Don’t Miss Gozo! One Of Malta’s Sister Islands in the Mediterranean
Local Village Festas, Fireworks and Culinary Delights
Malta and its sister islands Gozo and Comino, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, boast a year-round sunny climate. In addition to Maltese, English is an official language and it is a safe destination. From its diverse culinary offerings to spectacular firework displays, and an endless calendar of events and festivals – you’ll never exhaust the possibilities of what to experience in Malta.
Gozo, the more rural island, thought to be the legendary Calypso’s Isle of Homer’s The Odyssey, is a perfect change of pace for those seeking a more relaxed and quaint stay.
The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts, and amazing panoramas, secluded beaches and the famous Blue Lagoon, just a short boat trip away. Gozo also has one of the archipelago’s best-preserved prehistoric temples, the Ġgantija temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The village festas (feasts), are the highlight of the Gozitan summer celebrations. The colorful and lighthearted events, highlighted by an abundance of fireworks, are the main attractions in every village. Many viewers gather together to watch the amazing pyro visuals that are passionately handcrafted by locals each year. At the peak of these celebrations, normally between Friday and Sunday, a procession is held in honor of the village’s patron saints. Streets are decorated with banners and statues while the town churches are elegantly decorated, both on the exterior and interior. Marching bands play tunes along the village square, or pjazza, accompanied by devout parishioners and street vendor’s serving traditional cuisine. In Gozo, 15 festas are celebrated during the summer season, one each weekend per village. Victoria is the only exception, with 2 larger festas and 1 smaller one. Some of the most popular festas include Nadur (June 27th – 29th), Victoria (Mid-July and August 12 – 15th), and Xaghra (September 6th – 8th).
For a full calendar of events, please click here.
Gozo Culinary Delights: From Local Gozitan Cheese to Local Wines
The village square is one of the best spots during these annual festas for absorbing the local ambiance of Gozitan village life over dinner and a glass of local wine. For the uncut experience, taste some of Gozo’s own artisanal products like tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes or local sea salt harvested from the famous saltpans in Xwejni. A popular ingredient in Gozitan traditional cuisine is cheeselets made from sheep’s milk. They are small and round in shape and can be savored fresh, dried, salt-cured, marinated or peppered. For the sweeter side, one can delight in authentic honey and carob syrup and as for local beverages; traditional liquor, wines, and craft beer are the most loved.
Traditional Maltese Cuisine is based around the seasons where eateries that offer the local fare, also serve their own unique versions of specialties. Maltese food is influenced by the islands’ close proximity to Sicily and North Africa but adds a Mediterranean flair of its own. Some popular local fare consists of Lampuki Pie (fish pie), Rabbit Stew, Bragoli, Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille), and also Bigilla, a thick pâté of broad beans with garlic served with Maltese bread and olive oil.
How to Get There
With Malta being very small itself, travelers will be able to see a lot in one day even going to the sister island of Gozo via a ferry ride. Currently, there are two ferry companies that take you from Malta to Gozo.
- Gozo Fast Ferry – Less than 45 minutes, take this ferry from Valletta to Gozo!
- Gozo Channel – Approximately 25 minutes, take this ferry that runs between Gozo and Malta, which can take cars across as well.
Where to Stay: From Luxury Villas & Historic Farmhouses to Boutique Hotels
Travelers are able to enjoy the island while staying in one of Gozo’s luxury villas, historic farmhouses, or a range of boutique hotels. The advantage of staying on this island is that it’s small compared to its sister island of Malta, with beautiful beaches, historic sites, a great variety of local restaurants, and nothing is more than a short drive away. Not your usual farmhouse, there are a wide range of options with modern amenities, most with private pools and stunning views. They are ideal getaways for couples or families seeking privacy.
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Gozo’s colors and flavors are brought out by the radiant skies above it and the blue sea which surrounds its spectacular coast, which is simply waiting to be discovered. Steeped in myth, Gozo is thought to be the legendary Calypso’s Isle of Homer’s Odyssey – a peaceful, mystical backwater. Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dot the countryside. Gozo’s rugged landscape and spectacular coastline await exploration with some of the Mediterranean’s best dive sites.
For more information on Gozo, click here.
The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sights and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife, and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.
For more information on Malta, click here.