Though separated from Malta, the main island, one must travel to Gozo. Gozo (natively known as Ghawdex) is only 14.5km long and 8km wide and is distinctly different from Malta. Gozo provides a tranquil haven as it is more rural and is dotted with tiny villages, ideal for people searching for a quiet vacation or searching for Malta property for sale in Gozo to retire.
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 14.5 x 8 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
Gozo has no airport and an inactive heliport, thus the only method to get to the island is via the Gozo Channel Service, which is quite efficient. Ferries run every 30 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes during off-peak hours, crossing the seas from Malta to Gozo and back. It simply takes around 25 minutes to cross the border.
Although you will not be asked for a valid passport or identification card (in the case of EU nationals) to board the boat, you will need it in the event of an emergency or if you want help while on Gozo. For specific criteria see ‘Travelling 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.
Read more about other guides about Gozo and Malta.
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