Malta is a small country made up of 3 main islands in the Mediterranean. Known for being one of the sunniest destinations in Europe, it’s a popular getaway for a few days or even a couple of weeks. Most people choose to stay on the main island (Malta) for their stay but I have to admit, I fell in love with Gozo; the slightly smaller island to the north. Known for its rugged coastline and beaches, it’s a beautiful place to escape to, even if just for a day. So, in this blog post, I’m sharing why you should consider a day trip to Gozo with instructions on how to get from Malta to Gozo and my top tips on what to see and do and how to make the most of your time.
Ready? Let’s go(zo)!
How to Get from Malta to Gozo
If you plan on doing a day trip to Gozo on your own, then you have two options: rent a car or use public transportation. Both follow the same route however driving is, unsurprisingly, a much faster option that gives you more freedom than relying on the bus. That being said, the bus is cheap and easy so that’s what I’m going to focus on (drivers, you’ll follow the same route).
Getting to the Gozo Ferry
The first step is to get to Cirkewwa which is where you catch the ferry from Malta to Gozo. There is a direct bus from Sliema that will get you there in about an hour. It’s bus number 222 and starts at the Sliema Ferries 2 station.
Please note there are LOTS of stops along the way (55 to be exact) which means this bus can fill up very quickly and, depending on how busy it is, drive past stops along the way. For this reason, I recommend is you are staying in Sliema or even St. Julains, to head to the first stop (Ferries 2) to start your journey to make sure you do actually get on board. Please note depending on how full the bus is, you may or may not get a seat.
The bus from Malta to Gozo runs daily from early morning until night. You can find route times and schedule here. I also recommend downloading the Moovit app which is great for figuring out local transportation and worked really well in Malta.
The Gozo Ferry
Once you arrive in Cirkewwa you’ll get off at the last stop which is the ferry station. Inside you can buy your tickets (cash or credit card) from one of the vendors. There are toilets and snack machines insides if you need it. If you are planning on driving in Gozo, you can bring your car over by the ferry. If not, you can leave it in the parking lot and continue the rest of the way on public transit.
Tickets for the Gozo ferry are all return, round trips. As of January 2020, the cost is 4.65 euros for a passenger or 15.70 euros for a car and driver. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes each way and passes by Comino. If it’s a nice day, head to the top deck for some pretty views.
Arriving in Gozo
Once you have arrived in Gozo you can disembark the ferry and exit the terminal. If you are driving, you can take your car and head off. If you are relying on transit to get around you have two options.
The first option is to join one of the hop-on-hop-off tours for Gozo. It’s an easy and efficient way to see the highlights of Gozo in 1 day. That being said, it’s the most expensive option and can be very busy. However, it does take away a lot of the planning and travel time. If you’d like to book hop-on-hop-off bus tickets to Gozo, you can purchase them in advance here.
The second option is to use the local Gozo buses. These are cheap but can be very time-consuming. Especially if you get on the slow bus like I did. You’ll also need to keep in mind that for each new place you want to go, you’ll have to backtrack to the capital (Victoria) to change buses every time.
How to Spend 1 Day in Gozo
Gozo is a small island but you still can’t expect to see and do it all in one day, especially if you are using public transit to get around. Personally, I think you should take an hour or two to explore the capital, Victoria, then make sure to see at least one or two spots along the coast so you can experience Gozo’s beautiful scenery. If more time allows, add in a couple of other things but keep in mind that you may not get to see everything on this list in one day if you are relying on public transit, so pick and choose what sounds of the most interest to you and start from there.
Here’s what to do in Gozo in 1 Day:
Victoria (also known as Rabat) is the capital of Gozo and also where you will find the main bus station to connect you to other parts of the island. It’s pretty small so you can easily just spend a couple of hours here depending on what you want to see or do.
The Cittadella is the main attraction. It is free to go to and offers a look into the history of the island. There are a couple of museums and a church (some have fees to enter) that you can visit. Also, go up the bastion walls for some impressive views over Victoria and the island itself.
After (or before) the Cittadella, I recommend just taking some talk to walk about the streets. There are a few churches you can visit, lots of little boutique shops with local foods, jewellery, and other artisan wares.
Also, if you want to grab some food or drinks to take with you, it’s probably best to do it in Victoria before you head out to the other places I suggest.
Dwejra Bay: Azure Window (remains), Fungus Rock, Inland Sea
To see some of Gozo’s beautiful scenery head to Dwejra Bay. This is where the famous Azure Window used to be and while it (sadly) collapsed a few years ago, the area is still beautiful.
Make sure to wear decent shoes (flipflops aren’t ideal) as you will definitely want to walk along the coast here. Also within the Dwejra Bay area, you can find Fungus Rock, which makes for great photos, and the Inland Sea.
Between Victoria and Dwejra Bay is Ta’Pinu Basilica. It’s absolutely gorgeous and, since it’s set a little bit away from the closest town, offers pretty views. The Basilica as you see it today was built in the early 1900s and follows the neo-romantic style. It’s one of the best things to see in Gozo and one of the most important sites on the island.
If you are taking the local bus, you pass it and can get off here on the way to (or from) Dwejra Bay.
If you are looking to experience one of Gozo’s best beaches, then head to Ramla Beach. Located on the north-east of the island, Ramla Beach can be reached by bus (and obviously car). There are a couple of spots to get food but the beach area in unspoiled by any hotels or larger buildings. You can swim and snorkel here, though the ocean floor is rocky so be careful.
If you are a history lover, then you may want to make a stop at Ggantija. It’s a megalithic temple complex that is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. According to local legends, Ggantija was constructed by giants. You can get to Ggantija easiest by car, however, local buses do stop nearby as well.
Malta Tours to Gozo
Not convinced you want to tackle a Gozo day trip on your own? Don’t worry, there are a few options for Malta tours to Gozo as well that do all of the work for you. If the weather is nice, you can even go by boat!
Take a look at these Malta tours to Gozo:
Final Thoughts on a Day Trip to Gozo
Going to Gozo just for 1 day makes for a long and busy day with a lot of travel time, however, I absolutely think it’s worth it. My day trip to Gozo is one of my favourite memories of my time in Malta and, to be honest, I wish I had spent longer there. Especially since it’s an amazing scuba diving destination; I’ll definitely have to go back one day for that!
My top tip would be to get up early and go (take one of the earliest buses) so you can make sure to get a full day. Especially if you are going during the winter season when daylight hours are shorter like I did!
A Note on Travel Insurance in Malta
Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine twice before (once for damaged luggage, once because I developed a lung infection while traveling). While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance. With prices starting at $37 for 4 weeks, they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.