Malta

Gozo, Malta

Peter and I did two days trips during our vacation in Malta. The first was to the island of Gozo (part of Malta), and the second was to the city of Mdina and the Blue Grotto.

We didn’t have a rental car and relied on buses and taxis to get around Malta.

The Maltese bus system was easy to navigate but could be frustratingly slow, infrequent, and unpredictable.

The islands of Malta and Gozo are close to one another, but it was a long journey to Gozo from Valletta.

Our journey began with a 1.5-hour bus ride (route 41) from Valletta to Cirkewwa (ferry terminal). We then boarded a ferry for a windy 20-minute ride to the island of Gozo.

We arrived at the Gozo ferry terminal (Mgarr) and boarded a bus headed to the Victoria bus station. This journey took 15 minutes, including waiting time.

Our roundtrip travel time from Valletta to Gozo was five and a half hours, including bus and ferry wait times.

For us, it was too much travel time for what we were able to see and do in Gozo.

Unknowingly, we visited Gozo on the final day of a week-long celebration known as “Victoria Festa – Saint George,” translated in English as Feast of St. George.

A lively party was in full effect in the main square in front of St. George’s Basilica. It appeared to be a rather boozy affair, with people laughing and dancing in the confetti-covered streets.

We passed the party and walked up the hill to the Citadel in Victoria. The Citadel is an impressive structure from which the historic center of Victoria can be seen.

Gozo is a relatively flat island, but we got a different perspective from the Citadel. To the north was rural and dry land. We even spotted a could small vineyards.

On our visit, the Citadel was only open for exterior foot traffic. We were able to walk around the structure, but that was it. We would have liked to sip a glass of wine or two at the Citadel’s cafe, but it was closed.

We spent 30 minutes at the Citadel before returning to the Victoria bus station in mid-afternoon. On our walk back, we entered the main square where the party was being held but quickly backtracked out of the square.

The enclosed square was wall-to-wall people, and the band’s music was loud enough that we could not have a conversation.

We arrived at the Victoria bus station and had a quick bite to eat at a nearby cafe as we waited for the bus.

Next, we boarded the bus back to the Gozo ferry terminal. While on the bus, I saw a church in the distance that interested me, so we exited the bus and walked back up the hill to where I’d initially seen the church while on the bus.

After a few photos, we continued walking down the hill to the ferry terminal. During our walk, we stumbled upon another church off the main road.

The churches were pretty, but to this day, I do not know their names.

We continued walking down the hill toward the ferry terminal, and as we approached the terminal, we saw the ferry approaching the terminal, and it was off to the races. We ran as fast as we could and boarded the ferry during the final boarding call.

Now back on the island of Malta, we walked to the bus station and waited for the bus. We watched buses that had departure times after our bus’s departure time come and go. Where was our bus?

Nearly 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time, a man appeared and told those of us waiting that the bus had been canceled and the next bus for that route was scheduled to arrive in an hour.

At that point, we opted for a different bus route that eventually got us back to Valletta. It was a long day.

What we’d do differently

What would we do differently if we were to do a day trip to Gozo again?

We wouldn’t go to Gozo. Instead, we would take the bus from Valletta to the Malta ferry terminal and then take the ferry to Malta’s other sister island, Comino, and spend the day at the Blue Lagoon.

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