Gozo is Malta’s sister island and the second-largest of the
archipelago. The landscape is made up of flat-topped
hills, steep valleys and rugged cliffs and villas that nestle among
peach, lemon, olive and orange groves. During the spring the island
comes ablaze with the flowering hibiscus, oleander, mimosa and bougainvillaea.
Local crafts including lace and knitwear, are sold from the doorways
of houses and on the street.
The capital of Gozo is Victoria, also known as
Rabat, built by the Arabs on Castle Hill, which
offers the visitor panoramic views of the island. The cathedral
has no dome, but inside, a trompe l’oeil painting
on its ceiling gives the illusion of a dome and there is also a
cathedral museum. The Museum of Archaeology contains
Roman remains from a shipwreck on the island and items excavated
from the neolithic temple at Ggantija.
Other places of interest on Gozo include the Citadel
(‘Gran Castello’), with its historic bastions and old
houses with of them set up as a folk museum.
There are alabaster caves at Xaghra, with stalactites
and stalagmites. These underground caves are known as Xerri’s
Grotto and Ninu’s Grotto. The basilica
at Ta’Pinu, near the village of Gharb,
is one of the most beautiful of Maltese churches and official Vatican
place of pilgrimage. Xewkija is a small town with
a beautiful new church, built round the old parish Church
of St John the Baptist.
The sea surrounding the island are unpolluted and crystal clear.
The most important beaches are il-Qawra (better
known as the inland sea, with a secluded pebbly bathing pool, crystal
clear water and sheer cliffs), an unspoilt sandy beach known as
Ir-Ramla il-Wamra and Xlendi Bay.
During the summer there are numerous festivals with fireworks and
horseracing in the streets. Marsalforn is a fishing
village on the north coast which has become one of Gozo’s
most popular seaside resorts.
The island of Comino, thick with wild herbs, particularly cumin,
lies between Malta and Gozo and is inhabited by probably no more
than a dozen farmers. Paths which wind through the unusual rock
formations provide the only communication links and the island is
ideal for anyone seeking a very peaceful holiday. A few sandy coves
and small bays, such as Blue Lagoon, are the main
attractions on Comino.