While many choose to visit Gozo only for a few hours on a guided day tour, I would highly recommend renting a car and exploring this beautiful Island on your own. Thus you will have the chance to see almost everything Gozo has to offer at your own pace. In addition, the distances are shorter, and the traffic is looser than in Malta, and you’ll cover the entire Island in only one day. This one-day trip itinerary should help you organize your visit to Malta’s sister island.
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Table of Contents
Helpful info for visiting Gozo Island
How to get to Gozo Island
Getting to Malta’s sister island is relatively easy. But, first, you’ll have to take the ferry from Ċirkewwa, where the ferry terminal serves routes to Mġarr on Gozo island and Blue Lagoon on Comino island.
You don’t have to worry about the tickets; you will pay for them on your return to Malta. Just make sure to check the ferry’s timetable here.
The journey to Gozo takes no more than 25 minutes but make sure to go up on the deck to witness the beautiful Island of Gozo from the water.
Note. We paid for the ferry 20€/ 22USD (2 persons and the rented car)
How to get around
Although Gozo is a small island, you can’t really get around on foot, and the best way to discover it is by car. If you rented a car in Malta, cross over to Gozo with your rental using the ferry. You’ll be amazed how loose the traffic is here, compared to Malta.
Taxis are another option, but they are expensive for obvious reasons.
Another great option would be to see the sights of Gozo on a full-day Jeep tour and get amazing views of the landscapes and hidden corners. You’ll visit the ancient Citadel in Victoria, discover the ancient limestone quarries and historic salt pans and enjoy a powerboat ride back to Malta via the Blue Lagoon and Comino Caves! No need to worry about the car or itinerary.
If renting a car is not your thing, you can travel to Gozo by ferry, as a foot passenger and hop on the city sightseeing Gozo bus. You will see the bus as soon as you get off the ferry. The City Sightseeing buses stop at all the major attractions, such as the Citadel, Ta Pinu Sanctuary, or Blue Grotto Gozo.
How to see the best of Gozo in one day
Start your day with a delicious breakfast in Victoria.
Victoria, the capital of Gozo, was named in honor of the Queen Victoria of England back in 1887. As the locals call it, Rabat is a vibrant small town with narrow streets housing many restaurants and Gozitan handicrafts shops.
Start your day with a generous breakfast and a delicious coffee at one of the terraces in Independence Square, just near the Citadel entrance. You will spot many locals chatting and drinking their morning coffee.
If you are in the mood, stroll for a while around this area as you will find many interesting shops and boutiques with Gozitan handcrafts.
Victoria’s Citadel is a restored fortress dating back to the Bronze Age, with a few families living within the Citadel today. The area is peaceful as the charming narrow streets accommodate now an old prison, a church, museums, small shops, and a coffee house.
The ancient fortified town is Gozo’s main attraction and a must for everyone spending one day in Gozo. A walk along its walls offers beautiful panoramic views over Rabat and its surroundings. So take your time, stroll around, and embrace the silence of the place.
NOTE. The entrance is free of charge, but you will have to pay a small fee if you fancy visiting the inside museums. The access to the Citadel is done through a modern glass elevator.
Parking is easy, just outside the Citadel, but you will pay a small amount to the parking attendee.
Ta’ Dbiegi Artisan Village
If you want to learn more about the Gozitans handicrafts, you should stop at the Ta’Dbiegi craft village just off the road from Gharb to Dwejra Bay. You will find everything from local metal artwork to glass blowing, from pottery items to leather and stone souvenirs, from lace and cotton to jewelry pieces.
You will need no more than an hour here, rambling from shop to shop, talking to local artists, and admiring their works. There are often artists at work, so you can watch them performing.
Note. Ta’Dbiegi Artisan Village is free to visit.
Parking is easy, just outside the artisan village, free of charge. If you’re hungry, you can grab a snack at the on-site eatery.
Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary
Ta’ Pinu is a tranquil place; therefore, a visit to this place should be on your Gozo day trip itinerary. Located just outside the Gharb Village, the church is stunning in spectacular countryside with nothing else around.
As soon as you approach the church, you will also be amazed by the 14 huge handcrafted mosaics portraying the Cross’s Stations. After taking some lovely photos of the exterior, walk inside and admire the interior as well.
NOTE. The entrance is free.
Parking is easy, just opposite the Ta Pinu Sanctuary, and free of charge.
If you’ve heard about Gozo, you’ve heard about the famous arch structure called Azure Window. It was a must on everyone’s list traveling to Gozo for one day. Unfortunately, the arch crashed during a harsh storm on March 8th, 2017. Now the location has become popular among divers from all over the world.
Blue Grotto Gozo
Next to the fallen Azure Window, you will bump into a small bay, offering access to the sea through a tiny cave opening. You’ll see many divers coming and leaving and few people swimming here. There are some souvenir shops and some eateries if you want to buy some handicrafts or have a cold drink.
A boat tour that takes you through the tiny cave to the sea is a must for anyone spending one day in Gozo. The boatman will take you on a 15 minutes boat ride to see the lagoon’s crystal clear water, the corals and the jellyfishes, the limestone cliffs, the fallen Azure Window, and other interesting rock formations.
Note. Cost for a 15 minutes ride to see the Blue Grotto – 4€ / 4,5USD
The narrow and hidden bay of Wied il-Ghasri is a popular place for divers and the ones seeking a secluded bathing area. The landscape at Wied il-Ghasri is unique and worth a quick stop.
Park the car at the end of the road and walk downhill until you reach the bay. As you go down the 125 steps, you’ll have some spectacular views. The water is ideal for snorkeling, so if you choose to go for a swim, bring your goggles and wear sea shoes.
Note. Parking and access are free of charge.
Marsalforn Salt Pans
As you drive to the idyllic town Marsalforn, you will bump into a 3km long stretch of saltpans carved into the rock. You can see locals working manually and scratching for crystals during the summer months. The 350-year-old salt pans are gorgeous and attract many visitors year-round. Stop along the coast as often as you want and take plenty of photos.
Note. Parking and access are free of charge.
Passing the salt pans, stop to the quiet little bay of Marsalforn. Worth stopping if you want to see an authentic small fishing village. It is not a great place to swim, but there are plenty of restaurants and bars along the seafront if you need a rest.
Ggantija Temple Complex
The megalithic temple complex of Ggantija is another must-on-a-day trip itinerary if you love history. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is almost 6,000 years old, older than the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. Some of the megaliths weigh over fifty tons and exceed five meters in length. The site was a pilgrimage place for Malta’s ancient inhabitants.
Ggantija means giant’s grotto in Maltese. According to archaeologists, the temple walls were built in one day and one night by a giant female named Sunsuna while nursing a baby.
Walk along the hill ridge to get a good capture of the beach.
Some spare time at the beach or a good swim is all you need to unwind after all that sightseeing. Advertised as one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, well, that’s arguable. But Ramla Bay is one of the best beaches in Malta overall.
The red sand strike has some charm, mainly when not packed with locals or tourists. There are some big rocks, so it’s unpredictable how to get to the water. But if you head to the right of the beach, a nice swim is guaranteed.
There is a nice restaurant serving delicious food. If you love eating fish, try the fish of the day, usually lampuki (the Maltese name for bream).
Note. Parking is easy, free of charge, but I suspect that finding a proper parking place might be a struggle during the summer months. J
If time allows you, stop for a while at Mgarr, the small harbor where the ferry to Malta leaves.
Stroll along the lovely promenade, discover a few monuments or enjoy some ice cream on one of the wooden benches with a harbor view. At the end of the path, you will reach Iz-Zewwiega bay, a popular swimming place among locals.
The most prominent landmark of Mgarr is the Church of the Madonna of Lourdes. Built in a Gothic style, this beautiful church is easy to reach by car or foot from the village.
Gozo by car. Our one day in Gozo itinerary
First part of our day in Gozo: ferry to Gozo – breakfast near the Citadel – visit the Citadel – stop at the Craft Village
We chose to get on an early ferry to Gozo on a weekday in October as we wanted to get the most out of our day. As soon as we arrived at the ferry, we embarked, and soon after, we left. There wasn’t much going on, and we ended up going up on the deck to take some photos.
We reached Gozo’s small Island in no more than 25 minutes, and we drove to Victoria. We found a parking space near Independence Square and decided to have breakfast, as we left Malta without having any. So our first stop was at Cafe Jubille, near the Citadel, where we had a delicious breakfast. We actually split one Maltese sandwich as it was huge! Don’t you agree?
We strolled for a while around the area, and soon after, we went to the Citadel. The place was deserted, mostly due to the restrictions going on around the world. We wandered through the Citadel without seeing a single person, and it felt like we were rambling through a deserted old city. Crazy, right? But the views from the walls are beautiful, and the visit was well worth it.
The weather wasn’t so appealing by now, although we had plenty of sunshine later, so we stopped at the Craft Village. We wanted to buy some Maltese souvenirs; therefore, we strolled around the village. We didn’t rush, and we had time to observe the workers and buy some handicrafts.
The second part of our day in Gozo: Ta’Pinu Sanctuary – Inland Sea (Azzure Window – Blue Grotto of Gozzo)
The next stop on our day trip itinerary was the Ta Pinu Sanctuary, which we loved! The interior of the church and the exterior is beautiful. And the mosaics are stunning! With no one around, we really enjoyed the serenity of this sanctuary.
Next, it was time to drive to the Inland Sea, witness the fallen Azure window, and discover the Blue Grotto of Gozo. The temperature was over 30 degrees, so we cooled down at one of the terraces near the cave. We couldn’t leave this place without touring the grotto on a boat. And we are so glad we did it, as the views were beautiful.
The third part of our day in Gozo: Salt Pans of Marsalforn – Malsarforn Bay – Ramla Bay
On our way to Ramla Bay, we stopped at Marsalforn Salt Pans, and I must confess, that is my favorite place in Gozo. We’ve seen the salt pans from Malta, but those are much more appealing. A quick stop at Marsalforn Bay and back in the car.
Although written down on our one-day trip itinerary, we skipped the Ggantija Temple Complex as we wanted to relax for a while at the beach. After so much sightseeing, we decided to chill at Ramla Bay, where we discovered an almost empty beach, and we cherished it.
Last part of our day in Gozo: Mgarr Harbour – ferry to Malta
We left Ramla Bay and drove to Mgarr, where we walked slightly on the promenade while waiting for the next ferry and having an ice cream. The area is quite lovely, and the boardwalk is quite long. Definitely stop here if time allows you.
Alternative to visiting Gozo on your own
If getting to Gozo with a rented car is not your thing, but you’re still interested in visiting Gozo in one day, don’t you worry. You can still enjoy a full-day excursion to Gozo from Malta. Discover the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ggantija Temples, take in the Citadel of Rabat, the ancient capital of the Island, walk the grounds of the picturesque Bay of Xlendi.
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