If you are a fan of the outdoors, and you love beautiful scenery, you’re bound to find inspiration in Gozo’s valleys. As the island of the three hills, Gozo has numerous valleys, gorges and ravines nestled in between plateaus and plains.
The following are three valleys that you can consider exploring.
Mġarr ix-Xini Valley
Lying between the villages of Xewkija and Ta’ Sannat and just below the rocky plain of Ta’ Ċenc, the gorge of Mġarr ix-Xini provides a challenging walk, especially if you intend to walk back up the steep road from the cove. If you decide to walk along the road, you will be able to admire the raw appeal of the ravine of Mġarr ix-Xini beneath you. It truly feels like a magical heartland especially in the winter months when the foliage gives it an even more mysterious air. As light bounces off the white and reddish rocks of the area, you will also notice that there are many crevices and caves along the sides of the valley. In case you wonder, the old and derelict building that feels like a kind of look-out post, is an old and abandoned pumping station.
Lunzjata and Xlendi Valley
Lunzjata Valley is a charming and picturesque valley. Naturally, the fertile land is cultivated and some consider it as Gozo’s green basket because it is one of the main sources of the island’s agriculture produce. The arched entrance of the valley is a testimony to the fact that the Order of St. John used the valley as hunting grounds. The path down to the base of the valley saunters by the chapel dedicated to the Annunciation of Our Lady and ends at the fount where farmers typically wash the vegetables before taking them to the market. Watch out for the stone water channels along the path that syphon fresh water to the fields. After rainfall, it’s typical to hear the sound of the bubbling water streaming at the base of the valley and there’s always the sweet chirping of birds that nest in the trees of the valley. Touring Lunzjata Valley is not a demanding activity and the path can be easily tackled even if you have younger children in tow.
Xlendi Valley is actually a continuation of the Lunzjata Valley and ends in the bay of Xlendi. As one hikes along the road that leads to Xlendi bay, one cannot help but take in the various sights that make up this particular ravine. The white cliff face, radiating in the sunshine, along with the rubble walls that define some of the perched fields on the sides, and the reeds that grow abundantly at the bottom of the valley, make the area unique. Catching a glimpse of a local herdsman with a flock of sheep and goats is not a rare phenomenon. Watch out for the big rocky outcrop that’s located in the middle of the valley. Locally it’s known as the Fekruna (tortoise) because it looks exactly like that, complete with an eye.
The valley of Marsalforn sprawls over a bigger area and in fact, the valley itself is locked by several hills. There are several walks paths that provide enjoyable walks. One particular hike is the rather short, but interesting walk that ends up at the foot of Il-Merżuq Hill, or the Salvatur Hill. During the colder seasons, the valley itself is a major water catchment area and last year, the valley was highly featured in the media after a flock of swans sheltered in it.
Clearly, a good pair of walking shoes, a rain-proof jacket and a camera are key essentials and it is always advisable to stick to paths. Whilst it’s true that nowhere is too remote in Gozo, and you’re the type that enjoys sauntering off, make sure you do not wander off into areas or try to handle terrain, clefts and crevasses outside your ability. Remember that certain activities like rock-climbing, bouldering are to tackled by taking the right safety precautions and with experienced guides.