Travelling to Gozo, Getting there, Culture and Important Information
Location and getting here
Gozo is the second island of the Maltese Islands, known as its sister island. It is smaller in size, considerably quieter in its pace of lifestyle and in some ways indicates a slower change over time. A mere area of 14 x 7 km of land, the island is located to the north-west of Malta and only 5km of sea divide the two islands.
Reaching the island
There is no airport on Gozo, and an inactive heliport so the only way to reach the island is via the very efficient Gozo Channel Service. Ferry boats span the waters across from Malta to Gozo and back with trips rouhly every 30 minutes and every 15 minutes at peak hours. The cross-over only takes some 25 minutes. You will still need to arm yourself with a valid passport or Identification Card (in the case of EU citizens) and although this will not be asked for to board the boat, you will require it in case of emergency or required assistance while on Gozo. Refer to 'Travelling to Malta' [ add link] for specified requirements to travel to Malta.
Gozo's language remains the same as Malta's - Maltese. This is a multilingual island, with Maltese and English being co-official languages spoken by the vast majority of Maltese nationals (all Gozitans are Maltese nationals but are proud to be Gozitans as well). A high percentage of locals also speaks Italian, with a minority knowing French or German. English is the de facto business language, and conversations, phone calls, emails and other forms of communication can be conducted in English. This means that making bookings over the phone or via email is very easy. In the smaller villages dialect is still spoken and that will explain the differently pronounced words.
Important to know
Gozo's currency remains the Euro. Many shops, restaurants, hotels and bars accept international debit and credit cards, although a minimum transaction limit of around five Euros is usually applied. In popular areas small shops and grocery stores also cards but the quieter village shops will generally only accept cash or may only accept cards for large transactions. For ease of use and conveniency, ATMs are found in most town squares but not in all villages, so it is always advisable to carry cash especially on your trip to Gozo.
Is it Expensive?
Malta and Gozo are relatively cheap when compared to neighbouring European countries. A budget of up to 60 Euros a day will get you basic accomodation, simple yet good meals and access to public transport. For up to a 100 Euros daily you can get mid-range accomodation and meals, apart from public transport and some museum fees. For more than a 100 Euros one a day, you can budget for high-end hotels, upper-end restaurants and more expensive activities.
Should I feel Safe here?
Gozo is generally a very safe country, with low levels of crimes. While petty thefts and pickpocketing have risen over the years, they are still very uncommon, and you can feel safe walking the streets at any hour, even during evenings and night-time, even if you are a female. Muggings are relatively rare and reported crime rates in 2013 were at the same level as in 2003. That said, it is always recommended to get basic travel insurance covering such unlikely events.
Renting a car, taking the bus, cycling, walking or rambling - Gozo's roads are quieter, slower and calmer than Malta's. However be aware that whilst it is easy to travel from one village to another, this is the island of the three hills and makes for pretty hilly terrain and once out of the village/town cores, you're pretty much in open country. If you're on a whirlwind visit, hop-on-hop-off buses are great ways to see it all in one day.
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