I went to Gozo and Malta for a week at the end of December and in this post I’m going to tell you more about it. Gozo and Malta are the place to be if you are into long walks, adventures, socializing, going out and beautiful nature. I flew from Eindhoven airport to Malta international airport, which is located in the town of Luqa. This is located quite down of the island. The first two days we spent on the beautiful Gozo, the days after on Malta. The temperatures were lovely, about fifteen degrees (at least for Dutch people who are used to the cold). In my blog, I will put links by the words so you can find everything easily. Curious? Then read on!
A tip for Dutch people: flying from Eindhoven was cheaper than flying from Schiphol airport at the time. With the current problems surrounding Schiphol, it is probably an additional reason to fly from Eindhoven, although the problems are now moving to other airports within the Netherlands. Something to keep in mind. The flight from Eindhoven to Malta takes about three hours. We went on to Gozo from Malta, which makes the trip considerably longer. In the end, the trip from door to door was about twelve hours. This is of course entirely dependent on where you depart from. Just saying that we were very tired when we arrived at the hotel in Gozo.
From the airport we took a cab to the ferry in Valletta. This takes about fifteen minutes. If you are not going to rent a car, I recommend you to download the app “eCabs“. It is very easy to order a cab and you can see exactly how many are driving around (there are many). Cabs are relatively cheap (compared to the Netherlands). For a fifteen minute ride you pay just under 11 euros for two persons (in the Netherlands they charge at least twenty euros for this). Also, you see the prices beforehand. So no discussions or problems on vacation with taxidrivers. You can pay with cash, Google Pay and creditcard. The Gozo Fast Ferry in Valletta would take us about forty-five minutes to Gozo, Mgarr (Għajnsielem). The ferries usually go often, by the way. Check the website for the schedules.
After we took the cab and arrived at the Ferry in Valletta, we saw no one else waiting. It was all quite unclear, but we decided to wait for a while. After a while it did start to take a long time, and we found an information point. It turned out that the ferry would not leave, due to the exceptionally wild sea that day (we did not know this at the time, but we found out later). This was a big disappointment. Now we had to take a cab from Valletta all the way to Ċirkewwa, to Gozo Channel Ferry. That ride took about thirty minutes. We didn’t know if the boat would go there, so that was fingers crossed. Once we arrived in Ċirkewwa we were lucky, the boat would leave for Mgarr (Gozo) in fifteen minutes.
Once on the ferry, we thought it would be a good idea to sit outside on the deck, until I got a super hard slap in the back. Right, a giant wave. Then we were told that the sea was extremely wild that day. I continued my journey with a soaking wet coat and head. Hilarious (also in the moment, but from inside I was crying). From the ferry in Gozo (Mgarr) we took a cab to our hotel. This was the Santa Lucija Boutique Hotel in Santa Luċija. It’s a cute and quiet neighbourhood, with a view on the fields. This hotel was lovely with kind and helpful staff. Fancy rooms, comfy bed and a great rain shower. It was not very close to the center of Victoria, but if you have a car or like to walk, this is a great option. You can also catch the bus to Victoria. My experience with the buses in Malta is that they do show up. On the website Malta Public Transportation you can see how to plan your trip using public transportation. Because we were so tired from our trip, we decided to order a pizza the first night with the Bolt Food App, at Basilica Pizza & Kitchen. Great Italian pizza!
Even though Christmas was already over, there were still Christmas trees and Christmas decorations everywhere. It was also notable that everyone was still wishing us a ‘Merry Christmas’. In the Netherlands this is customary on Christmas itself, but in Malta they do this apparently after Christmas as well. The decorations were beautiful, they know how to do it! The Maltese population is mainly Catholic. This is reflected in the decoration on the houses and in the streets.
We had chosen not to have breakfast at the hotel, but to seek out a local bakery. We stopped at David’s Cakes close by the hotel, for delicious fresh bread and pastries. We also bought our lunch for during the walk. In the picture you can also see pastizz. A pastizz is a traditional savory pastry from Malta. Pastizzi usually have a filling of ricotta or curry peas. Pastizz is a popular and well-known traditional Maltese dish. Not the same pastizz as the Italian one! The houses in Malta have warm brownish-yellowish colors. The houses look old, but well cared for. The streets are remarkably clean and the people are friendly and helpful. Maltese, English and Italian are the spoken languages on the island. I was able to communicate with everyone in English, which made traveling a lot easier.
The first day we decided to do the Saltpans walk which starts in Victoria. We walked from the hotel to Victoria to start the walk. Victoria, also known as Rabat, is the capital of Gozo. You will find nice stores, restaurants, the market, bars and sights here. All roads in Gozo eventually lead to the town of Victoria. So I definitely recommend visiting Victoria, both by day and in the evening. The Cittadella is also beautiful to visit in the evening with all the mood lighting. We did not go into the museums at the Cittadella, but you can visit the Cittadella itself for free and walk around there. Here you can read more about the Cittadella and its history.
Through the Visit Gozo website, you can easily implement the route in google maps, so you don’t have to read complicated map during the route. On this map you can also see exactly what sights you will encounter on the route. Perfect! On this website you will also find all kinds of other sights and tips about what to do in Gozo. Here you can find the route from the Saltpans hikingtrail. It is a hiking trail at the intermediate level. It is about twelve and a half kilometers, a good level of fitness is a must! Please note that there is almost no shade to be found on this hiking trail. At fifteen degrees this is great, but in the summer this can be dangerous. Then I would recommend that you go for an early morning hike. During this route you will pass many sights, including of course the Saltpans, Ghasri Valley, Billingshurst Cavern, Kathedral Dive Spot, Xwejni-Bay, Tal-Merzuq Hill. Below you can see some photos of the route, drone photos included!
At the beginning of the walking route you will pass a nice small store “Ta Mena” selling local products (address: Ta’ Mena Estate, Rabat Road Xaghra, Gozo, Malta), including delicious tangerines. Generally, there are good walking paths during the hike, but sturdy shoes are a must. Don’t go with fancy sandals, because your feet are gonna cry.
After our hike of the day (over twenty kilometers), we went out for dinner at Cafe Jubilee in Victoria. I had a nice pasta with chicken and pesto here and a nice chardonnay. A cozy patio with friendly service. When we finished eating we went to a cocktail bar located in the same street, at Victoria Central. A nice and cozy bar with delicious cocktails. After the cocktails we caught the cab to the hotel, we were exhausted!
The next day we wanted a calm day. Sometime late in the afternoon we wanted to catch the ferry to Valletta. We decided to go to Victoria for a while and do some shopping. By the way, the prices in supermarkets are terribly high, even compared to the Netherlands. For nice souvenirs Victoria is also the place to be. We grabbed a nice breakfast at Cup Cake. Unfortunately, many cafes were closed due to New Year’s Eve that day. I had a nice breakfast of yogurt, fruit and nuts. It’s a relaxed and cozy place to sit, recommend!
After walking around Victoria, we went to pick up our bags and took a cab to the Gozo Fast Ferry. Be sure to pay attention when booking the tickets. Somehow we had bought the wrong tickets. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for the fast ferry to Valletta. If you are seasick, I recommend bringing a bag. The swell was terrible between Gozo and Malta. We spent the boat ride with pale faces in complete silence.
We visited Gozo briefly, but you could certainly easily spend a week there. We choose for the main walking tour, so we would see a lot of the island in one day. If you like nature, you’re definitely in the right place. We also wanted to visit the more crowded places, that is why we left for Malta after two days. Striking is the attention of men there. I personally experience this as annoying, as it can feel somewhat intimidating. Dutch men don’t try to get attention from women in such an extreme way, so that was sometimes a bit of a shock. It felt uncomfortable. We ignored this behavior and experienced no further problems. It is good to be aware of this as a (blond) woman. The bus driver even randomly stopped somewhere to ask if we wanted to get on the bus for free too. You can see it as very friendly, but with the experiences I had there, you must be naive. Kind of crazy isn’t it? On Gozo there is a lot of fun and sightseeing, but for example the nightlife is more to be found on Malta. Depending on your preferences of course! I would like to go back again, to discover other parts of Gozo. We had a great time there.
And my final tip: the pavement in Gozo is very unpredictable. I think we both nearly fell three times every day (and now I remember that I also stepped in the poop, great). Sometimes the pavement suddenly drops 30 centimetres, so if you’re just enjoying and looking around, it’s a perfect recipe for broken ankles. So be sure to look down at the pavement, because you don’t want to spend your holiday on crutches.
On December thirty-first we went to Malta, to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Valletta. Are you curious about the rest of my trip? Keep an eye on my blog. Don’t want to miss anything? Subscribe to my blog for free.