The backroads of Gozo are the most charming and there is a lot to discover. Touring Gozo’s coastal military architecture and exploring the surrounding areas will take a day. As is typical of fortified islands, the towers, forts and batteries are part of the defensive system of the island. Apart from being armed, these structures served as a lookout post from which early warnings were raised and communicated to the neighbouring towers via fire and smoke signals.
Start off the morning by visiting Mġarr ix-Xini Tower that overlooks the narrow bay of Mġarr ix-Xini. It’s a great place to enjoy the early hours of the morning. The tower which dates back from the time of the reign of Gran Master De Redin (1658-1659) was restored during the year 2000 and can be reached via a cobbled path from the bay.
Next in line is Fort Chambrai, which was originally meant to be a fortified city. The fort which bears the name of the man who sponsored it was built much later that the other towers and it actually came into being at a time when the attacks from the corsairs had dwindled.
Further up along the coast is St. Anthony’s Battery in Qala. There is no doubt that the point commands some of the best views of the stretch of sea between Gozo and Comino. This is no coincidence as this battery was intended to guard the channel between the two islands.
The San Blas Tower or Ta’ Isopu Tower is another typical coastal tower located on the cliffs between Daħlet Qorrot and San Blas in Nadur. Complete with a wooden drawbridge, this tower was built in 1667 and restored in 2006. The tower can be reached on foot, but it is well worth the effort when one sets his eyes on the views of the coast from the roof.
Although in dire need of restoration, one cannot avoid mentioning the Qolla l-Bajda Battery, a semicircular structure that also has a ditch on the side where it faces the sea. This battery is located on a promontory between Xwejni and Qbajjar Bay.
The next coastal tower is the one found at Dwejra. Built in 1652, during the reign of Grandmaster Lascaris, this tower had the dual purpose of defending the coast and guarding the Fungus Rock. It was restored in 1999.
The final point for this tour is the Xlendi Tower. If you manage to be on the spot late in the afternoon, you might witness the magical and inspiring sunset. Not only is the tower the oldest from the ones we’ve mentioned here, but it has served a very strategic role of watching the whole south-western side Gozo up to the entrance of the channel between Gozo and Comino.