No, Gozo is one of the Maltese islands and part of the Republic of Malta.Where is Gozo?
Gozo is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of Malta. After the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the
archipelago. Gozo is a much quieter place than Malta, many people refer to Gozo
as `what Malta used to be like.`
The Archipalego is made up of Gozo, Comino and the main island of Malta, together these islands form the Republic of Malta. The Maltese islands are located in the center of the Mediterranean (57 miles south of Italy and 180 miles north of North Africa). Gozo lies about 3 miles in the North West of Malta and it takes about 25 minutes to cross by ferry.
There are many beaches on the island, as well as seaside resorts that are popular with both locals and tourists, the most popular being Marsalforn and Xlendi. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a center for water sports.
Gozo covers an area of 26 square miles. It is just eight miles long and four miles wide, with a coastline of 26 miles.What is Gozo like?
As the Maltese often say, Gozo is what Malta used to be: Quiet, rural and not nearly as developed as its much bigger sister island. Just because it`s quiet doesn`t mean it`s not worth considering as your main holiday destination. There`s plenty to do and see and the island has a few beautiful points of interest and sandy beaches to help recharge your batteries.What are the connections between Malta and Gozo?
Visitors can reach the island by ferry. There are regular crossings between the port of Mġarr on Gozo and Ċirkewwa on the north-west coast of Malta. The Gozo Channel Line makes the trip every 45 minutes during the summer and almost as often in the winter. A return journey costs about €4.65 and takes around 25 minutes each way.What do I need in order to get into Gozo Island via Malta?
Malta is a member of the Schengen Agreement. There are normally no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most of the European Union and a few other countries. There are usually identity checks before boarding international flights or boats. Sometimes there are temporary border controls at land borders. Visitors from outside the EU, including Americans, must fill out a landing card, available on board some arriving flights (sometimes) or in the entrance hall of the airport from the small box between the customs agents.How do I get to Gozo Island?
There are no direct flights into Gozo,
you will need to fly into Malta`s sole airport, Malta International
Airport, located between the villages of Luqa and
Gudja, 6 miles from Valletta (Malta`s capital city).
There are several public buses that will take you from the airport to various locations on the island. The buses are located just outside the terminal building. Island hopping from Malta to Gozo is an easy task. Gozo can be reached by Ċirkewwa ferry terminal, a short ferry trip (25 minutes).
You can also get to Maltese on a scheduled ferry direct from several Mediterranean ports. There are frequent fast ferries to the Sicilian port of Catania (3 hours) and Pozzallo, Italy (90 minutes), but the seas can be turbulent with a heavy swell if it`s windy. Usually the trip takes around twice as long on large passenger ships, but fares are lot cheaper, which makes it ideal for drivers of cars. However, discount airlines like Ryanair, Windjet and Efly can be more convenient and the prices of their flights are often comparable to the cost of a boat trip.
Ships dock close to the center of town in Malta for coming ashore. From here, you will need to take the ferry to Gozo Island.
Transport is provided by a fair service of buses from Mgarr
to Victoria and vice-versa and from Victoria to all towns and villages in Gozo.
The main bus terminus is situated in Victoria and route numbers are on the
front of the buses.
The bus system in Gozo is run by Malta Public Transport Services Ltd. Tickets are around €2 for a 2-hour ticket in summer and around €1.50 for the same ticket in winter. The bus runs between 5:30 am and 11:00 pm. The Public Transport website can be found here: www.publictransport.com.mt
Other: A hop-on hop-off bus service operates in Gozo. The open top bus tour of Gozo starts from the harbor of Mġarr and there are `Hop on and Hop off` stops located along the route. In Gozo, there are 2 hop-on hop-off providers, City Sightseeing Gozo and Gozo Sightseeing. Both offer a tour service linking various places of interest on the island. Each tour includes an audio commentary in 16 languages and each tour takes 45 minutes. A day ticket for adults costs about €15 and children pay around €9.
You need to be over 18 years old and hold a valid driving license.
It is fine to travel to the mainland Malta with a hired car and the only extra
charge incurred for doing so will be a pricier ferry ticket.
Gozo is a very small island and has well signposted roads to all its attractions. Most roads branch off from the central capital town, Victoria, and can easily explore the island with a car rental during your visit. The public bus service on Gozo is not very frequent and bus travel may be restrictive.
Having your own car allows you to make a lot more of your trip and discover the many hidden charms these small islands have to offer.
Car rentals can be found at the Malta Airport and taken over by ferry, as well as the Mgarr Gozo Ferry Terminal. Rentals start at around €35 per day.
Taxis are an option, but much more expensive than driving yourself
can easily grab a taxi or hire a car at the ferry terminal on arrival.
On Gozo, Taxis are found just as one arrives at the Mgarr Gozo Ferry Terminal, in Victoria Bus Terminus, in Victoria`s Main Square - (Independence Square / It-Tokk), beaches and various other taxi stands are found across the island. Taxi can also be hailed anywhere around the island. White taxis are all equipped with taxi meters.
Taxi drivers also specialize in offering Tours around the island of Gozo at very competitive prices that compare very well with other services such as sightseeing buses and according to clients requests. Such Tours include stopping in places of one`s choice, example: time for shopping, picture stops, time for lunch and also time for swimming.
Renting a bicycle or a mountain bike is the eco-friendly alternative, more in line with Gozo`s Eco-island initiative. With so many natural scenic routes to explore, cycling is becoming more and more popular. Bicycles can be rented from various bike rental shops around Gozo.Can Gozo be explored on foot?
the distances within villages are negligible and most of the roads are fairly
quiet and pleasant to walk along. There is also a footpath network, though the
paths require good shoes and a good map (they are not always clearly marked on
the ground). There are longer distances if traveling between different
villages, ranging from 1 to 3 miles from one village to the next.
It is possible to walk the whole circumference of the island (around 34 miles). A local legend says that a Gozitan rambler planted Spanish Vetch (Ġulbiena tas-serp) all along the footpath so that hikers will not get lost.
The Island of Gozo is a fairly safe place to visit. Having
said this, there are certain precautions that should be taken in order to
ensure a smooth trip through the area. Like always, common sense is the
most important tool to be used in staying safe.
Although street crimes, burglaries, and petty thefts are not major concerns on the Island of Gozo, they occasionally happen. However, most of these situations can be avoided using a few simple rules. Avoid carrying around large amounts of money or looking flashy. Drawing un-needed attention is never a good idea. Lock all car doors and roll up windows when leaving valuables behind in a car.
There are many beach and water activities available on the Island of Gozo. With these activities however come certain dangers, most of which can be easily avoided by following a few simple rules, such as never leaving valuables on the beach unattended, and always wearing a life jacket when on a boat. There is occasionally a strong current on the northern shore, so caution when swimming is advised.
Being part of the Republic of Malta, the Euro is used in Gozo as well. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. US dollars are not accepted.What is the weather like? When is the best time to visit?
Gozo is really a great
destination year round, but this said, June and August are the highest peaks of
the tourist season and the island can get quite crowded at this time. It can
also be a bit more expensive during these months. You`ll find prices to be cheaper
between February and June with fewer tourists, making the attractions easier to
visit. For a quieter, sunny holiday May is the time to visit, just before peak
The climate is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea and is similar to other Mediterranean climates. Winters are wet and windy. Summers are virtually guaranteed to be dry and hot. Temperatures range from a low of approximately 59° F in December, January, February and March to highs of approximately 859° in June, July, August and September. The beach season spans about 6 months from the end of April to the end of October.
The language spoken in Gozo is Maltese, although there are different dialects throughout different parts of the country. The Gozitans speak Maltese with a slightly different and quaint accent, people from the different Gozitan villages each have their own different dialect. Like the main island, English is also an official language of Gozo and most of the locals have a good grasp of the language.What is the food/drink like?
The Island of Gozo offers great food and wine. Some traditional foods
to look out for are sheep milk cheeses known as gbejniet, a local favorite, or
for savory pastizzi - miniature pastries. Dip fresh bread into local olive oil
and enjoy other delicacies ripened by the Mediterranean sun.
Distinctive Gozitan wines and craft beer are a must. The strong sun and cooling sea breezes here create round-bodied, fruity wines with good structure. Tal-Massar Winery and Ta` Mena are agricultural holdings that offer popular tours and tastings. Beer lovers, meanwhile, can enjoy Gozo`s very own artisan brews courtesy of the Lord Chambray microbrewery, they offer tasting visits as well.
Desserts depend on the occasion; there are easter figolli (almond stuffed pastry figures), Christmas qagħaq tal-għasel (honey rings), cassata, (ricotta filled sponge with marzipan) or kannoli, (ricotta-filled fried pastries).
Traditional Maltese food is the mixture of North African, Mediterranean and English flavors, with a heavy Italian and Arabic influences. It can be rustic and based on the seasons, a mix of Maltese Islands and the many civilizations who live here bring an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. Although the restaurant scene is a mix of specialty restaurants, there are many of them that offer and specialize in the local fare, serving their own versions of specialties.
Some traditional Maltese foods are Lampuki Pie (fish pie), Fenek (Rabbit Stew), Bragioli (a mix of meat, bacon, eggs, onions and breadcrumbs wrapped in thin slices of steak), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille), Aljotta (garlic based fish soup), Gbejna (goats milk cheese with peppercorns), Maret (hot date pastries) and widow`s soup.
You will notice that fish is abundant in the area and the types of fish is extremely varied from the Maltese waters. Depending on the seaon, you`ll see spnotta (bass), dott (stone fish), cerna (grouper), dentici (dentex), sargu (white bream) and trill (red mullet). Swordfish and tuna are typically served later in the season, around early to late autumn, followed by the famed lampuka, or dolphin fish. Octopus and squid are very often used to make some rich stews and pasta sauces.
Gozo offers numerous and diverse shopping opportunities. There are shops
and markets throughout Gozo but most of Gozo`s shopping is done in ir-Rabat.
A daily market takes place in Independence Square, also known as It-Tokk, the center of life in the capital. Here you can buy everything from seafood to jewlery as well as just browsing and watching the world go by. Other open-air markets take place in In-Nadur on Wednesday mornings and in Ix-Xagħra on Thursday mornings.
There are three shopping arcades, all found along Republic Street, the main street of ir-Rabat (Victoria). The original shopping arcade, Tiġrija Palazz, is at the upper end of the street (towards It-Tokk) and has a supermarket selling all essential goods as well as a number of other retail outlets. The Duke Plaza, the newest shopping center in Gozo, provides the ultimate one stop shopping experience in the heart of Gozo. With everything housed under one roof, this shopping and leisure center in Victoria, includes a fully fledged food store with butcher inside, the latest branded retail outlets, the Duke`s Cafe, as well as the convenience of free parking for Customers. The Arkadia Commercial Center, a little further down from the Duke Plaza, also houses a large supermarket, as well as a department store and numerous UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Germany fashion brands. Arkadia Commerial Center is the only shopping center in Gozo which opens all week, all day from Monday to Sunday.
Tax Information: VAT rate is 18% and 5% for books and pharmaceuticals. Any non-EU resident is eligible for VAT/Sales Tax refunds. The minimum spend is 100 Euros in one transaction. You will need to get customs approval as you depart EU. Approval requires fully completed tax free form with fiscal receipt attached, purchased goods, passport and travel documents. If you are departing from Malta International Airport but changing flights at another EU airport, and if the goods you are exporting are to be checked through to a destination outside the EU, go to Customs at the airport in Malta and your Tax Free form will be export validated as if you were at the EU departure point.
The main health risk in Gozo is the fierce sun in the Spring and Summer, which can cause major burns if you`re not careful. Don`t forget the sun block!What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?
emergency, police and fire department, dial 112
The main hospitals are Mater Dei Telephone: (+356) 2545 0000 and Gozo General Hospital in Gozo, tel. 2156 1600. The Maltese Ministry of Health maintains a complete list of government hospital services.
Most pharmacies are open between 09:00 am -1:00 pm and 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm, for a complete list of the pharmacies in Malta and opening hours. There are several health centers and clinics within the pharmacies with doctors around Malta to visit.