GOZO WILL HAVE YOU CLIMBING UP THE (CLIFF) WALL!
Rock climbing is becoming increasingly popular in Gozo thanks to the island’s diverse and rugged terrain, which includes limestone sea cliffs, caves, and inland crags.
And our wonderful climate has also helped put Gozo on the rock climbing map as climbing enthusiasts can climb just about all year round thanks to our temperate spring and autumn, and mild winters. Even in the heat of summer, locals and climbing visitors alike spend time deep water soloing – for the uninitiated, that’s dropping into the sea after completing a free-climb on a sea cliff or one of Gozo’s sea caves!
Another important factor in raising Gozo’s profile in the rock climbing world is British rock climbing expert Stevie Haston (and Gozo resident) who has helped develop some exciting routes on the island. One of these is the legendary King of Kings – part of the Underworld sea cave – which at 55 metres long, is one of the longest roof climbing routes in the world and is reached after a 60-metre abseil down a cliff.
Safe and fun for beginners
But don’t worry, although Gozo has many challenging climbs to offer the experienced climber, you don’t have to be an expert climber to enjoy rock climbing on the island – we also have a range of climbs suited for beginners, young people, and those who wish to put their indoor climbing skills to the test.
And there are several specialist companies that offer safe, and fun guided climbing activities for holidaymakers. Baron Holiday Homes is very happy to put you in touch with trusted organisations if you wish to try your hand at rock climbing, abseiling, or even bouldering during your stay on Gozo.
You probably know that abseiling involves descending a rock face using a doubled rope coiled round the body. But you may not have heard of bouldering, which involves climbing on short, low routes (or even large boulders) without the use of a safety rope – instead, if you fall, protection is provided by a cushioned crash mat. Why not try bouldering at Gozo’s indoor climbing wall located in the Gozo Sports Complex in Victoria before testing your skills outside?
Gozo Climbing Association
There are already more than 350 recognised climbing routes on Gozo, with around 60 of these developed as bolted sports climbs by the Gozo Climbing Association (GCA), providing plenty of options for all climbing abilities and experience.
The GCA was founded in 2004 by local climbers and is responsible for developing new climbing routes on the island and overseeing training and standards – including the development of Gozo’s indoor climbing walls.
One of the GCA’s important roles is to work closely with landowners, local communities and local government to ensure climbers have access to areas such as the World Heritage Area at Dwerja Bay and the proposed nature reserve at Mgarr-Ix-Xini. They also work hard to ensure climbers visiting these areas climb in a responsible, eco-sensitive way.
The GCA has produced a handy booklet in pdf form called Gozo: The Next climbing Destination, which has some useful information about suggested climbs on the island.
Diverse range of climbing experiences on Gozo
New climbing routes are being developed all the time on the island but with more than 350 to choose from already, keen rock climbers are well catered for on Gozo.
Rock climbing as a sport has its own jargon and technical terms but it also has a tradition of giving quirky names to climbs and routes, often reflecting the difficulties of the climb, or the personal preferences of the first person to work out the route. Here’s a few to give you an idea:
- The King of Kings climb at Underworld on Gozo’s north west coast was so named by Stevie Haston as he first climbed it on an Easter Sunday.
- Weid il-Mielah on the northern coast features around 40 climbing routes. Two of the most popular are called Gozo Gozo Gone and 30 minutes to Sunset.
- Nadur, in the south east of Gozo, is famous for the Tower of Power crag which has nearly 50 climbing routes, including A Tale of Two Budgies and Rhino Chaser.
- On Gozo’s south west coast the inland crag at Xlendi Valley/Munxar has more than 20 climbs including Nerve Breaker and Rock DJ.
- At Dwerja on Gozo’s iconic west coast you’ll find around 100 climbs in total on the coastal slabs above the Inland Sea. You can even scale part of the famous Azure Window. Sample climb names here include Gozo Canute, Jeeves , and Wooster.
- A large promontory of limestone rock at Mgarr-Ix-Xini bay on Gozo’s south coast features more than 60 climbs including Moral Obligations and Didi’s First.
- Gozo’s magnificent sea cliffs at Ta Cenc on the south east of the island features some of the longest slab climbs in the Maltese Islands, including one 90-metre climb called The Odyssey.
So – next time you holiday on Gozo why not try rock climbing for a fun experience?
We also found some useful resources for you with more information on the best climbs:
Ask us for help
Baron Holiday Homes is happy to organise car hire, tours of Gozo, and special activities for our guests, including connecting you with trusted partner organisatiosn for specialist activities such as rock climbing on Gozo. Just get in touch and we’ll tell you all you need to know about what’s available.