If you’ve never heard of the island of Gozo, you’re about to learn why this is your dream yoga vacation destination
This tiny island located right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is more than just an extension of the mainland sister island, Malta. If yoga is your thing, you need to pin Gozo as your next yoga retreat destination. Even the name Gozo is derived from the word ‘joy’. Everything about this island is conducive to the exploration and enjoyment of yoga, and all the good things life has to offer.
Getting to Gozo
The only way to reach Gozo is via a 25-minute, scenic ferry ride because Gozo is blissfully secluded by the crystal clear, Mediterranean waters. Upon boarding the ferry that crosses the channel, you get that delicious and rare opportunity of capturing the sensation of leaving the bigger world behind. Midway through the ferry crossing, you’ll have an additional treat of passing the pristine island of Comino.
Gozo is a microcosm of the world or a ‘bonsai’ encapsulating essences and colors in a very small space. Sunrises are truly spellbinding, and sunsets are nothing short of enthralling. Words cannot describe the clear blue skies, the crystalline waters and the ochre tones of the limestone the island manifests. The colors of the island vary according to the season making it practically impossible to determine the best time of the year to visit.
Where to Stay
It is best to plan your accommodations before you arrive. If you’re joining a yoga retreat (these are very popular on the island, and there are many choices), your accommodations will most likely be included in your vacation package. Such packages (either weekend or weekly packages) are usually organized by a yoga instructor and often include workshops focusing on healthy eating and detox, along with other activities offered on the island.
Whether you’re a solo traveler or a yoga couple looking to absorb the culture, it’s quite easy to find ideal accommodations just right for your needs. Anything from 5-star hotels, luxury boutique hotels, and upmarket villa rentals to more budget-conscious choices are available. The traditional Gozitan farmhouses or old farmsteads located in the countryside or tucked away in some village alley are truly idyllic hideaways that come equipped with all sorts of modern comforts.
What to Eat
Food in Gozo is typically Mediterranean and you can expect a good array of healthy but very tasty food at many restaurants. Look out for authentic dishes that make the most of the local produce of the season. Make sure you taste sweet, sun-ripened fruits like watermelon, prickly pear, and local peaches if you visit in summer. Indulge in the typical preserves that the island produces like the tomato spread, sundried tomatoes, olives, and capers. If you have a sweet tooth, ask for the fig chutney and the Gozo honey. Gozo also has its own DOK wine label.
What to Do
Whilst in Gozo, your yoga journey can intertwine with other activities like rambling, diving, kayaking, climbing, hiking, and even cooking lessons! The Gozitan countryside is notorious not only for its hills, but also deep ravines and gorges that provide incredible outdoor adventures. The coast is a delight of sheer-dropping cliffs, coastal caves, and coves, some of which can only be reached via kayak.
Places to Discover
Since the beginning of time, Gozo has been one of the most sacred places on the face of the planet. This is testified by the various Neolithic temples that are found on the island. Ġgantija temples, the world-famous UN World Heritage site, a monumental structure of megaliths that are older than the pyramids, are one of the places that still reverberates with timeless aura.
Right in the middle of Gozo, you’ll find the Citadel, a beautiful fortress city with narrow meandering streets. During the day, you ‘ll enjoy the views of Gozo in all directions. Exploring the Citadel on a clear night, under the starry skies is literally like going back in time, and it’s easy to feel and breathe the history of the fortified city.
Exploring the spectacular Ta’ Ċenċ plateau offers sublime moments of peace and tranquillity. On the plateau, silence is only interrupted by the wind as it rushes inland from the vastness of the sea and by the shrill call of the birds. It has a unique, nearly solemn vibe, and it’s not to be missed.
Another place truly worth discovering (especially in the colder months) is the island of Comino. Take a boat ride to the island and spend a day exploring the island said to have hosted a pirate hideout in times gone by. Relish the turquoise water of the Blue Lagoon, which is considered among the best swimming spots of the Maltese islands.
A visit to Gozo wouldn’t be complete without a jaunt to the Bay of Ramla. The red sand that stretches across the bay makes it a favorite for those who want to be at one with land and sea. If you’re seeking serenity, saunter down to the bay at dawn for a walk along the shore. Or, sit still and take in the sights and sounds that will provoke a sense of well-being in even the most stressed-out traveler. If you look to the side of the village of Xaghra, you’ll be laying your eyes on Calypso’s cave, the place where legend says the nymph Calypso dwelled. According to Homer, it was she who delayed the hero Ulysses from returning to his beloved wife in Itacha as he lay captured by her beauty for seven long years.
Maybe it’s that same spell that captures yoga lovers and brings them time and again to the island of Gozo. Enjoy your first visit, knowing it won’t be your last.