Rambling Holiday in Gozo

September 13, 2018

Enjoying hiking and Nordic walking on the island

From steep valley paths to plain or rugged coastal trails, over smooth hillsides and through picturesque villages, hiking, rambling or Nordic walking is a rewarding activity when on the island of Gozo.

 

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Hiking in Gozo is not only about sightseeing. Nature and sea, are both on the doorstep and this makes the activity a delightful one. Feast your eyes on landscapes and seascapes that seduce with the warm earthen colours, refreshing greens and the vibrant, breezy blues of the sea and sky. Exploring the island of Gozo on foot means that you wander through the countryside, some of which is farming land often found as parcels of land surrounded by rubble walls or terraced fields along sloping hills that give the feeling of small manicured gardens. The Gozitan valleys are usually a lush green either with the crops or with the trees that grow nestled away from the wind. Take note of the carob tree, the fruit of which is locally turned into the sweet carob syrup by farmers. You cannot miss the prickly pear cactus that flourishes abundantly all over the island. The rest of the countryside is mostly garigue – rocky areas where there is only a thin layer of soil that supports small and low shrubs, like wild thyme.

 

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Walking any trail in Gozo will almost always lead you to the sea or coast, be that coves, beaches, or cliffs. The southern side of the island is notorious for Ta’ Ċenċ and Tas-Sanap cliffs. Walking further along the edge will eventually lead to Xlendi. Beyond Xlendi, there are a series of other cliffs around the area known as San Raflu’s lake and Il-Wardija. From here one ends up in the Dwejra area. On the western side, the area in Wied il-Mielaħ provides other cliffside trails. The northern area of the island of Gozo is synonymous with the Salt Pans – an area which extends over 3 kilometres and provides a leisurely path with no challenging descents or climbs. If you’re seeking arduous paths, then you can tackle the descent to San Blas and other coves in the zone.

 

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Hiking is not only about the walk but also about absorbing the atmosphere that the island exudes. For some, rambling around Gozo is an experiential activity, roping in the likes of meditators and yoga followers, others stop to engage in their favourite pastimes like photography, sketching or painting. Along some of the routes, one can stop at particular places like farming estates to experience local produce like local wines, preserves and honey or special dining places that offer local dishes. In fact, when passing through a village, head for the village square, easily located just by looking out for the village church. Take a rest and catch your breath and maybe order a delicious ‘ftira’ at one of the local shops or bars in the village centre. It’s a bonus if you’re hiking around with someone who knows the local legends, stories and history as it will feel like you’ve set foot in an open storybook.

 

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Here are some favourite Nordic walking trails that you can consider:
1. Dwejra to Xlendi Path
2. Mġarr ix-Xini to Sanap Cliffs walk
3. A full day hiking around Comino
4. The Għammar Hill Pilgrimage Trail
5. Wied il-Għasri to Lighthouse Walk
6. The SaltPans Trail from Qbajjar to Xwejni
7. Ramla Bay through the Nadur Valley
8. Lunzjata Valley
9. San Blas, Daħlet Qorrot and San Filep Paths
10. Marsalforn to Għajn Barrani Path
11. Xatt l-Aħmar to Mġarr ix-Xini Trail

 

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Don’t put off a walking trail in Gozo. Nowhere is far on the island and you can decide how long your walk will be! Just make sure you have good walking shoes and a good water supply. Many will tackle Nordic walking with poles but keep in mind that a walking trail can be adjusted to your athletic ability.

 

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Maybe hiking around the island will bring you closest to experience the ‘pomskizillious’ that the painter Edward Lear felt when he visited the island around 150 years ago. As you wander around, with the sun on your skin, there’s nothing stopping you from an impromptu picnic or a dip into the sea!

 

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