One of the best ways to experience Gozo’s unique culture and traditional way of life is to explore the island’s villages.
Explore the Island’s Villages
Why not take some time to wander through ancient alleyways, buy some delicious fresh bread and ftira, from a local bakery, and then pause for a coffee or cool drink at a bar in the main village square? And don’t forget to visit the often impressive parish church – the hub of village life here in Gozo.
Here are a few villages to put on your ‘must visit’ list:
With wonderful views of nearby Comino and Malta, Qala is the easternmost village in Gozo and boasts fabulous views over the sea to Comino and Malta. The coastline here is mostly rocky except for the beautiful sandy beach of Hondoq ir-Rummien in a sheltered inlet. Along the coast you’ll find interesting caves such as Għar Minka, and the defensive battery of Ras il-Qala, built by the Knights of St John.
Għarb is the oldest settlement on Gozo, dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. It’s on the western side of the island, surrounded by lush green fields and pastures. Here you’ll find the Ta’ Dbiegi Craft Village, where you can watch local artisans producing pottery, glass, and hand woven lace. There’s also a village museum, which provides an insight into traditional village life. However, perhaps the most famous attraction is the imposing basilica of Ta’ Pinu, which sits in the middle of open countryside on the outskirts of the village.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, to give it its full name, was built between 1920 and 1931 and incorporates the remains of an earlier, 16th century chapel behind the altar. Opposite the church you’ll find a series of 14 marble statues, representing the Way of the Cross, ascending Għammar Hill.
The quiet village of Sannat is home to the stunning Ta’ Cenc Cliffs – an important bird area, home to thousands of shearwaters during the breeding season. The cliffs tower 143 metres (470 feet) above sea level and offer wonderful views. The area is also known for its variety of wild plants. History lovers will like to explore the prehistoric remains here, including Neolithic cart ruts, three dolmens (burial mounds), and the L-Imramma Temple, comprising an oval court with a series of rooms attached.
The village of Nadur lies on a hill in eastern Gozo and has wonderful views over fertile countryside and towards the sea. Like many Gozitan villages, its skyline is dominated by a fine Baroque church, this one dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Each year on 29 June, the feast of the two saints (also called L-Imnarja) is celebrated. Those interested in history may wish to visit the privately owned Kelinu Grima Maritime Museum, located just off the main square. If you’re lucky enough to be in Gozo at the end of January/early February, Nadur’s famous Spontaneous Carnival is a must.