While I really enjoyed Malta’s main island, probably my favourite part of my recent visit to this Mediterranean country was the trip to its second largest island, Gozo, just North-West of the main island.
Accessible by a short 25 minutes ferry ride from Cirkewwa and with only 25000 people living on the island, Gozo feels like a completely different country. Everything seems to happen slower and with at a more relaxed page. Even the name Gozo means “Joy”. Gozo has a long history and this name was initially given by the Aragonese, which was derived from the Phoenicians who called the island Gaulos.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/2.8 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 200mm | ISO: 100 | Shutter speed: 1/2000s
The island is the location of an important site called the Ggantija Temples, temples which are the oldest freestanding structures in the world built around 4000 BC, predating the pyramids by over 1000 years. Like with all archeology, you have to use your imagination when you’re looking at the ruins, but it’s amazing to stand in front of something that’s been around for so long. The adjacent museum is also quite interestingly designed, blending perfectly into the surrounding landscape.
After seeing the temples we took a detour to Gozo’s most famous beach, the Ramla Hamra beach. Although we didn’t get a chance to stay too long, the beach definitely looks like one of those places where I wouldn’t mind spending a day doing nothing.
The highlight of the day for me was spending some time at the Ta Mena Estate, tasting locally produced food, olive oil and wine and wandering around the farm with the owner Joseph Spiteri, debating the finer points of what makes a good olive oil or talking about how much of our daily food nowadays is over-processed. If you’re in Gozo, definitely don’t miss a visit here for lunch – the food is spectacular and they also run a little shop where you can buy lots of fresh goodies.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/2.8 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 200mm | ISO: 200 | Shutter speed: 1/320s
Another famous product of the island is the sea salt collected still today from the Qbajjar Salt Pans, in pits carved into the limestone rock dating from the Roman times. The pits are filled with seawater which is left to evaporate leaving behind rock salt rich in minerals.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/16 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 48mm | ISO: 64 | Shutter speed: 25s
The final stop in Gozo was at the Citadel, situated in the island’s administrative centre, Victoria. The Citadel, which was the old capital of Gozo has been dated to Neolithic times and it provides a perfect vantage point from where you can see most of the island. If you spend a few days in Gozo like a I did, make sure you visit the Citadel late in the afternoon when most of the day tourists are gone and you have the place to yourself.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/8 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 24mm | ISO: 31 | Shutter speed: 20s
In terms of places to stay on the island, I spent a few nights at the beautiful Kempinski Hotel, a gorgeous property where you almost feel the time slowing down. And if you’re there, don’t miss a quick look at their huge garden where they grow their own food for the restaurants.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/8 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 24mm | ISO: 200 | Shutter speed: 1/20s
We also had a quick look at a beautifully designed hotel in the centre of Victoria, the Duke Boutique Hotel. Despite being located inside what essentially is a mall, the rooms are gorgeous and have either great views of the Citadel or the Villa Rundle Gardens or have their own Jacuzzi and terrace.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/3.5 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 24mm | ISO: 400 | Shutter speed: 1/60s
On the way back to the main island we stopped to have a look at the Blue Lagoon, one of the most impressive sights of the Maltese archipelago. Unfortunately, during the trip organized by the Malta Tourism Authority, the weather was really overcast, but a few days later when I returned to Gozo, my wife and I got to spend a few sunny hours admiring the crystal blue waters.Technical details | Aperture: ƒ/2.8 | Camera: NIKON D850 | Focal length: 200mm | ISO: 200 | Shutter speed: 1/1600s