I had never heard of it either. My search for this european Blue Lagoon (that I actually learnt of from a pic on Instagram) led me to Malta…..Little did I know that Malta was actually 3 islands. The second largest being Gozo, off of which the third island Comino protectively shelters the Blue Lagoon. Malta, like most of western Europe, is crowded in August. I mean overcrowded, cramped, expensive and rowdy. It was so…..unexpectedly………gold coast! (Aussies I know you feel me on this one). There is a small strip in St Julians/Paceville full of Vodka Bars, Gentleman Lounges with 16yr old european school kids running amuck on their summer break. We had unsuspectingly plonked ourselves in the centre of the one party zone in Malta. Yay.
After a nightmare arrival into the country (a worsening cold, a three hour transfer that should have been 20minutes from airport to hotel and a room with no running water) St Julians was a little too bright and chirpy for me.
After making sure to explore the beautiful old town of Valletta, we awoke on the 3rd morning and decided to get the hell outta there.
You may know by now how much I love spontaneous travel. If I’m not feeling a place……if I am not excited by its atmosphere or ambience or am feeling ‘bad vibes’ that I am not connecting with……I immediately start looking up where I can go from there and how I can move on to the next place.
"How can it not be that simple in life?
If you’re not feeling a situation or circumstance, a relationship or job or a phase of life you are in…….
get yourself up and get out of there! It can and should be that simple."
We had toyed with the idea of hiring a car before setting off for this 3 month trip. Driving manual on the other side of the road in a left hand side drive and a foreign country – yeah, it was really appealing. It was a steep price at ¢35 per day (thank you peak season) but I can honestly say it was 110% worth it! A month into our trip and the very first hire car, we jumped in our blue Getz with gusto and drove away from the tourist madness and into the sunshine.
Here is why you should hire a car on your travels…..
- FREEDOM……You can get to areas, sites, places that a public bus or train cannot easily take you. And you have the freedom to go anywhere, any time you like for however long you like without having to depend on timetables or tour buses.
- ADVENTURE……You can get off the beaten track, stop in little villages that are not on the tourist trail. There are never ending dirt roads and secret beaches all around the coast of Gozo waiting to be explored.
- LOCALITY……You can stay in funky accommodation like housesits or house rentals that are in remote locations, often beachfront or secluded if you want. Homeaway.com is awesome in Europe and beats dodgy hotel stays any day. Live like the locals! Shop at the markets, whip up a feast and enjoy a local bottle of wine. Beats overpriced, mediocre accommodation and restaurant dining any day. Our very own Maltese home, the GEM we found in Gozo can be viewed on the following link: http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p1133553#summary
- VALUE.…..Long term car hire (anything over a week) can work out super cheap. Like $10-a-day-for-hire-over-2 weeks-cheap. If you are traveling with 2-4 people it trumps train and plane fares easily. Our 3 week car hire in Spain worked out at AUD14 per day……split that by 4 people and you’re laughin’.
I mostly recommend car hire for exploring a region, or country even. Obviously it is not ideal for a city stay, where it is an expensive pain in the a$$ trying to find parking. We spent an hour every day in Malaga driving around in in circles looking for a park.
To get to Gozo
…you must drive to the most northern tip of Malta, Cirkewwa , from here you drive on to the car ferry for the IMG_567530min crossing. The island’s centre is Victoria situated roughly in the centre of the island, a small two way street town stretching only a couple of hundred metres long. What the island lacks in big city lights it makes up for in outdoor adventure, pristine scenery and incredible food!
Here is why you NEED to go to GOZO…….
Blue Lagoon on Comino Island……of course. No words. Just Go. Get yourself down to the ferry terminal when you are ready to go and a local boat will take you across (10mins) for around 8 per person/return. If you love summer, sunshine, ocean, amazing things this place has GOT to get on your bucket list!
Azure Window – Marvel at this incredible limestone arch window to never ending ocean! Scientists now believe the top of the window will not last more than ten years so if you still can and if you’re game walk up the rocks and across the top of the window, you will see a magical sunset here. Careful as you tip toe across the thinnest parts as you can alerady see the cracks! Go to the rock pool at the base of the window for a swim and don’t be afraid to swim right under and through the window itself. It is deep deep deeeeep blue ocean here!
Before you leave be sure to walk down to the small lagoon on the other side of the car park area where you can take a small fishing boat right through the sea caves and come out on the other side for a magical view of the window from the ocean perspective.
The Vineyard – for an unforgetable candlelit dinner of Argentinia steak and fresh Maltese seafood accompanied by wines grown and and produced on the island.
Fiesta Time – If you find yourself in Gozo in mid August enjoy the week long annual Santa Maria Fiesta, the islands biggest celebration. Think pop up bars, all night street parties, gold statue processions and a lot of confetti…….in every single village on the island.
This trip was first published on The Hibiscus Traveller.