As one of the three islands that make up the Maltese group, Gozo is small enough to circle in a couple of hours by car but packs a surprisingly large amount into its 26 square miles. There’s the compact golden-stone capital city, Victoria, picturesque fishing villages and some of the best white-sand beaches in Europe, set against a backdrop of craggy countryside and vineyards.
Head for the harbour town of Mgarr, where a regular ferry service will take you to the beautiful nearby island, Comino. After a short 20 minute journey you’ll discover a beach that looks as if it’s been transported straight from the Caribbean and the lagoon is a rocky inlet lapped by pure blue sea and fringed by sandy white beaches.
It’s perfect for picnics and, as a result, has become a Mecca for families and local teenagers who spend summer days in the clear water.
Although 31,000 people live on Gozo, you certainly wouldn’t know it at local farmer Rikkardo’s smallholding. Here you’ll be introduced to the goats who provide the milk for the traditional Gbejniet cheese served up at his Victoria restaurant, Ta’ Rikardu.
Located just inside the historic citadel that dominates Victoria, it’s a rustic place to get a real Gozitan feast. Enjoy tomato soup, platters of bread, cheese and olives, and a bowl of local nougat – all washed down with local wine or fruit juice for the kids.
The island has numerous more restaurants, most of which specialise in the amazing fresh fish landed daily by Gozo’s fleet of brightly-coloured boats – each with a traditional eye motif on the bow for protection.
After being well fed, there’s plenty more to visit, including Calypso’s Cave, the Qbajjar Salt Pans, the 7,000-year-old ?gantija Temples and the gorgeous San Blas bay.
That’s the beauty of Gozo – it might be small but there’s always plenty to do and the sunshine to enjoy it in – whatever time of year you go.
See Malta and Gorzo for active teenagers for more Family Traveller recommendations.
Where to eat
Food: Historically it was the island’s French rulers who made the biggest mark on the local cuisine, but there are also strong Italian influences, which means a child-friendly meal of pizza or pasta is never too far away.
Like nearly every other Mediterranean food culture, Gozo is big on fresh ingredients, tomatoes and wine, but betrays an Arabic influence by adding sweet flavours such as dates or sultanas to the mix – it’s definitely a healthy food place for your family.
How to get there: Air Malta operates regular flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports and the island is also well served by low-cost airlines. Prices with Air Malta are from £69 one way.
Travel time: Approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Best time to go: Enjoy the best weather with sunny days and warm sea temperatures between April and October.
Where to stay: Prices at the Kempinski San Lawrenz; from £120 per night. The hotel provides gifts for children and facilities for families, as well as a babysitting service. Children under 6 stay and eat for free.