Exploring the rugged landscapes of Gozo, steeped in centuries-old historical past, can really feel akin to wandering the chic halls of a dwelling, respiration, out of doors museum.
However there’s nothing stuffy about this untouched island 25 minutes off the coast of Malta. You may simply as simply get a way of the vacation spot’s character and traditions by taking a second to pause in one among its many charming village squares – resembling these in Xaghra, Nadur, Gharb, Qala, Xewkija, Sannat and Ghajnsielem – to drink or dine whereas watching the hustle and bustle of island life move you by.
But there are ample grand examples, too, of Gozo’s wealthy heritage: for one, the Cittadella. The Outdated City of the island’s capital, Victoria, this hanging medieval walled metropolis has a cobweb of slim, winding streets to get misplaced in. Thought to have been settled from as early because the Neolithic interval, the realm is now filled with historic buildings, together with St George’s Basilica, a powerful Baroque church, and Independence Sq., the beating coronary heart of Victoria.
Elsewhere, the spectacular Ggantija Temples in Xaghra are a delegated UNESCO World Heritage Website. And for good purpose – this megalithic temple advanced from the Neolithic period is the oldest instance of the Megalithic Temples of Malta, and even predates the Egyptian pyramids.
Deeply rooted in faith, Gozitan tradition has given beginning to quite a few magnificent Roman Catholic church buildings. The Rotunda of Xewkija, which boasts a dome larger than that of St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Basilica of the Nationwide Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu (or simply “Ta’ Pinu” for brief), a shrine to the Virgin Mary constructed within the early twentieth century after she appeared to a farm hand in a imaginative and prescient, are each must-visits.
The scattering of 13 conventional windmills throughout Gozo – probably the most well-known of which is Ta’ Kola windmill in Xaghra, immaculately restored and now residence to a Heritage Malta Museum displaying how the miller’s dwelling quarters and workshop would have regarded when operational within the 1700s – additionally provides a flavour of how the Gozitan way of life has lengthy been rooted in simplicity.
Gozo’s tradition may be skilled first-hand, too, by the islanders’ sturdy relationship to long-held traditions. Native crafts and humanities listed below are much less a pastime, and extra a lifestyle. From lace making to glass blowing, from the Folklore Museum to the Ta’Dbiegi Craft Village, there’s one thing to go well with each style.
And there’s fairly actually one thing to go well with each style in terms of Gozitan delicacies. The island’s eating scene showcases hyper-local, natural and seasonal produce, with a farm-to-table ethos meaning a lot of what’s served up on every plate is sourced from Gozo itself.
Dwelling-grown olives produce the island’s superior olive oil; native wines may be sampled at Tal-Massar Vineyard; agritourism is on supply at Ta’ Mena with tastings and excursions of the household farm; and even the seasoning originates from Gozo’s famed pure salt pans. Gozo’s sheep cheese (or gbejniet) is an actual style of the island, nonetheless made the normal method, together with pastizzi (conventional Maltese pastries filled with a savoury filling) and ftira (a ring-shaped, leavened bread served up like a pizza or sandwich). Contemporary bread comes courtesy of Gozo’s quite a few village bakeries, whereas eating places vary from the normal to extra fashionable, upscale eateries. However regardless of the setting, dishes have authenticity at their coronary heart.
Consuming, ingesting and immersing your self in a vibrant historical past spanning the final 5,000 years is all nicely and good, however there’s no level in staying on an island if you happen to’re not going to take pleasure in its greatest asset: sandy seashores and hidden coves of crystal-clear waters in all places you flip. There’s no scarcity of scintillating spots from which to absorb the plentiful solar and benefit from the surrounding azure ocean, from the favored – Ramla il-Hamra, Hondoq ir-Rummien and Xlendi, famed for his or her magnificence – to the lesser-known gems – Wied il-Ghasri, San Blas, Ghar Qawqla, Dahlet Qorrot, Mgarr ix-Xini, Xwejni or the Dwejra Inland Sea, a hidden lagoon – the place these within the know can unwind removed from the madding crowd.
After months of lockdown, Gozo provides Brits the perfect summer season escape, with a mix of genuine tradition, bold-flavoured delicacies and sweeping seashores that’s exhausting to beat.
Gozo is accessible from Malta through a 25-minute ferry trip. Common direct flights normally run between the UK and Malta through the summer season, taking round three hours and quarter-hour one-way.
Go to visitgozo.com to seek out out extra and ebook your subsequent island escape, as soon as international journey is permitted.