“What do we do on Gozo” I asked my friend. He replied “we relax”. Relax? As a solo traveler for so long, relax isn’t usually in my vocabulary as I try to see as much as I can in a short period of time. I’m not quite “check the box” traveler but the over the top Type A, need a vacation from my vacation type of traveler. Sometimes, I will schedule a spa day to relax (notice I have to “schedule” a relaxing day, oh the irony!) Here I was traveling with a longtime friend for the first time and being told all I’m going to do is relax – “You need to chill out” he said (easier said than done) knowing that I had run away from home. For any East Coast, city Type A girl, like me, being told you are doing absolutely nothing for the next twelve (ended up as nineteen) days is scary. It was a test I was likely to fail, or so I thought.
On day three, I was full of stress, nowhere near a relaxing state at the nightmare Airbnb house. I didn’t anticipate fracturing my foot on day three but the universe decided I needed a “push” to relax. Getting hurt and not being able to walk without pain and swelling isn’t the ideal situation for a vacation, however, it was my reality. With all of my plans and schedules shot to hell, I had to just wave the white flag and surrender to this island life and chill out. If you look at the Visit Malta website, their Gozo page states “For those who wish to switch off and regenerate, Gozo is the place to be“. Fair enough, let’s see…..we hit “reset” on our holiday at the five star luxury Kempinski Gozo hotel.
My new schedule became a daily routine of new lunch spot (some with water views) followed by light walking/sightseeing on different parts of the island. It’s a small island but surprisingly there so much to see along the coastlines of the many villages. Arriving back to the house, it was time to ice and then elevate my foot before pool time and our daily ice cream break (I’m a new fan of Magnum ice cream bars). From there we had happy hour before getting ready for dinner at the local café.
Without the option of driving myself (they drive on the left) or walking to escape (foot injury), I had no other option than to roll with it and “relax”. While I thought I might fail to embrace the whole relaxing vacation, I passed with flying colors – a gold star only to sadly leave the island and rejoin society. Enjoy my highlights with the photos of Gozo.
In the village of Qala, you will find Hondoq Bay. Its gorgeous view will make you forget that the area is primarily rocky (bad for my foot). It has many ladders to easily get you into the water. We would do a light hike up the side to see the inlets that my friend swam as a child. Sadly, my injury prevented further exploration and swimming at the time.
With lights sparkling around the bay and lights in the distance from the boats, dining was interesting as the water was crashing along the wall next to our table and I was sure we would get soaked but we didn’t. This is the daytime view.
The Azure Window
The iconic view of the Azure window was stunning and well worth the time to slowly walk out on the uneven surfaces. You can swim in the water as many folks were doing except for the young guy in my photo that stood there for more than ten minutes as all of the photographers just wanted him to jump into the water with his friends and out of our frame.
The Inland Sea
The sign points down the hill and yet many people miss this hidden gem. Every twenty minutes there is a guy in his boat who will take you on a quick trip (for a small fee and tip) through the cave and out into the sea to see the Azure window from the water. There were four of us on the tour and you can see the sheer scale of the cliffs on the island. This was one of my favorite activities to be on the water.
Ta’ Cenc Cliffs
We drove around following the signs and then there were no signs. We couldn’t find the Ta’ Cenc Cliffs and stopped a kid on his bike and he pointed to walk through the fields. We trusted him and started walking over the rocks, through the bush and were rewarded with this view of the island. Having been on the water down below looking up, this was my view high above looking down. Just stunning.
Gozo Salt Pans
The sea crashed on the island and leaves its salt behind. The salt pans collect the salt and are then emptied and sold on the island. Natural sea salt. The largest collection of salt pans are in Zebbug past Marselforn (go there for lunch first) but you will also see others around the island.
Victoria is the heart of the island and where you will find the stores, bus station and the historic Citadel.
For a true sand beach, we visited Ramla beach for our lunch (there are a few food stands). As it was later in the day, renting an umbrella and chair made no sense with only a few good hours left. We found an empty spot to put our towels and waded into the water. The water was shallow for a good part of the trek in but was so warm and inviting. You had to swim a far way out to get above your waist. It was the first time in years, that I had been in the ocean and it was fantastic. The clear waters were definitely a stark change from the Jersey shore. This was truly the place to sit in the sun, relax and be carefree.
Most folks are visiting Gozo for the day from Malta. They hop on the big red double decker bus, join a tour, snorkel or are fearless and rely on the local transit. You can easily tick off the boxes for most of the above sights but I was lucky to live on the island for three weeks and take it all in as an adventure to discover. That’s what so great about the island, at first, I didn’t see the potential, but I learned to relax, disconnect from the world and regenerate anew. Misson Accomplished!