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The island of honey stone, Gozo is the second largest Maltese island and the only one other than Malta to be significantly inhabited (the population of the third island, Comino, can be counted on one hand). It is a sublimely pretty place and great to go and relax in, and in spite of its small size, there is a lot to see.

I spent my one night in a hotel in the tiny village of Xlendi, and felt very refreshed after my stay. I had a car the whole time I was there, and although I'd heard the bus services are very good I couldn't possibly have reached all the places I went to without a car.

Azure Window

The Azure Window must certainly be one of the most famous attractions on the island. It was difficult to get a photo without crowds of tourists in it! It's possible to walk across the natural bridge, but not recommended so I gave it a miss.

The Inland Sea is next door to the Azure Window, conveniently, and comes through a small cave in the cliff wall to flood a little section of the interior of the island. The cave was a favourite diving spot of Jacques Cousteau.

Inland Sea

Fungus Rock

Like sunglass and baseball cap-clad penguins, tourists scatter the rocks opposite the Azure Window with Fungus Rock in the background.

Huge cliffs line much of the coast of Gozo, these are at Xlendi.

Cliffs near Xlendi

Boat at Xlendi

In the harbour at Xlendi there are little coves like this which make the perfect mooring spot for your boat.

This area of the coast was very surreal to walk around, the solid rock appeared once to have been liquid, or perhaps the sea had been carving it away some time ago, to leave these strange formations. It felt a bit like I was walking around under the sea.

Liquifying rocks

Xlendi defense tower

The tower at Xlendi, one of the series of towers which ring the Maltese islands. It is built on top of a continuation of the strange rock formations from the photo above.

More honey stone formations give an alien appearance to parts of Gozo.

Strange mound in Gozo

Salt pans at Marsalforn

Salt evaporating pans at Marsalforn on the Gozitan north coast. There are a few sets of these around the coast, including at Xlendi.

In Victoria (or Rabat), the Gozitan capital, the citadel dominates the town.

Rabat Citadel

Drystone walls

Within the citadel walls what once were living areas now appear to be farming plots, separated by drystane dykes.

The village of Xlendi was where I stayed the night, at the St Patrick's Hotel with the black balconies. The hotel was four stars, really nice and made all the better by the fact that it cost less than fifteen pounds for the night, including breakfast.

Xlendi village, Gozo

Rustic charm

Xlendi is the essence of rustic charm, it was warm, peaceful, very scenic and generally just great.

There is still much British influence in Malta, for example they drive on the correct side of the road (the left, as well they should) and there are a few of the old-style phone boxes going around as well.

Maltese red phone box

Xaghra windmill

The windmill in Xaghra, not in old Amsterdam, as one might expect...

Looking back towards Gozo, past the island of Comino on the boat on the way back to the Maltese mainland.

Comino island cliffs

Gozo ferry

Gozo and Malta are linked by a half-hour ferry journey, which runs more or less every forty five minutes and was very cheap even to take a car. My Gozitan experience was really chilled out and I would go back in a second.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2007-2015