
Looking for a romantic restaurant on Gozo? Or maybe you just want to have a memorable dining experience with beautiful views. Well Al Sale Restaurant has got everything covered - including some delicious food. This restaurant is located in the heart of Xagħra - a short walk from the Ġgantija Temples and not too far from Victoria either. Al Sale Restaurant’s menu is based around Mediterranean cuisine and if you’re lucky enough to snag the table on the balcony you’ll have a stunning view of the town’s church for the duration of your fine dining experience.
A warm basket of bread and traditional spreads will be brought to the table while you browse the menu which is a nice way to kick things off. For starters I would recommend sharing the Funghi Arancini but you absolutely have to order the Scallops au Gratin which are some of the best I have ever tasted. The Sea Bass Al Sale is an experience in itself where you can watch as the salt crust is chipped away to reveal the fish underneath. For pasta lovers you need to order the Tagliolini Pistachio & Burrata served with crispy pancetta - it’s unbelievable.
The pasta is extremely filling, but if you still have some room for dessert the chocolate fondant is bursting with melted chocolate and worth indulging in. Or you can opt for something on the lighter side with their take on panna cotta. Al Sale Restaurant is worth driving to and with an unbeatable location and fantastic food this is one restaurant you’ll be telling everyone about.
Otters Bistro & Lounge
If you find yourself in the north of Gozo there’s only one place to eat - Otters Bistro & Lounge. This contemporary restaurant is situated along the water’s edge of Marsalforn Bay so you’ll also get a beautiful view while you eat. We visited for lunch so the sun was still shining on the outdoor patio for most of our meal. Their menu is based around seasonal and fresh produce meaning there are a lot of popular seafood options available.
The bruschetta is a very tasty starter option that comes in three different versions - traditional, black olive tapenade, and goats cheese with nectarine and basil. Or for you seafood lovers out there the king prawns are another great option. If you choose the fish of the day as your main dish, it'll be brought to your table and you have the option to clean it yourself or have the kitchen do it. The mushroom agnolotti is bursting with truffle goodness and was a very nice sized dish to have for lunch.
You can’t leave Gozo without trying cannoli at least once, and luckily Otters Bistro has different flavours of them on their dessert menu. I would recommend sharing this dessert as it comes with four cannoli on a plate. You can opt for one of their other homemade desserts too such as the espresso cake. This is easily one of the best restaurants on Gozo and is the perfect choice if you’re planning on visiting Marsalforn Bay, the salt pans, or Ramla Beach.
Karamelli Brunch Café
A great option for breakfast on Gozo is Karamelli Brunch which is located in the very centre of Victoria. Their menu consists of quite a few traditional breakfast and brunch options, but you’ll also find some Maltese food thrown into the mix. If you’re like me and love to eat breakfast then you can’t go wrong with their eggs benedict which comes with a very generous portion of bacon.
But if you want to be a bit bolder or are planning to visit at lunch then one of their ftira sandwiches, such as the Mother Clucker, will definitely fill you for the rest of the day - it’s enormous. Karamelli Brunch is a new and trendy place to eat in Victoria so make sure you stop by one morning before exploring the rest of the island
Where To Stay On Gozo
Knights Retreat, Gozo
Wondering where to stay on Gozo? The Knights Retreat is a fantastic holiday villa located less than 5 minutes from the ferry terminal. It’s situated inside Fort Chambray which is an 18th century fort that has now been turned into apartments for residents as well as holiday lets. One of the main features of the complex is its enormous pool that sits just in front of a viewpoint where you can see Comino and Malta from.
There’s also a second smaller pool located right next to the Knights Retreat which was being renovated when we visited. There’s ample underground parking available on the complex and you’re free to walk around and snap some photos whenever you want as long as you respect the other residents.
The Knights Retreat is made up of two levels. On the ground floor you have the large open kitchen, a small seating area in front of the balcony, a large dining room table, a twin-bedded room, and a bathroom with a walk-in shower. The kitchen comes fully equipped and there is a Lidl less than 15 minutes away to do your shopping at. You’ll also be provided with beach towels and other beach equipment so there’s no need to panic about packing umbrellas and chairs.
We had a breakfast hamper delivered right to our door one morning from Gozo Picnic who provide unique picnic services around the island. They’re now branching out and offer hamper services to your door which is perfect if you haven’t had time to do some shopping yet or simply want to treat yourself. The breakfast hamper was filled with a mixture of common breakfast food as well as some local products too. This is a great way to support a local business and at the same time have an amazing breakfast from the comfort of the villa.
The upstairs level of the Knights Retreat consists of a large living room with a TV, a bathroom with a bathtub and washing machine, a second twin-bedded room, and a spacious double-bedded room. There’s also a balcony halfway up the stairs where you can enjoy the views and WiFi available throughout the villa. Each room comes with its own heating and air-conditioning unit too so it’s very easy to get the temperature you want at any time of the year.
We spent a week at the Knights Retreat and loved every minute. The complex is easy to access after you’ve taken the ferry to Gozo and its location is perfect for visiting all of the best things to see on Gozo too. And with three bedrooms available it’s ideal for bringing the entire family here for a relaxing stay on Gozo, away from the busy cities and towns on Malta’s mainland.
>> Click here for the most up to date prices at the Knights Retreat <<
Hopefully this guide covering the top things to do on Gozo, Malta has enticed you to spend more than just a few hours on this beautiful Maltese island. Getting to Gozo from Malta has never been easier with the ferry services available and if you’re planning to rent a car in Malta then you’ll have no problems seeing all of the attractions on Gozo during your stay. Gozo is a popular place to visit all year round, but the off season is the perfect time to explore the island without the crowds. And with so many places to visit on Gozo you’ll definitely need at least a few days here.
Have you hopped on the ferry to Gozo before? Or maybe Gozo is in your plans for your upcoming trip to Malta? If you have any questions or tips regarding other things to do on Gozo please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch via Instagram where you can also find more content from our trip to Malta.