Christmas In Gozo 2018 – Malta Holidays Top 10 Things To Do

Christmas in Gozo 2018 - Malta holidays

Christmas in Gozo – Time to Be Together

As Heartwarming as it gets.Gozo is the place to be this Christmas with an array of activities spread over a month. #ChristmasIsGozo

Geplaatst door Christmas in Gozo op Woensdag 21 november 2018

Christmas in Gozo 2018 is a very special time of the year. Just imagine an entire five weeks of non stop activities and events on the island of Gozo, Malta. Check out our top 10 things to do and see during your Malta holidays this Christmas.  All activities and events mentioned are entrance free.

 

1. Gozo Christmas Village

Ghajnsielem – between Sunday 9 December 2018 and Sunday 6 January 2019

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo 2018

Gozo Christmas Village or as it is popularly known as Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem opens on Sunday 9 December 2018 at 3.30pm and remains open until Sunday 6  January 2019 8.00pm.

The Nativity Village takes place in an area locally known as ‘Ta’ Passi’. It is just a stone’s throw from the main centre of the village-by-the-sea of Ghajnsielem on the island of Gozo, Malta. The whole animated village is spread over a 20,000sqm of land and through various combined works of the local council and volunteers, the first Christmas village is created to provide a wonderful Christmas atmosphere.

For full details, please click here.

 

2. Christmas Market at Villa Rundle

Victoria – various dates and times below

Christmas market at Villa Rundle Victoria, Gozo

While visiting Gozo’s capital, Victoria, it is just a 3 minutes walk from the bus station to the beautiful Villa Rundle Gardens. A lovely Christmas market is set up on selected dates between the 2nd and the 23rd of December for Gozo’s Christmas Market.

During Christmas in Gozo 2018 festivities, the gardens will be transformed into a magical experience featuring stalls from all over Gozo having different artisan Christmas products, food and services on offer.

 

3. Christmas Concert at St. George’s Basilica

Victoria – Sunday 16 December 8.00pm

Christmas Concert St George basilica Gozo

The annual Christmas concert organised by Chorus Urbanus Productions has now been in production for almost a quarter of a century. It established itself as one of the traditional Christmas events here in Gozo. The concert offers a moment of entertainment for the whole family to share with us during this festive season. Chorus Urbanus Juniors and Chorus Urbanus, along with Urbanus Festive Orchestra, under the direction of Dr John Galea, always indulge the festive character with the local artists, musicians and voices that make this concert a formidable experience for all Gozitans during the Christmas period.

 

4. Oh Silent Night – 50th Edition of the Christmas Pageant

San Lawrenz – Sunday 23 December 6.00pm

Christmas pageant San Lawrenz Gozo

This Pageant narrates the story of Salvation, from Creation to the Birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. In this Pageant almost half the population of the village of San Lawrenz takes part and is performed in the main roads and residential homes. Actors in Biblical costumes will narrate the greatest story ever told. Finally, in the main square a Christmas spectacle will be organised to commemorate its 50 years. This event is organised in collaboration with the Ministry for Gozo.

 

5. Christmas Procession and Pageant

Nadur – Monday 24 December 7.00pm

Christmas procession and pagaent Nadur Gozo

A traditional procession with the statuette of Baby Jesus with the participation of children attending the Society of Christian Doctrine MUSEUM, winds through the streets of Nadur accompanied by the Mnarja Band performing traditional Christmas carols. The procession will take the form of a Pageant featuring a number of people representing Biblical figures.

 

6. Pop into Christmas in Gozo 2018 spectacular concert

Victoria – Tuesday 25 December 1.00am in St. George’s Square

Pop into Christmas spectacular concert

A Christmas Concert by DCAPITALS Band, exactly after the Midnight Mass at St George’s Basilica. The concert, which is presented in collaboration with The Grapes Wine Bar and Tepie’s Coffee Bar, will feature all-time Christmas favourites and other pop music with the participation of the band’s resident singers under the direction of Mro George Apap.

 

7. Christmas Concert at Nadur Basilica

Nadur – Tuesday 25 December 7.00pm

Christmas Concert at Nadur Basilica

The Grand Christmas Concert will be held at the Nadur Basilica under the direction of Mro Antoine Theuma. An orchestra, the Society of Christian Doctrine MUSEUM Choir and other established Gozitan singers are going to perform in this concert. The event also features a poetry recital session, a short play and the child’s traditional Christmas sermon.

 

8. Xaghra Cribs By Night

Xaghra – Saturday 29 December 3.30pm to 8.30pm around the whole town

Gozo Christmas cribs

The Għaqda Milied fix-Xagħra is once more providing the unique opportunity to visit the twenty-five artistic cribs, varying from static to mechanical and a life-size one. This tour takes visitors by minibus around the town. An experienced guide will accompany the group with a running commentary in both English and Maltese. It will visit the Xagħra Basilica, beautifully decorated for Christmas, including an artistic bambino in papier-mache made in Lecce, Italy by Profs Luigi Guacci.

Transport by minibus will leave from Mġarr Terminal at 3:00pm for any Maltese visitors arriving with the 2:15pm ferry. For those joining us from Gozo a minibus will pick them up from the area near Xagħra Windmillat 3:20pm. At the end of the activity, our Maltese visitors will be taken back to the Mġarr terminal in time to catch the 8:45pm ferry. While entrance is free of charge, a contribution of €6.50 to cover transport and guide services is kindly requested. Due to limits in accommodation, booking is on a first come first served basis.

For reservation kindly contact 79205316 or e-mail to [email protected] Booking closes on the 20th of December.

 

9. Gozo New Year’s Eve 2019 Celebrations

Victoria – Monday 31 December 2018 9.30pm at Independence Square & St. George’s Square

Gozo New Years Eve 2019

The event will be bigger, better and spectacular, like never before. Gozo surely has to be THE destination to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome the new year 2019.

The event will feature The TravellersGianni Zammit : My Page & The Crosswalk Gang, Wobis Duo and Top International Guest Jonas Blue. Entrance is FREE!

Surely an event not to be missed!

 

10. Adoration of the Magi

Xaghra – Sunday 6 January 2019  10.30 – 11.00am

Ghajnsielem – Sunday afternoon 6 January 2019

Adoration of the Magi Xaghra Gozo

“La Cavalcata dei Re Magi” – The Arrival of the Three Kings
Post (Venue): Victory Square, Xagħra

This activity will be held on the solemnity of the feast of the Epiphany. During this event the Holy Family will make their way to the parvisfollowed by five shepherds who pay homage to Baby Jesus. The Three Wise Men, in oriental Biblical outfits, arrive on horseback accompanied by servants carrying the Three Biblical presents – gold, incense and myrrh. The re-enactment will be organised by the Għaqda Il-Milied fix-Xagħra with the collaboration of the Xagħra Historical Re-Enactment Organisation, Xagħra Parish and the Xagħra Local Council.

 

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo

Il-Wasla tas-Slaten Maġi
Adoration of the Magi
Post (Venue): Ta’ Passi Mġarr Road, Għajnsielem

Bethlehem f’Għajnsielem will close with the “Adoration of the Magi” on Sunday 6th January. The Three Kings will depart on horseback from a yet-to-be announced destination in Europe on the 2nd of January with the journey continuing on the Feast of the Epiphany when on Sunday morning they will depart from a village in Malta before crossing the ferry and make the triumphal entrance in the Nativity Village late in the afternoon to pay homage to the Baby Jesus. More details on facebook.com/bethlehem.f.ghajnsielem

 

Courtesy: Christmas in Gozo Facebook Page

Gozo Christmas Village – Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem 2018

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo 2018

 

Christmas Village - Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem, Gozo Malta

Gozo Christmas Village or as it is popularly known as Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem opens on Sunday 9 December 2018 at 3.30pm and remains open until Sunday 6  January 2019 8.00pm.

This is the tenth edition of one of Malta’s main attractions during the Christmas holidays.  The ‘holy’ family in the above official poster is Joseph Azzopardi, Melanie Azzopardi and baby Thea.

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo 2018

Location

Gozo Christmas village

The Nativity Village takes place in an area locally known as ‘Ta’ Passi’. It is just a stone’s throw from the main centre of the village-by-the-sea of Ghajnsielem on the island of Gozo, Malta. The whole animated village is spread over a 20,000sqm of land and through various combined works of the local council and volunteers, the first Christmas village is created to provide a wonderful Christmas atmosphere.

Hospitality

All visitors upon arrival at the Gozo Christmas village will receive a map illustrating all the traditional and new Christmas village attractions to visit and a children’s quiz booklet. Entrance is free.

Gozo Christmas village official map - Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo

 

Attractions

Some of the primary attractions include

  • the main grotto with a local family dressed as Mary and Joseph with their new born as baby Jesus
  • Bethelehem Inn
  • bakery
  • blacksmith
  • wine tavern
  • the fisherman’s port
  • a suspended rope bridge
  • cabin
  • shepherds’ cave
  • room of scents
  • local crafts
  • Roman garrison
  • eatery
  • open air market
  • Roman arena
  • animal farm
  • farmers’ store
  • village houses
  • water mill
  • water wheel
  • panoramic point

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem Gozo 2018

Traditional food

Visitors to this year’s edition can enjoy some of the traditional food including Maltese bread and buns, the local pizza like known as ftira, honey rings and traditional coffee and Gozo wine.

Gozo bread dough

Gozo bread

Gozo Christmas village - honey rings

Epiphany visit

The Christmas village comes to a wonderful end with the arrival of the Three Kings on horseback on Epiphany Sunday afternoon 6 January 2019.

Christmas village Gozo

Bethlehem in Ghajnsielem near Mediterranea Seaviews Gozo

Re-enactment time schedule

December 2018

Sunday, 9th December 3.30pm – 7.30pm

Wednesday, 12th December 9.30am – 12.00pm (animated by school children)

Thursday, 13th December 2.30pm – 7.30pm

Saturday, 15th December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

Sunday, 16th December 2.30pm – 7.30pm

Saturday, 22nd December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

Sunday 23rd December 2.30pm – 7.30pm

Tuesday 25th December 3.30pm – 8.00pm

Wednesday 26th December 2.30pm – 7.30pm

Friday, 28th December 4.30pm – 7.30pm

Saturday, 29th December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

Sunday 30th December 2.30pm – 7.30pm

 

January 2019

Tuesday, 1st January 3.30pm – 8.00pm

Saturday, 5th January Activity Magi in Malta

Sunday, 6th January 2.00pm – 8.00pm.

 

How to get here

From Valletta bus station, take bus #41 or #42 direction to Cirkewwa ferry terminal from where you get the next ferry to Mgarr ferry terminal. Once arrived in Gozo, it is just 10 to 15 minutes walk up to the Gozo Christmas village. At the exit of the terminal, you can also take bus #301, #303 or #323 and stop at the bus stop Chambrai on the Mgarr Road or proceed to the next bus stop Ghajnsielem in the very centre of the village of Ghajnsielem.

From the Mgarr ferry terminal it is just 10 to 15 minutes walk up Shore street and turning left to Mgarr road.

You can also take bus #301, #303 or #323 and stop at bus stop Chambrai.

The Christmas village is just across… on the same side you’ll see the big church of Our Lady of Loreto, Ghajnsielem.

From Victoria bus station it is 10 to 25 minutes bus ride. You can take bus #301, #303 or #323 and stop at bus stop Ghajnsielem in the village square or on Mgarr road by stopping at the bus stop Chambrai.

From Gozo Holiday Home it is just 10 to 12 minutes walk or 3 minutes by bus #303 to bus stop Ghajnsielem in the very centre of Ghajnsielem village or 5 minutes bike ride by our free new bicycles.

 

Courtesy: Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem Facebook Page

Carnival Gozo 2018 – This Year’s Opening Events

Carnival Gozo 2018

 

Carnival Gozo 2018 was officially opened on Sunday 4 February. However it will reach its climax in its classical five day festival between Friday 9 February and Tuesday 13 February, exactly before the forty day long Lent time.

This year’s opening of the Gozo Carnival was certainly a spectacular one. Over 500 participants from various dance schools across Malta and Gozo participated in the opening session on the sunny Sunday afternoon.

But this is just the starting point. What’s coming up on Gozo in the next days is surely a must-see event. As a local, one cannot but notice the huge activity going on till late  in the small villages and towns – preparations, rehearsals and final touching of all Carnival floats and colourful costumes.

The pictures below certainly do not do justice to the amazing performance of all groups during the Gozo Carnival 2018 official opening at Nadur.

Gozo Carnival 2018

Gozo Carnival 2018

Gozo Carnival

Gozo Nadur Carnival 2018

Gozo Carnival 2018

Carnival in Gozo 2018

Carnival in Gozo Malta

Carnival in Malta Gozo

 

The Colourful Gozo Carnival 2018

Gozo Carnival 2018

 

Gozo Carnival 2018 starts on Thursday 8 February and lasts till Tuesday 13 February.

It is an annual event which lasts five days.

But did you know that in Malta and Gozo Carnival has been celebrated for almost 500 years?

Carnival meaning

But what is the meaning of Carnival? 

Well, the word Carnival comes from an Italian phrase, carne vale, which means ‘meat is allowed’. 

This is because Carnival is a five day long activities celebrated exactly before the 40-day long Lent time where in the Middle Ages, Roman Catholic religion did not permit meat consumption during Lent time.

Short History of Malta and Gozo Carnival

Carnival in Malta and Gozo was introduced in the year 1535 by Grandmaster Del Ponte.

That is exactly five years after the Knights of St. John came to Malta.  First it was the Knights who used to take part in Carnival activities and later during the years, the local people started to take part as well.

Gradually but constantly, Malta and Gozo Carnival grew in popularity and complexity too.

This year is 483 years after the first Carnival was held in the Maltese islands.

But for some time, Carnival was not allowed in Malta and Gozo.

In fact in 1639, Grandmaster Lascaris ordered that no woman could put on masks or costumes representing the devil.

The population of the islands absolutely did not like Lascaris’ decision because Carnival had already became part of the local cultural activities on the islands.

Throughout the centuries, Carnival was always celebrated in February, just before Lent time. However, in Malta and Gozo, Carnival was celebrated in the month of May between 1972 and 1987. 

From 1988 till to the present time, Carnival in Gozo and Malta is celebrated in its proper time – the month of February.

Gozo Carnival 2018

Nowadays, on Gozo, two types of Carnival are held each year – the organised and spontaneous Carnival.

Organised Carnival

Gozo Carnival Nadur

Organised Carnival is held in capital Victoria and around several towns and villages of Gozo.

Preparations for the organised Carnival start very early, for some activities even a year before.

Different, small and large, colourful costumes as well as big Carnival floats are prepared by very dedicated Gozitans who made Carnival part and parcel of their lifestyle.

Various groups meet together and do weekly rehearsals.  For instance, dance groups start rehearsing in the summer season, that is about six months before Carnival time.

 

Spontaneous Carnival

Courtesy: Nadur Local Council.
Courtesy: Nadur Local Council.

Spontaneous Carnival is perhaps a more traditional Carnival more popular in the villages rather than in capital Victoria.

Nadur is certainly the place to be to enjoy the spontaneous Gozo Carnival 2018.

Similar to organised Carnival, it lasts five days or better five consecutive nights between Friday and Tuesday.

During these nights, people on individual or family or friends basis dress any sort of Carnival costumes and parade in the main streets and square of Nadur village.

No doubt, during the spontaneous Carnival, what you’ll see will surely exceed your expectations!

 

 

In Malta and Gozo, Carnival is a feast shared by all generations, young and old.

Carnival is so deeply rooted in Maltese history that became one of the annual principal events of the cultural calendar.

No wonder so many visitors return to experience the Malta and Gozo Carnival each year in February!

Viva Viva l-Karnival / Long live Carnival time! 

 

Gozo best ftira and pizza – Free Food Tasting Tour of Gozo!

Gozo best ftira

 

Gozo best ftira preparing and eating in the countryside was the main activity of our amazing free food tasting tour surprise we prepared for our guests from Germany!

After we picked them from Mediterranea Seaviews Gozo boutique accommodation  we visited some amazing hidden local gems, enough to start getting very hungry!

Then, we went for lunch.

No, not a restaurant!

Got to one of our favourite Gozo family bakeries and there we had the Gozo best ftira, the local pizza version perfectly done in the old log oven.

In Malta and Gozo, the ftira has a thicker crust and dough similar to bread making and different toppings.

But the Gozo best ftira looks and tastes are second to none!  

gozo ftira at mediterranea seaviews holidaysongozo.com

There, the bakers and I invited our guests to actually help us prepare the ftiras in the oven.

Guests were simply delighted with such hands-on-activity and pizza making on Gozo.

In these pictures, Rosi and Ewald, our guests are taking out very carefully 🙂 the fresh sheep cheese ftira…

ftira Gozo

…and then also taking out from the old oven the mouth-watering Gozo tuna ftira or pizza.

Gozo ftira making at Mediterranea Seaviews Gozo

The cheese ftira just taken out from the old log oven. Incredible aroma!

Rosi and Ewald could not stop taking pictures!!! 🙂 while at the same time, we were all in a such a hurry to start dining!!! 🙂

Gozo best ftira

After leaving the bakery, we found a secret panoramic spot, away from it all… and there we had the ftiras (plural of ftira) together. 

It was truly another great experience for our guests and a wonderful experience for us hosts.

It’s a huge satisfaction when guests could not stop talking about the local experiences they have just had. They look back at their past holiday experiences…. and soon realise about the BIG difference of staying in a hotel or hotel chain or third party companies or group of holiday homes with so many villas, farmhouses and apartments…..AND the beauty, peace of mind and true experience when guests go local and book direct with the local owner.

Gozo best ftira is very juicy with a crunchy crust – typical of Gozitan ftira bread.  In brief, a ftira or pizza to die for!!! 🙂

ftira Malta

L-ikla t-tajba! / Enjoy your meal!

Ftira making and Free food tasting experience provided to all guests at Holidays on Gozo

 

Adventures in Gozo – Alex Vizeo’s activity holidays on the island of Gozo

Adventures in Gozo - Alex Vizeo

 

 

Travel blogger Alex Vizeo visited the island of Gozo, Malta and this is his adventures in Gozo – a colourful story in video and pictures.

Alex has been travelling and filming the world now since 2011. His travels were certainly a great success.

If you’ve the adventure spirit or simply thinking what can you do more on Gozo during your holidays, well… check out Alex’s video.

You’ll certainly enjoy some really great adventures on Gozo.

360 degrees Gozo panoramas by Vizeo from land, sea and air. Wonderful!

There is no doubt that Alex enjoyed his adventures in Gozo holidays.

Many memories from local Gozo wine tasting to visiting the local fruit and vegetables market, getting the fresh catch of the day, cooking with the local chef, tasting the local pizza known as ftira, visiting the Salt Pans and eating out in one of the best restaurants and having a local Cisk lager in probably the most popular pub on the island of Gozo… just few minutes walk from Mediterranea Seaviews boutique self catering accommodation.

In his blog, Alex was amazed to discover the natural beauty of Gozo island, but even more the unique character of the island of Gozo – luckily, as he wrote, still different, more tranquil and peaceful than other places visited.  He was also highly impressed by the hospitality of the local people.  In fact in his travel blog he described the island of Gozo as un petit paradis meaning a little paradise. Merci et bon voyage!

Adventures in Gozo

Unforgettable moments from Alex’s adventures in Gozo while visiting the turquoise waters of Blue Lagoon on a very quiet day.

 

Adventures in Gozo

Lovely panoramic views of the Maltese islets during Alex’s adventures in Gozo

 

Adventures in Gozo

One of the most instagramed pictures – sunset by the Fungus Rock in Dwejra bay on Gozo island.

If you are looking for adventure holidays in Europe or activity holidays in Malta, Gozo is the place to be… whether it is cliff climbing, sea kayaking, diving, snorkeling, horse riding, cycling and the local gastronomy.

 

Visit Valletta – European Capital of Culture 2018

Valletta 2018 Malta

 

On October 12, 2012, Valletta, Malta’s capital city was officially declared the European Capital of Culture (ECoC). During the past six years, the Valletta 2018 Foundation did a superb job to prepare the Maltese capital city for this European title of prestige.

Over 400 events will be taking place all around the islands of Malta and Gozo to celebrate all Maltese and European heritage as one people – unity in diversity.

The official opening of Valletta 2018 (V.18) is on Saturday, January 20th 1900hrs.

But in practice, what’s Valletta 2018 all about? Watch out this video.

 

If you’ve never been to Malta and Gozo, then enjoy this colourful walk through the noble city of Valletta, named after Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette.

 

…and why not? Watch the latest spectacular laser show on the facade of the GrandMaster Palace in Valletta celebrating V.18.

 

Thinking of visiting Malta this year?
Check out all the events happening at Valletta 2018 here

… and stay tuned for all the local updates we’ll bring you straight from the European Capital of Culture 2018!

 

Gozo Coastal Walk #1 from Mediterranea Seaviews

Coastal walks from Mediterranea Seaviews Gozo Holiday Home

 

One of the most popular Gozo coastal walks with our guests at Mediterranea Seaviews boutique self-catering accommodation is certainly to Hondoq bay via Mgarr fishing hamlet.  Pictures were mostly taken on January 11, 2018.

As soon as you leave the Mgarr Marina and the breakwater, you’ll find Zewwieqa bay, a perfect spot for swimming and snorkeling.

The coastal walk actually starts from here.

There is a coastal path from Zewwieqa bay in the fields and on the rock area side between Mgarr and Hondoq bay. The coastal walk itself should not take more than one hour, of course depending if you do not stop very often to take pictures! 🙂

Coastal walks Malta Gozo

Looking back… lovely panorama half way from the harbour towards Hondoq bay.

Coastal walks from Mediterranea Seaviews Gozo Holiday Home

The coastal area is covered in very small shrubs, typically Mediterranean.  Being so exposed to the natural elements, plants and shrubs tend to grow very short, but certainly are very well rooted in the natural rock formations.

Walking holidays on Gozo

Would we get lost? No, definitely. It is an easy to medium level walk and the Gozo coastal trail is clear most of the way towards Hondoq beach. Very important to use the appropriate walking shoes, take enough water to drink and take care especially where the path is very close to the cliff edge.

Walking holidays Malta Gozo

Great view of the little rock formation jutting out from the rest of mainland Gozo.  One of our favourite spots for snorkeling!

Gozo walks Mgarr

Rock erosion due to natural elements. This is actually the erosion of the globigerina limestone, the sand stone quarried here and used in Malta and Gozo for building practically all dwelling structures, churches, palaces, schools, etc.

Gozo walks rock formation

Another close up of the little rock formation and the rich flora diversity in this beautiful natural park on Gozo.

Walking holidays on gozo from Mediterranea Seaviews

While doing this coastal walk, you’ll also find some farm land especially to your left side.  Please kindly respect all farming signs.

Gozo walks Malta

A typical picture of Gozo right now – Gozo in winter time.  Fields covered in yellow Cape Sorrel flowers locally known as l-Ingliza.  This non-native plant was introduced about 500 years ago and gradually became part of the Maltese natural environment.

Gozo walks

During our walk, we met some lovely curious pigeons who kept following us for a while… and this is their selfie! 🙂

Gozo walks birds

Getting closer to Hondoq bay, the environmental habitat changes even more. Less shrubs, less greenery and more wilderness with hard rock formations.

Coastal walks Gozo Malta wilderness

The wilderness area is covered with a number of very low growing shrubs, some of which flower in winter and spring time. The one below is the Mediterranean Heath, locally called the Erika.

Coastal walks Gozo Malta flowers

Certainly, you cannot miss the aromatic wild Mediterranean Thyme.  It grows only around the cliffs and this wilderness area near the coast on Gozo. It normally flowers in June.

Coastal walks Gozo Malta flora

Just about 300 metres from Hondoq bay, you’ll see Ta’ Bamberin cave, a little lovely secluded inlet beach.

Coastal walks Gozo Malta caves

and finally you arrive at one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on Gozo – Hondoq Bay!

Coastal walk Mgarr Hondoq bay

Amazing crystal clear waters at Hondoq Bay.  In fact this beach is rated as Excellent in terms of Quality of Water for public interest.

Hondoq bay Gozo

Enjoy your walking holidays on Gozo!

 

 

 

Top 10 Reasons I live on Gozo

Gozo holidays

 

1. My Family

Certainly my family is definitely my top reason why I live on the island of Gozo.  I was born here, grew up here, went to university and enjoy the brilliant healthy lifestyle and the slower pace of life on Gozo.  Looking back… so many wonderful memories of friendly people, places and performances on Gozo.  Nostalgia!

Dwejra bay Azure window
Unforgettable moments since teenage time swimming at the Azure Window site on Gozo!

 

2. The Climate

The weather is truly lovely.  The Maltese Islands are perfectly located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa.  The weather in Malta and Gozo rarely gets very cold in winter and very warm in summer.  In winter, day temperature varies between 14 to 20 degrees Celsius and maybe goes down at night about 8 or 9 degrees Celsius a couple of times only.  In summer, temperatures range between 30 to 36 degrees Celsius.  But again, being in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, the gentle sea breeze does cool down the heat during the day and night.  Fantastic!

Does it rain a lot?

I actually enjoy it because it does not rain a lot!  I hardly remember when I really got wet!  The nice thing about it is that we can plan ahead to do any outdoor activity with family or friends such as a BBQ by the sea or go kayaking in winter.  Here you can definitely plan ahead.

Gozo holidays Malta
Family holidays on Gozo on December 13th, 2014.

 

3. The Sea

This is one of my soft spots.  I swim on a daily basis.  I call it my vitamin C (Sea)!  Have my favourite beach spots and hidden gems where I kayak.  Crystal clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and any other water sports.  Absolutely gorgeous beaches – rocky, sandy, dotted with small white, brown and yellow pebbles, secluded or not – the choice is yours.  What else can you ask for?

Gozo beaches
One of our favourite places by the sea to unwind on Gozo.

 

4. The Views

The more I live on Gozo, the more I discover the hidden beauty spots of the island.  Whether while I am coastal walking around the valleys or the South high cliffs or else sea kayaking around caves and inlets, the views remain spectacular.  Two of my favourites are definitely the sunrise views on the Gozo channel and sunset on Xlendi and Dwejra bay.  Just magical!

sunset over mgarr harbour
Time to return home… sunset view over Mgarr and the Gozo channel

 

5. Simple and Relaxed Lifestyle

Informal and relaxed way of life is an essential part of Gozo – part of its natural identity.  Summer is my favourite season and practically wear summer clothes in Gozo all year round with the exception of few days or weeks in winter.  T-shirt, jeans or shorts if I am doing some outdoor activity.  Fantastic!  Besides, how peaceful and relaxing it is spending every evening and night having a family and friends chat over a BBQ by the sea in summer and early autumn time.

Tranquil Gozo life
Gozo has its own slow pace of life… perfect for a healthy, relaxing lifestyle.

 

6. Food

Daily baked crispy bread and pastries from log ovens just round the corner, fresh Mediterranean fruits, vegetables and wild herbs just picked in the morning from the nearby valley terraced fields, daily fresh local milk products, quality red meat and certified poultry and certainly the unique fresh catch of the day – absolutely recommended!

Gozo sea food
Gently frying the local tender squids and grilling the red snapper at home.

 

7. The Perfect size island!

One thing I really like and do miss when I travel abroad are the short distances on Gozo.  Wherever you are, it is just 5 to 10 minutes drive or 20 minutes walk to the nearest beach. Very few traffic lights, hardly any traffic jams except of course when the ferry arrives or in the main streets of capital Victoria only at certain hours of the day.  If you are visiting Gozo, you will see a lot!

 

8. History, Art and Culture

Though a very small island, Gozo is surprisingly very rich in history and prehistory heritage. The world famous Ggantija Temples built over 5600 years ago are found here. That’s not all. If you like art in all its forms, old and contemporary in various mediums and shapes, you’ll find it certainly here.  Festivals, historical re-enactments, exhibitions, concerts, musicals, operas, ballet performance and numerous sports events fill the Gozo’s cultural diary of events inside out. In a nutshell, there is always something going on here…

Megalithic temples of Malta Gozo Ggantija temples
Did you know that the Gozo temples were built eight centuries before the pyramids in Egypt?

 

9. Cost of Living

Generally speaking, compared to other places around Europe, it is cheaper.  Everything you get in other places, you get them here basically at a better price.

Gozo seafood restaurants
On Gozo, the ratio of quality / price is excellent. Great value for money.

 

10. Local Hospitality

Luckily enough, Maltese people still have a strong sense of community.  This is most evident during the annual feast celebrations across Spring and Summer time. The majority of families still embrace the values of commitment, dedication and solidarity.  In fact, if there is one common element in all the guests’ reviews at our Gozo boutique self-catering accommodation  certainly is how friendly the local people had been.  So, if you’re visiting Gozo, do not hesitate to ask. You have the added advantage that all locals speak English, but they’ll even go the extra mile to help you.

Gozo bakery Ghajnsielem
Very helpful people whether you’re on holiday or living for good on Gozo.

 

January, Gozo, Marilyn Monroe: what’s in common?

what to eat in Malta

what to eat in Gozo
Lovely strawberries just picked in the morning in Mgarr Malta.

When Christmas and New Year’s Day festivities are over, all the lovely colours of lights and decor which light up our homes, shops and streets will slowly fade away and we get back to normal life. But not all colours do… In Malta and Gozo, January is the beginning of the red strawberry season which reaches its peak in Spring with various and endless healthy, social and philanthropic initiatives around the islands.

Just after New Year’s Day, during one of my countryside walks from home in our town of Ghajnsielem on the island of Gozo, I could not but notice the strawberry plants growing bigger and bigger and the first bright red strawberries coming out from beneath the dark green leaves and the rich fertile soil.

Local farmers actually start preparing their fields for strawberry planting in the hot summer days of August and September. A whole network of plastic tunnels with an in-built water drip system just beneath the rich soil is the first setup for strawberry growing on Gozo and Malta. Then, the farmer will start putting one small strawberry plant next to each drip and when the whole plastic tunnel is completed with the plants, it is covered again to maintain a constant temperature.

Strawberry growing in Gozo
Small strawberry plants still growing on Gozo.

Strawberry fields in Gozo
Strawberry fields in Ghajnsielem, Gozo.

Strawberry fields in Mgarr Malta on October 2, 2017. Courtesy: Festa Frawli facebook Page.
Strawberry fields in Mgarr Malta on October 2, 2017. Courtesy: Festa Frawli facebook page.

What’s the secret of such a success strawberry story on the Maltese islands? Definitely the Maltese climate, the various types of fertile soils on the islands as well as the passionate work of our farmers are the primary reasons for a high quality, nutritive fruit such as the local Maltese strawberries. As one local farmer said, “We make sure each strawberry plant uses all its natural potential entirely to produce its own fruit!” To make this happen, it is therefore very important to provide the most natural environment of excellence – natural warmth, right amount of watering and local expertise.

Gozo climate
Maltese climate with 300 hours of sunshine per year provides the perfect strawberry environment.

where to go in Malta
Strawberry plants are also grown in small pots in Maltese houses.

Frawli, Maltese word for strawberries are very popular in Malta and Gozo. From January till May, it is the seasonal fruit and certainly is enjoyed by everyone, except for those people who have fragariaphobia, fear of strawberries.

I love strawberries Malta
The dilemma to choose which cupcake to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea!

Children take strawberries for their school break. Schools promote healthy eating with loads and loads of strawberries and fieldwork visits where strawberries grow are organised as an integral part of the curriculum. Teenagers, adolescents, the elderly and tourists – just almost everyone loves the local strawberries!

what's on malta
Strawberries play an important role in Malta’s healthy lifestyle promotion.

Strawberries have many health benefits. Strawberries are very rich in antioxidant properties and help to reduce inflammation, promote weight loss, boost immunity, treat arthritis and gout, strongly support our eye health and even prevent cancer. Very interesting to know that strawberries are also known as brain food because together with banana, boost brain function especially at a time when we start getting older and older.

Health benefits of strawberries Gozo Malta

The strawberry season peak time is certainly around Easter time, that is mid March / April. A huge festival known as Festa Frawli (Strawberries Feast) is held in a small village named Mgarr on Malta thanks to the amazing commitment and dedication of the Mgarr Local Council and the local farmers’ cooperative. It’s actually a grand food festival! But there is one common denominator in all the types of food on sale and on show at the day-long feast. All food contains little or much of the strawberry fruit itself.

So, for instance, you can start your day with a strawberry coffee or a strawberry milkshake followed by a strawberry yoghurt and then you walk little more and get tempted by a mouth-watering seafood pasta or a white creamy risotto with local pecorino cheese with a dash of strawberry sauce. Must try are definitely the strawberry sourbet, ice cream, cookies and the strawberry and chocolate muffins and wait… don’t leave without tasting the strawberry liqeour just to mention a few!

what's on Gozo
One of my favourite strawberry cup cakes!

what's on Malta and Gozo
Perfect blend of sweet ingredients with the local juicy strawberries.

Strawberries festival Gozo Malta
Delicious chocolate and strawberry muffins.

Strawberry liqueur in Malta
Gorgeous strawberries and its liqueur in Mgarr Malta.

But you may ask, what does Marilyn Monroe has to do with strawberries? Well, the colour, the taste and pleasure of eating a bright red juicy strawberry knows no borders and has no limits on creativity. Even Marilyn couldn’t but not recognise it. In fact once she said: Dating a new man is like holding a strawberry milkshake; first the taste, then the pleasure.

Marilyn Monroe's quote on strawberries

So, January, Gozo and Marilyn Monroe actually do have something in common. Here on Gozo, strawberries in winter and spring become a sort of staple food being so fresh, delicious and healthy. In shops and in the streets when the daily fruit and vegetables hawker stops by, you’ll hear someone asking Ghad baqaghlek xi ftit frawli jekk joghgbok? that is Do you still have some strawberries left please?

what to eat on travel in Gozo Malta
Picking some fresh strawberries from the market on Gozo – January 8th, 2018.

Strawberries have become an essential element in the Maltese healthy lifestyle and culture… and it’s our pleasure promoting the local fresh produce when welcoming guests at our boutique self-catering accommodation on Gozo with some freshly picked bright red local strawberries.

villa holidays on Gozo Malta
Very Special welcome to our guests at HolidaysOnGozo.com

Merhba! Welcome home! Wish you berry lovely holidays on Gozo!