Postcards from Malta – Gozo

Our holiday wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to Malta’s sister island, Gozo. While the main island is home to the country’s top attractions and offers bustling nightlife, Gozo is a perfect place to just unwind and relax on one of its sandy beaches or get lost in the charming narrow streets.

The island of Gozo is inaccessible by air or road. Ferries from Cirkewwa to Mgarr run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – the standard passenger fare is €4.65 for a round trip. The trip itself takes around 25 minutes, giving passengers a pre-taste of beautiful landscapes as the ferry passes the island of Comino on the way.

The view from the ferry arriving in Mgarr, Gozo

When we arrived back in Cirkewwa in the evening, we found out that the last direct bus to Bugibba had already departed and we had to figure out another way to get back to our hotel. We approached a fellow couple we recognised from our flight, as we could hear they were having the same problem.

We decided to get on a bus to the nearest village where we could change to a direct bus to Bugibba. Unfortunately, we got off too early and ended up sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere waiting for another bus to arrive. Still, the memories of us sitting there cold and exhausted, just laughing at the situation we found ourselves in, are some of the fondest from the entire trip. We also got to exchange our Malta adventures, which gave us inspiration for more places to visit.

Read more:
Postcards from Malta – Bugibba, Qawra, and Birgu
Postcards from Malta – Valletta and Sliema
Postcards from Malta – Rabat and Mdina

Victoria

As we had two places to cross off our bucket list, we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the island’s capital city. We grabbed some pastries from a local pastizzeria and went for a walk in the Villa Rundle Gardens, followed by a quick trip to the Arkadia Mall where we found Waitrose (you can take a girl out of the UK…). Then off we went to our next destination…

A girl in a patterned dress standing in the Villa Rundle Gardens in Gozo

Azure Window… or lack thereof

The day before we were supposed to fly to Malta, we woke up to the devastating news that the country’s iconic landmark, the Azure Window, had collapsed into the sea. This has been the source of many jokes among our family and friends who started saying we shouldn’t travel anywhere out of concern for landmarks all over the world. However, this didn’t stop us from visiting the area, if only to see the aftermath of the collapse.

A traditional church next to the Azure Window, Gozo
A girl in a patterned dress standing next to the Azure Window, Gozo
A girl sitting on rocks where the Azure Window in Gozo used to be

Looking at the place where this majestic flat-topped arch used to stand, only to see that there is nothing left apart from the submerged rocks that were once part of it, is impactful and heartbreaking.

The place where the Azure Window in Gozo used to be
The submerged rocks that used to form the Azure Window in Gozo

We wandered around the area, stopped by the edge to marvel at the cobalt blue water… and decided to recreate our very own Azure Window for the purpose of a photo. After all, we didn’t come all the way to Gozo for nothing.

Hands forming the Azure Window in Gozo

We also came to a tiny pier where some fishing boats were docked. With a complete lack of tourists around, the only indication that boat trips still depart from this place was a swing sign. I think the place still has tourism potential though, with plenty of scuba divers coming to Gozo to explore the remnants of the Azure Window.

A girl in a patterned dress standing on a tiny pier in Gozo

The Basilica of Ta’ Pinu

The second point on our list was the Basilica of Ta’ Pinu, Malta’s national shrine and main pilgrimage site located in the middle of open countryside between the villages of Gharb and Ghammar.

The outside of the Basilica of Ta' Pinu in Gozo during sunset

The records of the basilica, which was a small medieval chapel at the time, date back to the 16th century. Legend has it that in 1883, a local fieldworker, Karmni Grima, was passing by as she heard a voice coming from inside the chapel. When she walked inside, the voice supposedly coming from the
painting of the Assumption to Heaven of Our Lady asked her to recite three Hail Mary’s.

The news spread quickly – over the years, numerous miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of the Assumption and people started organising pilgrimages to this small chapel to ask Virgin Mary for various favours. The need to build a larger church arose in order to accommodate the ever-growing number of visitors from all over the world.

The basilica in its current form was built between 1920 and 1932. The inside of the church is decorated with splendid sculptures all carved in Maltese stone. Behind the altar, you can find the original chapel along with the painting from which the voice was heard. You can say a prayer, fill in a form describing your prayer intentions, and leave it in one of the boxes provided.

My favourite part of the basilica were the corridors on both sides of the altar that are filled with various ex-votos, including crutches, photographs and newspaper excerpts, left by the people who were allegedly miraculously healed. It was a very important and emotional visit for me, as we had a family friend who was battling cancer at the time. Sadly, she lost the battle last November. I would strongly recommend visiting Ta’ Pinu – seeing this majestic basilica towering over the countryside is truly remarkable, especially at sunset.

I wish we had more time on this beautiful island, as one day is nowhere near enough to see all of the landmarks that Gozo has to offer. Probably our biggest regret, however, is not making a trip to the paradise island of Comino to see the Blue Lagoon. Before we even left, we made a vow that it will be our top priority if we are ever to return to Malta.

Have you ever been to Malta’s sister island? What do you think about my recommendations? Would you add anything to the list? There are two more posts left in my Malta series, so stay tuned!

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18 Comments

  1. November 25, 2019 / 8:37 am

    I’d love to visit Malta and Gozo. My mum went in September and had the most incredible week there, so it’s high up my list now! It’s such a shame that the Azure Window collapsed just before you got there, what a shame you didn’t get to see it. The idea of diving around it does sound quite exciting though! You have such beautiful photos – the Basilica looks stunning!

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 25, 2019 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you very much! I’m so glad to hear your mum enjoyed her stay in Malta. If you decide to follow in her footsteps, please let me know – I would love to hear your thoughts!
      The idea of diving has always terrified me as I don’t feel very comfortable in the water, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to give it a try!

  2. November 24, 2019 / 1:14 am

    OK so gozo looks like the nicest place in malta!

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 25, 2019 / 8:18 am

      It’s a really lovely place, isn’t it?

  3. Erin
    November 18, 2019 / 10:21 pm

    Oh wow the photos are so beautiful!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  4. November 15, 2019 / 2:32 pm

    I’d love to visit Malta and Gozo! Been on my list for years, but haven’t quite got round to it yet. It’s such a shame the Azure Window collapsed before you got there, I would have loved to have seen it. Glad you enjoyed yourself!
    Bella x

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 17, 2019 / 3:05 pm

      I hope you get to tick Malta and Gozo off your list soon – the landscapes are breathtaking, the locals are very friendly, and it’s rather affordable! It’s such a shame we missed the Azure Window by a couple of days, I’m sure it looked spectacular! xx

  5. Kayleigh Zara
    November 14, 2019 / 9:10 pm

    I’m such desperate need of a holiday that this gave me all the holiday vibes I’m in need of. Your photography is absolutely stunning , and I’ve never been to Malta before. It looks stunning x

    Kayleigh Zara 🥂✨ http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 15, 2019 / 7:50 am

      Thank you so much, lovely – I’m really glad you enjoyed reading this post! Malta is the perfect place for a little getaway!

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 15, 2019 / 7:49 am

      Thank you so much! It really is, I couldn’t stop taking photos the entire time I was there!

  6. Alice Spake
    November 14, 2019 / 4:37 pm

    Your photos are beautiful! I haven’t been to Malta yet but one day, I have family there so we’re gonna have to make our way out there one day soon xx

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 15, 2019 / 7:48 am

      Thank you so much! I would highly recommend it, Malta is definitely one of my favourite places I’ve visited xx

  7. katy gilroy
    November 14, 2019 / 1:08 pm

    Gozo is beautiful and you’ve got some stunning photos, got me planning a trip in my head haha! x

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 15, 2019 / 7:47 am

      Thank you so much, you should definitely add it to your list! Malta is one of my favourite countries I’ve been to!

  8. November 14, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    These photos are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never actually heard of Gozo before (have heard of Malta) so this was really informative for me! x

    • Dominika
      Author
      November 15, 2019 / 7:46 am

      Thank you so much, lovely! It’s a really underrated place in my opinion and I would love to explore more of it!

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