Gozo, where is that I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you…..
Located off the northwest coast of Malta, the small island of Gozo is like a time capsule to a simpler time. Gozo is very rural in character.
It’s full of rolling hills and picturesque countryside, making it a real pleasure to visit on a day trip from the mainland of Malta which is only a 45 minute ferry trip away.
The island of Gozo is approx. 14 by 7 kilometres in size and has a population of 30,000 Gozitans. It has had human inhabitants since around 5000 BC and has some of the oldest freestanding structures in the world (Ggantija Temples) which we had the pleasure of walking around.
The residents of Gozo are deeply religious and the island has 46 churches on it.
The most impressive church is the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, in the village of Xewkija. Its magnificent dome is 75 metres high and can be seen from almost all over the island.
Our next stop was to the Citadella (Citadel for us Australians) in the town of Victoria. It has been a fortified village for many thousands of years. However more recently, about 500 years ago the Knights of St John from Malta built it into the structure it is today, with its massive defence stone walls.
We got to walk the village’s narrow streets and alleyways and along the high walls, offering a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside.
During our day on the island we also visited the north coast which is very similar to the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
The coastline is extremely rugged, hit by big ocean surf, and has some naturally forming stone arches, rock formations in the water and massive rocky cliffs – a photographer’s dream.
The highlight of my day on Gozo was a visit to Ta Mena Estate. A mix of vineyard, farm, fruit orchard and roadside café, Ta Mena Estate is run by the very friendly Joseph and Margaret Spiteri and their loving family.
Joseph seems to be a true master when it comes to everything that can be grown in Gozo, he took us around the estate teaching us about crops, animals and food processing the traditional way, and it was one of the most interesting things I had done in long time.
At the end of our tour of the property, we headed to the main house and sat under the shade of the veranda to share a meal with the family.
It consisted of deliciously sweet strawberries, homemade sundried tomato paste and pesto, olive oil, olives and freshly baked bread, all washed down with some local Gozo wine from the Ta Mena range.
Ta Mena Estate does sell some of its product online, so check out their website. It was so nice to relax and enjoy the afternoon with the Spiteri family, after all the hustle and bustle of Europe.
The island of Gozo is a truly unique experience, so completely different to the rest of Malta and Europe.