This was our last full day on Malta and we had booked a full-day jeep safari of Gozo with Barbarossa Excursions. We were picked from our hotel with a super old van, which probably couldn’t go faster than 50km/h and was in a really shabby shape. When we have picked everybody up, the driver, who barely spoke any English, dropped us off at the harbor and said something about somebody meeting us on the other side. So we needed to figure out the practicalities by ourselves. It turned out that you don’t have to pay for ferry tickets on the way there, but on the way back you pay for the both trips.
On the other side we somehow managed to find our jeeps and we were split to about 4-5 persons per jeep with a driver/guide in each. The guide explained some things about Malta and we were stopping to see the sights and to take photos.
I also saw how capers grow for the first time in my life and it turns out that they were growing everywhere. 🙂
We stopped at the Calypso Cave, which is thought to be the same cave Homer mentioned in The Odyssey where Calypso, the beautiful nymph, kept Odysseus as a “prisoner of love” for seven years.
From the hill you can also get a nice view of Ramla Bay.
After that we continued to The Ġgantija temples, meaning “Giants’ Tower”, which is a megalithic temple complex and are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta (built between 3600 and 3000 BC). The temples are thought as possibly being the site of fertility rites as numerous figurines and statues found on site are connected with fertility symbols.
The site wasn’t that much different from the ones we’ve seen before, but there is something amazing at seeing something built millennia ago. I am really happy we saw this temple as well.
Nearby the Ġgantija temples was a limestone quarry, which was kind of fascinating to see. Apparently lime stone is very porous and breaks easily, so in addition to machinery, you need quite a lot of people to handle limestones.
We continued our drive to the Azure Window, which is a limestone arch which was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed. Apparently they film quite a lot of movies and TV series on Malta in general and the Azure Window appeared on Game of Thrones. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time there, so we couldn’t climb the arch, but the scenery was awesome and the water a beautiful shade blue.
After Azure Window we stopped at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu.
And our final stop was at Xwejni salt pans, which was a cool location with salt pans and sea as far as the eye could see. Apparently this used to be a serious livelihood, but nowadays it doesn’t really provide enough income.
After that we started driving back towards the Gozo harbor.
When we got to the harbor, there was a boat waiting for us, so we didn’t take the same ferry back. I’m not sure if this is normal and it is cheaper for the company to rent a small boat instead of paying everybody’s ferry fee, but the boat ride was quite comfortable. On the other side there was a small bus waiting for us because apparently the van we rode in in the morning broke down (huge surprise!). The bus unfortunately was even worse than the van! It was slow, the clutch got stuck a couple of times and the seats were ripped. So all in all I’m not sure whether I would recommend this tour operator. We had a pretty good guide and driver on Gozo, but the arrangements were somewhat strange and the transportation could have been better. 😉
In the evening we had booked a table at a restaurant called Truffle & Truffles, which was kind of an amazing experience and a perfect way to finish our holiday on Malta. They had superb food and great drinks. And once again they were located only a couple of blocks away from our hotel.
I found October to be a rather perfect time to visit Malta unless you’re very much into swimming. There aren’t really that many beaches as Malta is quite rocky and the water was already a bit chilly this time of year. We also missed the Tarxien temples because they were closed for renovation and the Blue Lagoon, which is supposed to be amazing. My sister visited Malta early this year and she said it is totally worth a visit, but it was full of tourists even during off-season, so it is very likely that in the summer, you can barely see the water as there will be a lot of people both swimming and just visiting the location.