Gozo Citadel or Cittadella
The incredible Citadel Gozo is not an ordinary fortress but a historical gem, located in the heart of Victoria (Gozo).
This ancient fortified city has been standing tall since way back in the late medieval era. One mind-blowing thing is that the hill it sits on has been inhabited since Neolithic times. The Citadel served as a sanctuary, protecting the people of Gozo from raids by Barbary pirates and Saracens. It's a living testament to the island's resilient past and a must-visit destination for history buffs.
Discovering the old capital city, the Citadel Gozo, is like embarking on a journey through time as you witness the island's extraordinary heritage and unwavering resilience. This captivating fortress proudly displays architectural influences that have shaped its existence over centuries. With each step, you'll be thrilled by the stunning architectural tapestry that reflects the diverse civilisations that have left their mark on this remarkable stronghold.
One of the most awe-inspiring elements of the Citadel Gozo is its breathtaking scenic view from one of the highest points in Gozo, offering 360-degree scenery of the whole island. Prepare to be mesmerised by the surrounding countryside as you soak in the captivating sights stretching as far as the eye can see, witnessing stunning landscapes, lush green countryside, rolling hills, and charming villages.
Nestled within Gozo's embrace, the Citadel unveils architectural marvels that blend history and artistry. Each element excites visitors, from the formidable fortified walls and bastions to the reaching watchtowers. These structures echo stories of ancient civilisations and the resilience that has endured through time. Step into this realm where elegance meets simplicity and be captivated by the Citadel's enduring allure and richly historic buildings.
Embark on a time-travelling adventure within the fortress walls of the Citadel Gozo. Discover architectural gems like the majestic Cittadella Cathedral Museum, the Governor's Palace, and the Old Prison. Unveil the secrets and stories held within these remarkable landmarks as you immerse yourself in the Citadel's rich past, architectural wonders and winding streets.
How to Get to the Citadel
Yippee tours for reaching Gozo Citadel
Experience the ultimate thrill and exploration with Yippee Tours as we take you on unique adventures through Gozo's most significant sites and breathtaking landscapes. Hop on our Tuk Tuk tour for an exhilarating journey, including a visit to the famous Gozo Citadel. Rest assured, our comprehensive tours ensure peace of mind by providing convenient pick-up and return services from Malta and Gozo. Let us handle the transportation, allowing you to relax and enjoy a hassle-free adventure-packed day.
What can you expect on your Yippee tour?
Embarking on an extraordinary adventure with Yippee Tours, you'll be unlocking the wonders of Gozo with our exhilarating Tuk Tuk and Quad Bike tours, led by our team of experts. Whether you're a couple, family, or a group of friends, choosing Yippee Tours means opting for the top-rated option in Gozo. Let our multilingual drivers share their extensive knowledge as they guide you through Gozo's stunning sights. Brace yourself for a six-hour immersive experience featuring a boat trip to the Island of Gozo, exploration of Comino's captivating Blue Lagoon, and a delightful traditional Gozitan lunch paired with local wine.
During your tour, you'll have the opportunity to visit iconic destinations like the Gozo Citadel before the famous Ta' Pinu Basilica and Shrine. Immerse yourself in these remarkable sites' rich history and beauty as our knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights.
Transportation options to get there by yourself
Firstly, heading to Gozo Island from Malta, you've got two options available. First, the fast ferry from the capital city of Malta, Valletta, which will take you there in just 45 minutes, or the Gozo Channel ferry from Cirkewwa will take 25 minutes. Getting to Gozo Citadel is quite easy as it is in the capital city of Victoria (Rabat) in Gozo, where the main bus station is situated. From the Mgarr ferry terminal in Gozo, hop on bus number 301 for a short bus journey, which operates every 30 minutes throughout the year and will take you directly to Victoria's main bus station.
For those driving, reaching the Gozo Citadel is a straightforward task with road signs to guide the way or the assistance of mapping services like Google Maps. A spacious car park is available next to the bus station, providing ample parking space. If you prefer a taxi, you have various options, from traditional white taxis to ride-hailing services like eCabs, Uber, and Bolt, ensuring convenient transportation to your desired location.
Where to stay
Various accommodations near Gozo Citadel cater to different budgets and preferences. From budget-friendly guesthouses and self-catering apartments to luxurious hotels in Victoria (also referred to as ir-Rabat by locals), there's something for everyone. Rest assured, you'll find the ideal accommodation to suit your needs and enhance your experience in this charming destination.
TIP: Early booking is highly advised to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience during peak seasons. So, take the initiative and secure your accommodation in advance for a fun and fulfilling stay using platforms like Google Search or accommodation booking websites.
Why was the Citadel of Gozo built?
The Citadel in Gozo has a long-standing past with roots in late medieval times. Settled since Neolithic times, it provided a sanctuary from raids by Barbary pirates and Saracens, who unfortunately took the population into slavery at various points in Gozo's past.
Traditions and folklore
Experience the vibrant festivities near the Gozo Citadel in Victoria during the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, "Santa Marija", on August 15th. “Santa Marija” is the most popular feast in Malta and Gozo. This renowned celebration draws crowds of visitors participating in many events, including festivals, captivating band marches, lively street performances, mesmerising audio-visual displays, and spectacular fireworks. Join the jubilant atmosphere as locals and visitors unite, creating cherished memories of this cultural extravaganza in Victoria.
Delve into the Citadel's heritage and witness the timeless preservation of traditional crafts. From the delicate artistry of lace-making to the intricate craftsmanship of pottery and stone carving, these enduring skills showcase Gozo's rich artistic heritage, passed down through centuries within the Citadel's fortification walls.
Meandering through the Citadel's narrow streets, discover the historic Chapel of St. Joseph and numerous holy niches (shrines). Standing proudly on Triq San Guzepp (St. Joseph's Street), this chapel was erected in 1625, replacing an earlier dedication to St. Nicholas of Bari. As recorded by Pietro Dusina in 1575, the chapel garnered immense devotion from the faithful, drawing crowds who sought solace within its sacred walls.
RegioStars Awards 2022
In 2022, the Restoration project of the Gozo Citadel won the prestigious 15th-anniversary RegioStars International Awards! With a whopping investment of over €14 million, this incredible Rehabilitation and Restoration project brought the historic Gozo Citadel back to life. This is the first time an EU project in Malta and Gozo scooped up such an esteemed award! The Gozo Citadel Restoration project has truly made history.
Law Courts and Bishop’s Palace
Today, only a few families live within the Citadel and call this ancient fortress home, giving it a unique charm. But that's not all – as you wander through the Citadel Square, you'll spot some fascinating gems, like the Law Courts and the Bishop's Palace.
The citadel name meaning
"Ic-Cittadella," in Maltese, stands for the Citadel; its other name "Il-Kastell" means castle.
Plan your visit from Tuesday to Sunday, with opening hours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please note that the Gozo Citadel and the other sites are closed on Good Friday, Christmas Eve & Day, and New Year's Eve & Day. So, mark your calendar and prepare for an unforgettable adventure within these enchanting fortification walls!
Adults (18+) can enter for just €5.00, while Youths (12-17), Senior Citizens (60+), Concessions & Students can enjoy the experience for only €3.50. Children (6-11) can join for just €2.50, and little ones aged 1-5 get in for free! The Citadella Combo ticket includes access to the Gozo Museum of Archaeology, Gran Castello Historic House, Gozo Nature Museum, The Old Prison, and the Citadel Visitors Centre. This ticket is valid for 30 days from the first use and can be purchased through the Cittadella Visitors Centre.
Things to do
Independence Square and It-Tokk Market
Strolling through the heart of Gozo's main square, with its charming architecture and buzzing atmosphere. Pjazza Indipendenza, also known as Independence Square, is a hub of life and culture, ready to welcome you anytime, no matter the season.
The quirky market is a nice place to browse and visit. You'll find everything from unique crafts to clothing and jewellery here. Soak in the vibrant colours, chat with friendly local vendors, and even snag a few souvenirs to remember your Gozo adventure.
Gozo Cathedral Museum and Cathedral Square
Stepping into a world where history comes alive. The Gozo Cathedral Museum is a treasure trove of art and artefacts, giving you a peek into the island's rich heritage. This place will leave you in awe, from ancient relics to stunning masterpieces.
As you step outside, you'll find yourself in Cathedral Square - a charming oasis in the heart of the Citadel. The atmosphere here is magical, with the stunning cathedral as its centrepiece.
When visiting Gozo Island during the high summer season, you'll always find a lovely place to dip in the Mediterranean Sea. You'll never be far from the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea, just waiting for you to take the plunge!
With so many stunning beaches, you'll be spoilt for choice! Whether you prefer the soft sandy shores or rocky coves with hidden treasures, Gozo has it all.
Explore the Citadel with Yippee Tours
Exploring the Gozo Citadel is a must-do on your travel list, and doing it with Yippee Tours will take your experience to a whole new level with a multilingual driver and a knowledgeable tour leader.
With Yippee Tours, you'll get an all-inclusive package that covers everything you need for a dreamy day. We're talking about pick-ups and drop-offs in Malta or Gozo, a boat crossing to Gozo, a refreshing swim stop at Comino, and a mouthwatering light traditional Gozitan lunch.
Secure your spot on this epic tour with just a €25 deposit per person. If this is an adventure you've been waiting for, you're just a click away. Let's make some unforgettable memories in the Gozo Citadel and much more!
Is the Citadel in Rabat Gozo or Victoria?
The Citadel is in the town of Victoria, also known as Rabat. When exploring the captivating town, it's good to know that locals are familiar with Rabat and Victoria. So, whether you refer to it as Rabat or Victoria, the friendly locals will understand and help you perfectly.
What is the accessibility in the Citadel?
The accessibility in the Citadel is easy for visitors to explore. The Cittadella Visitors Centre and the surroundings, including the Ditch and main entrance area, have been thoughtfully designed to be wheelchair accessible. The Cittadella is a fortified town majestically perched atop a hill, intentionally designed to be inaccessible, but several lifts have been placed throughout the site. Additionally, many passageways have had stairs and steps removed to facilitate mobility. Nevertheless, some passages still climb steeply due to the natural landscape, so wheelchair users may need assistance navigating these areas comfortably.
Is it possible to explore the Cittadella fortress even when the Cittadella Visitors Centre is closed?
You can still explore the Citadella fortress even when the Cittadella Visitors Centre is closed. The Cittadella is an open public heritage site accessible 24/7, free of charge.
Is the Gozo Citadel enough for one day?
Absolutely! The Gozo Citadel is a captivating destination that can easily be done in a few hours. At Yippee Tours, we've got you covered with our well-crafted 6-hour itinerary that allows you to explore all the important sites across the entire island of Gozo, including the magnificent Citadel itself, with our thrilling Tuk Tuk or Quad Bike tours.
Author: Norbert Bezzina