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Gozo - An Introduction
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Gozo is the second largest island forming part of the Maltese Islands archipelago, after Malta. Gozo is however far less densely populated, and offers relatively more countryside and tranquillity – approximately 30,000 persons call Gozo their home. A twenty minute ferry trip from Cirkewwa, Malta, sailing past the island of Comino, will find you at Mgarr Harbour, Gozo - and both the harbour itself and its approaches hint at this difference between the two major islands.

Villages in Gozo generally retain their old-world feel, centred around the village square, generally dominated by a centuries old church built out of warm-hued limestone, and where the older generation tends to congregate to watch the world (and the occasional car) go by. Much shopping is carried out at local corner stores, bread is still bought fresh-baked direct from the bakers’, and all visitors are welcomed with genuine enthusiasm as one would normally reserve for family members returning from a far flung corner of the planet after a considerable absence.

A Gozo holiday is a laid back holiday – a getaway that even many Maltese appreciate as such. There is no stress, no rush, no-one seems to be running out of time, and still there seems to be time to manage everything. Stroll around the village, walk into a typical Gozitan bar where tea and Gozo “cheesecakes” are staples, make friends with the cat, chat with an old man who has lived in the same village in Gozo for all his life, and who has only visited Malta a couple of times... then visit the capital of Gozo, Victoria (Rabat) – walk up to the Cittadella, the ancient and fortified town centre, perched on top of a cliff-sided hill, built for defending the inhabitants from Turkish corsairs. Meander through the winding streets some barely 2 metres wide, until you get to the city walls where all of Gozo is spread out beneath you. History at every step of the way, a thousand stories are not enough to recount Gozo’s eventful past. The prehistoric Ggantija Temples, in Xaghra, just like their counterparts in Malta (at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra) are among the oldest free-standing temples in the world, older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge. Even fiction, or myth, call it what you prefer, is alive in Gozo – the island of Calypso, mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey – you may visit “Calypso’s” cave, although truth be told, the surrounding scenery is probably more impressive.

Forget civilisation and wander around Gozo’s coastline – many walks, such as at Ta’ Cenc, offer spectacular cliff-edge panoramas and views of Comino and Malta. A rugged drop straight to the sea occasionally interrupted by a narrow picturesque inlet cutting into the land, and defended by a tower built during the time of the Knights, such as at Mgarr Ix-Xini – literally “Harbour for the Galley” – a suggestive name if there ever was one.

Gozo can also offer a sun and sea holiday, however – small beaches are available at Marsalforn, Xlendi, San Blas and Hondoq Ir-Rummien amongst others, while Gozo’s largest sandy beach is found at Ramla il-Hamra, (Red Sands) an unspoilt paradise framed by pretty terraced fields and cliff top plateaus. Yet even here the history does not stop, not even at the water’s edge - the remains of a Roman house overlook the beach, and an underwater sea-wall built to thwart the landing of pirates is located some 20-odd meters offshore.

Gozo is also popular with divers – a great diving holiday is to be had on the island of Gozo, since it is here that some of the best dive sites on the Maltese Islands are located. The ruggedness and natural beauty to be found on land, is also reflected underwater Gozo, and the reduced pressure on natural resources compared to Malta also means that a greater variety aquatic fauna may be encountered on a dive.

Whatever your reasons for visiting Gozo, and reasons there are many, accommodation in apartments, villas and hotels can be booked online from the large choice offered. If your holiday schedule is primarily Malta based, you must still find time for a day trip to Gozo – visiting the Maltese Islands and missing out on Gozo is just not an option!