The Maltese Islands’ iconic Azure Window, previously located on the island of Gozo, has collapsed earlier this year, battered by rough seas. Many locals are apprehensive that this unfortunate event may result in a decrease in interest towards the island but this Instagram guide to Gozo will show you otherwise!
Dwejra at Sunset prior to the collapse of the window
Gozo’s rugged coastline showcases some stunning scenery which should not be missed! The island’s coast is ideal for treks or even leisurely walks along which the best views can be enjoyed. If that’s not your thing, regular public transport is available to many of the sights.
Additionally, Gozo is very rich in history and heritage, and traditions are still very evident on the island, making it the ideal spot for those looking for a relaxing vacation with some cultural insight.
This Instagram Guide to Gozo shows seven picturesque spots you should not miss on your visit to the island of Gozo, all of which are a great alternative to the Azure Window:
1. Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary
The architectural masterpiece, located at the edge of a cliff in the village of Gharb is both a shrine and a basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu. The shrine is thought to be miraculous and thousands of pilgrims visit Ta’ Pinu each year making it one of the most visited churches on the islands.
Be sure to visit the back room of the basilica, where you may observe a large number of personal items placed by devotees as offerings, showcasing stories of healings and cured illnesses attributed to the miraculous powers of the Virgin. Whether you’re a believer or not, the sanctuary is worth visiting even if only for its stunning location.
Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary
2. The Salt Pans of Qbajjar
These little man-made rock pools can be found on the outskirts of Marsalforn, in the area of Qbajjar. The walk to the salt pans is exceptionally scenic since the coast of Qbajjar is full of typical 350-year old pools used for salt production. Seawater is left to settle and evaporate thus leaving the salt residue behind.
Salt production is an old tradition of the Maltese islands that has been passed down from generation to generation. If you go there early enough, you may get to see one of the salt “farmers” in action, who would usually be happy to explain the production process to passers-by. Do be careful not to step on the precious produce though!
Qbajjar Salt Pans
3. Ramla l-Hamra
One of the largest and more popular bays in Gozo, the beach’s name makes reference to its red-coloured sands (“ramla” meaning sandy bay and ‘hamra’ meaning red in the Maltese language).
The popular but unspoilt spot is perfect for sun worshippers looking to spend a relaxing day on the beach, sipping cool drinks under the shade of umbrellas or soaking in the shallow waters. Overlooking the bay is a spot thought to be Calypso’s Cave, a cave mentioned by Homer in “The Odyssey”, where he lived with the nymph Calypso for seven years.
Ramla l-Hamra Bay
The Azure Window may be gone but Dwejra is still worth a short visit. The imposing Fungus Rock located just off the mainland, is a nature reserve, home to a parasitic plant (not a fungus) which is believed to have medicinal properties.
The waters around Fungus Rock and the mainland are great for snorkeling and Gozo’s blue hole (located just in front of where the window used to be) is a great spot for divers. Dwejra’s inland sea, a lagoon of seawater lined by colourful fishermen’s huts is connected to the Mediterranean sea via a natural arch and makes for some great photo opportunities!
Fungus Rock at Dwejra
5. Mgarr ix-Xini
This little secluded bay on Gozo’s southwest coast, another great place for swimmers and snorkelers, was the filming site for “By The Sea”, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s last movie as a married couple.
The secluded, pebbled beach set within a gorge is a wonderful little spot offering peace and tranquility, best accessed from the village of Sannat or by boat.
Mgarr ix-Xini Bay
6. Ghar Qawqla
A pretty area in the village of Marsalforn popular with swimmers in the summer months. It is also a great spot for a walk during the winter months especially during rough weather especially if you enjoy watching the mighty sea crash down on the coast.
The area of Ghar Qawqla can be quite dangerous when the sea is rough though, and some people have drowned there, so caution is advised!
Ghar Qawqla, Marsalforn
7. Mgarr Harbour
Your first view of Gozo will probably be that of Mgarr harbour as you approach the island on the ferry. Yachts and typical fishing boats dominated by churches and a fort, all contribute to painting a very picturesque scene, typical of the island.
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