The best way to see Gozo is definitely by car and not by bus...at least, that's what I think! The traffic may be rather chaotic in the capital, Victoria, but it's nowhere near what it's like in Malta and once you get out into the open spaces it is pleasant driving. If you still want to use the bus service and see all the major attractions, then allow more than one day in Gozo.
Buses are infrequent and the last one is usually around 7pm or even earlier...so if you don't want to walk to Mgarr Harbour, or spend the night in Gozo, think early! You can pick up a time-table at the main bus terminus in Victoria. There doesn't seem to be one available online at the time of writing this tip. The Mgarr Harbour (Ferry) bus no. 25, leaves Victoria 30 minutes before each ferry departure and the last bus from Mgarr to Victoria is 7.15pm (Mon to Fri). The link below provides the bus number and route information.
A short 20-minute ferry ride from Malta transports you to Gozo. The trip is very pleasant, unless it's done on a stormy day in winter, when it can be a little bumpy, however, being one who has always suffered from sea-sickness, I can assure you that you will survive!
The best way to tour Gozo is by car. You can hire one in Malta and travel with it on the ferry, or hire one as soon as you arrive in Gozo. Travelling on the ferry with your car is quick and easy and only costs Lm 6.75 for a standard car including one driver. Extra passengers, or passengers without car, cost Lm 2.00 per adult ticket. You purchase your return tickets at the ticket booth just before you board the ferry at Malta. The car tickets are valid for seven months whilst the standard fare (adult ticket) is valid for return for one year.
The ferry service is available all year round from Mgarr Harbour in Gozo and Cirkewwa, Malta. A timetable and more info. can be found at the link below.
With just one day on the island and wanting to get a good overview of the sights we decided to book a jeep tour. Although a bit of a bone shaker it did allow us to travel on roads that the buses would not be able to - it was certainly rough surfaces by the salt pans in the north of Gozo. Cheaper bus tours are available but this was more fun plus as the only 2 in the jeep our guide (provided with the tour and very knowledgable of the area despite his South Wales accent!) allowed us to stop where ever we wanted for a pic and was flexible with time stops - longer here, shorter there the choice was ours. A great day out and with the blue skies and sunshine a highlight of our trip to the Maltese islands. Cost was about £50 for two people
Most people will arrive by ferry from Malta - a short sail of some 20 minutes from the port town of Cirkewwa. Its a pleasant trip passing the smaller isle of Comino and even smaller Cominotto on the way. The ferry takes cars as well as passengers and runs several times a day.
A helicopter service operated from the airport on Malta but p was under new ownership at the time of our visit (Jan 2005) and was not operating in the winter months. Apparently its relatively expensive anway.
On Gozo the buses are grey with a red stripe. They serve the main villages from Victoria but tend to run mainly in the morning as in the afternoons they are used for collecting the school children! If staying here for a few days or more I think car hire would be the best option or even bicycle hire to see more outlying areras and to give you more flexibility - the lovely countryside and villages are worth exploring.
Buses on Gozo don't run as often as on Malta island. Buses are grey and wait just outside the ferry terminal (line no. 25). They wisk you to Victoria for Euro 0.47. Unfortunately, we didn't get to ride on the old bus on photo no. 1 but on a coach like bus. Not all the drivers give you change.
At Victoria bus station there is an information booth where they can give you a timetable for the island. We took a bus to Xlendi (pronounce Shlendy) which is no. 87.
When taking the bus back from Xlendi, we all had to get off before the bus terminus because the driver had his work finished and took his bus straight home.
Alternatives to buses are:
1. Take a hire car from Malta to Gozo
2. Use the hop on hop off bus for your tour of Gozo. This is good if you want to see it all in a short time ie if you don't get off, the tour takes 150 minutes and costs Euro 15.00.
3. Use your own feet (we did from Victoria to Xewkija)
4. Hire a bicycle (possible on Malta for sure, on Gozo I don't know)
There is plenty of space for foot passengers on the ferry either in the café or outside with a good view to take pictures.
On Malta you can buy your return ticket for Euro 4.65 (tourist price in Nov. 2010) but you can also wait and do it before your return trip from Gozo as tickets are only checked on the return trip.
On the Malta side you board the ferry through the big opening like the cars. Then you either go up the stairs or take the lift (only on the right side of the ferry) if you have walking problems. On Gozo you leave the ferry from the passenger deck upstairs onto a covered walkway, then down an escalator.
From Victoria Bus Terminus to Mgarr Harbour the route is directly covered by the bus no. 25 or by the bus no. 42/43 via Nadur and Qala, with the famous Maltese buses, this time painted in grey with a red central stripe.
The Bus Terminus is right next to the ferry stop and the service is timed with the ferry's arrival and leaves Victoria Bus Terminus half an hour before the ferry's scheduled departure to Malta.
The best option to explore Gozo is by hiring a 4x4. There's much to explore off the beaten path such as temples and caves. As most of the land has steep hills I don't recommend bicycles .Buses are unreliable to say the least. Most of bus services end at 1900.
Going to Gozo is very easy. You just have to take the Gozo boat from Cirkewwa. You don;t pay as you go on the boat but you pay on your return back to Malta that is you can stay how long you want and then you pay coming back. If you are going with a car you have to pay for the car included. I am not very a sure on how much you pay but I think for a person its Lm1.75 and you have to pay extra for the car. The trip is about 30 mins and you can have a snack in the cafeterias that there are on the different boats.
The times of the boat always change however if you get the leaflet from the tourist information it will help as they vary from Winter to Summer.
If you want to go to Gozo you have to cach the ferry from the port of Cirkewwa (it is in the north of Malta).
Ferry tickets can be purchased before boarding or on your return. It is not a joke!
It is possible to come back to Malta (...to Cirkewwa) late in the evening.
There is a ferry every 45 minutes and the trip takes about 20 minutes.
* Malta Island: Cirkewwa (on the west).
- Tel.: (+356) 2158 0435/6 and 2157 5884
- Fax: (+356) 2158 0435
- E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Gozo Island: Mgarr (on the east)
- Tel.: (+356) 2155 6114 and 2156 1622
- Fax: (+356) 21556743
- E. mail: email@example.com
The aproximate distance from Malta is one hour by ferry. Ferrys depart regurarly from Malta, in winter there were about 4 departs a day. You can take your car too, if you have hired already one in Malta. By this way, you will see everything you have to see in Gozo, in one day!
* I loved the evening colors, on the way back to Malta.
We usually hate this kind of tours, but in Gozo it was an good idea. The local buses didn´t run so often, and some of them didn´t drive at March at all. So this was easiest way to see the island, after we decided not to rent a car. Maybe at Gozo it would have been easy to drive, but at Malta main island the traffic was quite grazy and driving at left is allways little strange if you aren´t used to do it. So..we choosed not to do that. It was little strange, because we allways have rented a car in this kind of places.
In some places we had to much time. And in some others, we could have used more. At Blue window, the bus didn´t go near at all (maybe they will one day again, there was some road works going on) and it took a long time to walk there. Luckily one Swiss coupple offered us a drive back to bus, because we might have missed the last bus to harbour without them!
You will have headphones to listen what they say about the sights. There´s 8 languages to choose from. Not Finnish ;)
Cars from the Gozo Garage are cheap cheerful and reliable.
If you haven't got to where you're going in half an hour, you're either lost, in the sea or stuck at the only traffic lights. Who needs a Limo ;)