Mon, 10 January 2022
Gozo offers plenty of opportunities for walking and hiking. So if you’re visiting be sure to pack a pair of sturdy shoes and your sense of adventure to make the most of your holiday. Are you ready to virtually walk down three of our favourite routes, before experiencing them first-hand?
You can start the saltpans walk right here at Hotel Calypso, proceeding to walk along the coast towards Qbajjar Bay and Xwejni Bay. Just before reaching the pebbly Xwejni Bay, look out for the Qolla l-Bajda – an outcrop which owes its peculiar shape to erosional processes and the resistant properties of limestone – and the Qolla l-Bajda Battery. Although currently inaccessible, this battery has stood the test of time and the fury of the elements for four centuries and is one of only two batteries which are still standing on the island of Gozo.
As you walk onwards on a straightforward road, you’ll notice a patchwork of saltpans to your right, where salt production takes place between May and September. If you’re here in late spring or summer and wake up early enough to be at the saltpans by around 6:15am, you’re likely to be rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise and the sound of brooms sweeping up little sparkling mountains of sea-salt inside the pans. You can even buy a small bag of salt to take back home from the small ‘shops’ which are carved out of the limestone on the left-hand side of the road.
If you’re in the mood for extending your walk, you can keep going straight ahead, with the road eventually turning into a dirt path, to arrive at Wied il-Għasri: the picturesque gorge, which can be reached through a flight of some 100 steps. A dip in the deliciously cool blue-green waters will help you freshen up before you make your way back.
Wied il-Mielaħ is home to a natural window, which became more sought after and photographed following the collapse of Gozo’s most iconic arch – the Azure Window in Dwejra. If you would like to take a closer look and snap a photo of the impressive Wied il-Mielaħ arch which rises out of the dark blue waters, you can do so by going down a flight of steps to stand just across from it.
After you’ve soaked in the beauty of this majestic window, walk back to the main path and make your way towards the rural village of Għarb. After walking for around 15 minutes, take the first turn on your right and start looking out for signs leading to San Dimitri Chapel. Another 15 to 20-minute walk should bring into sight the chapel, which it perched atop a hill. The inclined path leading up to it is quite short, and once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with stretches of unspoilt Gozitan countryside and a stillness which is only broken by lively chirps and the distant mooing of cows on nearby farms. The area gets somewhat noisier for one weekend in October, when it hosts the colourful International Kite and Wind Festival, which has become an important event in Gozo’s calendar.
Legend has it that a woman called Żgugina lived close to the San Dimitri Chapel with her only son. Despite her everyday prayers for protection from the pirate attacks, which were quite common in ancient times, one day pirates swooped down on their humble abode and abducted her son, taking him away from Gozo. The desperate Żgugina ran to the church and prayed to San Dimitri to bring back her son, promising that if he did, she would make sure that the saint’s lamp in the chapel would always be lit. Suddenly, the painting came alive: San Dimitri rode out on his horse and set off in pursuit of the pirate ship, returning soon after with her son beside him, before reentering the painting.
You can start this walk from the quaint village of Munxar, which is one of the smallest localities in Gozo, and head towards Ta’ Sanap Cliffs. These cliffs get their name from the mustard plant that was possibly cultivated in the area. While the roads leading to the cliffs are signposted and pretty straightforward to navigate, as can be expected, the terrain along the cliffs themselves is at times rocky and quite uneven so be sure to put on proper hiking shoes and to avoid on very windy days.
With breath-taking views of Gozo’s southern coast, sheer drops on one side and a patchwork of Mediterranean vegetation on the other, this route is nothing short of spectacular, particularly in the early hours of the morning and when the sun slowly sinks into the sea painting the sky orange.
If you keep walking along the precipice you’ll eventually arrive at the Xlendi watchtower, which was built by Grandmaster Lascaris and is one of a series of coastal towers built by the Knights of Saint John to guard the Maltese islands from attacks from the sea. A path leads down to a stone bridge built by the British across Wied il-Kantra, to ease access to the tower. Eventually the route will lead you to Xlendi Bay, where you can get some rest and fuel up at one of the restaurants, before you make your way back.
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Phone number: (+356) 2156 2000
Address: Hotel Calypso Marsalforn Bay, Marsalforn, MFN 1104, Gozo, Malta
- 24/7 Reception
- Check-In: 14:00 onwards
- Check-Out: Latest 11:00
- Full Buffet Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi available
- Outdoor Pool (Open during the Summer Months between 08:30 and 19:00hrs)