Holiday in Malta…an afternoon on Gozo…

Gozo…. such a lovely island. It is the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago and is situated just next to mainland Malta. I think if you ever come to Malta…you just HAVE to visit Gozo! It was a pity that we were only there for an afternoon…as we had left the hotel a little on the late side and then… we still had to go to a travel agent to book our day trip to Sicily before we could make our way to Gozo.

We could have seen a lot more of what the island has to offer… if we had been there from morning, taking the guided tour bus for Gozo island trip direct from our hotel. But…we didn’t know that Gozo is so beautiful and has so much to offer. As a result of our ignorance, we missed seeing many of the interesting places that we could have seen on the island. But… at least we got to see the Ġgantija Temples, which was our main goal for visiting Gozo. The rest… was more of a bonus if we had managed to visit them.

Hmmm…..know what….I think the island of Malta is trying to get us to come back, again lah!! 🙂

Enjoy these lovely photos of Gozo…

Our Maltese holiday.

Making our way to the ferry terminal at Cirkewwa. Fortunately, there was a direct bus to this ferry terminal from Qawra where we stayed, so it was easy to get to here on our own. Strangely… no ticket counter, here, so you just board the ferry without having to pay for one. Instead, return tickets are to be bought at the ferry terminal in Mgarr, Gozo… on your return journey. Strange… but it makes sense in term of saving manpower cost! Price of ferry ticket for the two-way journey is €4.66 per person.

Our Maltese holiday.

The ferry…Gozo Channel Line…which reminded me of the ferry one can take to go to Penang in Malaysia. If you noticed…there were grey clouds in the sky. Thankfully, it only rained (slightly and briefly) while we were about to board and while on the ferry… but stopped before we reached the island…pheww!!

Our Maltese holiday.

The lower deck meant for vehicles…

Our Maltese holiday.

And the upper deck for passengers. This photo was taken before the area became crowded with people, especially high school students on a school excursion (because they were all in uniforms). Drinks were cheap on this ferry, too! The ferry ride took only 25 mins.

Our Maltese holiday.

The island of Gozo…as seen from the ferry. Gozo means ‘Joy’ in Castilian.

Our Maltese holiday.

Nice clear sky…as we neared the harbour of Mgarr, Gozo.

Our Maltese holiday.

The island looked so promising from the ferry… so beautiful!

Our Maltese holiday.

The rocky landscape… and the beautiful building architecture… on the island.

Our Maltese holiday.

Our sightseeing bus…waiting at the Mgarr ferry terminal, Gozo. It travels around the island and one can just hop on and off at the many stops it made at places of interest. Frequency… once every 45 mins. And all passengers were given a headphone set to plug into the audio set at the seat… to hear commentary about the island. If you forget your headset when you hop off… no worries, the driver will give you another when you board another bus. But generally, most passengers took their headset with them when they got off the bus … must help save the environment lah!!

Our Maltese holiday.

Initially… because of the chilly weather we decided to sit in the lower deck…but then… soon realised that we were missing out on the beautiful sea and landscapes by doing so. So we went up to the open-top upper deck!

Our Maltese holiday.

It was chilly… but we persevered. Otherwise… how were we to get good snapshots of the beautiful sea and landscapes?!!

Our Maltese holiday.

Picture postcard coastline of Gozo in the foreground, with the islet of Comino in the middle ground and Malta in the background!

Our Maltese holiday.

And the architecture of some of their homes… very lovely!!

Our Maltese holiday.

One of the street views on the island. It was quieter and less crowded on Gozo… but more beautiful than the mainland…me thinks!

Our Maltese holiday.

The green against the clear blue skies…

Our first stop after leaving the ferry terminal was at …

Our Maltese holiday.

Ġgantija Temples … a UNESCO World Heritage Site… in Xaghra.

Our Maltese holiday.

These megalithic temples were erected between 3,600 – 2,500 BC…

Our Maltese holiday.

… and is the oldest freestanding man-made structures in the world! Wow!!! As a history buff….I am honoured to be among the many to have seen it!!

Our Maltese holiday.

The views of the surrounding area where the temples are situated were very pretty. But will share more pictures of this temples and views of the area in a later entry on Malta’s megalithic temples…. so that I can share more photos of Gozo, here!

Our Maltese holiday.

It was also at this site that we missed the bus that we intended to take…by a mere 1-2 mins…while busy choosing and selecting home-made jams sold by a street vendor just outside of the entrance to the Temples’ site! Argghh….since the next bus was 45mins later, we decided to spend the time having a drink at a café in a little town nearby. But we made sure we were back at this bus stop in plenty of time to catch the next bus! (This story of missing our transport by mere minutes…seems a little familiar don’t you think?) 🙂

From temples…we next visited a cave. Not just any cave… but a famous one (if you know the story of  Odyssey)!

Our Maltese holiday.

Entrance to the Calypso Cave area. Entrance was free… so that was nice! 🙂

Our Maltese holiday.

The Calypso Cave itself…with a narrow and quite slippery stairs going down…and which is situated on the edge of a cliff.

Our Maltese holiday.

The hubby decided to go down and check out the cave. I was hesitant to go in at first… but in the end decided to have a last-minute look inside the cave.

Our Maltese holiday.

The view of the Mediterranean sea from an opening in the cave.

But how does the cave itself looked like?

Well… to be honest, nothing spectacular or even interesting ….

Our Maltese holiday.

This is how it looked like inside… with a Singaporean model in it (hehehe :)). Not very interesting is it…? The cave I meant, not the model?! (muahahaha…)

But… this cave is popular on the island because…according to legend, this was the cave referred to by Homer in ‘The Odyssey’… where Calypso, the beautiful nymph kept Odysseus as a `prisoner of love’ for seven years! That is, not until Zeus sent Hermes, the messenger of  Gods… to bid Calypso to release Odysseus.

Our Maltese holiday.

However, the view of the coast…

Our Maltese holiday.

and that of the countryside …from where the cave is situated were magnifique!

Unfortunately, since the bus stopped for only 10 mins here…we didn’t really had time to explore thoroughly or take more shots of the area. If we had missed the 10 mins …we would have to wait for the next bus…. 45 mins later! We’d rather not!

Our Maltese holiday.

The beautiful Ramla Bay…not far from Calypso Cave, as seen from the upper deck of the bus.

From Calypso Cave, we went to the next stop in the ‘Hop On, Hop Off ‘ island tour.

Our Maltese holiday.

The view en route….the coastal bay… passing by Marsalforn

Our Maltese holiday.

and the inland rural countryside… with a view of the Citadel (Cittadella) the island’s oldest settlements, perched on the distant hill…

… before the bus driver made another 10 mins photo stop at…

Our Maltese holiday.

The Ta’Pinu Basilica…the most famous place of pilgrimage for the Maltese Islanders …

Our Maltese holiday.

… and which is believed to date back to at least 1534 (the original church). Quite a beautiful church, no?

Our Maltese holiday.

The view of the sea from the Basilica.

Our Maltese holiday.

Another view towards the rural hinterland.

Our Maltese holiday.

And the view of the bus waiting across the road… from the Basilica!! 🙂

From here, the bus travelled towards the direction of Dwejra…where we had hoped to see Azure Window (a natural window in the cliffs that was created naturally by wave erosion). But…  as it would take 40mins to walk to Azure Window and then back to the bus stop… we were advised by the bus driver that it would be better if we gave the place a miss… if we did not want to miss the last bus (which would be arriving in the area in 45mins) to the ferry terminal.

From there…a quick stop in Victoria (or also known locally as Rabat), the capital and centre of activity on Gozo…  to pick up more passengers going to the ferry terminal. Just like in Dwerja… we didn’t get a chance to walk around Victoria or to look at the Citadel there, where one is supposed to be able to see practically all of Gozo’s beautiful countryside, hills and valleys, church domes, etc from there… even though we passed through the area twice!! Sigh….

Buuuut… better to miss the Azure Window and the Citadel… then to miss the ferry back to Malta lah! Especially since we had a very early start the next morning (5.15am) for our excursion to Sicily!

Our Maltese holiday.

See….the ferry was already waiting at the harbour to bring us back to mainland Malta.

Our Maltese holiday.

The sun… starting to set as we made our way across the channel back to the mainland.

Our Maltese holiday.

Passing by the islet of Comino, which lies in between Malta and Gozo. The building on the right, called the Santa Marija Tower, was one of the towers the Knights of Malta built to defend the islands against the Turks in the 17th century.

It had been a beautiful day…even though we started late…missed visiting the Azure Window in Dwejra and the Citadel in Victoria…and of course missed a bus at Ġgantija Temples. 🙂

Will definitely go to Gozo again…longer this time…IF or WHEN we go back to Malta!

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2 thoughts on “Holiday in Malta…an afternoon on Gozo…

  1. Thanks Jan. Glad you like the pictures and info shared. You should try to visit Malta if there are special offers…its a beautiful place.

    Like

  2. Its like we have been to Malta. Beautiful island, excellent reports and pictures.

    Like

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