Baron Gozo Blog

Explore the beauty of Gozo with our three fun mountain bike trails

Posted on 4th January 2018 by

Posted in Activity , Adventure , Cycling , Things to Do

Cycling is one of the best ways to get around Gozo, enabling you to get off the beaten track and explore the island’s many attractions along winding country roads, ancient village streets, and even rugged cliff-top trails.

The beauty of being on a mountain bike is that you can explore parts of Gozo that cars can’t reach and you can go at your own pace.

Although you can enjoy cycling on Gozo all year around, you may want to avoid the very hottest months of July and August. Instead we recommend that you consider a cycling tour of Gozo in the milder winter months (October to May) when the island is at its greenest and you can enjoy scenic views of colourful wild flowers and scented herbs.

Gozo may be a small island but it is quite hilly so you need to have some level of fitness before considering a cycling tour. But the good news is that there are cycling routes to suit all ages and abilities.

This video clip made by videographer Chris Davies serves as a great introduction to mountain biking on Gozo.

 

 

We can help with bike hire and tours

Baron Holiday Homes is happy to organise mountain bike rentals for our guests via trusted local partners. We can organise the bikes to be delivered to your rental property and you will be measured to ensure you get the right sized bike to suit your needs. Bike rentals normally provide helmets, locks, puncture repair kits, and panniers.

Bikes can be hired on a daily basis and if you’re intending to go on a self-guided trip, we recommend that you bring water and a mobile phone in case you get into difficulty or get lost.

Alternatively, if you wish to have a guide we can organise that too. If you book a full day then lunch can be organised at a local farmhouse along the way where you can take a break and enjoy some traditional Gozo dishes including home-made ravjul (ravioli), rabbit stew and cheese pie.

 

Our three suggested mountain bike routes for Gozo

Our blog post Cycling – A Great way To See Gozo gives you an introduction to what you can expect. In this blog post we look in a bit more detail at three suggested mountain bike trails which have been put together by Baron Holiday Homes’ Property Manager and keen cyclist, Donald Said.

Cycling in Gozo
Our property manager Donald Said with Domenic Cutajar during one of their cycling trips round the island.

The trails take you through picturesque countryside, rugged tracks and go past many of Gozo’s key attractions.

Donald has developed an easy, medium and challenging route so there is a route to suit most cycling abilities.

 

Mountain bike trail 1 – Marsalforn to Wied Il-Ghasri to Marslaforn (difficulty level: easy/casual)

Name of Route on Strava: Marsalforn centre to Wied L-Ghasri and back (click here for direct link to route)

Distance: 7.4km

Elevation gain: 94m

Estimated time (non-stop): Approx. 30 minutes

Description: A mostly flat route taking you through the town of Marsalforn and along the coast to the iconic salt pans and then on the the lovely Ghasri Valley and then back again

 

This route starts outside the bike hire shop in Marsalforn. Simply follow the harbour road (Triq il Port) westwards and then turn right at Ristorante il Gambero to head north on Triq Santa Maria. This route hugs the coast and bends westwards. You turn right at Qbajjar Bay Beach onto Triq ix-Xwenji. If you want to take a short detour for a panoramic view, then about 150 metres along this road there is a right hand turn onto Triq iI Batterija, which takes you to the scenic lookout at Qolla I-Bajda.

Continue on Triq ix-Xwenji, which skirts Xwenji Bay before turning north west. The road will take you past the amazing 350-year-old chequerboard of rock-cut saltpans on the shore, where Gozitans have been harvesting sea salt for generations. Stay on this road, which becomes Triq Is Saghtrija, and if you take a right turn you can head out towards Reqqa Point, the most northerly promontory on Gozo and a popular diving destination.

Further west along Triq Is Saghtrija you’ll pass signs for Billinsghurst Cavern, another popular diving spot. The route then turns south west towards the start of the beautiful Ghasri Valley (Wied l-Għasri). At this point you can choose to head back to Marsalforn, or   continue to explore the valley.

 

Mountain bike trail 2 – Victoria to Victoria (difficulty level: medium)

Name of route on Strava: Victoria to Victoria medium difficulty MTB trail (click here for direct link to route)

Distance: 24.4km

Elevation gain: 374m

Estimated time (non-stop): 1 – 1.5 hours, depending on fitness

Description: A mix of flats and hills, beautiful scenery along the west and north part of the coast

Start and Finish point: Bus Terminus, Triq Taht Putirjal, Victoria

 

You begin the trail by heading west on Triq Qasam San Gorg towards Santa Lucija and its famous man-made pond St Raphael Lake (L-Ghadira ta san Raflu). The scenery here is breath-taking along the high perched cliffs looking over the Mediterranean Sea. This lovely village is surrounded by three hills and from here you head south and west in a loop on Triq ta Spiteri.

You continue to head northwards toward the picturesque village of San Lawrenz, just inland from Gozo’s stunning western coastline at Dwerja Bay. Here the trail turns eastwards and takes you through hilly countryside towards San Dimitri Chapel and the valley of Wied il-Mielah.

Cycling-in-Gozo-Beaches

The trail then follows the undulating contours of the northern part of Gozo until you reach the stunning Ghasri Valley (Wied l-Għasri). You get the chance to really appreciate the valley as you first head south up one side of the valley, then north along the other side.

From here you head eastwards skirting the coast. Triq ix-Xwenji takes you just south of the ancient salt pans dug out of the rocks, where sea salt is still harvested. The road then heads south-east towards Xwejni Bay and Qbajjar. From here you take Triq Santa Maria towards the bustling fishing village of Marsalforn, following the harbour road.

From Marsalforn you head south through a pretty valley called Wied ta Grezzju eventually heading on a trail westwards that comes out at a junction with Triq is-Saghtar. Here head south on Triq il-Kapuccini and continue heading south following a 0.6km descent over 44 metres as you come to the end of this road. You then continue south on Triq Putirjal into Victoria itself and return to the Bus Terminal.

 

Mountain bike trail 3 – Għajnsielem to Għajnsielem (difficulty level: challenging)

Name of route on Strava: Gozo Hellfire – at your own risk! (click here for direct link to route)

Distance: 52.9km

Elevation gain: 2,010m

Estimated time (non-stop): Just over 3.5 hours, depending on fitness

Description: Not for the faint-hearted. A route that circumnavigates Gozo and includes many challenging ascents and descents.

 

 

This route starts at the small park called Pjazzetta ta 10 Dicembru, next to Our Lady of Loretto church. Head south east through Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem park (where the live nativity is acted out every Christmas) towards the main Mgarr road (Triq Imgarr), where you turn right.

This is the first major descent and takes you down towards the coast. Follow the coastal path which takes you around the steep-sided secluded bay of Mġarr ix-Xini, which was the location for the Brad Pitt and Angelina film By The Sea in 2015. The path then continues to hug the coastline and at about the 6km mark you will begin the first really steep ascent to 141m followed by an incredibly sharp descent over just 1km down to the Ta’ Seguna Cliffs.

The path continues along the coast westwards and you follow line of the cliffs heading towards Xlendi Bay. From Xlendi you start a 5.9km uphill section towards Santa Lucija. The path twists and turns to the outskirts of Kerċem, taking you through the lush valley of Weid il-Lunzjata. You then descend towards the lookout at Wardija Point before another steep climb and descend as you head north along the coast towards Dwerja Bay, and skirting around The Inland Sea.

The path continues to hug the coast northwards. The route provides plenty of climbs and descents as it follows the wild and hilly north coast eastwards. Highlights of this section include the scenic valleys of Wied il-Mielah and Wied l-Għasri and, further east, the saltpans at Xwejni Bay.

The route continues to head eastwards along the coast to Marsalforn. From here, take Marsalforn Road heading south out of the village and here you will face the first of the final three climbing sections of this mountain bike route. Near the top of the first climb you need to stay left on Tal-Masri Road which then descends towards the lovely red-sand beach at Ramla Bay. Here, you follow Ramla Road uphill and keep heading east on Triq ta Xurdin towards the village of Nadur and the fertile San Blas Valley.

cycling gozo countryside
Through Gozo’s lush countryside

 

The path then takes a sharp right and begins the next ascent heading south on Triq ir-Ramla-Hamra before briefly descending and then climbing once more on Dahla ta’ San Blas. The descent begins on Triq ir- Rihan which takes you through lush scenery and boulders down to the fishing inlet of Daħlet Qorrot. From here the path begins to ascend once again and turns south west along a series of paths through typical Mediterranean garrigue scenery. At the outskirts of the village of Qala, the path heads south east and the final major descent of the route heads south to the pretty cove at Ħondoq ir-Rummien.

The last leg of the route then follows the coast westwards, skirting Mgarr Harbour before ascending gently northwards to Għajnsielem – and a well-earned rest!

If you decide to try out any (or all) of our suggested mountain bike routes on Gozo – please remember to let us know how you get on. We’d love to hear from you and see any photos you might take along the way. You can share them with us on our Facebook Page.

Ask us for help

Baron Holiday Homes is happy to organise mountain bike rentals and tours of Gozo, and special activities for our guests. Just get in touch and we’ll tell you all you need to know about what’s available.

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