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Green Travel Guide to Gozo

Words by Yvonne Gordon.
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.

Eco Gozo

The Maltese government is dedicated to making Gozo an Eco-Island by the year 2020, to ensure a vision of a sustainable future, not just for the environment but for the social and economic development of the island, which will put less pressure on the environment.

Some of the hundreds of initiatives taking place to keep this vision underway include the generation of energy such as electricity from renewable resources and use of green technology. A water-saving and rainwater harvesting scheme is in place on the island, and environmentally-friendly practices are being promoted everywhere from tourism, education, sports and transport to the agricultural sector. Visitors can stay in Eco-Certified hotels and farmhouses, to reduce their carbon footprint.

Sustainable Tourism Awards

Gozo and the small island of Comino were awarded the Quality Coast Gold Award 2012 and ranked as the third most sustainable tourist destination among the best 100 European coastal destinations. Malta and Gozo were awarded second place in the Best Diving Destinations Of The Year award in by both Diver Magazine and Sport Diver Magazine.

Maltese waters are currently ranked second in Europe for the best bathing waters by the European Environmental Agency. Gozo was named the third best island in Europe by TripAdvisor.

Gozo has three EDEN awards - for St Lucija, Nadur and Gharb (Wied- IL Mielah). Gharb village was the local winner of the 5th edition of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) Award for the regeneration of physical sites. In  2007 –The village of Nadur won the Best Emerging European Rural Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) and in 2008, the Hamlet of St. Lucija (Kercem), won the 2nd Edition of EDEN in 2008 on tourism and local intangible heritage.

What our writer discovered in Gozo

Foreword by Alex Incorvaja, Director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourism Authority

The rural tranquil haven of Gozo is an authentic sustainable oasis, steeped in rich history and cultural beauty. Visitors can admire dramatic coastlines and lush green landscapes dotted with beautifully adorned limestone houses and an abundance of historical treasures.

The ecoGozo vision is intended to protect the Gozitan lifestyle, the island’s environment, resources, culture and identity.  A wide variety of sustainable activities have been introduced to reduce carbon and water footprints throughout the island.

Rock climbing or abseiling offer breathtaking views experienced nowhere else on the island. Wander off the beaten track with a range of walking and cycling routes that showcase the historical treasures this island provides or take part in activities including hiking or segways which provide a unique way to explore the Gozitan rural heritage and countryside.

We are delighted to work with Greentraveller's team to produce this Greentraveller's Guide to Gozo, which celebrates the best of sustainable tourism on our island. This wonderful island boasts a range of world-class diving sites, with an exciting mix of historical wrecks, caves and beautiful coral reefs. Explore the varied marine life that the Gozitan waters have to offer through diving, snorkelling and swimming.

Our ecoGozo vision is not merely thinking green, but a vision to achieve a stable and healthy environment for a better quality of life.

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How to travel to Gozo

Travelling to Malta: It is possible to travel overland from the UK to Malta via Italy, taking the train across to Sicily and then catching a fast catemaran ferry from Pozallo across to Malta (a 90-min crossing). For more information, see the excellent site seat61.com: UK to Malta overland.

From Malta to Gozo: Take the Gozo Channel ferry from Malta. The crossing to Mgarr on Gozo takes around 25 minutes, there are ferries every 45 minutes (timetables change according to season) and it costs €4.65 per walk-on passenger. There is free Wi-Fi in the Gozo Channel terminals on both Matla and Gozo.

By plane, the beautiful Maltese Archipelago is now more accessible than ever as Malta is now less than three hours from the UK (see: visitmalta.com/getting_there). On arrival at Malta International Airport, take a taxi or bus to the ferry terminal at Cirkewwa in the north of Malta (45 minutes' drive), to catch the ferry to Gozo.