Gozo is Malta’s second biggest island after the main island Malta itself and I had a great time here. I got the ferry from Malta to Gozo and headed straight to Victoria Rabat, capital city of Gozo. Gozo has a population of 31,446 and is a popular day trip from Malta (the main island). Lots of daytrippers get a guided tour of Gozo and also Comino island and probably see more of it in a day than me. However I wanted to backpack it myself and stay overnight. I booked into the excellent Downtown Hotel in Victoria (Rabat) and headed out to see the sights.
Here are my personal top 5 from my time backpacking in Gozo.
1.Gozo FA and National Football Stadium: Silver Jubilee Stadium
The football stadium was my personal number one sight. For an island so small it is hard to believe that Gozo has it’s own Football Association and Football league! I actually missed a match by a few hours here, but life doesn’t give us everything we want but at least I watched some live football on Malta itself (2 matches) and visited the stadium here. It is a short bus ride from Rabat the capital and again, your Tallinja card covers you on Gozo.
I was intrigued so I had to visit. I had a one week card for unlimited use on buses in Malta and Gozo. Malta’s third biggest island is Comino but that island only has a population of 3 and no bus network. My bus card came in handy on Gozo and it was just 4 stops from the main bus station in central Victoria Rabat. The Gozo FA and even the Gozo National team played in the Fake World Cup in 2012, yes really – Gozo at the Fake World Cup.
Strictly speaking the football stadium is not in the capital but in a smaller village called Ir-Rabat Għawdex, Malta just a mile or so away. It is on the main road – Triq l-Ewropa. The ground is generally known as Gozo Stadium but was also once called the Silver Jubilee Ground. It has a capacity of 1,644 and was opened in 1936.
This is a stunner. The citadel is huge and most people cite this as the number one sight in Gozo. The castle towers over the whole island’s skyline offering tremendous views. It takes a few hours to explore the entire Citadel.
3.Church of St. George
There are a few churches in Gozo, I visited two of them. Firstly the Church of St. George, which is also in St. George’s square. The church has remained intact for centuries, you can learn a lot about it here.
4.Church of St. Francis
Further up the city, on another square atop a hill, I found St. Francis church. Though less prominent and smaller, I preferred this church and so this is where I prayed.
Otherwise known as Independence Square but while based in London, I used to love shortening such names so this square was Indepys Q.
6.Flag of Sovereign Military Order of Malta
As a keen whackpacker of off the wall nations and cultures, I was on the bookout for any inklings of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and I found a proud flag of the country here. This is the flag representing the only UN recognised country with no permanent official land. Although I crossed the border in Birgu and backpacked through the Upper Fort, to all intents and purposes the capital city of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
If you have a guided tour or transport you will see a lot more of Gozo than I did as you can visit some remote villages, small beaches, an inland sea and some ancient churches and architecture. I arrived by ferry from Malta’s main island and I left to backpack Comino. Here are some final photos from my time in Gozo as I won’t write more about it.
Here are some videos of my time backpacking in Gozo, I also toured the bars and cafes of the capital city, Victoria Rabat as well as one in Mgarr:
3 thoughts on “Backpacking in Gozo, Malta: Top 6 Sights In and Around Victoria Rabat”
Great post (as always) Jonny! I am headed to Gozo for 2 nights next month and looking forward to it. Will definatly check out the places you’ve suggested!
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Hi Abbi, Thanks! I hope you enjoy your trip and I recommend the Crazy country Sovereign Military Order of Malta – it’s the only UN recognised country without any land though they lease a fort in Malta so you can visit it! Also visit Comino island and Blue Lagoon – only 3 people live there! Safe travels to Malta, Gozo and Comino. Jonny