Gozo is much smaller and more remote than Malta, but offers the visitor to the island splendid views, rich countryside, and sheltered bays and beaches waiting to be enjoyed. In spite of its small size, Gozo has quite a variety of beaches ranging from popular sandy beaches to hidden coves and secluded inlets. Since it is quite cut off from Malta and only reachable by ferry, the beaches on Gozo tend to be less overcrowded than beaches on Malta, but still draw large numbers of tourists and locals on summer weekends.
As one of the most outstanding beaches in the Maltese Islands, Ramla Bay is the biggest and most popular sandy beach on Gozo. The golden red sand covers a stretch of about half a kilometre. The beach is enclosed by Gozitan countryside on surrounding verdant hills creating a lovely view when driving down to the beach from the village of Nadur. The water remains quite shallow and, with umbrellas, sunbeds and deck chairs for hire and ice cream and snacks on sale during summer, the beach is ideal for all kinds of visitors. The next bay to the east of Ramla Bay is San Blas Bay, which is also reached through Nadur. San Blas is a small and secluded alternative to Ramla Bay, set in the green countryside and rocky landscape on Gozo’s northeastern coast. The red sandy beach is reached on foot along a steep path at the end of the road leading down to the bay. The beach is unspoiled and the crystalline water is perfect for snorkelling.
Another of Gozo’s most popular bays is Marsalforn Bay, which lies between the villages of Xaghra and Zebbug. With many dining and water sports facilities right on the water’s edge, Marsalforn Bay is Gozo’s thriving summer resort hosting a large number of both foreign and Maltese tourists during summer. The village is one of Gozo’s main fishing villages and has a number of renowned restaurants offering fresh fish and local cuisine. The bay itself has a sandy and pebbly beach as well as rocky areas from which to enjoy the swimming zone in the bay.
The two small and neighbouring bays of Qbajjar Bay and Xwejni Bay are located less than a kilometre to the west of Marsalforn Bay. These are two shallow bays with small pebbly and rocky beaches that disappear into clear blue water and then further into the open sea. The shallow rocky bottom makes this an ideal area for snorkelling and is excellent for swimming. The Qbajjar saltpans are also a short walk away and the handful of bars and restaurants on the seafront are ideal for a spot of lunch out of the hot summer sun.
Gozo’s most photographed landmark, the Azure Window which unfortunately collapsed in March 2017, was located in Dwejra. The beach remains a favourite among divers and many people will still go to see this once famous land mark and take a dip in the refreshing water. The Inland Sea in Dwejra is a sheltered alternative, linked to the outside Mediterranean through a natural arched tunnel hewn through the cliff by rough waves of old. The area is quiet with a small bar selling snacks, drinks and ice cream during summer right on the edge of a pebbly beach that leads into shallow lagoon shimmering in the summer sun.
On the southwestern coast of Gozo lies Xlendi Bay. This scenic inlet is located at the end of a valley and is fringed by majestic cliffs. The small sandy beach is a lovely swimming spot and the resort is well equipped with tourist-oriented amenities, including restaurants, bars, and holiday accommodation. This is also a stunning place from which to enjoy Gozo’s warm summer sunsets. To the east of Xlendi Bay and on Gozo’s southern coast are the two bays of Mgarr ix-Xini and Xatt l-Ahmar. Mgarr ix-Xini is a secluded inlet, ideal for swimming and snorkelling. There is a small pebbly beach on the inner end of the inlet that gently slopes into the water. Xatt l-Ahmar is also a great swimming and snorkelling spot, with a handful of boathouses used by local fishermen. The small narrow lane that leads down to this beach ensures that Xatt l-Ahmar is rarely busy and always peaceful.
Another popular swimming site in summer is Hondoq ir-Rummien. Reached through the village of Qala, this small sandy beach dips into crystalline turquoise water and is very popular with local swimmers and sunbathers, even getting quite crowded at the weekend. In summer many locals stay on late into the evening firing up barbecues and relaxing in the smooth summer breeze.
While the more popular beaches and bays are well connected by public transport, a number of beaches in Gozo are very secluded and best reached by car. That said, this should not put you off exploring the more isolated beaches on the island, as a summer day lazing in the Gozitan sunshine is always worthwhile and will make you want to extend your stay on Malta’s sister island indefinitely.