Gozo is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Smaller, more remote and less built-up than Malta itself, it is a popular destination in its own right, particularly for more mature British and German couples. With pretty if unspectacular countryside, and interesting churches alongside historic fortifications and megalithic temples it makes a good excursion from Malta and an even better destination for a relaxed short break.
and some settlements that are used primarily as summer residences and mostly deserted during the rest of the year
One sometimes gets the sense that Gozo is how Malta could have been. With the exceptions of Marsalforn and Xlendi, it has been largely spared from short-sighted overdevelopment, the traditional way of life and society has survived better, and the land has been maintained better giving more fertile ground. Buildings and houses on Gozo are mainly done with natural materials, as opposed to many of the concrete and breeze-block constructions on the mainland.
Gozo's history is intimately linked to Malta. It shares its megalithic culture, and with the Ggantija temples, it is officially home of the oldest structure on the planet. Interestingly, Gozo up until the end of medieval times was inhabited in a manner the same as Malta, with Mġarr and Victoria/Rabat being to Gozo what Vittoriosa and Mdina are to Malta: the main port and the main settlement consisting of a citadel and surrounding suburbs. The inhabitants of Gozo were, in medieval times, required by law to return to the Citadella each evening to spend the night there to prevent corsairs from abducting them. These measures were proven to be necessary when, in 1551, the Turks tried their first invasion of Malta. When they failed, they attacked Gozo and took the entire population off in ships to sell them into slavery.
It should also be noted that if you do learn some Maltese, there are different dialects throughout different parts of the country. People on Gozo speak Maltese with a slightly different accent from the main Maltese islanders, and people from the different Gozitan villages each have their own different dialect.
Like the mainland, English is also an official language of Gozo.
There is the ferry from Ċirkewwa on Malta to Mġarr, Gozo's main harbor. It departs every 45 minutes in the summer and almost as often in the winter. The trip there is free, but going back to Malta costs €4.65. Bus stops are outside the ferry terminals, and it is synchronized with the ferry arrivals and departures. The bus ride to Victoria takes around 20 minutes. On the Malta side, buses run from Valetta's bus terminus to Cirkewwa taking about 75 minutes. There are plans to build a small airport on the beautiful and unspoilt Ta' Cenc cliffs of this tiny island, but hopefully someone will realize that the main airport, which already stretches across almost a quarter of Malta itself, is more than enough.
If you need flexibility and speed in getting around, your best option is to hire a car. (try TRAC +35699826339  or Mayjo car rentals ). You need to be over 21 years old and hold a valid driving license. It's fine to travel to the mainland Malta with his hired car.
You will find white taxis also on the island of Gozo however these tend to be more expensive. It is suggested to prebook your taxi or airport transfer with a local company.
As Gozo is the breadbasket of Malta, the ground is more fertile, and the place is more rural. Therefore there is more fresh produce to be had. One should definitely try Gozo's own cheese: Gbejniet. This cheese is lovely when had fresh, but also nice when cured with pepper and vinegar.
As on Malta there are vineyards on Gozo, one can often buy unlabeled local wines cheaply but be sure to ask to taste them as quality can vary widely. The shops near the citadel in Victoria/Rabat usually have a good selection.
Gozo is safer than Malta , there is less petty crime.
There is occasionally a strong current on the northern shore, so caution when swimming is advised.
The residents of Gozo are called Gozitans and will be annoyed if you refer to them as Maltese.
Walking, Rambling and Hiking
Gozo is at its best from October to May. The average temperature in this period is around 18C, ideal for rambling around the island. While exploring the island you will see a wide variety of amazing views due to a large number of valleys, hills and small beaches. There is an abundance of abandoned hidden ancient temples and shrines in the countryside. If you are pressed for time and do not have much time to explore, but also want to see the best hidden places, it is best to hire or join a guide that specializes in country walks. Although Gozo is small, once you go to the countryside you will feel that you are alone on the island since you can walk for hours without meeting anybody. During the winter storms, Gozo's seaside is often totally deserted but spectacular with the big waves exploding on big boulders and lofty cliffs.