Welcoming in the New Year, we are delighted to continue the 'Discover' series bought to you by Emma Cassar at Grand Harbour Marina. This month, we welcome you to review 'Discover Gozo' – Malta’s Sister Island.
Committed to promoting the yachting scene, Emma manages as many adventures and 'discoveries' as possible, and continues to write up about her trips for the yachting community to further enjoy.
If peace and tranquillity is what you are after, look no further than the stunning island of Gozo. Located just a 20-minute ferry ride away, it is the epitome of island relaxation and a perfect place to soak up some authentic Maltese culture.
The charm of the island can be found in it’s baroque style architecture, traditional limestone farmhouses and ripples of green valleys. However, the real beauty is found in the people of Gozo themselves. Hospitable, friendly and always happy to have a friendly chat or lend a helping hand.
There is also plenty to see and do throughout the island however, the best way to truly appreciate the beauty of the island is by foot.
For spectacular sea views, picturesque sea inlets and coastal watch towers, we suggest starting your trek the moment you exit the Gozo Ferry in Mġarr Harbour.
This walk begins on the uphill minor road by the left side of the police station, opposite the ferry terminal in Mġarr. The path runs parallel to the coast and is dominated by the impressive Fort Chambray constructed in 1760. Walking along the curving path you can notice large boulders, varied vegetation, typical rubble walls and wonderful sea views. After about 400 metres and an uphill climb, you arrive at a lookout point on the top of a clay slope where you can enjoy panoramic views of the island of Comino.
The clear waters in this area provide a number of interesting dive sites, including an artificial one created through the scuttling of an old Gozo ferry boat. Following the coastline, you soon reach a 17th century coastal watchtower. Turning inland, walk along the beautiful sea inlet of Mġarr ix-Xini, traditionally associated with the sacking of Gozo by pirates in 1551.
After about 400 metres, once you reach a villa, take the path and steps to the left down onto the beach. Here you can swim or relax under the shade of tamarisk trees. Take a look at the deep valley heading inland. This secluded gorge hosts a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Admire the plants growing on the cliff sides and look out for the blue rock thrush, the national bird of Malta.
Take the steep uphill road from the beach which leads towards the village of Xewkija, about 1.5 km away. Rambling along this road you may admire the wonderful gorge with its lush greenery and impressive caves. To your left, on a plateau at an upper level, is the Ta’ Ċenċ area, important because of its diversity of plants and the birdlife on its nearby cliffs. Take the first road to the left, and then right, to get to the village square of Sannat with its parish church. There you will find cafés, free Wi-Fi and a public convenience adjacent to the Police Station nearby. Leave the square by taking the road to the right of the church, walk uphill and follow the signs through the village to Ta’ Seguna cliffs.
After admiring the spectacular views from the cliffs, follow the track to the west between the cliff edge and small fields. The view towards the cliffs and the tower is magnificent. With the Xlendi tower behind you, follow a small path on your left down into il-Kantra valley and across a small stone bridge to arrive at the picturesque fishing village of Xlendi. This is a popular tourist location because of its lovely beach, its range of hotels and fine restaurants and many other interesting features such as caves and diving attractions.