For a small island, Gozo has big appeal when it comes to sailing and is celebrated for its unspoilt beaches, crystal clear waters and secluded coves. The island’s size and geography, allow sailors to move with ease in the waters surrounding the island, planning routes according to changing wind conditions. When exploring Gozo from the coast, sailors get to fully appreciate the natural beauty and the changing coastline, between sandy shores, dramatic cliffs and an untamed coastline that stretches to meet some of the cleanest waters in Europe. Gozo is in fact the recipient of the Quality Coast Award by Green Destinations, for its commitment to safeguard the quality of its sea and coastline.
Frankie Magro and his son Chris run the oldest boat cruising company on the island.
They’ve been escorting tourists around our shores promoting Gozo’s landmarks and geological wonders since 1970. Nowadays, they own 3 boats: a 75
foot Turkish Gullet, a 40 ft motor cruiser and a 30 ft fast power boat.
Frankie says: “Gozo always gets an offshore wind, with open sea and has amazing bays all around it. It’s no wonder that people cruising The Mediterranean arrange a stopover”.
“Whenever you’re sailing here, whatever direction the wind takes – there’s always a safe place to moor up. Our waters are truly magical and travelling by boat you get to experience little-known places like San Blas Bay or Dahlet Qorrot which are sometimes easier to reach from the sea than by foot”.
“After 50 years of sailing around Gozo; it’s rugged cliffs and beautiful waters never cease to amaze me.”
So, for our VisitGozo blog this week we bring you 5 bays to visit while sailing in Gozo.
1. Ix-Xatt l-Aħmar (ideal for North Westerly winds)
Latitude: 36.023231 | Longitude: 14.287042
Situated on Gozo’s South East coast, just below Fort Chambray, this secluded bay is an ideal location for swimming and diving. Locals cherish this lesser known gem for its clear waters and beautiful scenery. Scuba divers dive around the MV Xlendi – an 80m long ro-ro ferry which was scuttled just beyond the bay during the late 1990’s, creating an artificial reef for divers and marine life to enjoy, just off the Xatt l-Aħmar coast.
2. Mġarr ix-Xini (ideal for North Westerly winds)
Latitude: 36.0177 | Longitude: 14.2728
Mġarr ix-Xini is a small pebbled bay within a gorge and a steep sided natural valley, found to the West of Mġarr Harbour. It’s one of the most secluded and spectacular beaches in Gozo. Divers, snorkelers and underwater photographers are drawn to its clear, warm waters and enjoy the chance to get up close and personal to its rich marine life. This tranquil beauty spot hit the headlines a few years back when Hollywood actors Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt hired the bay throughout a whole summer to film their movie ‘By The Sea’.
3. Fungus Rock (ideal for Easterly and North Easterly winds)
Latitude: 36.0469 | Longitude: 14.1887
Fungus Rock, is a 60 metre high limestone rock jutting out of the sea near to Dwejra. The rock owes its name to a prized flowering plant which grows on its surface and which was fiercely guarded by The Knights of Malta for its attributed medicinal properties.
4. Marsalforn (ideal for South winds).
Latitude: 36.070892 | Longitude: 14.259806
Marsalforn is one of Gozo’s most popular resorts and during the summer months its bay bustles with tourists and local families who flock to its pebbly beach to swim and sunbathe or to dine out in many of its waterfront restaurants – enjoying café culture by the sea.
Marsalforn is a great location for sailing as the coastline stretches from the main bay area to other coastal locations like Qbajjar and Xwejni towards the Northwest, with the unfolding beauty of a varied coastline. Marsalforn Bay itself has a great snorkeling spot behind Il-Menqa, up to Ghar Qawqla point where there is ample space to dive, swim and snorkel.
5. Dahlet Qorrot (ideal for South winds).
Latitude: 36.0452 | Longitude: 14.3057
Dahlet Qorrot is a picturesque bay on the north-east side of Gozo. It lies between Nadur and Qala, lined with fishermen’s boat houses that were carved into the limestone in past times, when village fishermen sought shelter from their boats after days at sea.
During the summer, its clear waters make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling and its surrounding caves and rocks provide shelter for sunbathers wanting to escape the heat.
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The closest beach to the house we stayed in Qala via @airbnb was Dahlet Qorrot: small, calm, less crowded than the other beaches in the island and with a marvelous sea #dahletqorrot #maltagozo #maltagram #maltaphotography #vivereamalta #maltatravel #travelmalta #visitmalta #lovinmalta #lovemalta #maltalovers #igersmalta #water_brilliance #water_captures #water_perfection #gununkaresi #severekcekiyoruz #aniyakala #zamanidurdur #benimkadrajim #kadrajimdan #hayatakarken #hayatandanibarettir #igdaily #explore_destinations
If you venture out to Dahlet Qorrot you should also factor in a stop at San Blas Bay which is just 1.8 kilometres away by sea (Latitude: 36.057023 | Longitude: 14.300446). San Blas is another tranquil bay enjoyed by Gozitans because of its beauty and seclusion.
The Blue Lagoon – Comino, Gozo (ideal for South Easterly winds)
Latitude: 36.0106 | Longitude: 14.3262
And yes, we simply couldn’t mention picturesque bays and not include – ‘The Blue Lagoon’ in Comino (Gozo’s sister island) which is a must and simply a few minutes of sailing from Gozo.
Comino’s – ‘Blue Lagoon’ – is the picture postcard bay showcased in travel articles about our Maltese islands. Just be aware that during the peak tourist season, the Blue Lagoon can become very busy as large numbers of tour boats bring passengers to and from the island. Santa Maria Bay further along Comino’s coast may be more tranquil.
Our advice, if you are skippering your own vessel is to visit later in the afternoon, when the crowds have left and it is easier to enjoy a sunset with an idyllic island backdrop.
Transport Malta requires ALL boat owners to have the local Nautical Licence. If your boat engine exceeds over 9.9 HP you will also need local insurance cover.
For further information on moorings, anchoring and related regulations contact Transport Malta on (+356) 8007 2309. Or click here:
With special thanks to Frankie Magro.