There’s a lot to love about the Maltese island of Gozo. Whereas the island of Malta has seen a great deal of development, Gozo remains vastly untouched. Look around Gozo and you don’t see apartment towers, but quaint little villages and stunning rural landscapes. What’s more, this serene countryside is peppered with remarkable geological features begging to be explored. Thanks to nearly year-round good weather and the island’s small size, sightseeing is almost always on the cards. All of this means that the beautiful island of Gozo presents perfect conditions for lacing up your walking shoes and going out for a hike. With plenty of towns and villages to base yourself in, here are 4 options for wonderful hikes on Gozo.
Gebel Ben Gorg Cliffs and Dwejra Bay
Before I get to this hike, I have to address what’s changed since I visited. When I visited Gozo in February the most popular sight in Gozo, the Azure Window, was still standing. This was a month before its unfortunate collapse. As the focal point of this hike, you obviously are unable no longer able to see it. However, it wasn’t the only attraction in the region and I still very much recommend this Gozo hike.
Setting out from the island’s main city of Victoria, you first head out to the west through the neighbourhoods of Kercem and Santa Lucija. Not before long, you’ll find yourself among the typical Maltese countryside, with stone fences and plenty of green about. Continue along the roadside until you near San Raflu Lake.
To walk along the Gebel Ben Gorg Cliffs, you have a choice of two trails, one by the cliffs edge and one higher up. Roughly 150 metres before you reach San Raflu Lake, there is a path down to the cliffs that will take you to the cliff trail. For the higher trail, simply turn off at the lake itself. From there it’s onto narrow trails through farmland, admiring the view to the Mediterranean.
Eventually the two trails converge on the remains of the ancient Wardija Punic temple. At the site there’s little context to its importance but it definitely looks primitive. What’s great is that from the temple, you can see right along Gozo’s west coast beyond the Azure Window. Note that you do have to climb over a few stones to reach the temple from the higher path, but also to continue on around the point.
Once you’ve head up the hill, things start to become a bit murky. Despite what the Gozo website says, I found no obvious path through to Dwejra Bay from there without trespassing on private property (If you can find the path it saves you 1 kilometre but looks to take you over a large hill). Now if you too can’t find the direct path, there is a track that will bring you back to the main road.
After not long on the road, turn off onto a minor road that will lead towards a stone quarry. At the first guard hut of the quarry, turn off to the north and follow the trail down to Dwejra Bay.
From Dwejra Bay, simply follow the trail along to Dwejra Tower and you can easily find your way to where the Azure Window once stood. Despite its loss, there are still some beautiful rocky coast there, not to mention the inland sea.
Once you’ve finished up at the Azure Window site, it’s time to make your way back. Simply follow the main road leading up the hill that heads into the San Lawrence countryside. As you climb up the hill, there’ll be a small road that will let you cut across to Triq Wied Junu Road, which you soon turn off to return back through Santa Lucija to Victoria.
Starting Point: Victoria
Time: 3 – 4 hours / 14 km
Difficulty: Mostly Easy (small obstructions, multiple trails)
Valley of Nadur and Ramla Bay
Definitely the simplest of these hikes on Gozo, the walk from Nadur to Ramla Bay is easy but nonetheless rewarding. The beach at Ramla Bay has to be the best beach that I came across in Malta hands down. Also, while I’m describing the walk from Nadur, you could also reach Ramla Bay from nearby Xaghra.
Starting from the centre of Nadur, head west until you find the main road leaving town which heads north. From this point onward, simply stick with the main road. Along the way there should be signs to Ramla Beach but they’re not really crucial.
As you walk along the main road, you’ll be treated with great views down and across the deep valley that separates Nadur and Xaghra. This is pure, unadulterated Gozo countryside, complete with staggered terraces lined with stone fences. If you’re looking for the rustic side to Malta, you’ll find it here. You’ll even come across the odd vineyard here.
The road will gradually lead you to walk down into the valley. Once at the bottom, you just head north towards the coast. The other direction is the road that runs up into Xaghra, the other starting point I mentioned. I should mention that walking isn’t the only way to see this part of the country, as you can also rent bicycles or even take a quad bike tour around Gozo.
Anyway, the road should soon bring you down to the vibrant sands of Ramla Beach. As the beach is a decent size, it’s a nice place to take off your shoes and put your feet in the sand. Of course if the weather is good and you have your swimming gear, you can go for a dip in the Mediterranean here. While nearly deserted in winter, I imagine it’s a different story in summer.
At either end of the beach there are trails that lead to scenic viewpoints overlooking the beach. The access you have on these trails will be weather dependent as the ones on the western-end had become thick mud and too treacherous when I visited in winter.
Once you’re finished with the beach and side trails, you simply turn around and retrace your steps. Unfortunately, this time it’s all up hill. If you don’t have the energy you can wait for the Gozo Hop-On Hop-Off Bus that will you take you back into Nadur, but it’s expensive for only one ride. Optional side detours from Ramla Bay include the viewpoint over the Calypso Cave and Tal-Mixta Cave, both which would likely add an hour to the hike.
Starting Point: Nadur
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours / 7 km
Xlendi Tower to the Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs
Visit Malta and you’re bound to see some stunning cliffs, especially if you head for Gozo’s south coast. This part of the island is probably the most underrated of Gozo, with its long stretches of jaw dropping cliffs. That the hiking trails run right by the cliffs’ edge make me wonder why it’s one of the most overlooked Gozo hikes.
Setting out once again from Victoria, you first head southwest out of the city to the small town of Xlendi. This walk along the roadside is really straightforward and well signposted. Beside the road you can look down into a rural valley with the odd rusty windmill, known as Wied Il-Xlendi. This gentle downhill walk brings you into the centre of Xlendi.
Unless you want a quick break in Xlendi, walk along the waterfront and follow the path past the restaurants to the cliffs to the south. The pedestrian path leads you to a nice viewpoint just outside of town, before taking you across an old stone bridge to Xlendi Tower. A typical Maltese watchtower, Xlendi Tower sits on a point with fantastic views across the bay to imposing cliffs to the west.
After you’ve done admiring the view up the coastline, take the trails heading southeast parallel to the cliffs edge. While they start inland a bit, you’ll soon find yourself right by the edge of the Sanap Cliffs walking along with spectacular views. Although it doesn’t feel like you climb up much, there will soon be a big drop to the sea below. From here, simply follow the cliff trail and admire the jaw dropping views as you go.
Eventually the trail will flatten out and bring you to the next set of cliffs, the Ta’ Cenc Cliffs. As if it was even possible, you seem to be able to get even closer to the edge. You might notice your pace drops off as you let the view distract you. Nevermind the view to the other side of you, as you pass several dairy farms. Much less exciting!
If you’re still feeling adventurous you can continue along the cliffs, but you’ll soon notice you’re close to a road and can begin to make your way back. Just pop over the small fence and the country lane will bring you into nearby Sannat town. From there, just keep following the road north back into Victoria.
Starting Point: Victoria
Time: 2 – 3 hours / 10 km
Difficulty: Mostly Easy (Narrow trails)
Countryside of Zebbug to Wied Il-Ghasri
Throughout my time there, this may well be my favourite of my hikes on Gozo. Full of beautiful natural scenery, this hike was fantastic given how spur of the moment it was. Taking you through some of the island’s best spots, it’s hard to believe how much you can see in just a few hours.
From the coastal town of Marsalforn, follow the country road west out of town into the countryside. Walking along the country lanes, you can admire the giant clusters of cacti sporting from the old stone walls.
After a while you’ll turn off to the right down a minor road into the valley, and cross a bridge over the small stream at the bottom of the valley. There’s some stunning views up the valley, even if it gets a bit steep as you near town. As you walk up the other side into town of Zebbug, make sure to look back at the magnificent view behind you.
Once you’ve entered Zebbug town, take the main road northwest out of town, down towards the coast. This road may have the longest views I found on Gozo, going as far as the distant Gordon Lighthouse. Yet again, you’ll find yourself among increasingly rural surrounds.
The walk down from Zebbug is worth it once you get down to the coast. Take the small track off the main road to Wied Il-Ghasri gorge. This gorge runs right off the sea and when the waves are high, they surge down the gorge to a mighty roar. Walking along the gorge’s edge, you reach the ancient salt pans that are carved into the coast. You can also watch the waves of the Mediterranean crash against the cliffs here.
Once you’ve finished watching the sea, make your way back to the road that hugs the coast. As you journey back to Marsalforn, you’re treated to some striking stretches of the Xwejni Coast. Here you can also find the traditional Xwejni Salt Pans between the little coves that run back into Marsalforn. The coast is particularly great at sunset with the vivid dusk sky stretching to the horizon. Soon, you’ll find yourself re-entering Marsalforn.
Starting Point: Marsalforn
Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours / 7 km
Difficulty: Moderately Easy (Hills)
- Bring food/water and make other general hiking preparations and precautions;
- Have a look at maps beforehand, and consult the Gozo website which while mostly helpful had a few inaccuracies;
- Make sure to take sunscreen, even in winter;
- Don’t forget your camera!
Have you ventured to Malta and done any of these Gozo hikes? Are there other day hikes on Gozo you’d recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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