As part of my days hiking in Gozo, this was actually the very first route I did walking in Gozo, I say walking as I don’t consider it necessarily a hike as it was quite “urban”.
Even so, the views where stunning as pretty much everywhere else in Gozo!
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This was a good 3h walk and almost 16.5Km long, starting in Mgarr, close to where the ferry leaves you, and then going towards Ta’ Sopu Watchtower to then follow the coast up to the popular spot of Ramla Bay and then back to Mgarr.
Arriving to Gozo
I made it to the small island of Gozo after it was recommended by a few friends, I’m happy that I followed their advise to stay a few days in Gozo as I think it’s a big mistake to just visit the island for the day and then go back to the main island of Malta as many people does.
To get to Gozo you need to take a ferry that departs roughly every 45min and the entire trip takes 25min.
There are a few buses that go up to the ferry terminal from many points in Malta so check on Google Maps for the best combination.
One thing to notice when taking the ferry is that you don’t buy the tickets when you board in Malta, you buy them in Gozo when you take the ferry back. The round-trip costs €4.65.
Where to stay in Gozo
This small island is well suited for the tourists with plenty of accommodation spread all over the place.
However, it doesn’t come up on the cheap side so make sure to search around different sites for the best price, I ended up taking an AirBnB room close to the port that came almost at half price to a dorm at a hostel.
If you plan to camp, there are a few spots by the coast that you can find on maps.me. There are no great camping facilities in Malta so prepare to do some wild camping and wait until late in the day to pitch your tent, as being one of the most densely populated countries in the world it’s not an easy task to find remote spots. But it’s definitely easier to do it in Gozo than in Malta.
As always when you wild camp, please leave no traces of your stay.
Walking in Gozo: the north-east
Starting in Mgarr I followed the route from maps.me with direction towards San Blas Bay, all the streets in the area of Mgarr become a bit of a maze so it’s good to follow the GPS as otherwise you may end up walking in circles.
This is going to be quite an urban walk, after leaving the villages of Mgarr and Nadur behind it will become more rural, but don’t expect trails on this one except a short one to enter Nadur, which is about 1 Km long and ends on a short but a bit steep climb.
If you have not had any breakfast, make sure to stop at Mekren’s Bakery in Nadur, this is a 150 years old family business making pizzas, ftiras and qassatats to die for!!! they’re also incredibly cheap and top quality!
I had a gassatat for breakfast and on the way back at the end of the day had a yummy pizza that I ate by a viewpoint in Nadur with these views:
The traditional Maltese Ftiras are also amazing! I had one on the following day, it’s not only delicious but also heavy! you will have a good couple of meals with just one of them!
After leaving Nadur you will take a narrow road to the right that goes through some beautiful countryside houses, you’ll be mainly going downhill until the end of the road, where you will have a steep climb to the village of San Blas.
This is only if you take the Ramla Bay road and then Triq Wied Bingemma, which is just continuing walking to the coast after Mekren’s Bakery, if you want to avoid the climb, retrace your steps and go from the centre of Nadur and take San Blas road.
Either of both roads will take you to the same place which is the San Blas Gardens.
Taking the road to the right (which is well signalled) will guide you to Ta’ Sopu Watchtower.
Don’t worry about passing next to a military camp, just before the entrance to this compound you will find a path taking to the watchtower.
Some 10-15 min later you will arrive to Ta’ Sopu.
The Ta’ Sopu Watchtower was built in 1667 and 4 years later was fully armed….127 years later, the French troops led by Napoleon invaded Gozo within shooting range of Ta’ Sopu, the French occupation lasted just 2 years after they surrendered to the British in 1800.
I always love hiking in beautiful places, and if there’s a bit of history to add to it even better!
Once you reach the Ta’ Sopu watchtower start wandering around! the trail disappears but the terrain is easy enough to walk around the bushes. I got the best views of this walk on this area!
Go as close to the cliff as you can and just follow it for stunning views of the north side of the island. Definitely the best views for this day walking in Gozo!
Following the coast towards the west (walking towards the military compound), you will see the bay of San Blas, which my AirBnB host recommended it more than the most popular Ramla Bay.
Once you get tired of admiring the views, it’s time to retrace your steps and walk towards Ramla Bay. Before that, you could go down to San Blas Bay right next to San Blas Gardens, this “diversion” will only add 1.2km to your day.
The walk to Ramla Bay is almost 4 Km from Ta’ Sopu Watchtower, and although the road itself is not particularly scenic, it will take you through elevated areas with cool views of the island, both towards the coast and inland.
You will also find along the road some “In-Nadur Walk” signs, these are different routes along the coast that feature some other places of interest and that you could add to your long day walking in Gozo.
Ramla Bay is a special area of conservation in Malta, the sandy beach is about 400m long and up to 100m wide.
MY HIKING ESSENTIALS
The fine, reddish sand is the result of the erosion of blocks lying at sea level. The sand has accumulated in certain points creating beautiful dunes which are protected and is not allowed to walk on them.
From the parking area of Ramla Bay looking to the west you will be able to see the Calypso’s Cave, which is thought to be the cave referred by Homer in epic Greek poem the Odyssey. The cave is currently closed but there’s a viewing platform above it for some more panoramic views of Ramla Bay.
This is one of the most popular spots in Gozo, however, as I visited in January it was almost deserted and even the restaurants in the area were closed so consider this to pack extra snacks and water for your day.
The way back to Mgarr was almost entirely on roads where I set foot earlier, but worked out well to pass once again through Mekren’s Bakery for a well deserved pizza!
As this was my first day in Gozo, all in all it was a great first sight of the island, but depending on the length of your stay, make sure to check my other posts hiking in Gozo as those had even better views and I’d chose those if having a tight schedule in Gozo.
Feel free to drop any comments or questions if you’re backpacking in Gozo for a few days!
Happy adventures! 🙂