Arriving by the car and passenger ferry the short distance from Malta we docked in Mgarr the harbour town on Gozo, overlooked by its churches on the hill just above. It looked a lively place with the ferries coming and going and the fishing boats also.
Mgarr harbour is the gateway to Gozo. All the ships and ferries from Malta, stop at Magrr.
Built at the foot of Ras it-Tafal, the vivid Mgarr is a throng of stores, warehouses and boats.
The number of passengers arriving to Gozo increased over the years and for the future, the construction of a new and larger passenger terminal it is envisaged.
For more details visit my Mgarr page.
South of Xewkija down a long and twisting road is Mgarr Ix-xini. This is where a miniature gorge that wends its way down the hillside disappears into the sea. What results is a narrow inlet with almost vertical cliff sides that makes a superb place to swim. The beach at the back of the bay is very small and quite pebbly and space is at a premuim. Happily not many people seem to come here, and we had a nice comfortable couple of hours messing about by and in the water.
Mgarr is the main harbour of Gozo and the point at which the ferries from Malta dock. I'm not too sure as to whether Mgarr is a community in its own right or part of Ghajnsielem, the village that stands at the top of the hill.
The harbour area is quite picturesque and quite busy, especially around the times of the ferry arrivals. As well as the ferry port there are pleasure boats and small fishing craft. Touts will try to tempt you out on a boat trip to Comino, The Blue Lagoon and Cominetto. We've never been on one of those trips yet, but it's something for another day.
There's a cluster of restaurants (mainly seafood) and bars running up the hill and at the top of the hill (in the village of Ghajnsielem) are two quite impressive churches. Further on is the L'Imgarr Hotel at which we stayed, and yet more churches (see next tip).
This is a shot from on top of the cliffs at the side of the gorge. You can see how narrow and deep it is, and how blue the sea is. There is apparently a walk from the beach at the head of the bay, along the cliff top on the opposite side in this picture and to the tower at the end.
The impression you get on approaching Mgarr Harbour is one of bustling activity with the number of vessels coming into and leaving the port,both business and pleasure.Most of all it is the great development of the port facilities.The harbour area is one of great scenic beauty.Approaching Gozo from the sea you are impressed by the beautiful verdant cliffs and valley's overlooking the harbour.The main thing you notice is the magnificent 'Church of Our Lady of Lourdes' which dominates the skyline of Mgarr.The port itself is studded with stores,warehouses,garages and lots of fishing boats and private yachts.The harbour is the main gateway to the island of Gozo when arriving from Malta or Comino and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
I loved the view that these two churches produced in Mgarr. The near church is quite close to the L'Imgarr hotel and the far one is actually in the next village, Nadur. Like Malta, Gozo is dominated by churches of every size and shape.
Probably the best view of the harbour is this, from a row of benches along the hilltop high up above. We used to go there every now and then, during day or night and just sit and look at the view - it was wonderful.
Once the ferry docks the ramp will lift and all passengers and cars will disembark. If you are on foot you can take a taxi to take you wherever you want throughout GOZO or choose a day excursion with a taxi and the driver will show you the very best of GOZO in one day.
Alternatively you can take the bus which will take you to Victoria which is the capital of GOZO and when you arrive at the terminal choose whatever bus you want to take to visit other towns in GOZO......dont forget to take the Map!
Ghajnsielem is the town on the hill above Mgarr harbour. It is dominated by its huge parish church which is steepled as well as domed - quite unusual for Gozo and Malta. The church sits in the middle of a huge square, around which are ranged a couple of cafe/bars belonging to the local band club and football club, as well as some small "corner shop" style emporiums. There is a small park with benches and stunning views down to the harbour below.
The side streets are full of quite grand houses and some typically Maltese balconied terraces. Ghajnsielem seems quite a well to do town. Elsewhere in the town centre stands a monument to Anglu Grech, a local shepherd whose visitation by The Virgin Mary led to the foundation of the parish here, as well as a couple of other smaller, but quite lovely, churches.
It is written that first impressions mean a great deal. Mgarr will likely provide a traveler their first impression of Gozo since it has the only harbor on the island where a ferry can dock. Most of the ferries run here from the Maltese port of Cirkewwa. The harbor itself is very scenic and you will see spires of churches in the skyline as you approach Gozo. Buses are on hand to bring you to Victoria. From Victoria, more buses run to other points on the island. There is no cost to ride the ferry TO Gozo, however you do have to pay to go back to Malta. Besides the buses, there are tour operators who can show you the island. You could also rent your own transportation such as a car or cycle to get around.
The port city on the island of Gozo all boats and ships arrive here the port is located in a small bay which is protected by a concrete headland within the harbor there is a part for the large ships and ferries, and a portion of the yachts and fishing boats
On top of the cliffs is a neo-Gothic church as a crown protrudes above the village this is the Lourdes Church in the year 1888 was completed, the church owes its name to the rocks on which it is built. Visitors to the site noted that the rocks resembled those of Massabielle in Lourdes, France, where Mary would have appeared in the year 1858, prompt was therefore started the construction of a church