Malta – the Jewel of the Mediterranean Sea (2)


If you find yourself in Malta, it would be a shame not to take a ferryboat to visit Gozo island and, if you fancy swimming and snorkeling, also Comino.

You may think Malta is small and you can get very quickly from one place to the other, but wait to see Gozo. Once you arrive on the island, it will take you less than half an hour to reach the opposite side of it. But although the island is tiny, you can spend at least one day there, as it offers many beautiful spots.

Sanap Cliffs

After arriving on Gozo Island, we headed directly to Sanap Cliffs. We were less than 2 km away from the cliffs, when the road got narrower and with more dirt than asphalt, so we parked the car on the side of the road and continued by foot.

Sanap Clifs on Gozo island, Malta

Sanap Cliffs on Gozo Island, Malta

Along the cliffs, there is a paved walk-way that will lead you to the most breathtaking view you will see in Malta. Although we saw Dingli Cliffs only a couple of hours before, we were even more impressed by the superb view from these cliffs, which are said to be the best hidden secret spot of the island.

Walkway route at Sanap Clifs on Gozo Island, Malta

Walkway route at Sanap Cliffs on Gozo Island, Malta

Azure Window and Dwejra Bay

I am sure that you’ve heard of Malta’s world famous rock arch, Azure Window, which was featured in Game of Thrones and The Count of Monte Cristo. Well, unfortunately, since the beginning of March this stupendous landmark no longer exists. During a heavy storm, the limestone arch collapsed into the sea and was gone forever.

Azure Window before March 2017 - picture by Adrian Cinca

Azure Window before March 2017 – picture by Adrian Cinca

Azure Window is gone since March 2017

Azure Window is gone since March 2017

This happened 2 weeks before we visited Malta, so you can imagine how sad we were when we realized that we wouldn’t get the chance to see the arch. When you hear things like this, you tell yourself that you should not postpone anything in life. If you feel like visiting a place, book the flight tickets now. Don’t tell yourself that maybe you could use the money or vacation days in a better way. If travelling makes you happy, then there is no better use for your time or money then spending them on the things you love. And this is valid for every single thing you want to do. There is a say   “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”, because you never know what tomorrow brings.

But let’s get back to Azure Window. Although we went there to see the place where the arch stood, we were surprised to see that Dwejra Bay still has things to offer. The dramatic coastal formations with sea spilling over the rocks, the Blue Hole, which is said to be a diver’s paradise and the Fungus Rock, are the other attractions that wait for you near the place where Azure Window proudly stood.

Sunset at Dwejra Bay nearby Azure Window on Gozo Island, Malta

Sunset at Dwejra Bay nearby Azure Window on Gozo Island, Malta

I have to admit that I was pretty impressed by those strange formations. I do not know exactly how were they formed, but I imagine the surface of the Moon looks exactly like this.

Sunset at Dwejra Bay nearby Azure Window on Gozo Island, Malta

Sunset at Dwejra Bay nearby Azure Window on Gozo Island, Malta

Right before sunset, we found a place on the rocks and enjoyed the superb view of the sun setting into the sea and of the blazing sky.

Sunset at Dwejra Bay nearby Azure Window on Gozo Island, Malta

Sunset at Dwejra Bay nearby Azure Window on Gozo Island, Malta

Victoria and the Citadel

As we like to joke, in Gozo all roads take you to Victoria. The city is located in the middle of the island and all the main roads start/end there, so if you want to go, for example, from Gozo Ferry Terminal to Sanap Cliffs, you will have to cross Victoria; to continue from the cliffs to Azure Window, you have once again to return to Victoria and traverse the city.

But Victoria is much more than just the place from where you can begin your wandering on Gozo Island. The main attraction of Gozo’s capital city is the Citadel, a fortress strategically built on top of a hill.

Victoria Citadel, Gozo Island, Malta

Victoria Citadel, Gozo Island, Malta

In the last couple of years, the Citadel is undergoing major rehabilitation and one project consisted of the conversion of two water reservoirs into a visitors’ center, which is already opened to the public. It is located near the entrance to the Citadel and I recommend you to visit it, as it is very informative. We took a look inside the center, where we got an insight into the history of the fortress and saw an interesting movie about the hero of Gozo, Bernardo Dupuo, who died fighting against the Ottomans.

Victoria Citadel tourist info center, Gozo Island, Malta

Victoria Citadel tourist info center, Gozo Island, Malta

After leaving the visitors’ center, as we entered the Citadel, we were greeted by the imposing Gozo Cathedral and the two bronze statues of former popes, Pius IX and John Paul II who have themselves also visited Gozo.

Image Malta Gozo Cathedral

Gozo Cathedral in Victoria, with the statues of the 2 Popes

Once we visited the cathedral, we decided to get lost in the maze of streets and walk along the towering fort walls for a 360 degree panorama of Gozo.

Rural Gozo Island seen from Victoria Citadel

Rural Gozo Island seen from Victoria Citadel

We liked the Citadel so much, that we wanted to see it both on day light and in the evening and we weren’t disappointed at all. If throughout the day, the walled city is bustling with people, after dusk it is very calm and the views are simply stunning.

Victoria Citadel, Gozo Island, Malta by night

Victoria Citadel, Gozo Island, Malta by night

Churches

Malta is a very religious country and its churches are proof of this fact. It is said that Malta and Gozo have enough churches to visit a different one every day of the year. Although there are many churches also on the main island, I would say that the ones from Gozo are more impressive. They are usually built on the top of a hill and are visible from miles away, so almost from every place you will find yourself, you will see at least one church.

View from Victoria Citadel to Xewkija Rotunda chruch on Gozo Island, Malta

View from Victoria Citadel to Xewkija Rotunda chruch on Gozo Island, Malta

Sister islands

After seeing both Malta and Gozo, I have the impression that these two islands truly are like sisters: so much alike, but in the same time very different. In terms of attractions, I would say that the Citadel of Gozo resembles Mdina, the Azure Window was comparable with Blue Grotto and Sanap Cliffs are almost a copy of Dingli Cliffs, so sometimes you have the feeling of a déjà vu. On the other hand, they couldn’t be more different, as Malta fancies nightlife and parties, whereas Gozo is much more laid back and rural.

Sanap Clifs on Gozo Island, Malta

Sanap Cliffs on Gozo Island look very similar to Dingli Cliffs on Malta Island

Comino

As we visited Malta in March, the weather was not ideal for water related activities, so we decided to skip Comino this time. But from the photos I’ve seen, Blue Lagoon is a slice of paradise for those who love to sunbath or swim and totally deserves a visit.

Comino Island, Malta

Comino Island seen from the Malta – Gozo ferry

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