The perfect rural Mediterranean adventure lies in the small island of Gozo where cuisines, sights, history, and overall culture and heritage are well-preserved. Commercialized outdoor and indoor adventures are also readily available thanks to tourism being one of the strongest sectors in the island. Before your trip to the sister island of Malta, here are eight interesting and must-know facts about Gozo:
1.Gozo is second of the three major islands of Malta
The archipelago of Malta has three major islands: Malta, Gozo (Għawdex), and Comino (Kemmuna). Gozo is rather rural with its vastly virgin landscapes, added with the local’s standard of living; a perfect retreat from the bustling cities. It covers around 67 sq. km or only about the size of Manhattan! Its landscape ranges from hills, beaches, caves, plain fields and mountains, all enjoyed by about 30,000 total locals. The island is also home to rich limestone deposits; the island being basically a limestone bank.
2.Vast virgin lands
As earlier mentioned, Gozo enjoys undeveloped areas of greens and blues; opposite to its sister Malta. Although its potent and scenic landforms range from beaches to caves, its hills are most notable and are actually part of Gozo’s coat of arms; three hills over the sea, and is in reference to its nickname “the island of three hills”.
3.Gozo is Castillian for “Joy”
Over the years, Gozo had been named several times. Phoenicians initially named the island “Gwl” or “Gaulos” which was later translated by the Romans as “Gaudos” or “Gaulum”. Its contemporary name Għawdex preceded what the Moors called the island “Gaudoich”.
Today, many forms of joyful activities in the island you can do with your partner or family include sailing, shopping, or taking art classes in the Ta’Dbiegi Crafts Village.
4.Believed as the Isle of Calypso
In Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey, Calypso was a nymph who captured and detained Odysseus in her island for seven years in hopes of making him her immortal husband. This mysterious island is believed to be Gozo.
5.Home to many historical places
In spite of its relatively small geographical area, Gozo is a haven for many historians and history buffs as it is home to many historical sites like the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ggantija. The temples are older than Egyptian pyramids, and are one of the oldest standing manmade religious structures.
Another famous site is the In-Nadur, a small village in Gozo that served as the watch point for the Knights of Malta. From atop, visitors and locals enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and vast greeneries nearby. It also homes the Nadur Parish Church built in the 1700s in veneration of Saints Peter and Paul. The interior is Baroque in style, designed by Giuseppe Bonnici.
6.Home to 46 churches
Relative to its area and population, Gozo has a significant number of churches – 46 in total. One of the most famous is The Cathedral of the Assumption was built between the late 1600s and early 1700s, and was dedicated to Mary.
Notably, in spite of the many religions that landed in Gozo, Roman Catholicism lived on with more than half of the Gozitan’s population practicing the religion. More so, the locals’ reverence for religious worship is constantly reminded with the ringing of church bells.
7.Enjoys rustic food
As with many Mediterranean regions, Gozo’s cuisines are often prepared from fresh and local ingredients; mostly herbs and fresh fruits and vegetables. A huge variety of eateries in Gozo illustrate the best tastes of the island like the Country Terrace, Il Terrazo, and Il-Wileg. One of the best known local products is the Gbejniet, a variety of traditional peppered sheep milk cheeses; great for pairing with other food, especially Gozo’s delicious Ftira (bread with tomatoes, anchovies, capers, and potato).
8.Has a thriving nightlife
Although generally mellower than Malta, Gozo has a thriving nightlife with its numerous bars, few clubs, and a world famous discotheque – the La Grotta. The establishment perch off a cliff side overlooking the valley, and brings Gozita ns, main-island Maltese, and tourists to another level of fun with famous local and foreign DJs hosting the night. The party begins at 10 PM and ends at 4 in the morning.
Guest post – Kristel