Gozo ferry trip (sightseeing) Route Details

Route Description

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Introduction

A trip across the Gozo Channel to Gozo, and a walk around the habourside village of Mgarr.

Conditions

Btest done later in the day in summer to avoid the heat of mid day.

Detailed description

Car ferries run regularly across the Gozo Channel, with boats every 45 minutes in peak times, although the night service is less frequent. Although you can take a car, if you are not going far it's better to go as a foot passenger. There's parking around the ferry terminal, and frequent buses from Valletta. The ferries take about 25 minutes, and have a shop and cafe on board. At the time of writting the fare was under 5 Euros return.  The best views can be had on the topmost passenger deck, with the views to the right (when heading to Gozo) across to Comino island worth seeing.

The ferry terminal at Cirkewwa is very basic, and if you have time to kill, it's better to walk around the quay. The terminal in Mgarr is much better, looking more like a train station, with air conditioned waiting areas, and a escalator to the footbridge to the ferry.

Narrative

Whilst we waited for the ferry, we explored the quay area. The lighthouse tower was worth climbing to see views across the Marfa ridge, Comino and across to Malta.

The ferry was well air conditioned, but we found the pleasant breeze on the front of the top deck was enough to keep cool. As the ferry crossed, we saw the elaborate caves and cliffs of Comino, before the ferry docked in Mgarr. The new ferry terminal in Mgarr was big and felt like a train station or airport, with escalators and air conditioned waiting rooms. The harbour was pretty, but the slightly scruffy buildings and heavy traffic heading away from the ferry made the walk unpleasant at first. The street was lined with many bars and restaurants, offering a real mix of places.

We passed the Grand Hotel (making a sneaky Wifi connection with my phone to check Google Maps for directions), and headed up the hill. There were lovely views across the harbour, to the church of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Fort Cambray. The town at the top was at first a little bit scruffy, but the beautifully restored stone houses further along rewarded the walk. Some houses featured masts and other nautical features, which makes sense in a town linked to the sea. As we walked we saw a lovely view in the late evening light of the the church of Our Lady of Lourdes on the other side of the valley. There had been a festa recently and the decorations were still up. We walked around a corner and heard the welcome sound of running water from the large, elaborate fountain in the centre of 'Apparition square' (Pjazza tad-Dehra). The fountain commemorates a vision seem by a shepard visiting the spring which lies under the square. The light was now starting to that magical quality you get just before sunset when the light coloured limestone becomes golden. We passed the huge and delicate church of Lady of Loreto in the centre of Ghajnsielem, which looked very impressive in the late evening light. 

After the church we passed through the rest of the village, before walking down the mainroad until we reached the start of a small battered road at the big new roundabout. We passed below the impressive rock on which the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes sits, and looked at the shrine below which appearently resembled the orginal Lourdes shrine. The theme of visions seems strong in this place.

We walked back down to the harbour street, pausing at the famour Gleneagles bar. We had orginally intended to visit a particular restaurant, which turned out to be closed on a monday. Our other choice, It-Tmun, said they were closed on their website, and had a sign on the roof saying they'd be open soon. Undetered we headed there anyway for a look, to find to our pleasant suprise it was actually open, despite the sign on the outside saying they were closed. The food was wonderful, and good enough to be able to attracted  a full house of customers whilst doing everything they could to not appear open. After eating a fabulous meal, including the best cheese cake I had every tasted, we wandered along the pretty harbourside road, pausing to sample a drink from the various harbourside bars that catered to fishermen and tourists alike. This began to feel like the more relaxed Gozo I had heard about, as a small island and small population compared to Malta should make for a more relaxed pace of life.

The ferry cross in the dark was suprisingly pretty, with views of the moon and the islands making it worthwhole to cross on a clear night for the views alone. There's not much to do at the ferry terminal and the last bus is before 10 PM, so make sure you have some way of getting back from the ferry terminal!

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