One of 21 islands that make up the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, Gozo has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years but today is a haven for visitors drawn here by its Neolithic temple ruins, baroque churches, rural hiking paths, beautiful beaches and world class scuba diving opportunities. In recent times, the island has also attracted cultural icons including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, adding a sprinkling of star-dust to the otherwise tranquil way of life.
There are enough historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas on Gozo to keep most visitors busy for their entire stay. But there’s also a more hidden side to the island that doesn’t always make it into the guide books. If you’re planning a trip to Gozo and would like to discover its lesser known attractions, we’ve done the research for you and picked out 7 of the most unique things to see and do here.
Relive your childhood at the Museum of Toys
Tucked away in a tiny house in the middle of the sleepy village of Xaghra, this charming museum invites visitors to take a nostalgic trip down the ages to recall how children used to play, long before the age of the Xbox. Founded in1992 by a British couple called Sue and Edwin Lowe, who brought their collection to Gozo after a memorable holiday on the island, the museum houses a diverse and intriguing collection of toys, games and other curiosities including what is claimed to be the world’s smallest doll.
LOCATION Triq Gnien Xibla, Ix-Xagħra HOURS Vary throughout the year
Explore the eerie environs of the Old Prison of Gozo
Sitting adjacent to the Courts of Justice in the heart of the Gozo Citadel, the Old Prison is one of the island’s most fascinating and well-preserved historic landmarks. In use from the mid-16th century until the start of the 20th century, today it houses a permanent exhibition on fortifications. Visitors can also see the original prison cells, where graffiti daubed on the walls hundreds of years ago, as well as prisoners’ tallies keeping track of their length of stay, offer a stark reminder of the building’s past.
LOCATION Triq il-Kwartier Ta’ San Martin Cittadella, Victoria HOURS Sun-Thurs 9am-5pm
Enjoy a wine tasting at Tal-Massar Winery
Malta has an impressive reputation for wine production and one of its finest wineries can be found on the island of Gozo. Nestled in the medieval village of Gharb, the family-owned Tal-Massar boutique winery hosts twice-weekly, 90-minute tours for groups of over 10, taking guests through the winery’s private estate and allowing them to enjoy the spectacular, unspoiled surroundings. Tours also include a wine tasting featuring at least four different wines, plus finger food including traditional Gozo bread and cheese, sundried tomatoes and cold pressed olive oil.
LOCATION The Vineyards, Trejqa tas-Sisien, L-Għarb HOURS Sat 5.15pm-7.15m; Tues 5.15pm-7.15pm Closed Weds-Fri & Sun-Mon
Lap up the luxury at Hotel Juliani
If you’re looking for a unique place to stay on or around Gozo, you won’t find anywhere better than Hotel Juliani. Located around an hour’s ferry ride from Gozo in the cosmopolitan seaside town of St Julian’s, this is Malta’s only design-led boutique hotel, combing an idyllic setting overlooking the bay, an array of lavish amenities, and a stylish and intimate ambiance. There are just 47 guest rooms in total, each boasting elegant Mediterranean décor and unobstructed sea views. Elsewhere in the hotel there’s an acclaimed restaurant and terrace bar, and a rooftop swimming pool.
LOCATION 25 St. George’s Road, St. Julian’s
Join an organised tour
A great way to explore Gozo is on an organised tour. There are several themed tours available and one of the most popular is the full-day Gozo and Blue Lagoon tour. After being picked up mid-morning from your hotel, you’ll board a sightseeing bus for a visit to Gozo’s capital city of Victoria. In the afternoon you’ll head to the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Lagoon where you can swim or snorkel in the tranquil waters or relax on the beach. The tour comes to an end at around 4pm. Tickets are priced £35.95 per person and can be booked in advance at Get Your Guide.
Take a flight around the spectacular Maltese Islands
There’s no more unique way to see Malta than from the skies and MaltaFlying’s sightseeing flights make it possible for passengers to discover the beauty of the islands combined with the excitement of flying in a light aircraft. A choice of 20, 30, 40 and 60-minute sightseeing flights are regularly operated by the company’s Cessna 172 and Tecnam P2006T twin engine aircraft, with both planes able to accommodate a total of 3 passengers. Alternatively, Trial Flights offer guests with no previous training the opportunity to fly an aircraft under the supervision of a flight instructor.
Taste some Gozo cheese
Cheese isn’t something that instantly comes to mind when you think of Gozo, yet beyond the red sand beaches and rocky coves, one of the highlights of any Gozo trip is trying some Ġbejniet, a delicious round white cheeselet made from unpasteurised sheep or goat’s milk. The cheese comes in many forms – fresh and dried, peppered and preserved – and is typically flavoured with crushed pepper and local tomatoes, olive oil, chilli pepper or even wine. You’ll find Ġbejniet on most menus, but for a scenic setting head to itIl Kartell, a popular waterside restaurant.