Summer is almost here and what better way to experience Gozo’s crystal blue warm waters and awe-inspiring coastal scenery than to get right in amongst it. Get wet, get your adrenaline pumping, soak up the sunshine and feel the tang of salty sea air on your skin as you enjoy water sports easily available along our coast.
If you are seeking family fun above and below the water, Gozo has it all – from swimming and snorkeling to kayaking, diving and knee-boarding (it’s like water-skiing but you kneel down). Gozo even has local experts who can improve your freediving skills!
What’s more, Gozo’s award-winning waters are among Europe’s cleanest attracting lots of marine life and so the deeper you delve the more amazing adventures you’ll find.
Also, did you know Gozo’s a top Mediterranean dive resort with world famous cave and tunnel diving sites? So, plunge into our seas where the sunken splendor of our island eagerly awaits.
Swimming and snorkeling
Gozo has busy coastal resorts and secluded beaches, coves and valleys – all of which are popular for swimming and snorkeling.
If you crave quieter locations then try Għasri Valley – a long, narrow, deep inlet set within caves further along the coast from Marsalforn. The valley attracts some spectacular marine life and as the visibility in our waters is about 20 metres during the summer, who knows what delights you’ll encounter in their waters and surrounding caves.
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Other snorkeling sites off the tourist trail include: The Blue Hole, near Dwejra – a sensational inland sea pool with gorgeous rock formations leading out to the open sea.
Xwejni Bay and Daħlet Qorrot Bay are also lesser-known gems away from the popular beaches of Ramla and Ħondoq Bay – which are just as beautiful, but can become busy with tourists during high season.
Cornil Wambergue runs Gozo Adventures, the islands oldest outdoor pursuits company and is regularly out enjoying our waters. He says: “People are surprised at how blue our seas are especially during summertime when it’s the brightest aqua blue with amazing visibility. Last year I was out snorkeling just 10 metres off the coast of Xwejni Bay and a shoal of thousands of small fishes started playing with our group, swimming around us in formation creating a big sphere and dispersing and then re-forming again. This went on for ages, it was amazing, the kind of thing you’d watch on The Blue Planet and yet it was just one of those magical moments you can have in Gozo.”
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Kayaking is a low impact, eco- friendly way to navigate our coast and great fun for families to participate in together, (youngsters aged 6 to 14 must pair up with a parent in a double kayak, where co-ordination and teamwork are vital). Don’t worry if you are a new to kayaking; many people are and both Gozo Adventures and Kayak Gozo organize tours with qualified instructors who’ll teach you the basics on land, before getting you out onto the waters accompanied by their guides.
It’s amazing how quickly you’ll pick it up. You may even get to travel over to Comino, Gozo’s sister island – which is just a 20 minute paddle away from Ħondoq Bay. When you arrive on Comino’s quiet Santa Maria Bay and explore the caves used for ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ filming you’ll feel as if you’ve discovered your very own treasure island!
Stand- Up Paddle-Boarding
If you prefer your fun more vertical than horizontal, then why not try Stand Up Paddle-boarding, regularly organised by Gozo Fun. Stand Up Paddle-boarding, often called ‘SUP’ is another amazing eco-friendly way to sightsee from the sea!
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During the summer our waters are usually tranquil and clear and so travelling across them is like paddling over a clear large lake.
Mamo from Gozo Fun says: “SUP is a great way to explore Gozo because you can easily access caves and gulleys which would be difficult to reach otherwise. It’s a brilliant activity for families with children aged 10 years and upwards because the youngsters totally love the freedom of being on the water. In fact, its been so popular we are starting a summer camp this year.”
Gozo Fun often base themselves out of Dwejra, Ħondoq Bay and even paddle over to Comino. They regularly teach beginners and say youngsters can adapt to paddle-boarding quicker than their parents because the technique is more to do with balance than physical strength. They have recently introduced sunset SUP trips over to Comino which includes camping on the island overnight. They even have a Giant SUP which can accommodate a whole family, so you can all get on the same board and paddle together.
Gozo is renowned throughout the Mediterranean as a top dive resort, with truly unique dive sites and numerous diving schools equipped to teach beginners through to highly skilled technical divers. In the past, youngsters aged 10 and over were only allowed to submerge to depths of between 1 to 2 metres. However, Gozo Adventures now run a ‘Mini B Dive’ experience giving youngsters of this age the chance to genuinely experience diving. They are fitted with a small lightweight backpack (the Mini B) worn under the water which has all their safety equipment neatly packed inside. This initiation course into diving is fully accompanied by a professional tutor, who can take them to depths of 5 to 6 metres during their first attempt.
Cornil from Gozo Adventures says: “Our ‘Mini B Dives’ dives are based at Xwejni Bay where it’s shallow, so on their initial dive we check they are OK using the equipment to breathe under the water. Afterwards, we’ll go further down the bay and the youngsters will do a proper dive of up to 4-5 metres using their Mini B kit. It’s a great introduction for them and for the parents, we can take a whole family out together and that’s what makes it so special.”
Let’s finish on something fin-ish. Have you tried a ‘Subwing’ experience? It’s a new water-sport which was recently introduced to Gozo by Vitamin Sea . Participants are propelled underneath the water whilst holding onto a wing, much like a fin – which is attached to a speedboat. So, this is similar to waterskiing except that you’re travelling underneath the water at speeds of up to 5 mph. You must be aged 12 and over to take part, but it is claimed to be the closest thing you’ll get to being a fish!
If you are seeking more throttle-fueled thrills for your family out on the water, then Joyride Watersports, Xlendi Watersports and Vitamin Sea take tourists out on their boats water-skiing, wake-boarding or skimming across our shores on their inflatables.
With thanks to Gozo Adventures & Gozo Fun.