F.A.Q : MALTA AND GOZO
Every week I receive a lot of e-mails asking me for information about Malta and Gozo. Some questions come up very frequently and I thought it would be practical and interesting to compile them in a post that will be regularly updated with new questions.
If you are planning a trip to the archipelago, I advise you to save this post, which is full of useful information ! Don’t hesitate to consult my other informative posts about Malta and Gozo.
→ Traveling on the maltese archipelago
What is the best means of transport to visit the archipelago ?
Car, without hesitation. It’s the easiest way to visit the archipelago without wasting your time. The localities are well served by buses, but there is usually only one every hour. Moreover, in Gozo, you must go through Victoria (the main town) and change bus to go from one town to another.
Bikes and scooters can be tempting, but this means of transport is very dangerous in Malta : most Maltese drivers are unfortunately reckless and they do not respect traffic regulations. Bike lovers, keep in mind that the archipelago is very hilly and that the temperatures go very high in the summer.
If you opt for the car, be very careful on the road, even when you have priority.
How much does a bus ticket cost ?
A two-hours bus ticket costs 2€ in the summer and 1.50€ the rest of the year. The rate is reduced for children under 10 years.
You can also buy an unlimited card valid for one week (21 € for an adult, 15 € for a child) or a 12-trips card (15 €).
Where can I buy bus tickets/cards ?
You can buy single tickets directly on the bus, from the driver. Try to give the exact amount of money because they don’t have much change.
For cards and subscriptions, you will find booths and distributors at the airport or at the main bus stations (Valletta in Malta, Victoria in Gozo).
How much does the Gozo ferry cost ?
The journey from Malta to Gozo is free and there is no ticket to take. The way back from Gozo to Malta is subject to a fee : it’s approximately 4€ per person, and 15€ for a vehicle (driver included).
How to get to Comino ?
To get to Comino, you will have to take a small boat, managed by private companies. From Gozo, you can find one very easily on the harbours of Mgarr or Hondoq (in Qala). From Malta, you will have to go to Cirkewwa. Round trips cost around 10 euros per person, but the price may vary according to the company.
Is it easy to park in the cities ?
In Gozo, the only city where parking can sometimes be difficult (except for particular events) is Victoria. During rush hour, the traffic in the city becomes a nightmare. But since we’re talking about Gozo, keep in mind thaat this “city” is a very small one, so you can easily park on the outskirts and walk to the center.
On Malta, the traffic is usually very dense, and parking in big cities (for example : Valletta, Saint Julian’s or Sliema) is quite difficult.
→ To read : transport on the maltese archipelago.
→ Visits on the maltese archipelago
Two days in Gozo, is it enough to see everything ?
With a tight schedule, you can see the main attractions of the island in two days. To get a better idea of how to do it, I invite you to read this post.
What is a must-see in Gozo ?
A few days ago, I would have answered “the Azure Window” first… Unfortunately, this arch over the sea has collapsed on the 8th of March 2017 due to a storm.
In my opinion, the places you should not miss if you are visiting Gozo are the Ggantija Temples in Xaghra (older than the pyramids of Egypt !), the sanctuary of Ta Pinu in Gharb, the Citadella and the Basilica Saint George in Victoria, and the Ramla Bay beach.
What is a must-see in Malta ?
I haven’t visited everything there is to see on the main island, because I don’t go there very often. However, I highly recommend the Upper Barrakka Gardens and the Saint John Cathedral in Valletta, the fortified city of Medina (breathtaking), the famous village of Popeye and the Golden Bay. The Malta aquarium is also nice to visit with children.
Is Comino worth visiting ?
If you enjoy the beach and like to swim and snorkle, then yes, it’s a beautiful place. Otherwise, there is not much to see on the island.
If you want to enjoy the famous “Blue Lagoon”, I always recommend going there in the morning. At noon, tourists start to invade the place, and this blue paradise turns into hell. I’m not even exaggerating, people go as far as to put their beach towel on the paved dock because there is no room left on the sand…
How is the weather in *insert month of choice* ?
From late March to late May, the climate is mild (between 15 and 27°C) and moderately rainy. From the end of May to the end of September, it’s very hot (sometimes near 40°C) and very dry. It’s pretty rare to see a single drop of rain during the summer months ! From late September to mid December, temperatures decrease but remain very mild (around 20-25°C). However, thunderstorms become more frequent… Then, from mid-December to the end of March, winter settles with a lot of rain and the temperatures usually varied from 10 to 15°C.
→ Accomodation in Malta and Gozo
Do you have a B&B / hotel / guest house to recommend ?
On the main island of Malta, no, I’m sorry. In Gozo, I can recommend the Ta Cenc Hotel, situated in Sannat, or the B&B “Thirtyseven” in Munxar. For the record, this is where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were staying during the making of the movie “By the Sea”…
In which town to stay in Gozo ?
If you are using public transport, I recommend Victoria : it’s more practical to avoid bus changes. If this town seems too hectic for you, the villages of Kercem, Santa Lucija, Munxar or Sannat are good alternatives, as they are very quiet and located 10 to 25 min away from Victoria (by walk).
If you rent a vehicle, it’s up to you according to the places you want to visit. Since the island is very small, you will never be far away from anything.
What are the most crowded places ?
In Gozo, tourists are particularly fond of Xlendi, Marsalforn and Victoria. In the high season, these three localities become crowded very quickly. Avoid them if you are looking for calm and serenity…
→ To read : rentals in Malta.
→ Food and shopping in Malta
Are there fruit/vegetable/fish markets in Gozo ?
This question comes up often, and as surprising as it sounds… not really ! You can easily find small fruit and vegetable stalls in Victoria, though (behind the bus station, usually in the morning). Every morning, itinerant trucks go from town to town to sell fresh products. As for the fish markets, I have never seen any in Gozo, but you can try in small harbours, early in the morning (Mgarr, Marsalforn, Hondoq…). Otherwise, there are several fish shops on the island.
Where to shop for food in Gozo ?
In the villages of Gozo, you will always find one to several small grocery stores. They don’t look very appealing, but you can find a multitude of things there. These grocery stores generally open very early in the morning, close at noon and then reopen for a few hours at the end of the day.
Every morning, itinerant trucks also tour the villages with fruit, vegetables, eggs or even bread. They are recognizable by their very loud horn and their green cover.
Otherwise, several supermarkets are available on the island. The main three are located in Victoria : a large Lidle on the outskirts, a Waitrose in Arkadia shopping mall and a supermarket in “The Duke” shopping center.
Which cosmetic brands can be found on the archipelago ?
Mainly british brands such as The Body Shop or Revlon, but also italian brands (Pupa…) or french ones (Clinique, L’Oréal, Yves Rocher…). The hair brand Aussie has also invaded the island, and if you have the opportunity to find the good brand Inecto, don’t hesitate to give it a try !
To my knowledge, there is no maltese cosmetic brand.
Where to go shopping ?
In Gozo, clothing, footwear and accessories stores are all located in Victoria. There are two main shopping centers, which are 200 meters apart : Arkadia and The Duke. There, you will find some small shops like Promod, Pimkie, Next, Blanco, Accessorize, Sometimes or Bata. You can also find sport items, decoration, lingerie, perfume and cosmetics and a few small supermarkets.
Walking through the city you will find other shops, boutiques or bazaars.
What is the cost of living in Malta ?
At the restaurant : on average, a dish costs between 5 and 12€ in a café or small restaurant. In an establishment of higher standing, the dish will cost from 12 to 25€ on average. The pint of beer is approximately 2.50€.
For long term rental, you can find a 70 square meters apartment, furnished, with two bedrooms, for around 400€. However, prices fly quickly if you want a bigger place with a view, or a house.
In supermarket, the food is usually a bit more expensive than in France.
Can we drink tap water ?
Yes, you can drink it, but the taste is unpleasant because it is actually desalinated sea water. It’s preferable to buy bottled water.
→ My expatriation in Gozo
Why did you choose Gozo instead of Malta ?
We chose Gozo because we were seduced by the beauty of its landscapes. Also, its quietness and rurality are better suited to our lifestyle. The main island of Malta is more hectic and densely populated.
How did you find a job in Gozo ?
My spouse is self-employed and works via the Internet. As for me, I do not work.
How did you find a long term rental in Gozo ?
We got in touch with rental agencies prior to our move. In this post about rentals in Malta, you can learn more information and find the main real estate agencies’ websites.