Discover the delights of Gozo’s north coast – salt, sea and scenery
Gozo is only a small island but it’s still possible to miss out some of the best bits during your holiday here.
All visitors to Gozo arrive at Mġarr Harbour on the south side of the island and everyone will pass through the island’s capital, Victoria (Rabat) at some point as all roads meet here. The beautiful red sandy beaches of Ramla and San Blas Bay are on the east side of Gozo and on the west you have the stunning coastline of Dwerja Bay to explore.
But what about Gozo’s northern coast? We think if you’re planning a holiday on Gozo you should definitely make some time to explore the rugged countryside on the north of the island. As well as secluded valleys and inlets, you’ll find some of Gozo’s most popular diving spots on the island’s north shore, and there are hundreds of years of tradition to see at Gozo’s famous salt pans.
Walk on the wild side – explore north Gozo’s scenery
The Gozo Coastal Walk circumnavigates the island, offering 50km of walking in total. But you can choose to tackle it in various sections, taking your time to soak up great views of Gozo’s lovely countryside, to swim in a shallow inlet, and to chat to some of the friendly locals you might encounter along the way.
Section 3 of the walk is an easy 11km and takes you from the village of San Lawrenz across the top of the island and over to the bustling fishing port of Marsalforn. It should take around five hours to complete depending on how often you stop to admire the views or take a refreshment break. You can download a PDF of the walk here (see page 5).
Highlights of the walk include:
Weid il-Meilaħ – arch
After heading north from San Lawrenz and passing the village of Għarb, a yellow limestone path takes you to the northern coast. Here you can marvel at the amazing shapes that the wind has carved into the rock along the coast.
Head to the scenic Weid il-Meilaħ valley and cross the small bridge at the mouth of the gorge to admire the last remaining rock arch window on Gozo, following the collapse in 2017 of the iconic Azure Window on Gozo’s western coast. This is a great spot to get a good image for Instagram.
Thanks to a renovation project by ecoGozo, the area around the Meilah arch has been made more accessible and safer for visitors.
Continuing east along the coastal path, there are many caves and cliffs to explore until you come to a secluded valley which if you follow it towards the sea turns into the lovely Wied Il-Għasri gorge.
Stairs have been hewn out of the rock to give access to a little pebble beach. When the tide is in, you can watch the the waves surge down the gorge but it’s mostly peaceful and quiet here – ideal for a picnic and a swim.
Perhaps the best times to visit the Weid il-Għasri valley is in the winter and spring, As well as hiking, it’s possible to explore this area on mountain bikes. You can read about a cycling route that takes in this valley in our blog post “Explore the beauty of Gozo …”
Xwenji salt pans
The coastal walk continues eastwards from the Weid il-Għasri gorge and nearby you’ll come to one of Gozo’s most fascinating sights – the ancient salt pans near Xwejni Bay. If you visit Gozo in the summer you may be able to watch salt being harvested in the traditional way by one of the few Gozitan families who still ply their trade.
Comprising an extensive complex of shallow troughs and channels carved into the flat rock surface, the salt pans here have been used since Roman times to produce organic sea salt. Flanked by wave-like cliffs carved into strange shapes by the sea and wind, the salt pans are particularly picturesque at sunset.
Cave diving on Gozo’s northern coast
Gozo’s rocky northern coast has some of the most popular diving sites on the island, including San Dimitri Point, cave diving at Cathedral Cave and Reqqa Point, and the double arch in Xwejni Bay.
San Dimitri Point is at the most western location on Gozo. Legend has it that a small chapel fell into the sea here when the cliff collapsed and divers might still hear the bell ringing on the hour!
You won’t see the chapel but you will see plenty of fish including barracuda, groupers, rays and dentex. Divers enter the water from a boat anchored in 6 metres of deep water on a shallow reef before descending via a drop off to around 30 metres.
Accessed either by boat or via a 10-12 minute swim along Weid il-Ghasri, Cathedral Cave offers a safe place for inexperienced divers to try cave diving. The cave features a large domed air-filled vault where divers can surface and try out the acoustics. And a second hole lets in additional light creating a beautiful blue – perfect for some underwater photography.
Located between Weid il-Ghasri and the salt pans at Xwejni Bay, Reqqa Point is a rocky outcrop where divers can descend into a series of underwater caves.
This short video clip from one of Gozo’s main diving operators – St Andrew’s Divers Cove – should give you a taste of what you might see:
Bottleneck Cave: This cave is for experienced divers only, dropping down to 58 metres via a narrow vertical chimney. Once at the sandy bottom, divers can follow a narrow tunnel leading to the bottom of the cliff where they can enjoy a spectacular view looking up towards Reqqa Point.
Billingshurt Cave: Another challenging dive for experienced divers, this cavern is accessed via a 2 metre jump from shore in flat, calm conditions. Limited natural light means torches must be used to see the marine life, including sponges, shrimp and anemones. Average depth of the cave is around 40 metres.
Just 200 metres offshore in Xwejni Bay lies an unusual Double Arch that can be explored safely by divers of all abilities. A boat drops you off in water around 40 metres deep to examine this wonderful feature and the numerous fish and marine species to be found here, including colourful sponges and corals.
You can read more about diving in Malta in our blog “Plunging into Gozo’s gorgeous sea…” with all the things you need to know before you go diving, including a summary of the key dive sites.
So … the next time you join us for a well-earned holiday in Gozo remember to include the northern coast on your itinerary – we know you’ll enjoy it!
Ask us for help
Baron Holiday Homes is happy to organise car hire, tours of Gozo, and special activities for our guests. Just get in touch and we’ll tell you all you need to know about walks near to your rental property, special events in villages nearby, and other local information.