Gozo is renowned for its spectacular beaches, with many locals and visitors flocking to Ramla Bay or Dwejra Bay at the first opportunity. But the island is also home to many hidden bays that may not be as well known but which are just as breath taking.
Like any other island, Gozo is surrounded by water, meaning that its periphery is dotted with large and small inlets of sea that are perfect for an afternoon’s worth of sunbathing or swimming.
Some of these bays have become incredibly well known to visitors, and, as is the case with Mellieha Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha Bay just across the channel, this has resulted in these beaches becoming somewhat over crowded.
This, of course, is not to say that the more well-known beaches should be avoided. On the contrary, certain bays should be visited not just for their natural, majestic beauty, but also for their prominent place in history and legend.
Ramla Bay, for example, is located in the northern part of Gozo, and many consider the cave just overlooking this red-sanded bay as the place where the nymph Calypso held Ulysses prisoner for seven years in Homer’s epic The Odyssey. Thus it’s an absolute must-visit for your trip to Gozo!
The lesser-known bays, however, offer a wonderful alternative, particularly because these tend to be very different to the usual beaches that make it to the Top 5 list.
Which are Gozo’s lesser-known bays?
“Gozo is full of smaller bays,” says Cornil Wambergue, the Director of Gozo Adventures (www.gozoadventures.com), “but I wouldn’t actually say they’re physically secluded… Just not as well known.”
Some of these bays include San Blass, Dahlet Qorrot, Qbajjar, Ghasri Valley and Xwejni in the north, as well as Mgarr ix-Xini, Hondoq ir-Rummien and Xatt l-Ahmar Bay in the south. These are all off the beaten track, and some of them – Ghasri Valley and Xatt l-Ahmar Bay, in particular – are surrounded by magnificent and dramatic cliffs.
What’s so special about them?
Each of Gozo’s bays – secluded or not – has its own, distinct characteristics, but there is something rather charming about those beaches which are harder to get to or which are not as well know.
Unlike Ramla, for example, where visitors and locals go exclusively to swim and sunbathe, places like Xatt l-Ahmar Bay are famed for their spectacular underwater scenery – not to mention the amazing reddish-hue the whole coastline seems to take thanks to the colour of the soil in the fields leading down to this gorgeous beach.
On the other hand, Mgarr ix-Xini is located in a natural valley, and the feeling of swimming in between two gigantic masses of rock makes it quite surreal. Moreover, this bay is not usually crowded at all, as the easiest way to access it is by boat!
Also, as Cornil points out, “Ramla Bay and Hondoq ir-Rummien are by far the most popular among locals, due to parking facilities, toilets, kiosks and cafés, and flat access into the water for young children.”
Yet, while Ramla does attract foreigners too, Hondoq is only very popular with locals. This is a real shame as the views of Comino from the bay are awe-inspiring, while the crystal-clear sea is out of this world.
How do I get to them?
Although buses do pass through nearby towns and villages, many of these secluded and lesser-known beaches are not that easy to reach on foot – particularly if you’re not sure where you have to go.
Thus, the best way to reach these beaches is either by taxi – local drivers might even know of a different secret spot of their own! – or by car. If you are renting a car, however, then make sure your phone’s GPS is on to help guide you.
Other even more secluded beaches, like South of Mars located between Marsalforn and Dahlet Qorrot, can only be accessed by sea, so it would be advisable to speak to a guide or a local before heading there.
Are there any things I need to keep in mind when visiting one of Gozo’s secluded beaches?
“You do need to be prepared,” says Cornil. “Most of them are quite off-the-beaten track, so they may be difficult to get to. Plus, once you’re there, facilities can be limited – you’re unlikely to find an ice-cream shop or café, and they’re not exactly child friendly either.
“But they do make a nice change. That lack of facilities makes them unspoilt, and it’s nice to have the option if you really do want to get away it all. Gozo’s secluded beaches are definitely very special,” Cornil concludes.