All it took was seeing one photo of the Azure Window on Instagram last year to get me hell-bent on visiting Malta. What can I say; I’m a sucker for any place where I can doggy paddle around in crystal clear water!
The country of Malta consists of many islands, but it’s three largest are: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Gozo was #1 on my list; I just had to get up close and personal with that Azure Window.
After facing the hassle of having to follow bus schedules on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, I knew the best option was to rent a scooter to go Gozo Island sightseeing since it’s a small island. Even though I suffered a slight fall while riding a scooter around Goa last year and ended up with a cut that required a tetanus shot, I was itching to get behind one again.
Gozo is very easy to navigate. Most roads lead to the capital, Victoria (also called Rabat), and from there, follow the signs to the end destination. Gozo is about 26 square miles, so it’s impossible to get lost. In some places you can see across the entire island!
We drove from Mgarr to Xlendi Bay, Victoria, the Azure Window near Dwejra Bay, Marsalforn, and Ramla Bay, stopping here and there when we wanted, such as small villages like Ghajnsielem. The flexibility of riding a scooter instead of relying on buses allowed us to see places we otherwise wouldn’t have, which is reason alone to rent and ride!
So off we went on a Gozo Island sightseeing adventure – scooter style!
Here are three of my favorite places along the way:
My first glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean surrounding Gozo was at Xlendi Bay. The bay is small but picturesque, full of boats and swimmers alike.
We followed a stairwell that took us up a cliff where we could see more of the surrounding cliffs.
There are rocks to jump off of into the water, but this is not Gozo’s best beach. The bay and its caves would probably be best discovered by boat.
After Xlendi, it was time to cool off in the water. Following the road back to Victoria, we made our way to the main event (in my eyes) – the Azure Window!
The Azure Window is Gozo’s biggest draw, and it’s easy to see why. The limestone arch creates a perfect window into the sea and cliffs. This area is very popular among scuba divers and boaters, it fulfilled my Maltese dreams to just jump in and swim around.
The arch is even more beautiful in real life than in any photos I captured or have ever seen. You really have to see it to believe it.
This is also the final resting place of my favorite sandals; the rocks are so sharp near the swimming area that my feet twisted and turned enough to break them! It was so worth it, though!
I’m glad I finally made it here this year – the arch is eroding so quickly that it’s likely to disintegrate in a few years!
After purchasing replacement flip-flops and drying off, it was time to hit the road again. We rode around and stopped off at little sights along the way as we headed to the north side of the island.
The best beach to swim in on Gozo Island is at Ramla Bay. Located on the north side of the island, there’s plenty of space for everyone. Plus the beach is sandy, which is hard to come by in the Mediterranean.
If you have time…
…swing by Victoria or the other inland villages like Ghajnsielem. I didn’t find many to be very exciting, but the large, sandcastle-like churches are impressive.
Marsalforn Bay on the northern side of the island also looks gorgeous in the pictures online, but the place we stopped didn’t look so hot. We must have made a wrong turn!
I really wanted to see the Neolithic Ġgantija Temples, but the exhibit was closed when we got there, womp womp. Still, I’ve heard they are a sight to be seen, so I’d say it’s worth checking out.
How to get to the ferry
Depending on where you are staying, getting to Gozo from Malta could take some time. I stayed in Sliema on Malta Island and took the bus to the ferry terminal in Cirkewwa. The bus ride lasted about an hour. Keep in mind that although the islands are fairly small, the bus has to make many stops along the way. The ferry leaves every 45 minutes, lasts 30 minutes, and arrives in Mgarr on Gozo.
Where to rent
I rented a scooter just across the street from the ferry terminal. There are many in the area.
30€ for the day (this may vary depending on where the scooter is rented from). Aside from food, this is the only cost we incurred all day!
Valid driver’s license (international license wasn’t required in this case), and a credit card for the rental shop to keep on file in case of damages.
Malta used to be under British rule; everyone drives on the left side of the road! And wear a helmet!