A short walk from the Azure Window takes you to a tiny but lovely secluded bay. It is lined with little boat houses and a thick layer of pebbles which is not a common sight on the local beaches.
I strongly recommend that you go to the small jetty and board one of the tiny boats which take you out behind the Azure Window. The trip lasts about 20 minutes and only costs around Lm1.50 (around USD 3.00) per person. You will be taken through a huge fissure in the rocks which takes you out into the open sea. The views of the cliffs are spectacular and in some parts form the characteristics of a human face and a crocodile! The trip also takes you inside three natural caves where you can see orange coral and azure blue and crystal clear water. This is also a popular spot for divers. Don't miss it!
Xerri's Grotto is a small cave with natural speleothems or stalactite and stalagmite formations. The cave was discovered in 1924 by the owners' grandfather while he was digging a well. Part of the excavations were carried out during WWII when it was used as a shelter.
The entrance lies within a private home and is reached by a flight of 36 steps. There are some interesting formations, which have developed as the result of calcification of tree roots. The tour is around 30 metres long.
Entrance Fee for Adults is LM 0.75 and it is open from Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 6pm. Visitors are shown around by a family guide.
Ta'Pinu is a fairly modern church (built 1920-31)but there had been a chapel on this site from teh 16th century. In the 19th century a local woman claimed to have heard a voice in the church and it gradually gained a reputation for miracles - so much so that a bigger church was built around the original. This can still be seen inside behind the apse.
Leading up from the outside of the church up to the top of a hill opposite thee stations of the cross can be seen in white marble.
The exterior of the cathedral is a lovely warm sandstone and was designed by the renowned Maltese architect Lorenzo Gaffa.. From the inside you may think there is a dome but its a fake paiinting - looks quite realistic too. Its only when you check again outside and see there really is no dome!
Check out the floor of the cathedral too - colourfully decorated similar to the one in St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
There is very little made of the old aquaduct . The parts that remain cross the main road and if you weren't paying attention you might well miss it.
But if you get the chance to stop, and parking is difficult, the scale of this structure made so many years ago without the benefit of machinery is breath taking.
Ghajnsielem, meaning "a peaceful spring", is the first village on Gozo met soon after leaving Mgarr Harbor.
Among the attractions to be visited here are: the majestic Lombard-Gothic sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto, the old parish church and Pjazza tad-Dehra, square of the apparition, where it is believed that the Virgin Mary has spoken to a local shepherd Anglu Grech and the old Franciscan convent and church of St. Anthony of Padua.
For more details visit my Mgarr page.
This hill, ovelooking Marsalforn, was once known as il-merzuq. In 1904 Gozo was consecrated to Christ the Saviour and a stone statue of Christ replaced the cross that had been placed here 3 years earlier. Now that stone statue has been replaced by an even bigger concrete statue towering twelve meteres above the hill - just like a little Rio - and hence is called Our Saviours Hill.
Located half way from the Mgarr Harbour to the capital town of Victoria, Xewkija is considered the oldest village in Gozo.
The word Xewkija is derived from Arabic meaning an area of vast fields full of thorns which characterized the region in the past.
The first parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was erected and consecrated in 1755.
After the 2nd World War, with the growth of the population, there was the need for a larger church. The architect Joseph D'Amato, inspired by the famous Basilica of Santa Maria Della Salute in Venice, drew the plans of the new church and the first stone was laid down in 1951.
For more details visit my Xewkija page.
Comino is REALLY small. The island has a permanent population of 4 and is situated right between it's 2 'larger' counterparts Malta and Gozo. There are several ways of visiting Comino, with boats in all sizes. A nice way to explore the island is to book a daytrip from Gozo going all around Comino with several stops along the way.
We took a daytrip (10.30 am to 4.30 pm) from Mgarr on the Midas II, a small boat accomodating some 30 people. A relaxed cruise along the coast, exploring the cliffs, 'windows', holes, corals and caves. Included are a sunbathing stop at the sandy beach near Hotel Comino, a short cave walk and a long lunchbreak and swim/snorkel stop at the famous Blue Lagoon. A detour along the Ta 'Cenc cliffs and Mgarr Ix-Xini brings you back in the harbour.
Conventionally a place like this would be somehow off the beaten path, but Gozo is so small that everywhere is relatively easily accessible and discovered!!!
Mgarr ix-Xini is a small bay situated in a fjord-like valley. You need your own car to get to this place unless you are prepared for a long walk in the gruelling sun! Be prepared, the road leading to Mgarr ix-Xini is narrow and not in good state, but the countryside views make it quite enjoyable.
This is my favourite bay in the whole of Gozo as it is not packed with tourists like the other bays around the island! Instead there are comparatively few people, mostly Gozitans and Maltese.
Mgarr ix-Xini also offers great snorkeling and diving opportunities.
The tower in the picture is the Mgarr ix-Xini tower, built by the Grand Master De Redin in 1661.
This strangely conical 320 foot high hill with the statue of Jesus Christ Risen at its peak can be seen from lots of parts of the Gozitan Islands. It also strengthens the impression that the Maltese in general are very religious.
In the past years people believed that this hill was a dormant volcano. In the present day though, geologists agree that this is not possible but still children (as well as some adults) believe that indeed this hill is a volcano ready to erupt.
Other myths surround this hill, one of these being a punishment of God sent to the Gozitans by keeping Gozo in complete darkness for three days and three nights. The first rays of light were then seen beyond this hill, and hence it is also called 'Tal- Merzuq', meaning ray of light.
Originally there was a wooden cross on the top of this hill, but then it was replaced by a statue of Jesus Christ in 1904. This statue was not tough enough to resist to the elements and was replaced in the sixties. This statue was destroyed when its pedestal mysteriously gave in. The statue we can see there today has been erected in the seventies and is still there today (unless something else happens to it!)
Excavated between 1816 and 1820, the complex includes two Neolithic temples dating from the third millennium BC (3 600 to 3 000 BC).
The two cloverleaf-shaped temples sharing the same façade temples are built with rough, coralline limestone blocks and contain five apses connected by a central corridor.
The stone slabs weigh several tons and the outside walls are up to six meters high.
Each of them was built as a series of semi-circular apses connected with a hall in the center.
In Maltese, Ggantija means "belonging to the giants".
A local legend is saying that a giant called Sansuna carried the stones to build the temples on her head from a site located far way.
Ggantija became the first of the Maltese megalithic temples to be inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1980.
For more details visit my Ggantija Temples page.
There are several museums and craft shops in the citadel amongst its narrow alleways. we didn't visit any but were content to walk the ramparts and take in the stunning scenery of the Gozo countryside - so much more greener than Malta. Wec ould see right across from one side of Gozo to the other.
Ther is a cafe on the ramparts too which was open - a lovely suntrap for am afternoon snack and drink.
A statue of the Virgin Mary statue can be seen in the middle of the red sand - built as a thanksgiving from an escape from a shipwreck. Being the only decent sized sandy beach on Gozo its gets busy in the summer I'm sure but this day it was deserted and the beach bars were all closed up.
So after Xlendi it was back to Mgarr to catch the ferry back and enjoy the final vies of the boats in the harbour here. A full day circumnavigating and criss-crossing the island of Gozo. We squeeze d in a lot in one day in the jeep which gave us a good overview of the island. I know there's a lot more to see and would be nice to linger in some of the villages we passed through but pretty OK for a first visit. Hope you enjoyed the tour with me and didn't get too bone shaken! Would love to heare your views if you have read this far!
Xlendi Promenade, Xlendi, Island of Gozo, Malta
Good for: Families
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