Taking a boat around Gozo

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

Taking a boat around Gozo


Gozo, Malta

From the water, the cliffs rise high above me and stretch out in both directions. Harsh and impenetrable, they make the Maltese island of Gozo appear like a fortress. Bouncing on the swell, racing in a boat alongside the cliffs, these stone bulwarks appear to stretch indefinitely. The size of the island is incalculable from down here on the twinkling blue waters off its coast.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

But what seems large and unapproachable is actually relatively small, considering it’s the second biggest island that makes up the country of Malta. It’s about the size of Manhattan and is home to just 30,000 people. And as I go further along the coastline, cracks start to appear in the solid cliffs… little bays and coves previously invisible.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

The island itself is an interesting place to explore, with ancient temples, quaint villages, old fortresses, beautiful churches and hidden vineyards. But it’s here – where the land meets the sea – that the true gem of Gozo sparkles in the summer. And it’s why I’m spending the afternoon on a boat.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

Many of the highlights along Gozo’s coast are inaccessible without a boat. There are caves worn into the side of cliffs; tunnels and archways created by the millennia of erosion; small rocky outcrops; beaches obscured but from particular angles; and bays that stretch out for hundreds of metres.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

The boat I’m on is a small one and there are just five passengers and the captain – a friendly and experienced man who is often sought-after by expert divers. We pass some smaller boats on the water which are owned by local families who head to the beaches and swimming spots for outings.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

And then there are the large mass-tourist boats which have dozens and dozens of shirtless tanned visitors crammed onboard. Cruising the coastline of Gozo is a popular activity in Malta and this is a busy tourist period so, glancing at the boats, you see more skin than deck. I think it would be quite a fun and easy way to spend the day on the water… but it would definitely feel crowded.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

All these boats – and ours included – stop at the tiny island of Comino, halfway between Gozo and the main island of Malta. It’s famous for the Blue Lagoon which has incredibly clear azure water. It also has hundreds of boats and, upon arriving, I realise this is where all the Maltese had been heading with the speedboats and small cruisers.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

Just around the corner at the Crystal Lagoon, though, things are quieter and our boat is the only one here. Diving in, the water is refreshing but warm and, through goggles, I can see hundreds of fish swimming all around me and weaving their way through the rays of sunlight cutting down to the deep ocean bed.

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

malta, gozo, boat hire, blue lagoon, caves

It is certainly hot out of the water and it’s scorching back on the land. This time of year, the streets in the villages and towns of Gozo are eerily quiet during the day. It’s down here on the ocean that the sensible folk come looking for a cool respite. Those enormous cliffs are more than just a physical barrier… they’re the border between seasons.

  • Lauren Meshkin | Sep 5, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Malta just seems like a dream to me. Look at that water!! These pictures are stunning. Great post.

    Happy travels 🙂
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    • Michael Turtle | Sep 13, 2013 at 4:19 am

      The water is just stunning – and perfect for swimming. It’s such a beautiful view from the boat and the coastline, with the cliffs and caves, is beautiful!

  • OCDemon | Sep 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Reminds me just a bit of Halong Bay, and…Porto? In Portugal. Can’t remember the name, but there are some cliffs around there that look kind of like these.
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    • Michael Turtle | Sep 13, 2013 at 4:17 am

      There are some similarities to Porto. I’m not sure it’s really got the same feel as Halong Bay, though. Around Gozo there’s a much drier heat, the sun is much glarier, and there isn’t as much foliage. But anywhere you’re out on a boat is going to have similarities, I guess.

  • Gary Yeates | Sep 5, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Haven’t done Malta yet. Will throw it in the bucket.

    • Michael Turtle | Sep 13, 2013 at 4:11 am

      Ha – that bucket list always gets longer rather than shorter, doesn’t it? 🙂

  • Ali | Sep 5, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    A good friend of mine is married to a guy from Gozo and I got to go there a few years back for their wedding. I didn’t have nearly enough time to actually explore the island or the rest of Malta, but the little I did see was gorgeous. I’d definitely like to go back someday.
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    • Michael Turtle | Sep 13, 2013 at 4:09 am

      I was there in the middle of summer and it was extremely hot and drier than I imagine it is in other seasons. I would love to go back there and see it when it’s a bit cooler. I would probably recommend the same for you – unless your plan was to lie on the beach the whole time!! 🙂

  • Jennifer | Sep 9, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! We were going to go to Malta a few years ago and ended up going to the Canary Islands instead. We weren’t really impressed with the beaches, so sort of took Malta off the list. The more I see lately though, I’m tempted to make a trip!
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    • Michael Turtle | Sep 13, 2013 at 3:55 am

      I don’t think you go to Malta for the beaches – they’re just a nice byproduct. There’s so much history and culture on the islands to explore and that’s what I found so fascinating!

  • Rogers | Sep 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Gozo , Malta is a splendid place for boating. I am looking forward for my next vacation there. It will be great to explore the islands out there with the boat. Thanks for making me more sure with the amazing pictures..simply Wow…

    • Michael Turtle | Sep 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Glad to give you a bit of inspiration. It’s certainly a great place to explore with a boat – the views are just stunning! Let me know when you make it there and what you think…

  • Devlin @ Marginal Boundaries | Oct 6, 2013 at 4:30 am

    I need to tell my brother about this. He’s been to Malta twice already, pretty sure he’s in love with the place.

    • Michael Turtle | Oct 28, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      I think you’re really missing out if you go to Malta and don’t head out on a boat for a bit. The islands are so beautiful and it’s hard to fully appreciate them just from the land.

  • Dan | Nov 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Wow it looks absolutely stunning!
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    • Michael Turtle | Nov 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      It’s absolutely beautiful. I see why so many local families just spend their days on the water. It’s so much nicer than on the land in the middle of the summer day!

  • Mary @ Green Global Travel | Jul 31, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Amazing photos! It is incredible how blue the water is! Thanks for sharing this!
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  • rebecca | Sep 14, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Really wanted to get a lot more of Malta into my Euro trip. Such a shame I didn’t as it looks beautiful
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    • Michael Turtle | Nov 7, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      It’s especially beautiful from this angle! Hope you get a chance to go back sometime.

  • Elena Gozo | Oct 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Great post Michael. I toured around Europe last week but it’s sad that I didn’t include Malta in my itinerary. I’ll definitely put this on top of my itinerary when I get back next year. Great photos by the way. Love it.

  • Heather | Jun 28, 2017 at 5:26 am

    The blue of the water, the caverns, and the cliffs all make for such a picturesque boating trip. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely pictures!

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