Victoria Gozo: Explore the Stunning Capital of Gozo Island
Welcome to Victoria Gozo, the captivating capital of Gozo Island, eagerly awaiting the arrival of curious tourists like yourself. Known as Rabat among the locals, this vibrant city encompasses the charming old Rabat town and the magnificent Citadel atop a hill. With its fascinating historical heritage and approximately 7,200 residents, Victoria is the most populated city in Gozo. Let's delve into the heart of Victoria as we uncover its rich cultural heritage, remarkable landmarks, and the intriguing story behind its transformation into a city. Prepare to be enchanted by Victoria's allure as we invite you to explore its hidden wonders and create unforgettable memories while visiting this gem.
Gozo’s capital Victoria has been stealing the hearts of travellers from across the globe, and it's no wonder why! Victoria has a special kind of magic that keeps people returning for more. So, what's the secret recipe behind its enduring popularity? It's a delightful blend of captivating history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes that makes Victoria an absolute must-visit spot. Keep reading as we unravel why this enchanting city continues to enchant visitors and unveil the captivating secrets that keep its charm alive and kicking.
Immerse yourself in history as you explore the Gozo Citadel, a fortress with a captivating past. Wander through the narrow streets of the charming old town of Rabat, filled with historical tales and an absolute charm. A Wealth of Historical Attractions will be waiting for you to return in time with a visit to Museums, cathedrals, and landmarks that transport you through the ages. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Ir-Rabat (Victoria) through cherished traditions and locally crafted treasures. Be prepared to be awe-struck by the breathtaking landscapes and panoramic views that await you at the Gozo Citadel.
Victoria, Gozo is a destination that weaves a tapestry of fun, catering to the desires of all travellers. Couples find romance amidst charming streets and historical sites, while families can embrace joy with child-friendly attractions. Backpackers can discover the thrills in rugged landscapes, from hiking to diving, water sports and rock climbing. Friends can enjoy the street market, pubs, and celebrations. Victoria, Gozo is the perfect haven where dreams come alive for every adventurer, creating memories to treasure.
How to get to Victoria, Gozo
Yippee tours for reaching Victoria
Embark on an unforgettable day trip adventure with Yippee Tours as you plan your visit to Gozo's capital, Victoria. Our unique day trip offers thrilling experiences on our Tuk Tuk tour of Gozo, taking you through scenic routes, including a stop in Victoria and its Citadel. We've got you covered for those who prefer a magical sunset tour too. Discover the beauty of Gozo in a whole new way with Yippee Tours, providing exciting options for all adventurous tourists!
Led by our team of experts, prepare for an unforgettable adventure. Whether you're a couple, a family, or a group of friends, choose Gozo's highly acclaimed and top-rated tour option. Our multilingual drivers will share their extensive knowledge at every stop as they guide you through the captivating landscapes of Gozo. Explore iconic sites like Tal-Mixta cave, The impressive Cliffs of Sanap, The Citadel (Victoria), Wied il-Mielah Window, Fungus Rock, Xwejni Salt Pans and Marsalforn Bay. Take the chance to discover Gozo's enchanting beauty with Yippee Tours!
Embark on a six-hour immersive experience that will take your breath away. Start with a boat trip to the captivating Island of Gozo and explore the stunning sights of Comino, including the world-famous Blue Lagoon. Indulge in a delightful traditional Gozitan lunch with local wine, savouring the island's flavours. Our Yippee transport will pick you up from Malta or Gozo, ensuring a convenient and safe journey. At the end of the day tour, we'll return you safely to the same spot, leaving you with cherished memories of an incredible adventure in Gozo and Comino.
Ferry to Gozo
You have two convenient options when planning your trip to Gozo from Malta. You can opt for the Gozo Ferry departing from Cirkewwa, which will swiftly transport you to the Mgarr Ferry Terminal in just 25 minutes. Alternatively, the Gozo Fast Ferry from the capital city of Malta, Valletta, provides a speedy journey of only 45 minutes, ensuring you reach the captivating Gozo Island in no time. Whichever ferry you choose, both will deliver you to the enchanting shores of Gozo, ready for your island adventure.
Getting to Victoria, Gozo is comfortable! Upon arrival at the Mgarr ferry terminal, simply board bus number 301, which operates every 30 minutes year-round, for a quick journey to Victoria's central bus station. For those opting for a rental car, navigating to Victoria is straightforward, with clear road signs and the assistance of mapping services like Google Maps. If you prefer a taxi, you have various options, including traditional white taxis or ride-hailing services like eCabs, Uber, and Bolt, all readily available to transport you to Victoria and its bustling bus terminus.
Main Car Park and the Main Bus Terminus
Victoria, Gozo's vibrant capital, is the island's starting point for most bus routes connecting to various destinations. Next to the bus station, you'll find a convenient and spacious main car park, offering ample parking space for drivers, ensuring a hassle-free experience when exploring Victoria. Whether you choose public transportation or drive, this central spot allows you to easily access the bus terminus and main car park, making it convenient to immerse yourself in the capital's charms. Remember, arriving early during the high season is highly recommended to secure your spot.
Not to be Missed.
Victoria by Night
Explore the enchanting nights of Victoria, Gozo's capital. Victoria will inspire you in every way during your holiday. Walk through the narrow and winding streets of the old town in the evenings to embrace the serenity and unique beauty of Victoria Gozo. Take advantage of the lovely coffee shops and well-known eateries that offer good music and tremendous local bites after hours. Enjoy the magical atmosphere of Victoria at night.
Take advantage of the Gozo Citadel, one of a few places in the old town you must visit! Experience a journey through time as you witness the island's extraordinary heritage and resilience. This captivating fortress proudly displays architectural influences from centuries past, reflecting the diverse civilisations that shaped its existence. Step into history and be thrilled by the stunning architectural tapestry of this remarkable stronghold.
The Panoramic Views
When you visit Victoria, don't miss the awe-inspiring picturesque view from the Citadel Gozo. It's one of the highest points on the island, offering a spectacular 360-degree panorama of the surrounding countryside. Prepare to be fascinated by the captivating sceneries, witnessing stunning landscapes, lush green countryside, rolling hills, and charming villages stretching as far as the eye can see.
Main historical sites within the Citadel
The Cathedral Museum
Immerse yourself in a treasure trove of art and artefacts at the Gozo Cathedral Museum. This offers a fascinating glimpse into the island's rich heritage. Prepare to be awe-struck by ancient relics and stunning masterpieces that evoke the essence of the past. As you step outside, the charming oasis of Cathedral Little Square in the heart of the Citadel awaits, with the magnificent Cathedral of the Assumption as its centrepiece. Experience the magical ambience of this historical site, and embrace the captivating allure of Gozo's cultural heritage.
Museum of Archaeology
Step into the Gozo Museum of Archaeology in the heart of the Citadel and explore the cultural history of Gozo from centuries ago. Using materials from various archaeological sites, this Museum vividly describes the island's rich heritage through thematic displays. This Museum is housed in a refined 17th-century townhouse that was once the residence of the Bondì family; the Museum was restored by Sir Harry Luke, Lieutenant Governor of the Maltese Islands, in 1937. In 1960, Casa Bondì became Gozo's first public Museum, hosting archaeological and ethnographic artefacts. The permanent display is divided into three main areas: Prehistory, the Classical Period, and the Mediaeval and Early Modern periods, each offering stunning insights into Gozo's history.
Step into the Gran Castello Historic House, also known as the Folklore Museum, and be thrilled to see a world of authenticity dating back to the 16th century. The group of townhouses that houses the Museum provides the perfect setting for its exhibits. You'll find fascinating displays of rural trades on the ground floor, while the former living quarters upstairs showcase traditional hobbies. Prepare to be fascinated by exquisite model churches decorated with intricately-crafted accessories. You'll discover a collection of traditional costumes and magnificent furniture pieces as you explore further. Marvel at a cotton gin, a stone oven, and other intriguing objects that pique your interest. With its captivating, quirky, and rustic charm, this splendid Museum is a delightful surprise waiting to be discovered!
Gozo Nature Museum
Discover the stunning nature Museum behind the Courts of Justice at the Citadel in Victoria. Housed within interconnected domestic buildings dating back to the 1600s, this unique Museum offers a glimpse of authentic architectural elements. Once serving as lodging and shelter during the Second World War, it now enchants visitors with engaging exhibits on geology, minerals, human and animal evolution, and marine life on the ground floor. Take advantage of the intriguing moonstone fragments, a cherished gift to the Maltese people from President Richard Nixon, sourced from the moon's surface. On the upper floor, immerse yourself in the world of the Maltese Islands' insects, flora, and ecosystems, featuring an impressive collection of exotic and local insects in the entomology room. Before you leave, wander through the charming small garden, showcasing the natural beauty of indigenous plants.
Step into the history of the old prison at the Citadel in Victoria. Once a regular cell, its entrance hall houses an impressive collection of prison-related memorabilia and an exhibition on Gozitan fortifications. The highlight is the graffiti on the cell walls, the most extensive Maltese Islands collection depicting palm prints, games, and sea vessels. A poignant reminder of prisoners' difficulties, this authentic attraction offers a fascinating glance into the Maltese narrative. Take advantage of this captivating visit to the old prison!
Gunpowder Magazine and Silos
Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of gunpowder fortifications at the Gran Castello in Gozo. This impressive site, armed with a range of artillery pieces and muskets, played a crucial role in defending against enemies. The gunpowder magazine, strategically located away from the enemy's line of fire, ensured a timely provision of high-quality gunpowder for the arsenal. The restored magazine features intriguing graffiti and a typical two-skinned wall structure. As you delve further into the site, discover three large silos used to keep grain, a testament to the strategic importance of food supply during early fortification. Experience the heritage and resilience of Gozo's history at this captivating site.
Battery and World War II Shelter
Learn about the historical Battery of artillery platform at the Gran Castello in Gozo, offering enfilading cover to the mediaeval enceinte and early seventeenth-century ditch. This impressive site showcases fortifications that relied on sheer height before gunpowder technology revolutionised defence strategies. Today, the Battery provides an ideal viewing platform to appreciate the fortifications, northern Gozo, Rabat's historic core, and beyond. Learn about Gozo's wartime history during WWII and the construction of air-raid shelters to protect civilians from airborne harassment. Explore the claustrophobic rooms that accommodated families seeking refuge during hostilities. Immerse yourself in the rich history of this fascinating site in Victoria.
Things to do in Victoria
Independence Square and It-Tokk Open Market
When visiting Gozo, the centre of Victoria beckons you to explore the captivating Independence Square, also known as it-Tokk. This vibrant square comes alive in the mornings with an open market where locals and tourists can indulge in its offerings. Take a moment to relax and soak in the atmosphere at one of the open-air cafes, or browse the nearby gift shops for unique souvenirs of your Gozo experience. Independence Square is the prominent landmark of Victoria, inviting you to immerse yourself in its charm and create unforgettable memories.
St. George's Basilica and the surrounding historic streets
Located at the heart of Victoria, St George's Basilica stands as a magnificent testament to Gozo's architectural, artistic, religious, and cultural significance. This extraordinary church, decorated entirely with marble, fascinates visitors with its magnificence. The striking bronze and gold canopy above the high altar adds to the awe-inspiring ambience. However, the true centrepiece is the wooden statue of the patron saint, St George, skillfully crafted by Pawlu Azzopardi in 1838. Notably, this statue holds historical importance as the first patron saint acquired by a parish church in Gozo. Explore the maze of charming narrow streets and alleys surrounding St George's Basilica, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this cultural gem.
Explore Republic Street and Its Attractions
Overview of Triq ir-Repubblika (Republic Street)
Republic Street, commonly known as Triq ir-Repubblika, is one of Victoria's main streets, the capital city of Gozo. Republic Street is a bustling activity hub with various shops, shopping arcades, cafes, restaurants, pharmacies, banks, and other retail establishments. It is a central and lively thoroughfare where locals and tourists converge to enjoy shopping, dining, and exploring the city's offerings.
A diverse range of shops, arcades, pharmacies, and banks
When you visit Victoria, be prepared for a delightful experience at Republic Street. This vibrant thoroughfare offers diverse shops, including popular shopping malls like the Arkadia Commercial Centre, a supermarket, and The Duke Shopping Mall beneath the exquisite Duke boutique hotel. Take a moment to relax at the few charming coffee shops, where you can savour a hot or cold drink while exploring the city. Take the chance to indulge in freshly baked bread from local shops. Additionally, you'll find local banks and ATMs within easy walking distance, ensuring convenient access to financial services during your stay in Victoria.
Band Clubs (Kazini)
Band clubs hold a special place in the community, serving as a favourite meeting spot for locals to exchange gossip, enjoy a game of pool or cards, and engage in vibrant village festa activities. These clubs are a source of intense pride and play a solid role in Maltese and Gozitan social culture. Whether you're a local or a tourist, a quick visit to these band club premises will give you a glimpse of the lively and cherished traditions of the island.
Astra Theater La Stella
Teatru Astra has a rich history dating to its inauguration in January 1968 located in Victoria. Part of the esteemed Socjetà Filarmonika La Stella, founded in 1863, this Theatre has been a hub for local and international performances. From operettas like Merry Widow and Principessa Della Czardas to acclaimed operas like Rigoletto and Aida, Teatru Astra has offered various cultural experiences. It has showcased world-class singers and provided a platform for talented local artists like Joseph Calleja. Festival Mediterranea, an international initiative, has also been a part of Teatru Astra's legacy. With a recent foray into the musical genre, this iconic Theatre continues to charm audiences on Gozo Island.
The majestic Teatru tal-Opra Aurora was built between 1971 and 1976; this grand opera house was designed and decorated by the renowned Maltese artist Chev. Emvin Cremona. With a seating capacity of up to 1600 people, the Theatre boasts a spacious and elegantly raked hall, providing an unobstructed view and maximum comfort during performances. As the largest opera house on the islands, Teatru tal-Opra Aurora features stalls, hall boxes, two boxed tiers, and an upper gallery to accommodate its esteemed audiences. The u-shape design, architectural details, and carefully chosen materials ensure perfect acoustics, making it an excellent venue for operas and various musical performances in Victoria, Gozo.
Villa Rundle Public Gardens
Villa Rundle Gardens, a popular tourist attraction in Gozo, graces the lower part of Republic Street. Its perfect central location makes it an ideal resting place for visitors seeking respite from shopping and the busy town ambience. As you visit Gozo, take advantage of a quick visit to Villa Rundle Gardens to enjoy its serene green surroundings and the soothing atmosphere of the fountain at its heart. It's an excellent spot to rest and chill after sightseeing in Gozo's charming capital.
Where to stay in Victoria
Victoria Gozo, Gozo's capital, offers many accommodations to suit all preferences and budgets. Whether searching for your favourite place to stay or the best hotel for a luxurious indulgence, you'll find a perfect match in Victoria. There's something for everyone, from affordable guesthouses and self-catering apartments to conveniently located luxury hotels. Enjoy a pleasant stay, whether a foreign visitor or a local looking for a delightful getaway in Victoria Gozo, your ideal destination.
Where to eat in Victoria
In Victoria, Gozo, you'll discover various eateries catering to your personal preferences. Whether you're craving traditional Maltese cuisine, delectable seafood, savoury meats, vegetarian and vegan delights, or international flavours, there's a perfect dining spot for everyone. From family-run establishments to trendy eateries, lively bars, and inviting coffee shops, you can embark on a culinary journey and find the ideal restaurant that matches your tastes and desires. Whether you're exploring Independence Square, St George's Square, Republic Street, or any corner of the old town, you will undoubtedly encounter a place offering exceptional food prepared with the finest local produce. Victoria, Gozo, promises an unforgettable gastronomic adventure celebrating global flavours and local ingredients' essence.
What is the origin of the name Victoria and ir-Rabat?
The origin of the name "Victoria Gozo" dates back to 1887 when it was presented in honour of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee during British rule. However, older generations still lovingly refer to the town by its Maltese name, "Rabat Gozo." It's important to distinguish this charming destination from the identically named Rabat in Malta.
Are there any beaches in Victoria, Gozo?
There are no beaches in Victoria, Gozo, since it is an inland city surrounded by picturesque countryside and does not have an inland sea. Several beautiful coastal areas are nearby, such as Ramla Bay and Marsalforn Bay, where visitors can find the best beach to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. These stunning beaches are just a short distance away and easily accessible by car or public transport, making them the perfect spot for any traveller, from families with kids and couples or groups of friends.
What is the size and population of Victoria, Gozo?
The size and population of Victoria, Gozo, as of the latest statistics and studies in 2023, this charming city, nestled on the picturesque island of Gozo, boasts a population of approximately 7,242 residents, making it a vibrant hub of activity and culture. Spanning across a land area of 2.9 square kilometres (1.1 square miles), Victoria Gozo proudly is the most populous and largest city on Gozo Island.
Author: Norbert Bezzina