Gozo Tuk Tuk Chauffered Tour

Take a fun-filled tour of Gozo on our colourful Tuk Tuks and get a taste of Comino by boat, with its Blue Lagoon, Crystal Lagoon and sea caves.

Book a hassle-free, all-inclusive Gozo and Comino day trip with the #1 tour operator on the island - We take care of your entire day out!

NEW: Pay just €25 deposit per person to secure your booking!

malta tours to gozo

Select tour date and travellers

Total €0, exploring gozo by tuk tuk.

Gozo has so much to offer despite its small size. From the beauty of its nature and charming seascapes to landmarks, local village culture and centuries-old history that’s visible everywhere you look.

On our Tuk Tuk tours, our Gozo experts take you to parts of Gozo that no other tour does. From hidden landmarks, raw natural beauty and historically significant places, you’ll see Gozo’s many faces on a fun day out. Your (multilingual) driver will share their knowledge about the places you’ll visit along the way.

Whether you’re travelling as a couple, as a family with kids or in groups, our Tuk Tuk tours are the most popular and well-reviewed choice in Gozo.

So what will your Gozo Tuk Tuk tour with Yippee look like exactly? Here’s all you need to know!

Tour details

  • Tour duration: 6+ Hours (excluding transport)
  • Tour starting point: Mgarr Harbour, Gozo
  • Tour start time: 10.30 am. (Prefer a later start time? Have a look at our Sunset Tuk Tuk Tour - available 15th May - 15th Oct )

What’s included?

  • Pick up from and return to Malta or Gozo . We pick you up with Yippee transport and get you back safely to the same spot at the end of the day.
  • Boat crossing to Gozo on our Yippee boat (weather permitting*) or communal ferry (tickets provided).
  • Visit Comino (Caves, Crystal Lagoon swim stop and Blue Lagoon pass-by) (weather permitting*)
  • Light traditional Gozitan lunch (including a glass of local wine)
  • Tours led by multilingual Gozo experts

* Your safety is our priority. On the rare occasion that weather conditions are unfavourable (usually in winter), we may need to adjust our tour, offer you an alternative date or a full refund.

Transport pick-up times

Pick-up times and locations depend on your accommodation address. We will provide you with these details during the booking process.

Your day in Gozo - Itinerary

Here’s an outline of what you can expect on this all-inclusive day tour.

  • Pick up from Malta (+ transport to Cirkewwa (ferry port) and cross over to Gozo) and pick up from Gozo
  • Welcome to Gozo! You’ll meet your Gozo expert for the day at Mgarr Harbour before setting off.
  • Tour around Gozo: You’ll be stopping at various landmarks and hidden gems and enjoying a light traditional Gozitan lunch on the way. At each stop, our Gozo experts will share their knowledge with you in your chosen language. We’ll take you to see The Church of St. John The Baptist (Xewkija), Sanap Cliffs (Munxar), Xlendi Beach, Cliffs and Belvedere, Knights’ Wash houses (Fontana), The Citadel (Victoria), Ta’ Pinu Basilica and Shrine (Gharb), Xwejni Salt Pans, Qbajjar. Your tour will conclude at Marsalforn Bay, after which you’ll return to Mgarr Harbour.
  • On your return voyage to Malta, we will pass by Blue Lagoon and Comino's beautiful caves and, in summer, you'll enjoy a swim stop at the Crystal Lagoon.
  • Return to Cirkewwa and drop off with Yippee transport in Malta.
  • For guests staying in Gozo: Return to Mgarr Harbour and drop off at the original pick-up point with Yippee transport.

Places of Interest on this tour

Island of gozo, church of st. john the baptist - xewkija.

malta tours to gozo

Tas-Sanap Cliffs in Gozo: Stunning Natural Beauty

malta tours to gozo

Gozo, the second largest island on the Maltese archipelago, is famous for its stunning cliffed coastline and landscapes. The Sanap Cliffs in Gozo stand out as a must-see for all tourists planning a trip to Malta.

Xlendi Belvedere, Cliff and Caves

malta tours to gozo

Wash house, Fontana

malta tours to gozo

Gozo Citadel or Cittadella

malta tours to gozo

The Citadel in Victoria is one of Gozo’s most easily recognised landmarks and had a hugely important role in the island's history. You’ll visit this small fortified city perched on one of Gozo’s tall hills and walk along its narrow alleys and points of interest, enjoy panoramic views of Gozo, step inside the beautiful Cathedral and more.

Ta' Pinu Gozo: A National Shrine of Miracles - Gharb

malta tours to gozo

Another famous landmark you can admire in Gozo is the Ta’ Pinu Basilica and Shrine on the outskirts of Gharb. This Basilica is the pride of the local population and hosted a mass led by Pope John Paul II in 1990. Although the Basilica is beautiful and worthy of a visit, its shrine is just as intriguing. You will find many ex-votos (offerings made to the Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu) that bear witness to many stories of faith and healing from the local population.

Gozo Salt Pans: Natural Beauty at Xwejni

malta tours to gozo

Discover the centuries-old salt pans, a testament to time's enduring allure on the picturesque Island of Gozo. As you stand amidst these enchanting landscapes, envision terraced fields stretching to the horizon, adorned with a mesmerising mosaic of glistening white salt crystals.

Qbajjar and Marsalforn Bay

malta tours to gozo

Island Of Comino

Blue lagoon (pass-by).

malta tours to gozo

With its crystal clear, azure-coloured waters, the Blue Lagoon is one of Malta’s most beautiful bays. It’s located on the northwestern coast of Comino island.

Please note: On this tour, we will pass by the Blue Lagoon but won’t stop there. If you’d like a swim stop at the Blue Lagoon included in your tour, please opt for the Tuk-Tuk Sunset Tour or Quad Bike Sunset Tour (Quad Bikes). Both tours are available between 15th May and 15th Oct (both days included) and offer a swim stop at a quieter time of the day!

Crystal Lagoon

malta tours to gozo

Comino Caves

malta tours to gozo

  • About Yippee

Yippee (part of Cominology Ltd) is the #1 Gozo tour operator, with a unique fleet of brightly-coloured Tuk Tuks, eJeeps, and high-powered Quad Bikes.

Address: Yippee, 17 Triq ix-xatt, Ghajnsielem, GSM 9033, Gozo - Malta

Contact: +356 2156 0512

Email: [email protected]

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The World Was Here First

How To Plan A Gozo Day Trip from Malta

Last Updated on January 30, 2024

by Michael Rozenblit

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

malta tours to gozo

For travellers spending only a few days in Malta, it can be easy to fill your days exploring the mainland. Whether it be wandering through historic Valletta, exploring the walled city of Mdina or heading to the fish market of Marsaxlokk, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty to occupy any Malta itinerary . For visitors that have a bit more time on their trip though, it’s certainly worth taking a Gozo day trip from Malta.

While you can certainly spend more than just one day in Gozo, this allows you to see some of the highlights of Malta’s less-visited island and give you a great introduction for a return trip.

Table of Contents

How to Get to Gozo from Malta

There are three main transport options for your day trip to Gozo from Malta: bus & ferry, car or organised tour.

By Bus & Ferry

Malta’s bus network is fantastic and a great way to get around the island if you don’t have your own transport.

To get to Gozo, you’ll first need to take a bus to the ferry terminal which is located in Cirkewwa. You can see the latest timetables and routes on Malta’s public transport website as well as through the integration on Google maps.

A single-use bus ticket costs €2.50 and is valid for two hours (including on the buses in Gozo). If you intend to use the buses a lot during your time in Malta, it’s worth considering to purchase a travel card.

Ferries to Gozo depart every 30-45 minutes and you actually don’t need to purchase a ticket when departing Malta. Instead, you’ll need to buy a return ticket when you depart from Gozo. The standard passenger fare is €4.65 and you’ll arrive at the south of Gozo in the port town of Mgarr.

Malta to Gozo Ferry

If you don’t want to be reliant on the buses in Malta, then having your own transport is a great option. Not only will you be able to get to the ferry terminal quicker, but it will also be easier to get around the island of Gozo.

The cost for taking a car onto the Gozo ferry is €15.70 which also includes a ticket for one person. Similarly to if you are buying just a passenger ticket, you’ll only need to buy your ticket on the return leg from Gozo. All other passengers in the car apart from the driver will need to purchase a passenger ticket.

There are plenty of car rental options in Malta and you can typically find the deals on Rentalcars.com. This platform aggregates prices for many major car hire options to help you get a great deal.

It’s also worth it to consider taking out excess insurance on your vehicle from iCarHireInsurance if you rent a car to avoid having to pay the sometimes hefty insurance charges from the car rental company.

If you prefer to have your day organised for you, then there are plenty of tour options to choose that offer different aspects of the highlights on Gozo.

A tour to Gozo can be a particularly good idea if you don’t have your own car and are taking a day trip to Gozo not from Valletta or Sliema where the majority of bus routes depart from.

One of the top reasons travellers want to visit Gozo is to combine Gozo and Comino in one day. This guided tour or this guided tour both involves spending an hour each at the Blue Lagoon & Crystal Lagoon on Comino before giving travellers 3 hours of free time on Gozo to explore.

These tours depart from Bugibba but will organise ground transport from other parts of Malta for a small additional fee. They also offer some transport options on the island of Gozo if you don’t want to take the local bus.

Crysyal Lagoon on Comino in Malta

If you’d prefer to explore more of Gozo rather than spending half your day swimming then there are also some great tour options for you.

This full-day jeep tour takes you to many of the highlights on the island, includes lunch and a short powerboat ride to the Blue & Crystal lagoons. This tour picks you up from your hotel where you will board the Gozo ferry and then be met by your tour guide.

This similar guided jeep tour is also a good option as it gives you even more time on the island of Gozo as it doesn’t include a visit to Comino. A hearty lunch and wine are all included.

And if you don’t want to bother with the ferry to Gozo, this full-day jeep tour includes transport from Malta on a private boat before taking you to all of the highlights of the island.

If you prefer to spend your one day in Gozo with a bit of adrenaline running through your veins then this guided quad-bike tour might be for you! You’ll get to see many of the highlights of Gozo and it includes comprehensive insurance, lunch and a powerboat ride to the Blue & Crystal lagoons.

Finally, if you’re not worried about your budget in Malta , this private guided tour is a great way to see the island in your own vehicle with a licensed guide.

Mgarr Port on the island of Gozo

Gozo Day Trip Itinerary

This Gozo itinerary includes a visit to the capital of Victoria (Rabat) and then gives travellers a few different options on how to spend their afternoon before going back to Malta.

If you have your own vehicle, you might be able to fit in two of the three options listed, however, if you’re relying on the bus network, you should just focus on one part of the island if you’re only spending a day exploring Gozo.

Victoria (Rabat)

One of the highlights of visiting the island of Gozo is exploring its beautiful capital Victoria (Rabat) — Rabat is the original Maltese name.

You can get a bus directly from the ferry terminal in Mgarr to the capital – don’t forget you can use your bus ticket from Malta if it was validated fewer than two hours ago.

In Victoria, the highlight is undoubtedly exploring the impressive Citadella complex that offers great views of the island as well as housing a number of museums such as the Gozo Museum of Archaeology and an Old Prison.

Opposite the Citadella, pay a visit to the St George’s Basilica — an impressive baroque-style church.

Victoria is also a good place to grab a bite to eat before embarking on your afternoon adventure as it has the most cafe options on the island. One great choice for lunch near the main attractions is Cafe Jubilee which serves local and international dishes in an English-style pub.

Visiting Victoria (Rabat) is a must on a Gozo day trip from Malta

Option 1: East Gozo — Temples & Beaches

If you fancy seeing some historical sites older than the pyramids of Egypt, then head to the Eastern part of the island and visit The Ġgantija Temples.

These Neolithic structures are open year-round and there is a museum that explains the historical significance of the site.

From the temples, continue heading east to Ramla Beach. This beach is one of the best on Gozo and it is easily accessible with beautiful golden sand. It is rocky when getting into the water so consider bringing water shoes if you intend to go for a swim. From Ramla Bay, there is an hourly bus that goes back to the capital of Victoria.

Ramla Beach in Gozo

Option 2: West Gozo – Hiking & Wine

If you’re a nature lover and want to explore more of Gozo’s natural beauty then take a bus 311 west to Dwerja Bay.

This bay is one of the most stunning in Malta and is the location where the famous Azure Window used to stand. From Dwejra Bay, it’s possible to go hiking north along the coastline to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

You might get thirsty after all that hiking so it’s worth planning ahead and organising a wine tasting at nearby Tal-Massar Winery.

This small boutique operation is run by Anthony, who gives guests a tour of the vineyard, explains what makes wine from Gozo unique before you get to enjoy a free-flowing tasting with some local snacks. You can contact them via e-mail or through their Facebook page to arrange a visit.

The winery is located in Gharb, not far from the western coast of Gozo and you can take the back to Victoria.

Option 3: Comino

If you want to spend your day enjoying some of the beautiful swimming spots in Malta, you can combine a visit to Gozo with taking a boat to the small island of Comino and enjoy the Blue and/or Crystal Lagoons.

In the port town of Mgarr, you’ll find many small boat operators willing to take you out to the island and there’s even the option of renting your own small boat.

Both the Blue & Crystal Lagoon do get busy, particularly in the summer months so if you do have the option of getting there early then I suggest taking advantage of that.

The Blue Lagoon in Malta

Dinner in Gozo

The last ferry from Gozo back to Malta departs at 23:15 so there’s no need to rush back the main island and instead you should take advantage of some of the amazing restaurants in Gozo. And while Malta is located in Southern Europe, its British past means eating dinner at 6 or 7 pm isn’t a problem!

One option is to have dinner in Victoria where there are several great restaurants such as Maldonado . This will also allow you to have an evening stroll in the Citadella and see it all lit up.

Another option is to head back to Mgarr where the ferry departs from and instead enjoy dinner there. Ta’ Tona is one of the best restaurants that we ate during our time in Malta and it has a range of local dishes and freshly caught fish.

Mgarr itself is a nice small town and pleasant to wander through in the evening after a delicious meal.

Evening stroll in Mgarr

Have more time?

Apart from enjoying the other options listed in this Gozo itinerary, you can also head to the north of the island where the Xwejni Salt Pans are located. These salt pans form unique geometric patterns and are still being harvested by local workers.

There is also a craft brewery on the island called Lord Chambray which makes fantastic local beers – you can visit their taproom for tastings and you’ll also find their beer on the menus of many restaurants on Gozo.

All in all, there is plenty to keep you occupied on the island and more than enough reason to choose to stay in Gozo over Malta for a few nights.

Lord Chambray - Gozo's Original Craft Beer

Where to stay in Gozo

If you don’t have your own car to get around Gozo, staying in Victoria (Rabat) is ideal as the majority of bus routes pass through here and it has the greatest selection of restaurants and cafes on the island.

Casa Gemelli Boutique Guesthouse – This guesthouse is located in a traditional Maltese house with rooms beautifully furnished. They offer a couple of different double rooms including some with great views of the Citadel and include breakfast in the nightly rate.

The Duke Boutique Hotel  – A luxurious and modern hotel also located in Victoria (Rabat), they offer a range of rooms and suites suitable for couples or small families. Breakfast is also included daily.

Private Rental  – Gozo has a range of great private rentals such as  this historic farmhouse  and  this beautiful sea-view apartment.  

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Gozo!

The winding walls of the Citadella in Gozo

A Gozo day trip from Malta is a great way to get an introduction to Malta’s less-visited island and explore some of the unique attractions and historical sites available to travellers.

Are you planning a trip to Gozo? Have any questions about the island? Let us know in the comments below!

malta tours to gozo

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About Michael Rozenblit

Michael is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Both solo and with his partner, Maggie, he has travelled to over 50 countries across the globe and has a particular affinity for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He’s lived in numerous countries worldwide but currently resides in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Read more about Michael

Thanks for all the information. We spent 12th-19th Feb in Malta – an escape from the Polish winter – staying in Floriana. Your various mails were very informative and useful and we were able to make a tour of the north and south of the island as well as a sea trip to Gozo and Comino, but February is not the time for swimming in the blue lagoon, although one intrepid young man did spend 30 seconds in the sea. Valetta, Mosta, Mdina, Dingly cliffs – all brilliant. sites, with too much to see The Limestone Heritage is certainly worth adding to one’s itinerary. An excellent week.

Glad that you had a great trip, John! 🙂

Hi, I have Saturday, 20th Nov to spend in Gozo. How can I book a guided tour to see the citadel and the two temples of Ggantija temples. I would also like to see the temples of Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien on my return. How can I organize this? I did not see many trips on Saturdays. thanks Priyanthi

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A unique way to discover the gorgeous sights and fabulous sandy beaches on Malta and Gozo

Looking for an unforgettable way to explore gozo experience gozo’s natural beauty and countryside in a way you've never seen before..

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The Gozo Tour

Discover Gozo's hidden gems on our 7-8 hour tour (approx. 60km) starting at 10:00am from Malta! We'll take you to breathtaking sights, including Mixta Cave, Salt Pans, Wied il-Ghasri, and the iconic Ramla Bay, where you can soak up the sun, sand, and sea. Grab a delicious meal or drink and relax on the beach.

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Seesight at --> Wied il-Ghasri

Crystal-clear waters for an unforgettable swimming experience.

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Chill at Ramla Bay

The largest red-sandy beach on the island.

Seesight at Tal-Mixta cave

Experience the wonder of Tal-Mixta Cave, boasting the best view in Gozo.

Behind the idea...

For many years I've been discovering up and down the island of Malta and Gozo. I've been lucky to discover more and more gorgeous places during my adventure trips. It all started with taking friends and family and later other visitors to these routes which I discovered by myself and are a unique way to explore the Islands.

During our adventures, many people asked me why you did not come up with a complete route to these wonderful sights, which I am happy to introduce now.

Without the local knowledge of the Maltese Islands, for toursits it is almost impossible to enjoy and see all the places covered by this tours. For me the aim is to show and present Malta and Gozo to visitors in a way, they have never experienced before.

Gőz-Csiszár Linda

We spent a couple of days in Malta and this program was a lifetime experience. He took us to beautiful places and we spent the whole day in a really great mood. We choosed the Gozo tour. The georgeus places where we had been we never ever found by ourselves. Both of us felt very good. Thanks for your professional guided tour and your kindness! Gőz-Csiszár Linda's feedback from Facebook

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Get your offer now and get ready to explore the island like never before!

Tour includes insurance, fuel, helmets, video records, tour leader, and breathtaking sights. Share your details and we'll send you our offer.

All tours are accompanied by a licensed guide.

Book in advance and secure your spot now!

Thank you for your enquiry for our quad tours

We will get back to you within 24 hours with a qoute and more details.

We kindly ask that you follow these rules:

  • Drive your quad bike responsibly. Safety instructions will be provided before the tour to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure
  • Please note drivers must be between 25 and 60 years old. We want to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience exploring Malta and Gozo
  • Accident insurance claim fee: 350 euros
  • For your safety, please follow the tour leader at all times during the quad bike tour
  • Please bring a valid category B driving license to join our quad bike tour
  • Safety is our top priority. Please drive your quad bike carefully and avoid overtaking or racing during the tour

To ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment, it's important to follow these rules. Non-compliance may result in termination of the tour without refund. Thank you for your cooperation!

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This Small Mediterranean Island Is a Hidden Gem With Historic Towns and a Stunning Coastline

Ready for an island escape unlike any other? Gozo is waiting.

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The best time to visit gozo, things to do in gozo, gozo hotels.

  • How to Get to Gozo

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Looking for an island getaway where the waters are electric blue , the history is deep, and the crowds are thin? Then it’s time to head to Gozo. Located in the Mediterranean, Gozo is just one of the breathtaking islands part of the archipelago of Malta. It’s a place that’s been inhabited for thousands of years and has remained a quiet and stunning destination all that time. It’s a place where outdoor enthusiasts and laid-back vacationers can both find a little bliss, if they’re willing to make the trek. Here’s what you need to know about planning the perfect getaway to Gozo. 

Related : The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2023

Gozo is a small island, covering just 26 square miles. It’s a spot tailor-made for rest and relaxation, so those looking for a party atmosphere or a rowdy experience should steer clear. Though it’s quiet, there’s still plenty to see and do here, especially for those looking for an active vacation. And, before you go, make sure to exchange dollars for euros, as that’s the currency across Malta. 

The good news is, there really isn’t a bad time to go to Gozo. According to WeatherSpark , throughout the year, the temperature averages range from 50°F to 87°F and rarely ever fall below 44°F. That said, if you’re looking for warm weather worthy of a dip in the ocean, it’s best to visit during the summer season between June and September, when the average high is 86°F. Also check out the shoulder seasons in the spring (April and May) and fall (mid-September to November) when temperatures remain comfortable in the 70s. 

Andrey Danilovich/Getty Images

Visit the one-time site of the Azure Window.

The Azure Window was one of the great natural phenomena of Gozo, and it was even featured in television shows like Game of Thrones . Sadly, it collapsed in 2017, but that doesn’t make the site any less worthy of a visit. Hike along the Dwejra Bay for as long as you’d like, taking in the views of the craggy coastline and seeing other special sites like The Fungus Rock, the Blue Hole, and the Inland Sea lagoon. 

See the Citadel.

Learn more about the island’s history by visiting the Citadel in Rabat (also referred to as Victoria). The walled city was built in the 15th century and still contains many historically significant sites and several of the island’s museums, including the Museum of Archeology. The Citadel also offers one of the best views in town thanks to its location on top of the hill, so make sure to take a 360-degree look while you’re there.

Take a boat to the Blue Lagoon.

Though all of Gozo is gorgeous, it’s a good idea to get on a boat and get off the island to visit one of the most popular attractions — the Blue Lagoon. Located on the nearby island of Comino, the lagoon is the stuff of Instagram dreams, with water that looks almost too blue to be real, surrounded by coves and caves worth exploring. Charter a sailboat for a day for a private adventure, or hop on a public cruise for a quick visit. 

Lounge at Ramla Beach.

If you’re here in the warmer months, stop by Ramla Beach, known for having the softest sand on the island. It’s a large beach, so you won’t have trouble finding a spot to lay out for the day, but do note it’s a popular destination, so odds are you’ll be next to another tourist or two. 

See the salt pans.

The Xwejni Salt Pans are one more glorious site to visit on Gozo. The salt pans, located on the north end of the island, have been used for hundreds of years to harvest salt for locals, and they remain an important part of Gozo life. They also happen to be a rather photogenic place thanks to their unique patterns. 

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Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz

For a touch of luxury on your Gozo getaway, book a stay at the Kempinski Hotel . Here, guests will find spacious suites, including several with massive patios for enjoying the outdoors, and residential-style apartments, as well as several restaurants and a full-service spa to help you further unwind. 

Grand Hotel Gozo

Located at the gateway to the island, the Grand Hotel Gozo is both a convenient and comfortable place to call home during your stay. Take in the ocean views from every window, book family suites for group getaways, take a dip in its indoor and outdoor pools, and book a treatment in its Elemis Spa.

Dar tal-Kaptan Boutique Maison

Find yourself surrounded by more of Gozo’s history at the Dar tal-Kaptan Boutique Maison , a 400-year-old farmhouse in Ghasri. Here, guests will find a home-style stay that still includes all the bells and whistles you want on vacation, including a sauna, hammam, steam room, and several outdoor spaces to soak in the sun. 

How to Get to Gozo 

Getting to Gozo requires flying to the main island of Malta, then heading to Ċirkewwa to catch a ferry. The ferry is super convenient and takes just 25 minutes, with departures every 45 minutes. Once you’re on Gozo, getting around is easy. Visitors can rent a car or four-wheeler for their stay, or rely on local taxis and the public bus.

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Copy My Trip: Best things I did on a five-day Mediterranean break in Malta

Kerry Walker

Jul 20, 2023 • 6 min read

malta tours to gozo

Writer Kerry Walker loved exploring the backstreets of Mdina on her recent trip to Malta © Kerry Walker

In search of a shot of sea and spring sunshine, Lonely Planet writer Kerry Walker headed to Malta and Gozo and fell hard for these twin islands in the Med. Here she shares the highlights of her trip.

With its one-of-a-kind history, cinematic cities built high and mighty by the Knights of St John, ravishing coastlines and distinctive cuisine embracing Italian and Middle Eastern influences, Malta grabbed me when I first visited 15 years ago - and I have longed to go back ever since. This time I managed to squeeze in a mini trip to neighboring Gozo , too.

If you're looking for a perfect time to visit Malta, it's spring with wildflowers blooming, beaches empty, room rates low, crowds virtually non-existent and temperatures hovering around 20°C. While the sea is still a bit nippy (unless you’re a cold-water fan), the mild days are perfect for other activities - from coastal hikes and runs to horse riding and kayaking, and just hanging out piazza-side in beautiful gold-stone cities.

Traditional colourful Maltese fishing boats with traditional Maltese housing in St George's Bay

Where did you stay? What was the vibe?

The Radisson Blu Resort in St Julian’s , where the crisply designed rooms in seaside blues and whites come with front-row views of the Mediterranean. It’s a nice central base for zipping around the island, just a 10-minute walk from St George’s Bay, where you’ll find a sandy beach and loads of nightlife, and a 20-minute ride from Valletta .

There are several pools, a gym, small spa and it’s right on the edge of the Pembroke Nature Reserve (perfect for morning runs). The breakfast buffet was a cut above, with freshly made pancakes and omelets, and I had a great risotto in the hotel's Le Bistro  restaurant, which bigs up locally farmed and fished ingredients.

Snapshot from scenes of daily life in Malta including people dining at cafe, gondolas crusing on St Julians Bay and backstreets of Valleta

Best way to start the day in Malta?

A morning run. There’s something special about getting up to see the pink blush of sunrise and slip into running gear as the first light creeps along the coast. At this early hour, it’s silent but for the gentle shush of waves. My go-to run is the Pembroke Nature Reserve in St Julian’s, where the rocky shore is a fragrant mass of wildflowers.

Otherwise, you’ll find me in Valletta, a gorgeous ochre-stone city of domes, Renaissance palazzi, piazzas, cobbled alleys and streets that rollercoaster down to the sea San Francisco-style. I love passing through Renzo Piano’s City Gate and strolling past townhouses graced with gallariji, ornate wooden balconies, as the city shakes off sleep and coffee pots begin to bubble.

I might go for a freshly roasted cup at retro-cool Lot 61 , followed by oven-warm pastizzi - flaky pastry pockets stuffed with ricotta or minced beef - at posh Caffe Cordina , in business since 1837. It’s right on the square opposite the lavish Grandmaster’s Palace, once the HQ of the Knights of St John.

The ochre-hued backstreets of Mdina

What is a must-visit place in Malta?

Mdina . On a hilltop perch in the island’s heart, this fortified medieval town is film-set stuff. And it has had its moments of fame: Mdina Gate, with its stone bridge over the former city moat, and Mesquita Square, overshadowed by baroque St Paul's Cathedral , both appeared in Game of Thrones Season 1. But for me the real joy is nosing around its mazy alleys, past courtyard cafes and honey-hued palazzi.

The painterly light in these streets makes a photographer out of everyone. You can peel back the layers of the island’s history at the Domus Romana villa , with its Roman mosaics and marble statues, and swanning around the gardens that rim the sturdy bastions put up by the Knights of St John. Book a table for lunch in the gorgeous inner courtyard of The Medina , a 500-year-old Norman residence turned mezze-style restaurant. Stuffed vine leaves, local sweet red prawn carpaccio, slow-cooked confit pork belly - it’s all delicious.

Amouse Bouche at Gracy's Malta

The top spot for dinner in Malta?

OKA’s at the Villa in Balluta Bay really hits the romance mark, with its history, food and a pinch of glamour. This stunningly converted 19th-century palazzo has a terrace peering out across the bay, where you can sip a signature martini (blood-orange gin, amaretto honey, peach juice and smoke bubble) before dinner in the restaurant. The menu is refreshingly Mediterranean with a nod to the Middle East: labneh with crispy lamb, chilli oil and warm pitta, and octopus tagliatelle with preserved lemon and herbs.

If it’s a special occasion, score a table at Gracy’s in Valletta, a 17th-century palazzo reborn as a stylish supper club, with a terrace bar gazing out across the city rooftops. Tom Peters (former sous chef at three-Michelin-starred Maaemo in Oslo) mans the stove, putting a fresh British take on Maltese cuisine in dishes like turbot-and-scallop Wellington with baby leek and champagne beurre-blanc.

A segway and horse-riding tour in Golden Bay, Malta

What is one place in Malta you want people to know about?

Golden Bay. The island’s more rugged northeast coast dispels the myth that Malta doesn’t have any beaches . Here you’ll find Golden Bay and - lovelier still - Riviera Beach, a glorious sweep of sand backed by cliffs. When I went in spring, the coast was very peaceful. If flopping on the beach isn’t your thing, you can trundle along the cliffs by Segway or saddle up at Golden Bay Horse Riding . I tried both and preferred the latter, relaxing into the rhythm of being on horseback as we trotted along the cliffs and through meadows flecked with poppies.

For an adventurous brush with Malta’s history, hook onto a self-guided electric buggy tour with Rolling Geeks . These dive into the Three Cities of Vittoriosa , Senglea and Cospicua, inhabited since Phoenician times, with fascinating snapshots of daily life in their back alleys and piazzas. Stop at the bastion-top Gardjola Gardens in Senglea for ringside views of Valletta’s Grand Harbour.

View of bay through lookout from Tal Mixta Cave in Gozo

How can you get away from the crowds?

Go to Gozo. Just a half-hour ferry ride from Malta, this smaller, greener, quieter isle is an enticing taste of the Med before the dawn of tourism. The World Heritage Ġgantija Temples , older than Egypt’s pyramids, are a megalithic marvel and the island’s biggest crowd-puller, but if you want to dodge the masses, visit in very low season. The same can be said for Ċittadella , a crazily lovely hilltop citadel that was once the acropolis of the Punic-Roman city of Gaulos.

History aside, the island bombards you with natural beauty: the ragged, wave-beaten coast of Dwejra Bay is was pure drama even on a windy, overcast day, with its cliff-wrapped Inland Sea , Fungus Rock (a 60m-high pillar of limestone) and a shoreline mottled with sand dollar sea urchin fossils.

Or walk up to Tal-Mixta Cave, high above the red-gold sweep of Ramla Bay. The island’s dinky proportions mean you can explore a fair bit on foot or bike, but if you fancy going further, Gozo’s fleet of electric tuk-tuks offer insightful guided tours .

Alfred and Mary Attard at their salt workshop

What's one thing you should bring back from Malta?

Ġbejna cheese. Malta’s pungent rounds of handmade sheep and goat’s cheese are famous and with good reason. Buy it fresh and its sweet and creamy, with a wobbly panna cotta consistency, but the sharply tangy, air-dried, wine-pickled variety travels better. In Gozo, buy it at Ta’ Rikardu , tucked in a backstreet behind the baroque cathedral in Ċittadella. While you’re there, pick up a bottle of the prickly pear liqueur they produce on their farm, too.

If there’s time, visit Gozo’s north-coast Xwejni Bay, where you’ll find a chequerboard of salt pans and a tiny rock-cut cave by the sea. Here Alfred Attard is just one of two people left on the island hand-harvesting sea salt according to millennia-old traditions. A bag of his incredibly pure salt makes a fabulous gift.

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MDINA, MALTA - October 2018: Massive stone city entrance gate, ancient town of Mdina, Malta; Shutterstock ID 1634278489; your: Brian Healy; gl: 65050; netsuite: Lonely Planet Online Editorial; full: Things to know before Malta

Jun 3, 2022 • 6 min read

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Any recommendations for family friendly resorts for a first - Malta Forum

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Any recommendations for family friendly resorts for a first

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' class=

Hi everyone - i'm looking for a place to go on holiday in August/september after the busy school holiday period with my wide and toddler (almost 2). I'm really hoping for some suggestions as it's the first time booking a proper overseas holiday as a family and I'm such a newbie.

I'm hoping for access to the sea, and to stay in a resort that has out own apartment/villa and isn't ages away from an airport. Would be great if there were some outdoorsy things to do like a way to hire bikes or walks in some nice woods/parks as some resorts tends to have. We're hoping to find a resort that is less 'resorty' and more of a relaxed self contained feel.

Thanks so much!

2 replies to this topic

' class=

maybe get in touch with the malta tourist board in london they should be able to give you a few ideas

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11 of the best things to do in Valletta, Malta

S unseekers, history buffs and those inclined to explore on two feet will thrive on a city break to one of Europe’s smallest capitals, Valletta .

Protruding from Malta’s main island, Valletta, once an enclave for the Knights of St John, blends Baroque with a modern elegance.

Balmy Gozo and Comino, two of 21 islands in the Maltese archipelago, may have the beaches, lagoons and scuba diving that attract holidaymakers to the sparkling Mediterranean, but walled Valletta’s heritage and landmarks are at the heart of the island nation.

The Maltese capital is known as “The Fortress City” for good reason with a host of harbourside history in its ornate churches, war museums and 17th century fortifications that link the Unesco World Heritage Centre to the Order of St John of Jerusalem and both world wars.

From touring the golden corridors of St John’s Co-Cathedral to cruising the Grand Harbour and embracing Maltese cuisine, here’s our guide to the best sightseeing, dining and activities to do during a sun-drenched stay in Valletta.

Read more on Malta travel :

  • The best things to do in Malta, from hiking and sightseeing to sandy beaches and nightclubs
  • Best hotels in Malta: From Valletta to countryside hideaways
  • Seven unmissable beach spots in Malta and Gozo

Tour St John’s Co-Cathedral

Going to church is not the usual affair at St John’s Co-Cathedral, with its gilded Baroque interiors, an excess of marble and paintings by Caravaggio the setting for a full Latin Mass on Sundays at 9.15am. Built by the Order of St John, the architectural masterpiece is a lavish display of the knights’ wealth with nine ornate chapels, a series of tombs and a crypt.

Head up and down the Upper Barrakka lifts

A day at the Upper Barrakka Gardens guarantees views over the azure Grand Harbour and Fort St Angelo. A panoramic glass lift, 58m tall, connects the gardens to Valletta’s waterfront for sea-level ferry access – a round trip costs just €1 to ride. In the lush gardens themselves, you’ll find fountains, monuments and a neoclassical shrine alongside some of the finest skyline scenes in the city; it’s the ideal place to picnic with a loaf of Malta’s staple sourdough.

Explore Fort St Elmo and the National War Museum

Malta’s oldest fort, the star-shaped fortress of stone that is Fort St Elmo on the tip of the peninsula, guards the entrance to Valletta’s Grand Harbour. Fort St Elmo houses a chapel, the resting place of knights lost to battle, and the National War Museum, with displays of military armour, the George Cross and a WWII memorial to offer an educational insight into 7,000 years of Maltese history.

Cruise the Grand Harbour

East of the city, the cerulean Grand Harbour, a passage to the “Three Cities” of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua that both predate and neighbour Valletta, has been an active seaport since the Phoenician times. Traditional Maltese harbour boats, the colourful wooden  dghajsa,  ferry holidaymakers onto the water for a sea view of Malta’s imposing fortifications as the sailors would have seen it, but with all the romance of a Venetian gondola.

Watch the cannon fire at the Saluting Battery

Catch the crackle and smoke plumes of cannon fire every day at noon from the 16th-century  Saluting Battery  that overlooks Fort St Angelo and Valletta’s Grand Harbour. The ode to past salutes of visiting naval vessels carries on the tradition of ceremonial artillery firings and dignitary gun salutes present in the city since its origin in 1566, and adult tickets to the smoke show at midday cost just €3.

Sample traditional street food on a walking tour

Culinary delights pepper the streets of the ex-European Capital of Culture, but back street bites give the best taste of Malta’s fusion of unfussy cuisines. Traditional rabbit stew  stuffat tal-fenek  (the national dish) and  pastizzi  pea-filled pastries meet seasonal fresh swordfish and  timpana  pastry-style lasagnas on Valletta’s side streets, while cultural walking tours offer the chance to sample the local antipasti and lagers as you stroll. It’s a feast for the eyes and the stomach on the historic walkways.

Take in the Tritons’ Fountain

At the entrance of Valletta’s City Gate, the Tritons’ Fountain’s iconic three bronze Tritons balance a basin in a structural spectacle of water jets and mist. Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap constructed the landmark, first turned on in 1959, and the grand fountain has since been restored as a sparkling welcome to the European city. Better still, the fountain’s impromptu sprays are sure to cool you down on one of Malta’s scorching summer days.

Navigate the Lascaris War Rooms

To brush up on your history and discover the role that Malta played in the Second World War, visit the underground yet completely intact Lascaris War Rooms via a complex of tunnels and chambers carved under the capital. Here, generals planned famous invasions such as that of Sicily in 1943, and the Allies’ critical operations headquarters in the Mediterranean remain kitted with the faded maps and bombing schedules that were instrumental to WWII planning.

Stroll Republic Street

Valletta’s 1km long backbone, Republic Street, is where you will find most of the walled city's main sights. Running from the city gates to Fort St Elmo on the tip of the peninsula, artisan sellers of silver filigree and lace, handsome old lunch spots such as Caffe Cordina and the National Museum of Archaeology line the main pedestrian thoroughfare. It’s well worth a stroll to get under the skin of Malta’s capital.

Eat streetside at San Paolo Naufrago

St Lucia’s Street’s step-side San Paolo Naufrago pizzeria has opened every morning bar Sunday at 10am since 1938 to delight islanders’ appetites with fresh parma pizzas, charcuterie platters and glasses of vino from inside the cosy wine bar. Multicoloured chairs line the steps for al fresco meals under the glow of fairy lights in the centre of Valletta, and orders of sought-after dough at the family-run joint will set diners back just €8.

Catch a sunset at The Rooftop Restaurant, The Embassy

If you’re looking to soak up the city from above alongside sips of signature cocktails,  The Embassy’s Rooftop Restaurant  is the place to be come nightfall. Offering panoramic views of the Grand Harbour, Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the distant Mediterranean, as well as sunset scenes of orange and a menu of seasonal culinary delights, The Rooftop is a great place to kick back after a long day of sightseeing.

Read more of our best Malta hotel reviews

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7 of the best Malta holidays 2024: Where to stay for luxury retreats and budget breaks

The best deals and destinations on the mediterranean island, article bookmarked.

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Boats bobbing in Marsaxlokk harbour, Malta

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A tiny archipelago of just three inhabited islands, Malta may be one of Europe’s smallest countries, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in natural beauty and vibrant towns.

An increasingly popular holiday destination, Malta is situated just 50 miles south of Sicily. From sightseeing in picturesque walled towns to discovering sandy beaches and and enjoying the vibrant nightlife, the island trio of Malta, Gozo and Comino boasts tourist attractions suiting all ages.

The country has been open to outside influence since medieval times, with a colourful history that culminated in independence from Britain in the 1960s. A complicated past – moulded by centuries of foreign rule by a handful of different powers – has made Malta an enigmatic paradise for those with an interest in history and the islands are a wondrous collection of landmarks.

With excellent weather well into autumn, the end of summer can be an ideal time to visit the islands. You’ll find average temperatures around 24C, fewer crowds to contend with and better deals on offer, whether you’re looking for a last-minute family-friendly getaway or a luxury couples retreat . Here are some of the best deals to get you booking that Malta holiday for 2024.

The Phoenicia, Valletta

The area around the Grand Harbour is one to snap with your camera

Valletta , the Maltese capital, is a Unesco World Heritage Site noted for the 320 monuments that adorn the city streets. A walled city that dates back to the 1500s, it is home to an attractive port area with sweeping sea views and an eclectic mix of honey-hued Baroque and neoclassical buildings. The main sights include the Grandmaster’s Palace, St John’s Co-Cathedral and the impressive Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens.

British Airways Holidays  offer exceptional value on packages at The Phoenicia , located just outside of the city (less than 10 minutes away from the Upper Barrakka Gardens). It sits on seven acres of private gardens, with views over the Grand Harbour from its magnificent infinity pool and terrace. While the rooms are fairly minimal in decoration, the hotel interiors are magnificent, and the spa and indoor pool cap off the luxury amenities.

Prices from £1,724.50pp for seven nights’ accommodation, return flights from Gatwick, airport transfers and one checked bag each. Departing 31 August.

Corinthia Palace, San Anton

The Sant’Anton Gardens are the main attraction near the Corinthia Palace Hotel

If you prefer somewhere away from the sea, choose Mdina, a smaller walled city that served as a filming location for Game of Thrones . The former capital contains its own St Paul’s Cathedral and an impressive city gate, and can make a great base for your stay – Valletta, Sliema, St Julian’s and Mellieha are all less than 30 minutes away by car.

Just 10 minutes away from Mdina and near to the verdant Sant’Anton Gardens, the Corinthia Palace Hotel is an oasis of peace and relaxation in the gardens of a converted 19th-century villa. Centred around a large outdoor swimming pool, the hotel also offers a spa, gym and heated indoor pool, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves a terrifically British afternoon tea. Several providers offer trips here, but the Jet2holidays package is the best value.

Prices from £1,372pp for seven nights’ accommodation, bed and breakfast, return flights from Stansted, private airport transfers and one piece of checked luggage each. Departing 2 September.

Kempinski Hotel, Gozo

Gozo is a separate island in the Maltese archipelago

The island of Gozo lies directly northwest of Malta. Slightly smaller than its neighbour, it is similarly rugged but more green and hilly, with an impressive list of things to do. The first should be the Ggantija Temple, a Unesco-listed neolithic complex that outdates Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids; the island is also home to a 15th-century citadel that is extremely well-preserved. Ramla Bay is the only sandy beach on the island, though the azure waters of the Blue Hole – a natural rock formation – and the seas surrounding it are also great for swimming.

For excellent value in your Gozo getaway, plump for Thomas Cook. This package is for a stay at the Kempinski Hotel in San Lawrenz, a five-star spa hotel with several acres of gardens that contain five different swimming pools. The hotel is suitably grand, with elegant facades and a selection of stylishly decorated rooms to add to its three different restaurant offerings.

Prices from £659.27pp for five nights’ accommodation, bed and breakfast and return flights from Gatwick. Departing 1 September.

Westin Dragonara, St Julian’s

St Julian’s Bay is one of the most popular areas of the city for days spent by the water

St Julian’s is a lively, seaside resort slightly north of Valletta. This is the place to come for nightlife, with the Paceville area well-known for its abundance of casinos, bars and clubs. Beach areas, such as St George’s Bay and Balluta Bay, are popular for swimming and a host of water sports, from snorkelling to jet skiing. For a more laid-back time, opt for a walk around Portomaso Marina and Spinola Bay.

British Airways Holidays offers a package staying at the Westin Dragonara . Near the heart of town – and close to Paceville – the hotel offers contemporary elegance with magnificent gardens, as well as two swimming pools, two sections of guest-only beach and three restaurants serving a range of continental cuisine. All rooms come equipped with a balcony or sun terrace, with views of the gardens or the Med.

Price from £1,352pp for seven nights’ accommodation, return flights from Gatwick and airport transfers. Departing 8 September.

The Palace Hotel, Sliema

Sliema sits just across the water from Valletta

Sitting between Valletta and St Julian’s, Sliema is a built-up coastal town. The seafront promenade is the best place for views towards both Valletta and St Julian’s, and stretches for around three miles, making it excellent for a spot of exercise or a waterside meal. Though the only sand beaches in the area is Exiles, you can swim, kayak and paddle board using access points at Qui-Si-Sana, Font Ghadir and Sliema Pitch.

The Palace Hotel sits on a hill overlooking part of the city and the Mediterranean Sea, so you can expect sensational views if you book this easyJet package. The rooftop terrace is the focal point of the hotel, with a large infinity pool, bar and plenty of seating from which to enjoy the panorama. There’s also a spa and indoor pool, and the hotel’s central location means a quick excursion into town is easy.

Price from £868pp for five nights’ accommodation, return flights from Gatwick, one checked bag each and private airport transfers. Departing 13 June.

Salini Resort, Qawra

Qawra is part of the town of St Paul’s Bay

Found within the popular St Paul’s Bay area, Qawra is a resort town near the eastern coast of the island. It is sometimes seen as a joint resort along with the nearby area of Bugibba, an upbeat and energetic place with more of a focus on nightlife. Qawra’s nightlife is less raucous – though there are still many bars, pubs and restaurants in the area – and the two spots complement each other well. The town has its own promenade, and though the rocky coastline means that sandy areas are limited, Qawra Point is a popular spot for swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Located just 10 minutes away from Qawra, the Salini Resort sits beside its own section of coastline across from St Paul’s Bay. It features tennis courts, three swimming pools and three restaurants. Inside, the hotel’s modern interiors are accompanied by sweeping sea views; private balconies in every room allow you to enjoy them in peace. For a great early-September deal on Salini, book with Tui .

Price from £550.63pp for five nights’ accommodation with return flights from Heathrow and one piece of checked luggage each. Departing 6 September.

Db Seabank Hotel, Mellieha

Manoel Island, with Sliema’s cityscape in the background

Mellieha’s bay is the largest and most popular beach on the island of Malta. A charming, peaceful town surrounded by golden hills, it contains several historic monuments – from the parish church to the Red Tower, a 17th-century watchtower – and natural sites including the Coral Lagoon and Il-Majjistral Nature and History Park.

Thomas Cook’ s offers a five-night all-inclusive stay at Db Seabank Hotel . The family-friendly hotel on the northern coast, near Ghadira Bay, sits around a large outdoor pool and terrace area, with an indoor pool, spa and sauna also available. The hotel has cocktail bars, lounges and seven restaurants, with cuisine ranging from Mediterranean buffets to Asian fusion. Staff organise activities such as yoga, aerobics, beach volleyball and football, while the kids’ club puts on activities for those aged four to 11.

Price from £700.89pp for five nights’ accommodation, all-inclusive, with return flights from Luton; only hand luggage included. Departing 8 September.

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A view of Valletta's harbour from an old limestone archway. People sit on beaches by the water, whilst some walk past, not without admiring the view.

A guide to Valletta, the Maltese capital with an eye for art and entertainment

In Malta’s harbour-framed capital, a rich and evolving art scene unfolds among honeyed baroque facades, echoing the global influences that have shaped the city over the centuries.

“It’s an extension of God, a celebration of his beauty and perfection,” Father Charles remarks as we stand at the threshold of St John’s Co-Cathedral in central Valletta, necks craned towards the ceiling. Armies of painted angels swirl overhead, elaborate carvings festoon archways lining the nave and painstakingly detailed marble inlay covers the floor. But all this splendour pales in comparison to the gold — thick, gleaming coats of which adorn nearly every surface in dazzling maximalist fashion. “This cathedral was built by the knights, for the knights,” Father Charles continues, a smile spreading across his white-bearded face.  

“And as you can see, the knights were very wealthy.” It’s impossible to speak about St John’s Co-Cathedral   — or about the Maltese capital Valletta at all — without speaking about the Knights of St John. This religious and military order, founded in Jerusalem in the medieval ages, was charged with the defence of the Holy Land under papal charter. With support from Pope Clement VII, the exclusive collective, consisting solely of wealthy men from elite noble families, made Malta its new headquarters in the 16th century. It would go on to rule here for more than 250 years, building countless artistic wonders including the entire fortified city of Valletta — and its crowning glory, this cathedral.

“The knights came from noble families all across Europe and you can see each of their nations represented in different chapels along the nave,” Father Charles says as we begin to walk the glinting interior. As the cathedral’s in-house conservator, he knows each piece of artwork inside out, and has restored many of them himself. As we move, he shares stories of the paintings, their artists and the trials of upkeep (“I needed to reline the frame on this Mattia Preti painting — it took me a year!”).  

People walking up and down the steps of a historical building in Vittoriosa, Valletta.

In the comparatively austere French chapel he points out the restrained Nazarene-style fleur de lis motif; and in the Aragon, elaborate metallic sculptures. It quickly becomes clear that St John’s Co-Cathedral is not just a church, but a showcase of some of the finest 16th and 17th century European art and architecture, a bit like a living Louvre or Rijksmuseum. “Look at this wood; it doesn’t come from Malta, we don’t have big trees like this,” Father Charles enthuses over a ceiling beam, before adding, “The knights brought in all the best artists of the time — and all the best materials too.”

Stepping back out into the daylight after my ecclesiastical art-history lesson, winged angels and silver-plated liturgical paraphernalia still spiralling through my mind, I find I have a new-found appreciation for Valletta’s baroque downtown. Handsome honeyed facades are lined in ornate stonework, subtle cream townhouses sport painted wooden gallarija (closed balconies) and narrow cobbled streets run downhill towards the expansive Grand Harbour, its waters criss-crossed with yachts and colourful luzzu   fishing boats.

As I wander through the compact grid of streets, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I pass restaurants, gift shops and pods of tourists, as well as locals lucky enough to live among this aesthetic wealth year-round — couples walking fluffy Maltese dogs and collared priests scooting around corners into tiny churches. The old city headquarters of the knights may be extraordinarily pretty, but they’re also brimming with life.

( How to spend a day in Valetta, Malta's baroque, harbourside city .)

It wasn’t always like this, of course. When the knights began to build their capital in 1566, atop a raised peninsula on Malta’s east coast, the land — flanked by that rambling natural harbour — was almost barren. Or so it seemed. Long before the knights arrived, however, the area had been pockmarked with the imprints of much more ancient peoples.  

That’s what I learn at the National Museum of Archaeology, where I head that afternoon, less than a block away from the cathedral. Simple displays in glass cabinets belie the irreplaceable treasures within: artefacts recovered from Malta’s numerous neolithic sites. Scattered across the island, some spots are thought to date to 3600 BCE — older than the Egyptian pyramids or Stonehenge.

Over millennia, travellers from across the Mediterranean came to this sun-soaked island to settle, each civilisation leaving their mark before the next succeeded. As I move from room to room in the museum, I learn about the prehistoric Sicilians who ushered in elaborate megalithic structures between 4000-2500 BCE, and the Phoenicians’ smooth pottery, precious gold amulets and purple dyed fabrics dating to around 700 BCE.

Patrons walk around and view art in a traditional art gallery in Valletta.

I see rudimentary miniature sculptures and stone necklaces of imported greenstone, and swirling stone carvings removed from the 5,000-year-old Tarxien Temples, whose ruins lie four miles from the museum.

Most remarkable of all is one of the smallest exhibits: a tiny clay figure entitled Sleeping Lady, discovered in the subterranean galleries of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum — an ancient necropolis less than 15 minutes’ drive from where I stand. Lying on her side, eyes peacefully closed, she looks as if she’s just slipped into her eternal slumber, despite being carved millennia ago. As museum visitors pause in the dimly lit exhibition space to admire her gentle serenity, they can’t help but hush, as if not to wake her.

Timeless appeal

Over my next few days in the city, more of Valletta’s artistic riches slowly reveal themselves. The MUŻA National Museum of Art, in a beautiful baroque building a short walk from the National Museum of Archaeology, bursts with oil paintings, mosaics and polished wooden marquetry tables. In the historic Teatru Manoel, one of the oldest working theatres in Europe, a grand chandelier illuminates rows of gilded boxes.

Casa Rocca Piccola — a 440-year-old noble family home-cum-museum — showcases an extensive collection of visual treasures, including elaborate gold filigree and Maltese lace. There are historic knights-related oddities, too, such as a chess set minus the queens, designed specifically for the male-only order. As I enter a dining space laid with precious cutlery and ceramics, I feel almost like I’m in a residential version of St John’s Co-Cathedral, unsure how to take in the sheer amount of artistic detail in front of me.  

As I continue to explore, I find that the city’s aesthetic charm is not only hidden behind closed doors. One evening, at sunset, I stand in the landscaped Upper Barrakka Gardens overlooking the harbour as toy-sized boats zigzag through the waters far below and nature paints the sky pink and orange with its own masterful palette.

People sitting on an old limestone wall, lined by trees, watching the sunset.

It would be easy to think of Valletta as being a kind of artistic timewarp, an unchanging world of gilded wonder. And yet its artistic evolution is not complete. A new chapter begins later this year with the opening of MICAS — the Malta International Contemporary Art Space   — in vast historic fortifications and ramparts just outside the city walls.

“These works address our sense of space and time, and how these can be distorted,” says British contemporary artist Conrad Shawcross, the museum’s first exhibitor, as he leads me through a small portion of the site already open to visitors. We wander along the bleached stone ramparts towards old military vaults, ducking into the squeezed spaces to see his intricate light installation, Slow Arc Within a Cube. In the darkness, metallic grid sculptures with moving bulb mechanisms throw metamorphosing shapes across the ceiling, walls and floor, appearing to change the dimensions of the space with every passing moment.

“I made this piece 10 years ago and it’s been shown in various locations around the world, but I’m delighted it’s found a permanent resting place here in Malta,” explains Conrad as we watch his light machines cast hypnotic illuminations. One of MICAS’s aims is to balance Malta’s extensive history with exciting artistic innovation — both local and global — and this blend of fort architecture and modern craftwork seems the perfect embodiment. It’s a theme explored further in Conrad’s large-scale installation on the ramparts, Beacons. Blinking against the noon sun after our time in the dim vaults, we gaze up at the series of huge colourful discs, mounted flag-like on poles. Visible from far across the harbour, they look like some kind of naval semaphoric code — and in fact, Conrad tells me, they are. Pointing to each oversized disc in turn, he spells out their succinct meaning: ‘NOW’.

On my final night in the city, I return to St John’s Co-Cathedral. The clusters of visitors have cleared out for the day, leaving the vast interiors eerily quiet. Showing my concert ticket to the guard, I’m ushered into a small oratory, where I take a seat among an intimate audience.

Lights are dimmed, a harp is played and a woman sings sweet baroque medleys by candlelight as we gaze up towards the altar, which is adorned with what is arguably Valletta’s most precious artistic treasure of all. The Beheading of St John the Baptist, an oil painting by 16th-century Italian artistic master Caravaggio, stretches more than five metres wide, a brutal and haunting scene of disimpassioned spectatorship. A prostrate St John, with his throat brutally slit, bleeds on the ground while callous onlookers support a stoney-faced executioner. The only humanity in the painting is embodied by a single, horrified woman.

The longer I stare, baroque music washing across the oratory, the more details emerge from the darkness. Caravaggio’s signature in the pool of blood — this is his only signed work — and the glint of the silver knife. It induces awe not for ornate gilding, like so much in the city, but for intimate drama. We’re a small group of strangers collectively witnessing the stirring tragedy of this painting, 400 years after the artist put brush to canvas.

It’s hard to compute all that Caravaggio’s eternal masterpiece has witnessed in its long history, or what it will see in years to come. But for me, a fleeting visitor to this place, the concert becomes a vivid living postcard of my time in Valletta. A brief but beautiful moment shared by many over the centuries.

Related Topics

  • CITY GUIDES
  • HISTORIC PRESERVATION
  • ART HISTORY
  • CULTURAL TOURISM

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malta tours to gozo

Malta votes to elect EP representatives, local councillors

malta tours to gozo

Malta has voted to elect its representatives at the European Parliament and local council for the next five years.

Voting in the 117 polling stations across Malta and Gozo opened at 7am yesterday and closed 15 hours later, at 10pm.

The counting of the EP votes will take place today, starting at 9am, but the official results are not expected before 11pm. This is in line with European demands as voting has to close in all 27 member states before official results can be released.

But the unofficial results will be known long before then, as party agents will be counting them manually as each vote is shown to them from behind the perspex at the Naxxar counting hall.

If, as expected, the difference between the two parties is large, then it will take less than one hour to determine which party got the highest number of votes and possibly even the margin of victory. If the vote is closer, then it will take a longer time as more samples would be needed.

The counting of the local council election votes will also take place at Naxxar, but not today. The councils have been divided into three batches and the counting process will take place between Wednesday and Friday.

Voter turnout was slightly higher than that of 2019.

Among the political leaders, Prime Minister Robert Abela was the first to cast his vote, in Zejtun, followed by European Parliament President Roberta Metsola in Sliema, Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech in Mosta, and ADPD-The Green Party leader Sandra Gauci in St Paul’s Bay.

According to surveys carried out in the past weeks, Metsola and Labour’s only MEP to contest to retain his seat, Alex Agius Saliba, were the front-runners to be the first past the post.

The remaining four seats will be up for grabs, and while the Labour Party is guaranteed to win three seats and the Nationalist Party two, the sixth seat is still in question. It is possible that, in spite of the difference between the two parties in terms of first preferences, given the way the transferable vote system works, there are still chances that the PN takes its third seat.

There is also a possibility that this seat is won by one of the independent or smaller party candidates. So whether it will be 4-2 for Labour, 3-3, or 3-2-1 remains to be seen.

In 2004, the first EP election, 84.4% of the electorate voted, but this steadily declined in subsequent elections – to 78.8% in 2009, 74.8% in 2014 and 72.7% in 2019.

10% of eligible voters did not collect their voting document for the European Parliament elections, while 24% did not collect their voting document for the Local Council elections.

The number of voters eligible to vote to elect Malta’s six representatives at the European Parliament has dropped to 332,967 from the 370,184 who were eligible. The remaining 37,217 voting documents were not collected.

110,651 voting documents for local council elections, or 24% of eligible voters, remained uncollected. 457,343 voters were eligible to cast their vote in the local council elections.

Although the majority of the voters cast their preference yesterday, a number of others did so previously.

Yesterday week, 14,041 people opted to vote early in the EP election, 87.7 per cent of those who had applied with the commission to be given the opportunity because they were unable to vote yesterday. The same percentage voted for local council elections.

On Tuesday, 88.2% of police officers and assistant electoral commissioners who were duty on Saturday also cast their vote.

On Thursday, two-thirds of those who were eligible to vote did so in hospitals – Mater Dei, Karin Grech, Mount Carmel and Gozo General.

The government has subsidised 854 Maltese citizens to fly on KM Malta Airlines to be in Malta on Saturday.

There are 707 candidates for local council elections, with 476 places available. There are then 39 candidates for the European Parliament, with six seats available.

All other 27 EU states have voted or will be voting today. The Netherlands were the first to start on Thursday, followed by Ireland and the Czech Republic on Friday. Slovakia and Italy, like Malta, voted Saturday, with the Italians also being able to vote today, Sunday.

The main voting day is Sunday, with citizens in 20 European countries, including Germany, France and Poland, casting their ballots for the 720-seat European Parliament.

Seats are allocated based on population, ranging from six in Malta or Luxembourg to 96 in Germany.

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A Sheridan Leisure Website. MTA Operators License No. TRA/S/01.

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Discovering Gozo Tour

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  • Full Day Tour
  • Pick up/Drop off included 0910hrs from Cirkewwa/Marfa 0900hrs from Mellieha 0850hrs from Xemxija/Golden Bay 0830hrs from St. Pauls Bay Area (incl. Bugibba & Qawra) 0815hrs from St. Julians Area (incl. Swieqi, Ibragg & San Gwann) 0800hrs from Sliema Area (incl. Gzira & Msida) 0750hrs from Valletta & Floriana 0740hrs from Central localities 0730hrs from Southern localities You will be dropped off at the same pick up point Times above are for guidance only and the actual time is confirmed to you on the Service Voucher which you will receive after booking. When finalising your booking you must add your accommodation details (hotel, guest house, apartment address etc…) so we can allocate a suitable pick up point and time. If you have any queries regarding pick up locations, points and times do not hesitate to get in touch via our Contact Us page.">
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Gozo with a Difference Tour

Gozo with a Difference Tour

  • Pick up/Drop off included 1130hrs from Cirkewwa/Marfa 1115hrs from Mellieha 1105hrs from Xemxija/Golden Bay 1045hrs from St. Pauls Bay Area (incl. Bugibba & Qawra) 1030hrs from St. Julians Area (incl. Swieqi, Ibragg & San Gwann) 1020hrs from Sliema Area (incl. Gzira & Msida) 1010hrs from Valletta & Floriana 1000hrs from Central localities 0930hrs from Southern localities You will be dropped off at the same pick up point Times above are for guidance only and the actual time is confirmed to you on the Service Voucher which you will receive after booking. When finalising your booking you must add your accommodation details (hotel, guest house, apartment address etc…) so we can allocate a suitable pick up point and time. If you have any queries regarding pick up locations, points and times do not hesitate to get in touch via our Contact Us page.">
  • Ferry & entrances included
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IMAGES

  1. Gozo 2021: Top 10 Tours & Activities (with Photos)

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  2. Gozo Malta

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  3. Best Boat Tours in Malta & Gozo

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  4. The 25+ Best Sightseeing Tours & Excursions in Malta and Gozo

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  5. Gozo, Malta 2021: los 10 mejores tours y actividades (con fotos

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  6. Tours

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  1. Gozo Ferry Easter Sunday

  2. Unveiling Malta's MUST VISIT Gem: Day Trip to GOZO

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  6. Gozitan waves @Salt Pans🌊 #atvtour #guidedtour #visitmalta #maltatourism #gozo #mediterranean #sea

COMMENTS

  1. Top 10 Gozo Day Trips, Tours and Excursions to Take

    The best Gozo boat tours and day trips from Malta Boat tours to Gozo from Buġibba. If you're staying in Buġibba or close to Buġibba (for example, Qawra, Mellieħa, Xemxija, or St. Paul's Bay), this Blue Lagoon/Gozo combo tour is a great way for you to get to see Gozo and Comino (and its Blue Lagoon) on the same day. There are two options:

  2. Yippee Gozo and Comino Tours

    Sunset tour on Quad Bike. Blue Lagoon and Comino island at a quieter time of day. Have a lazy morning and start in the early afternoon. Adventure in Gozo as the sun sets. Avoid the crowds at the Blue Lagoon with an afternoon swim, followed by a Quad Bike sunset tour of Gozo at the best time of day. Drive your Quad and follow our Gozo expert ...

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    Gozo by Quad Bike + Boat Trip to Comino Caves. Type: Gozo Jeep & Quad Bike Tours. €115.00. PIILION €70. Looking for a bit of adventure during your vacation? You will visit some stunning locations around the island during this tour which ends with an exciting caves boat trip.

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    3. Gozo and Comino Islands: Blue Lagoon, Crystal Lagoon & caves. 551. Glass Bottom Boat Tours. 6-7 hours. Get away from the main island of Malta in search of sea and sunshine on this tour from Bugibba. Visit the Crystal Lagoon…. Free cancellation. from.

  5. Gozo Island Guide: Tips and Insights From a Local

    Gozo is the second-largest (but much more rural) island of the Maltese archipelago, and is a popular destination among tourists. With a population of around 39,000 or so inhabitants, yet covering an area of 67 km² (26 square miles), Gozo is a much quieter place to be. In fact, many people refer to the island as "what Malta used to be like ...

  6. From Malta: Gozo Day Trip Including Ggantija Temples

    During this full-day tour, experience Gozo's magnificent heritage, visit key landmarks, and discover hidden gems, all while relishing the impressive beauty and distinctive charm this tiny island has to offer. This tour starts with a short 20-minute ferry crossing to Gozo, which immediately sets the pace to Gozo's unique atmosphere.

  7. The BEST Gozo Tours and Things to Do in 2024

    Uncover the beauty of Malta's coast on this full-day Cruise from Bugibba. Swim at the Blue Lagoon and enjoy some free time exploring the island of Gozo. Select from different boats and departure times. Your tour begins from the tourist town of Bugibba, where your vessel departs on an unforgettable two-island cruise.

  8. THE TOP 10 Gozo Tours & Excursions (UPDATED 2024)

    Gozo Full-Day Quad Tour with Private Boat to Gozo & return. 569. Take a scenic tour of Gozo on this 7-hour quad bike adventure from Malta or Gozo. Choose to ride or drive your own quad through Gozo's rugged valleys, bays, and beauty spots, pausing at the Xwejni Salt Pans, the Inland Sea, and hidden gems inaccessible to other vehicles.

  9. Gozo Guided Day Trip Incl. Ggantija Temples and Lunch 2024

    Visit Gozo and the prehistoric Ġgantija Temples on this day trip from Malta. In the company of a guide, travel to the neighboring island of Gozo to visit the UNESCO-listed Ġgantija Temples, which are among the oldest megalithic sites in the world. You'll also see some of the Mediterranean's most gorgeous beach vistas, visit Victoria's citadel, and enjoy a 3-course lunch at a local ...

  10. 3 Day Small Group Tour

    Wednesday Gozo Island Tour Our tour to Gozo starts with the fast ferry service from Valletta direct to the pretty port of Mgarr. The charm of Gozo is apparent the moment you arrive there. Greener, more rural, and smaller than Malta. Our tour is a combination of scenic spots, historical sites, local culture, and food.

  11. Full-Day Gozo Island Tour from Valletta 2024

    Malta, Europe. Gozo Full-Day Quad Tour with Private Boat to Gozo & return. 569. from $108.39. Malta, Europe. Private Boat Tour Experience with Snorkeling Blue Lagoon and Comino. 41. from $272.36. Price varies by group size.

  12. 6 Day Tour

    6 Day Tour - Best of Malta & Gozo. Type: Multi Day Guided Coach Tours. €246.00. DEPARTS EVERY. TUE & SAT. This 6 day coach group tour includes ancient temples, the fortified cities of Mdina, Birgu and Valletta, quaint villages in the south, Blue Grotto and the island of Gozo. OVERALL RATING : READ REVIEWS +.

  13. Gozo Tuk Tuk Chauffered Tour

    Take a fun-filled tour of Gozo on our colourful Tuk Tuks and get a taste of Comino by boat, with its Blue Lagoon, Crystal Lagoon and sea caves. Book a hassle-free, all-inclusive Gozo and Comino day trip with the #1 tour operator on the island - We take care of your entire day out! NEW: Pay just €25 deposit per person to secure your booking!

  14. How To Plan A Gozo Day Trip from Malta

    A single-use bus ticket costs €2.50 and is valid for two hours (including on the buses in Gozo). If you intend to use the buses a lot during your time in Malta, it's worth considering to purchase a travel card. Ferries to Gozo depart every 30-45 minutes and you actually don't need to purchase a ticket when departing Malta.

  15. Looking for an unforgettable way to explore Gozo?

    The Gozo Tour. Discover Gozo's hidden gems on our 7-8 hour tour (approx. 60km) starting at 10:00am from Malta! We'll take you to breathtaking sights, including Mixta Cave, Salt Pans, Wied il-Ghasri, and the iconic Ramla Bay, where you can soak up the sun, sand, and sea. Grab a delicious meal or drink and relax on the beach.

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    Day 5 Malta to Gozo. This morning, hop aboard the ferry to Gozo and enjoy the short but scenic journey to Malta's neighbouring island. Days 6-7 Gozo. The next two days are yours to discover Gozo. Renowned for a more relaxed pace of life, delight in the delicious authentic cuisine, an enticing mix of Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavours ...

  17. Visit Malta

    Get all the information you need for your trip to Malta! Book tickets, discover new places to visit, find amazing things to do and more!

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    Getting to Gozo requires flying to the main island of Malta, then heading to Ċirkewwa to catch a ferry. The ferry is super convenient and takes just 25 minutes, with departures every 45 minutes ...

  19. Gozo Tuk Tuk Chauffered Tour w/crossing & return by Yippee ...

    Discover everything that the island of Gozo has to offer during this full-day tuk-tuk tour. Visit all of the key landmarks and villages such as the Sannap Cliffs, Xlendi Bay, Fungus Rock, the island's capital of Victoria, Calypso Cave, and much more. Learn about Gozo's rich history and culture from your guide and enjoy a motorboat ride past the famous Blue Lagoon.

  20. Copy My Trip: A five-day break in Malta

    Go to Gozo. Just a half-hour ferry ride from Malta, this smaller, greener, quieter isle is an enticing taste of the Med before the dawn of tourism. The World Heritage Ġgantija Temples, older than Egypt's pyramids, are a megalithic marvel and the island's biggest crowd-puller, but if you want to dodge the masses, visit in very low season.

  21. The Best Things to Do in Malta

    From rock climbing and swimming in the Mediterranean to wandering the ancient ruins of various centuries, here are some of the best things to do in Malta. For getting to know Malta's history and ...

  22. Any recommendations for family friendly resorts for a first

    for Island of Gozo, Island of Malta, Penang. Level Contributor. 10,886 posts. 202 reviews. 137 helpful votes. 2. Re: Any recommendations for family friendly resorts for a first. Jun 7, 2024, 11:45 AM. Malta has less of a true resort culture.

  23. 11 of the best things to do in Valletta, Malta

    Protruding from Malta's main island, Valletta, once an enclave for the Knights of St John, blends Baroque with a modern elegance.. Balmy Gozo and Comino, two of 21 islands in the Maltese ...

  24. Best Malta holidays for 2024

    Price from £700.89pp for five nights' accommodation, all-inclusive, with return flights from Luton; only hand luggage included. Departing 8 September. From the bustling capital of Valletta to ...

  25. Gozo, Comino and Blue lagoon Cruise

    The islands of Gozo and Comino lie just off the north coast of Malta, and are known for their rocky shores and traditional fishing villages. This full-day cruise sets sail from Sliema and visits both islands in one day. Head ashore for a sightseeing tour of Gozo and admire landmarks including the Fungus Rock, the Azure Window, and the Inland Sea. Afterwards, cruise to the Comino Caves and the ...

  26. Malta Tours

    Small Group Tour: Gozo Island by Fast Ferry from Valletta. Type: Exclusive Small Group Tours. €110.00. VILLAGE BAKERY. TASTING. Join our expert guide as you travel through picturesque little towns, take in breathtaking views, and see the island's top attractions, including the Ggantija temples and Victoria's fortified Citadel.

  27. A guide to Valletta, Malta

    A guide to Valletta, the Maltese capital with an eye for art and entertainment. In Malta's harbour-framed capital, a rich and evolving art scene unfolds among honeyed baroque facades, echoing ...

  28. 5 Day Tour

    Price Includes Pick up and drop off, accompanied by a licensed tourist guide, *ferry fare to/from Gozo Island, trackless train trip, winery tour including wine tasting, and entrance fees into Mosta Dome, St. John's Co. Cathedral, the audiovisual Malta Experience and Ggantija Temples. *Children aged 3 or 4 years pay for the ferry fare on the day of the tour, the charge is only €1.15

  29. Malta votes to elect EP representatives, local councillors

    Voting in the 117 polling stations across Malta and Gozo opened at 7am yesterday and closed 15 hours later, at 10pm. The counting of the EP votes will take place today, starting at 9am, but the ...

  30. Gozo Guided Tours

    Additional Information Tour Type & Return Time Full Day Tour Returning at 1700hrs - 1800hrs depending on your drop off location What is Included Transfers to/from ferry terminal, *ferry fare, Gozo tour, entrance ticket for Ggantija Temples, accompanied by a **licensed tour guide *Children aged 3 or 4 years pay for the ferry fare on the day of the tour, the charge is only €1.15 **This tour is ...