Last updated on May 24, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Malta

Gozo day trip or Gozo in 2 days?

If you are looking for a quick answer, then, yes, you can do a day trip of Gozo to visit most of the iconic places.

The long answer, and the one I usually suggest, is, however, to spend at least 1 night on the island.

It would be such a pity to make it to Malta for 5 or more days and not include Gozo as part of your trip.

It may seem a small island but it hides so many little gems, including plenty of historical sites that date back to 3,500BC

In this guide, you will find 2 possible itineraries that would work great for either a Gozo day trip or an extended stay of two days.

But let’s move to the juicy stuff.

Gozo day trip itinerary

This is the quickest way to see the island and it will give you a good overview of the most iconic spots of Gozo

The starting point of these full day trips is usually Valletta, St Julian’s, Sliema, St Paul’s Bay or the Gozo Harbour itself.

How to organise a day trip from Malta

Having just one day in Gozo, I recommend either joining a guided tour or renting a car in Malta and explore the island by youself.

You can also take public buses to go around, but the transport network is very centric to Victoria, making any trip lasting much longer than it should.

If you decide to rent a car, I suggest booking your vehicle on DiscoverCars, an aggregator that search multiple rental companies providing the best deal (read the cheapest).

Rent a car

I recommend taking the full insurance, because the streets can be quite narrow and minor incidents may happen.

The other possibility for a Gozo full day trip is to join an organised tour. There are three options:

  • the charming way: catch the tuk tuk, either on a group or on a customised trip. You can see more of this experience in my video below. I loved my time, and I got to know so many things from the driver too, so knowledgeable. I am contemplating about moving to Malta and he was also able to answer so many questions unrelated to the trip itself! You can read my full review here.
  • the adventurous way: join a quad bike tour, a fun way to spend the day visiting the best places of the island with plenty of fun. You can either decide to drive on your own or with a passenger.
  • the essential way: join a jeep safari. This is the safest of all the options, and probably the best if you visit in winter time. It works so well if you are travelling with kids or with a bunch of friends that want to share the same vehicle.

Tuk tuk   Quad bike    Jeep Safari

The great advantage of the organised trips is that you get also a tour guide that will take you to the amazing places and will give you a bit of a background.

Getting around Malta with a tuk-tuk
Getting around Malta with a tuk-tuk tour

Most beautiful places to visit on a Gozo day trip on your own

If you join a full day tour, you will have to stick with the program that usually includes most of the best things to do, listed below.

If you rent a car, however, you can be more flexible and you will be able to see most, if not all, of the sites described below

You can see all the places described in this post in the video on the 2 days in Gozo Island section

Rotunda St. John Baptist Church

The Rotunda St. John Baptist Church is located in a picturesque town called Xewkija, between the Gozo harbour and Victoria.

There are two great reasons you should stop here, in fact, making it the first stop of your itinerary

First, you will be able to take the lift and climb to the top of the bell tower, something that does not happen every day, isn’t it?

Moreover, the view from the top is absolutely stunning, and it will put the island into a new perspective.

Second, the church itself is so beautiful.

The huge dome is the third highest unsupported structure in the world, so imposing

Although the church may seem old, it is actually only 50 years old.

It was built with the help and money of the locals on top of the old chapel that was dismantled and re-mounted on the side of the Rotunda.

You have access to both and although there is no entrance fee, a donation is always welcome.

Estimated time on site: 20 minutes, or 40 if you decide to go on top of the bell tower

View from the top of the Rotunda St John Baptist Church
View from the top of the Rotunda St John Baptist Church

Sanap Cliffs

Outrageously impressive, this is probably the best way to describe the Sanap Cliffs.

You can walk along the cliff, but it is not suggested to get too close to the edge, especially on windy days.

I was myself there on a windy day and sometime you get so powerful gusts that they almost become scary.

The summer months usually don’t have strong winds.

Estimated time on site: 1 hour

Xlendi Bay Beach

This is a long and narrow bay with a beach at the bottom end and the small town of Xlendi on the back.

The size of the beach is very small, however, the local council has done a great job of redeveloping the eastern side of the bay.

New sun terraces have been added as well as ladders to go in and come out from the water, practically making the bay into a huge swimming pool.

Estimated time on site: 1 hour for a swim or 20 minutes for a few photos and a walk

Sanap Cliffs
Sanap Cliffs

Limestone quarry

The limestone quarry was introduced to me by the tuk-tuk driver, Jeffrey, that we had on my last trip to Gozo and Malta.

The limestone is the characteristic type of yellowish rock used to build most of the old buildings and still widely used today in the country

Its great advantage is that it does not emanate the heat, something that is typical of the bricks and most of the modern building materials.

The Egyptians used it (although a different type) to build the pyramids, for example.

And when you see the quarry from the top, it is like stepping back to the pharaoh’s era when the slaves were preparing the limestone to build the pharaoh’s tombs.

They surely use different tools to cut the limestone today, but the dust and characteristic squared cut are still there.

Very fascinating.

The quarry is on the road to the Dwejra Bay and it’s hidden by a wall when driving on the road.

You can stop on this point and walk to a sort of natural balcony where you will have the entire view of it.

Estimated time on site: 10 minutes for a few photos

Dwejra Bay

This is one of the most popular destinations in Gozo Island.

Most of its popularity is because of the Game of Thrones series, that was partially filmed here (the first episodes)

The Dwejra Bay is a small lagoon, or inland sea, with characteristic shacks/huts and colourful doors where the boats are usually parked.

The lagoon is connected to the sea through a cave, which makes this place pretty unique.

This is also a safe spot to have a swim and spend some time relaxing with a drink.

You can also join a private boat tour, at an extra cost, that will take you along the coast in the open sea to see also what is left of the famous azure window, not much I must say, as it almost completely collapsed in 2017.

Overall, it is a unique scenic place that should not me missed. 

You can also walk along the coast to see Fungus Rock, a tiny rock islet, famous for it medical mushrooms.

Estimated time on site: between 30 minutes (walk and photos) and 2 hours (private boat trip, swim and relaxing time)

Wied il-Ghasri Gorge
Wied il-Ghasri Gorge

Wied il-Għasri Gorge (only by car/scooter)

This destination is more than often overlooked by the visitors of Gozo, and certainly not included in any organised tour.

And probably for this reason you will very likely share it with just a bunch of people, mostly locals on weekends.

Wied il-Għasri is a gorge that enters inland from the coast for around 300 metres, with a tiny beach at the bottom end and stairs to access it.

Even on windy days, the water is usually flat, however, be aware that the sea current can be particularly strong on those days.

How to arrive there?

Park the car on the main dirt road (Triq Is-Saghtrija) and walk down the gorge. There is also a parking area next to the gorge, but access to it can be challenging with a car, less so with a scooter.

Estimated time on site: around 1 hour

Salt Pans of Zebbug

It may look like a tourist only destination, but the 2 km stretch of coast on the north side of the island is actually used by the locals for the salt production.

This is a tradition that is still maintained today and salt is literally hand scraped from the man-made small basins filled with sea water

I was lucky enough to experience the entire process with the plenty of salt piled and ready to be stored in the nearby caves.

You can also buy, for a reasonable price, a small package of salt directly from the farmer, if there.

Park your car and take some time off to explore the area with a walk along the coast.

Estimated time on site: around 1 hour

Salt Pans of Zebbug
Salt Pans of Zebbug

Zebbug beach 

This is probably the widest beach in the area, less than 4 km from Victoria, the capital of Gozo Island.

It is a sort of modern town, not as impressive but the best spot nevertheless for a swim and a drink.

If there for lunch, I suggest the typical Gozitan pizza at Mellos Restaurant, right in front of the water

Estimated time on site: 10 minutes or more if you decide to have a swim and/or food

Victoria Cittadella

A description of the Victoria Cittadella would require a post by itself. This is probably the main attraction of Gozo, listed in the UNESCO world heritage site list (candidate)

The area dates back to the Bronze era and the Cittadella itself is believed to have been used by the Romans for an acropolis.

Today, the fortified castle, also known as the Kastell, stands out in the same area, with the main gate made of glass, which goes in contrast with the old structure built in the 15th century

Inside you will find a small village, used 600 years ago to shelter from the invasions.

Only years later, part of the population started building the own houses outside the castle, creating the today Old Town of Victoria.

Unmissable is the Cathedral of the Assumption, on the left side as you enter the main gate, with an interesting museum connected to it (today accessible from a side street)

Once there, you can also decide to visit the Museum of Archaeology, the Old Prison, and have a walk around the Citadel ruins where you will also get a superb view of the city and the north side of the island, down to the sea.

Estimated time on site: 1 to 2 hours, if not more, to explore the museums

If you feel that the program above is way too busy, then I suggest skipping both beaches and stop instead only at the Wied il-Għasri Gorge for a swim.

View from the fortified Cittadella
View from the fortified Cittadella

Gozo in 2 days

This is my favourite option, because you will get to experience so much more.

And it is not only about the mere quantity of places but also about the quality of the trip itself.

You will not feel in a rush, and you will be able to include also one of the most characteristic and charming experiences on the island: Xerri’s Grotto

Doing everything with the public bus is honestly impossible, and that is why I highly suggest renting a car.

Alternatively, book an organised tuk-tuk experience and leave the easy places to get on the second day (Victoria Cittadella and Old Town, Ggantija temples and Xerri’s Grotto)

In this video below, I have spent two days on the island, using a combination of transportation (tuk-tuk, rented car and boat to Comino)

Day 1 itinerary

For this plan, I assume you arrive by boat with a rented car, the easiest and quickest way to get around

If I included already the site in the Gozo Day Tour above, I will put a link to the description I added previously

Morning

As you arrive at the island of Gozo port, take the main road to Victoria, the capital, where you should book your hotel

On the way, just a bunch of kms from the harbour, turn left into the town of Xewkija to visit the Rotunda St. John Baptist Church for the beautiful interior and the best viewpoint this side of the island.

You will not have any problem parking the car in Gozo. There are free parking spots pretty much everywhere.

The visit to the church, including the lift and the hike to the top of the bell tower, takes around one hour.

Next stop is the beautiful Sanap Cliffs, where you can easily spend another hour walking around the most beautiful coastal area of the country of Malta

It is time for a swim, and what a better place than Xlendi Beach, just a stone away from the cliffs.

This town is strategically positioned in a narrow bay with a small beach right at the end.

On the east side of the bay, the council build multilevel sun terraces and installed ladders to easily enter or come out from the sea.

Xlendi is also the perfect spot for lunch, with the many restaurants options facing the sea.

Lunch at Ta’ Karolina Restaurant, a family-run restaurant nested in a tiny bay at the end of the village.

Xlendi Bay Beach
Xlendi Bay Beach

Afternoon

In the afternoon, head to Victoria, the capital of Gozo, right in the centre of the island.

Once you have checked in your hotel and parked the car, have a walk to the Cittadella

If you want to drive directly to the Cittadella, you will be happy to know that there is a very cheap parking (2 Euro) just behind the castle, or a free one next to the playground area.

The Cittadella is probably the main attraction to see in Gozo, and for a good reason, it is absolutely gorgeous and not as touristic as, for example, Mdina.

I also highly suggest visiting the Cathedral inside the Cittadella as well as the Museum (included in the ticket).

The visit can take anything between 1.5 and 3 hours.

Next, it is time to walk through Independence Square and enter the Old Town, a real maze of tiny streets, sometime no wider than 2 metres.

Worthless saying to avoid venturing inside with a car.

The best is really to get lost, explore the plethora of characteristic lanes and hidden squares.

You will eventually end up in the St George’s Square where you can visit the Basilica, if still open.

Another site you may want to visit is the Il-Hagar Gozo Museum, including exhibits from the Basilica with plenty of information on the history of Gozo.

I would personally plan to explore the area for at least a couple of hours.

Dinner at Il-Panzier, quite a hidden family-run restaurant with gorgeous Italian food sourced only from the fresh local market.

I loved the chilled-out backyard and the lovely talk with the Sicilian owner that moved to Malta over 25 years ago

For the stay in Gozo, I high suggest The Duke Boutique Hotel, right in the heart of Victoria, on the last two floors of a tall building, overlooking the Cittadella.

I stayed there for two nights and I had a great time. The room was very spacious, just perfect for our family trip (2 adults + a kid)

The view from the balcony was spectacular, to say the least, and the jacuzzi was a big plus. The service was one of the best I have ever experienced.

The breakfast is really unmissable, based on locally sourced products. They also offer a special taste of a Gozitan breakfast dish, which is a lovely way to know more about the local culture.

Check availability at The Duke

The Duke - Bedroom view
The Duke – Bedroom view

Day 2 itinerary

There are still plenty of things to do and places to visit on day 2 of this Gozo itinerary.

Morning

Drive in the morning to Dwejra Bay, made world-wide famous by the Game of Thrones drama series that filmed here the first episodes.

From the scenic lagoon, or inland sea, accessible only through a natural tunnel, you can join a boat to see the blue hole (diving is also available) and other coastal sites.

One thing you will not be able to see anymore is the famous Azure Window, a rock formation that collapsed in 2017.

For a walk around, allocate 1 hour. Otherwise, if you take the boat as well, put aside 2 hours.

Time to leave Dwejra to go to the next destination, however, on the way, stop at the hidden Limestone Quarry.

Plan only 15-20 minutes there, but, believe you me, well worth visiting it

I felt like suddenly catapulted to 5,000 years ago, watching the construction of the pyramids of Egypt.

In fact, most of the building material used for the pyramid was limestone, the same used for today’s traditional Malta’s houses

Keep driving from there to the Ta’Pinu Basilica, another beautiful Roman Catholic church with a never ending view to the sea.

It is very interesting to note that also this basilica has been recently built, or better say, it has been upgraded from a small existing chapel.

I came to learn that the people of Gozo are very devoted, and they give the own time and money to keep upgrading the own churches to the highest, biggest, widest of the island.

A local told me that it is almost a sort of competition between the villages of Gozo to have the most notable basilica or church.

Limestone Quarry
Limestone Quarry

This stop may take 20-30 minutes of your time.

Time to explore one of the most beautiful gorges in the country of Malta, the Wied il-Għasri Gorge.

This is another of the hidden gems of Gozo, and luckily so because the gorge as well as the walk down and around are fantastic, but the beach space is so tiny.

In saying that, it is totally worth the stop, even for a quick swim.

To explore the area plan between 1 and 2 hours, if spending some time at the beach.

You need to hold on a bit for the lunch time because, being already on the northern side of the island, I suggest another nearby stop, the Salt Pans of Zebbug.

It is the perfect place for a walk and it reminds me a bit of the Salt Pans in Marsala, Sicily, although in smaller scale.

Finally, make it to the town of Zebbug for lunch

Lunch at the Mellos Restaurant for the typical Gozitan pizza, with a millefeuille dough and potatoes on top, a real local delicatessen.

Basilica of Ta Pinu
Basilica of Ta Pinu

Afternoon

There is not much time left in the afternoon, and I suggest concentrate your time and effort to the town of Xaghra where you find an iconic site and a unique experience of the island

Let’s start from the iconic place, the Ġgantija megalithic temple complex, dating back to 3,600BC, built in the same period as the Mnajdra Temple, the famous archeological site close to Valletta, that I suggested in my itineraries of Malta.

During the Covid time, the entire area has been re-organised and a new museum was built right at the entrance of the site (Google map is still reporting the old entrance)

There are 3 rooms with the exhibitions of the area findings and a great video that gives plenty of information on the Ggantija temples and its history.

The Kerri’s Grotto is the last place I suggest visiting on the second day.

This was the awesome finding on my last trip.

It is a cave with a great number of stalactites and stalagmites discovered 100 years ago under a private property by the grand-grandfather of the present owners.

He was looking for a water well, and suddenly he felt into this large grotto. And yes, he eventually found the water well, but metres under the grotto.

The place is today looked after by the youngsters of the family that they open and close the attraction when new travellers arrive. It is a real customised experience.

Once you descend the 10-meters steep spiral staircase, the member of the family will give you plenty of information on the grotto and its rock formations.

After this long day, you will have just enough to drive down to the Gozo Mgarr Harbour and take the Gozo ferry back to the island of Malta.

If you decide to stay a third day, you can add

  • a trip to Comino Island and the famous Blue Lagoon, located in the Maltese archipelago
  • a drive or a bus ride to Ramla Bay Beach, one of the widest beaches around with Roman ruins
  • a walk to the Calypso Cave, very close to Ramla Beach, mentioned in The Odyssey
  •  

Trips leave from the Gozo Harbour on a regular basis and it takes just 10 minutes to reach the destination.

Enjoy Gozo!!

Ggantija Temple
Ggantija Temples
Dwejra Bay
Dwejra Bay
Inside the Cittadella Cathedral
Inside the Cittadella Cathedral
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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