Discover Gozo’s Northern Coast
Secluded valleys, hidden inlets, centuries old saltpans, diving spots – the northern coast of the island of Gozo has some amazing places to see and experience. In this blog post we’ll talk about the top attractions in the northern part of the island.
First things first, while you can use a hired car/taxi to visit the places mentioned in this blog, you can easily make a great walk out of this. In fact, section 3 of the Gozo Coastal Walk from San Lawrenz to Marsalforn, takes you through the places listed in this blog. There’s also The Saltpans Walk which passes through some of the spots mentioned here.
You’ve probably heard about the iconic Azure Window in Dwejra. The magnificent arch’s raw beauty mesmerized locals and visitors for many years until a big storm on the 8th March 2017 took it away from us. Since then, the arch at Wied il-Mielaħ, often referred to as the Azure Window’s little sister, has become more popular among solo travellers. Since it is off the tourist trail, it is often missed by visitors on day trips or in big groups.
To get to the Wied il-Mielaħ arch, you need to walk along the Valley of Wied il-Mielaħ, a valley that flaunts a botanical display of vegetation typical of the Mediterranean. If you’re doing this walk anytime between late winter to spring, you’ll notice shades of yellow dominating the scene as the Cape Sorrel carpets the valley and surrounding fields. This common plant is called ‘qarsu’ in Maltese because of its sour taste, it is also often called ‘l-Ingliza’ – the English weed. The story behind this is that an English lady brought over a specimen here about 200 years ago and this soon took over the Maltese countryside.
Right at the end of the valley, you’ll see the natural Wied il-Mielaħ arch. This is a great spot for photos and a great place to sit down, have a breather, and take in all the beauty that surrounds you.
A scenic 3km walk away from Wied il-Mielah is the secluded valley of Wied il-Għasri. This is a marvelous place to explore for anyone keen on hiking or cycling. At the end of the valley, there’s a tiny beach which is accessible through a flight of stairs that have been hewn out of the rocks. These stairs can be quite tricky to use so always be careful when making use of them.
Once you make your way down, you’ll be amazed at the imposing cliffs that sandwich the valley and the beautiful Mediterranean sea crashing onto the pebbly beach. On a stormy day, the high sea waves that enter the gorge are a spectacle.
If the sea’s fine, this is a good place for a quick dip. It is also a great place for a picnic and, especially during the shoulder months, there’s a good chance you’ll have a whole beach to yourself.
Just 2km walk eastwards of Wied l-Għasri, lie the Xwejni Saltpans. Their popularity has increased in recent years mainly because people seem to have started appreciating the dying ancient tradition of sea salt production and also because they were featured on a Netflix documentary.
The man-made salt pans are about 350 years old and stretch about 3km along the coast and they are still worked to this very day. In fact, during the summer months, you can still see the owners of the pans scraping up the crystals of salt.
One of the families that currently work the saltpans at Xwejni have been doing so since the 1860s! Five generations of the same family have been producing salt here.
The process is simple. Large feeding pools are filled with sea water, where the sea-water becomes highly concentrated. This sea-water is then transferred to the shallower salt-pans for the wind and sun to work their magic until sea-salt is created.
The season for salt harvesting in Gozo usually starts in April and ends in August.
Please do not step into the saltpans when visiting.
Just a stone’s throw away from the saltpans you’ll see a small pebbly beach leading into clear blue water – this is Xwejni Bay. This shallow bay is particularly popular among locals and is highly frequented during the summer season. Here, many locals also opt for a BBQ on the beach during the hot summer evenings. There are 2 cafes here that also have a snack menu and perfect to refuel your body after the walk from San Lawrenz.
This sheltered inlet is also widely used by divers for training purposes.
Ask us for help
At First Gozo, we’re always out and about enjoying the wealth of beauty that tiny Gozo offers its visitors. Despite having lived here for most of our lives, we always manage to discover new nooks and crannies that leave us surprised.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. We pride ourselves in having hosted hundreds of guests from across the globe, and from this experience we can give you great advise on how to best experience the island.
Have a look at the holiday properties we have for rent in Gozo below. Click here to book your stay in Gozo.
All photos on this blog post are property of First Gozo.