Knight’s Washhouses - Fontana

Situated on the island of Gozo, Malta, Fontana is a fishing village that beckons you to experience the serenity of this community. With a population of about 1,000, Fontana may be one of the smallest villages, yet its rich history and unique character make it a great destination.

Fontana is a stone's throw away from the old town of Victoria, and holds a special connection to the sea. It once housed many fishermen from the nearby village of Xlendi.

In this guide, be prepared for a journey into Fontana, where every corner reveals a story. We guide you on exploring this bountiful spring, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in this small town of historical importance.

About Fontana Gozo

Il-Fontana in Gozo, locally known as "it-Triq tal-Ghajn" (the way to the spring), derived its name from the Italian word for spring. This village, adorned with beautiful scenery, is situated near the capital city of Victoria while keeping its distinct identity.

Fontana stands out for its springs and the Lunzjata Valley, featuring a parish church with a unique history.

In the late nineteenth century, a few fishermen who operated from the fishing village of Xlendi lived in Fontana. During this period, they began setting aside some profits from their catches to construct a church. 

Today, this historical connection adds to the culture of Fontana, further emphasised by the annual feast celebrated in the village.

Where is Fontana

Initially established as a suburb of Victoria, Gozo's capital (also referred to as Rabat), Fontana, has developed into a small town in its own right, connected to Kercem, Xewkija, and Munxar villages.

What is Fontana known for?

Fontana is known for its two famous freshwater springs: the great spring, locally known as l-Ghajn il-Kbira or l-Ghajn tal-Hasselin (the washer's spring), features well-preserved arched shelters erected in the sixteenth century, providing shelter for locals washing their clothes.

L-Ghajn ta' Bendu, another spring on the other side of L-Ghajn il-Kbira, is a smaller spring producing fresh water in the same locality. Recently restored in 2023, this spring is now open to the public.

Witness the continued use of the very old irrigation system, characterised by stone gutters, transporting water from a spring in the Kercem Valley to the Fontana spring. The historical importance of the big spring in Fontana is evident, serving as a captivating testament to the past. Visitors can observe the ongoing utilisation of this centuries-old water source for washing clothes, adding to the charm of Fontana's rich heritage.

How to Get There

Visiting Fontana with Yippee Tours

Experience Fontana with Yippee Tours, Gozo's number-one tour operator. Our all-inclusive packages offer Tuk Tuk Gozo Day Tours and self-adventure Quad Bike Gozo Day Tours, providing the experience of a lifetime to explore scenic routes, including a visit to the public washhouses in Fontana.

Other Ways of Getting There and Accessibility

  • Public Transport: To reach Fontana by bus, you must hop on bus number 306, which has four bus stops available. The Ghajn bus stop is the perfect spot to start exploring.
  • Walk: You can take an enjoyable 15-minute walk covering a distance of 1.2km to reach Fontana from Victoria.
  • Taxi: Different taxi options to suit your preferences are available on the island of Gozo, such as the traditional white taxis and ride-hailing apps like eCabs, Uber and Bolt.
  • Rent a Car: Numerous car rental companies are spread across Gozo for those wanting the flexibility of driving.

Things to Do in Fontana

The Sacred Heart Parish Church

Recognised as a parish on March 27, 1911, the Parish Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus holds historical importance as both a parish and a national sanctuary.

The foundation stone for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, designated as a national sanctuary, was laid on January 29, 1893. Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the church was consecrated thirteen years on January 29, 1905.

The Fontana Village Feast

Experience Fontana's spectacular village feast, an annual celebration typically held around the 2nd or 3rd week of June. This village has gained fame for its community of fireworks enthusiasts, a tradition started by pyrotechnic expert Ninu Farrugia.

Today, his legacy lives on through his children, who continue to showcase their expertise. Despite its size, Fontana outshines other villages in Gozo, producing many fireworks and creating a truly fantastic spectacle.

The Lunzjata Valley

The beauty of the evergreen Lunzjata Valley, situated along Xlendi Road, is framed by lush plains and managed by local farmers. The valley's beautiful landscape has a rich history dating back to the Knights of the Order of St. John.

The fields lining both sides of the road to Xlendi showcase the valley's beauty, especially in early spring. Bordered by Kercem and Munxar, this valley is a visible joy all year round and a testament to the commitment of local farmers who cultivate their produce, contributing to the valley's charm.

The Lunzjata Chapel

Discover the chapel in Fontana, Gozo, within the Lunzjata Valley. Partially carved from the rock, this chapel, dating back to the sixteenth century, stands as one of the island's oldest structures. With a maximum capacity of just 20 people, the chapel was established to cater to local farmers and passersby, offering a place of prayer during their work or journey home.

Reflecting Gozo's connection to the church, this historical site remains a testament to the island's way of life. Adorned with crimson damask curtains and a delightful Annunciation artwork, the chapel's interior adds to its timeless charm.

The Rest of Gozo with Yippee Tours

Experience all of Gozo's wonders with our professional team at Yippee Malta. Prepare for an unforgettable day with our Tuk Tuk Tours of Gozo and Gozo Quad Bike tours catering to couples, families, and friends. Our multilingual drivers will share their knowledge at every stop, guiding you through the all must-see stunning attractions in Gozo.

With Yippee Tours, it's not just about Gozo but about pick-ups and drop-offs from Malta or Gozo, a boat crossing to Gozo, a refreshing swim stop at Comino, and a mouthwatering light traditional Gozitan lunch.

Author: Norbert Bezzina

About Yippee

Yippee (part of Cominology Ltd) is the #1 Gozo tour operator, with a unique fleet of brightly-coloured Tuk Tuks, eJeeps, and high-powered Quad Bikes.

Address: Yippee, 17 Triq ix-xatt, Ghajnsielem, GSM 9033, Gozo - Malta

Contact: +356 2156 0512