Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta
I am proud and content to live in Gozo Island and it would never cross my mind to spend the rest of my years anyplace else. There are people who think that living on such a tiny island would make them feel 'marooned' , constrained and cut off from the rest of the world. Nothing of the sort. On the contrary living in Gozo, the crime-free island with no distances we all enjoy a slow-paced, relaxed and easy life.
I heard that this week (Feb 19th, 2014) TripAdvisor listed Gozo as the 3rd out of the10 most beautiful Islands in the world. I presume that TripAdvisor did not invent the list but that they made their judgement from the thousands of comments and reviews that they receive from travellers holidaying all over the world.
Let me start with my home town, Victoria. Living in Victoria, the heart of the Island of Gozo is so convenient and practical. One does not even need a car thus saving on headaches, hassle, parking problems and money. It is the capital city of Gozo and got its name in 1887 in honour and on the occasion of the British Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Also called Rabat by its old Arabic name, by the people of the villages and by the older generation.
A narrow street in Victoria and a typical antique Gozo townhouse.
Independence Square formerly known as It-Tokk and the surrounding streets constitute the business centre of the town. Coffee shops abound as well as clothes and fashion wear, jewellery and souvenirs are sold from the various outlets. An open-air market is held daily both in Summer and in Winter at the main square (as from 2016 the market has been moved to a spot near the bus station) specialising in clothes, leather goods and footwear.
Around the Basilica of St. George, a few paces from It-Tokk is the old city and the "Mandragg" characterized by winding narrow streets, shady silent alleys, quaint houses, arched doorways, enclosed wooden balconies and corner niches dedicated to saints. Many streets are still named after Saints, like St.Andrew Street and St. Mary Street reminiscent of the time when the church and religion were all supreme in Gozo Island, up to the 1960s.
At that time, Gozo was at least 50 years behind Malta, since it remained a church-run mini state. Kingsway in Valletta (Republic Street, today) all lighted up in the evenings, the open air Cafes in the baroque squares with live bands playing up to midnight, the Cinemas and restaurants all seemed like New York to us raw Gozitan youths.
Victoria is literally the hub of the Island since all roads from the villages link to it. The larger villages are Xaghra, Nadur and Xewkija. Qala and Gharb are the remotest, in the East and West respectively, while Ghasri, Sta Lucia and Munxar are the smallest villages in Gozo Island.
The City houses the main government offices, the bishop's curia and the Gozo Police HQ. A few meters down Republic Street (formerly Race Course Street) we find the bus terminus from where buses leave every 30 minutes to the various villages and also to the main bays and beaches.
A bus ride to anywhere in Gozo to Gharb or to Qala for example does not take more than 15 minutes and this is indeed one of the advantages of living on a small island (no distances).
In Victoria you can reach everywhere on foot so you do not need to hire a car or a taxi but use the public transport when you need to go to the beach or to pay a visit to the other villages. Suppose you wish to visit Comino, the smallest sister of the Maltese archipelago. Just take the short walk to the Bus Terminus, proceed to Mgarr and take the launch from there.
Oil Painting of the Citadel by well known Gozitan artist Paul Mizzi.
The citadel is the main landmark of Gozo island. Walking inside the Victoria Gozo Citadel along the cool cobbled narrow passages and alleyways is a fantastic experience which takes one back in time and to dream of living at the time of the Knights of Malta. It is so silent and shrouded in mystery that one finds himself talking in whispers.
Maybe the ghost of Bernardo Di Puo' still roams the deserted street that is named after him. This brave man was a Knight who martyred his wife and daughter during the 1551 Siege of Gozo. The Citadel also locally known as the Cittadella (or fuq is-sur) is a city within a city. Once an ancient fortified town it lies on a hillock overlooking Victoria. The Citadel built by the Normans and enlarged by the Arabs was fortified by the Knights after the Great Siege of 1565.
Many houses are in ruins but other buildings dating back to the 12th Century are still standing and are today open as Museums. Within its walls lie the Law Courts, the Gozo Cathedral and its Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and the Old Prisons. From the ramparts high above the buildings of the town one enjoys a superb 360-degree panorama of the entire island of Gozo.
On the Island of Gozo everything is so near. People duly go about their daily business but at their own leisurely pace, which makes all the difference. In Victoria you can find anything from Internet Cafes to Shoe Repair, Shopping malls, economy Food Stores, Post Office, Information, Insurance, Travel Agencies, Banks, Pharmacies and Clinic as well as the General Hospital.
Living here is so relaxing and hassle-free. I should know :-). Some people come to Gozo quite often and they grow to love the Island so much that they decide to relocate here one day.
Would they visit more if we build a bridge or a Gozo to Malta Tunnel. I doubt it!!.
In July and August two grand feasts are held, one dedicated to St. George, the patron Saint of the Island (photo below) and another in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Locally we say Il-Festa ta' San Gorg and Festa ta' Santa Maria. Great displays of fireworks are held as well as daily band marches performed by different bands from the other villages and also from Malta.
(Note): St George Feast 2013 was a HUGE success. Congratulations to all concerned especially to the volunteer crew of about 40 youngsters in charge of the Street Furniture - 'Gharmar' and to the organizers in general. I was lucky enough to find a seat for the evening celebrations in the Basilica. They started as early as Monday and continued throughout the whole week and included the 'Tridu' and the Sunday morning Pontifical Mass. Suffice it to say that the music, the choir and the singing were simply Angelic. (San Gorg Festa is always a huge success and 2016 was no exception)
Feast of St. George celebrated with great pomp in Victoria in mid-July
For the horse-racing enthusiasts, 2 big races are held with over 30 courses each. The race held in July as part of the feast of St. George is held at night under flood-lights, starting from about 7 pm up to after midnight and it has been a great success from its inception in 2010. In the year 2012 it was not held owing to the newly tarmaced street.
On the subject of dining out - - here one can choose from quite a few good restaurants, specializing in Sicilian, local, Indian and Chinese food. There is only one Hotel but to make up for this shortage of accommodation several beautifully restored townhouses and modern apartments are offered for short lets or long lease.
One may wish to consider staying for a couple of nights in my MariaTownhouse a few paces from Pjazza San Gorg.
Go To Home Page from Gozo Island
The Island of Gozo in Summer is heavenly. Many tourists who visit us just love the sun and the heat. At least so they tell me. This is for the simple reason that in the European countries of the North they suffer from a lack of warmth and sunshiny days.
Our coast is dotted with creeks, inlets, bays and picturesque beaches. Many people come for a summer holiday with their family or for their honeymoon, others come just for the scuba diving since it is a well-known fact that the topography of our sea bottom is enchanting. Besides, the transperency and cleanliness of the sea water expecially at Dwejra and around the Island of Comino serves to add value to the enjoyment of the divers.
Gozo is magical in winter too.
Although I love the sea (swimming and boating) I prefer Winter with its cool temperatures.
The October Rain pattering on the Window Panes reminds me of the approaching Winter months and the Activities that go with them.
To begin with our winter is not really cold especially when compared with the countries farther north. Temperatures here rarely go below 15 degrees in the day-time and putting on a woolen sweater is usually enough to keep warm. I know people who swim in winter here.
At home I do not use heaters, at least I didn't last winter (2012). Sometimes I just pull a rug over my knees and sit snug and comfortably enough. When it rains for a day or two the sun reappears even more beautiful than before, smiling warmly on the newly washed countryside and the brown turned soil.
In our Islands we have many things to grumble about but surely we cannot grumble against the weather in Malta.
The rainfall months are January and February and the latter is supposed to be the coldest month too.
Well this year, especially in February 2013 we're having some cold spells with the temperature dropping to 12 and even to 10 in the daytime. However when compared with other European countries this is nothing.
Gozo is the perfect winter holiday haven where one can indulge in health-giving energetic activities.
Say you are staying at Marsalforn at the moment. It is so quiet and tranquil that you would feel as though the whole place belonged to you. What a place for a honeymoon vacation or a romantic holiday!
Yet Marsalforn is not deserted because several families live here permanently nowadays. It is just relatively quiet when compared with the throbbing activity of summer.
You can read, sunbathe, go for a country walk, climb a nearby hill, go cycling, go on a hike, spend an hour or two angling or just sit and enjoy the enchanting seascape and taking in the perfumed seaside air.
If you happen to be in Victoria, the Capital, strolling along the narrow streets sheltered by houses and buildings the air here feels even 'warmer' and more comfortable.
Other winter activities include back-packing, hill climbing, discovery treks, camping, cycling, and bird watching tours. Some people like to take up rabbit hunting.
During the wintry months I spend time persuing my indoor hobbies as well.
Goats grazing on a rocky slope on a sunny day in winter
During this season the countryside is absolutely inviting. As opposed to the summer months when the fields are brown and dry, the countryside is fresh and clean and green, like a small Ireland my friend was telling me the other day.
It is enough to experience the sweet smell of the soil after a rain shower while on a ramble in the country or in the garigue areas of Ta Cenc and elsewhere.
For the less adventurous and the scholarly the island offers a treasure trove of historical and archaeological sites like the , old wayside chapels and beautiful churches.
It may also be interesting to see at first hand how Christmas and the New Year are celebrated in Gozo Island. Other important winter festivities are Carnival and the Holy Week which are also celebrated in the typical Maltese way.
Gozo is a winter wonderland and this is why so many foreigners choose our Island for their winter holiday. Even when it is stormy it is beautiful. An angry sea fascinates you by its power as long as you are watching from a safe distance as I was when taking the video. After a day or two like this the sea regains its calm and becomes as blue and fascinating as ever.
Contact me with any comments, suggestions or requests for information. Thanks.
Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta