Ta’ Cenc Hotel *****
The Hotel Ta Cenc has an inimitable setting, scattered across the Ta Cenc cliffs, just near the town of SANNAT. This is the highest point on the island, and the views from the hotel’s 400 acres of ground sweep across the entire island to the sea, even taking in Malta and Comino. Walkers spend 7 nights at the Ta Cenc and it is the base hotel for cyclists. The hotel is sensitively built on one level with the accommodation being in separate bungalows, scattered thoughtfully around a scented Mediterranean garden. The rooms are spacious and all are equipped with satellite television, minibar, safety deposit box, air conditioning/ heating, direct dial telephones, a trouser press and en-suite bathrooms with hairdryers. All rooms have their own terrace.
Further details on the hotel website.
Day 1 Arrival in Malta/Transfer to Gozo
Our taxi meets you in Malta and takes you to the ferry for the 25min trip across to Gozo.
Day 2 Mgarr and the Raiders’ Cove 7km/4mi/2.5hr
Mgarr is Gozo’s port, full of traditional and colorful luzzu fishing boats, and dominated by the 18C Fort Chambrai, built by the Knights of St John. The path from here hugs the coast as far as the narrow creek of Mgarr ix-Xini where Turkish raiders landed in 1551 - the perfect place for a picnic and swim. From here you follow an old mule track up through the hotel’s rocky grounds with fine views across to Malta, stopping to explore the remains of a copper age temple and Neolithic dolmen.
Day 3 Ta’Pinu and Gharb 12km/7mi/3.5hr or 14km/9mi/4hr
The north-western corner of the island is only accessible on foot, along easy farm tracks. First stop is the remarkable neo-Romanesque basilica Ta’ Pinu, a huge national shrine built on the site of a miracle in 1923. Your route then leads through unique ravine-like wieds to Gharb - stunning Baroque church (1699) and traditional stone houses. The final stretch takes you along the striking cliffs of the north coast where you are rewarded with fantastic views across Gozo’s famous salt pans.
Day 4 Layercake Cliffs and Xlendi Bay 9km/5mi/5.5hr or 10km/6mi/3hr
The cliffs near Sannat are the highest and most dramatic cliffs on Gozo and, in late spring they are alive with Mediterranean shearwaters. The route takes you past breathtaking views to Comino and Malta and down through tamarisk trees to the gorgeous Xlendi bay. Then it’s up through the terraced fields, bright with poppies and fields of gladioli cultivated in rows like provençal lavender .
Day 5 Free day for independent exploring
A ride on one of Gozo’s quirky buses to Xaghra starts your morning as you head towards the Ggantija Tombs, a massive free-standing temple of 6m high monoliths, and Calypso’s Cave. Lunch on Ramla Bay - undeniably the best beach on the island - then perhaps on to the lively capital, Victoria, for the afternoon. The bustling market square, used as a meeting place since Roman times, is dominated by the medieval citadel – spectacular views over the whole island. But the real charm lies in the maze of tiny back streets clustered around the Basilica, with carved stone balconies, flower-decked doorways and statuettes of the Madonna in street corner niches.
Day 6 Fungus Rock & the Azure Window 13km/8mi/4hr
To the west coast and the fascinating Punic burial site at Wardija Point. There’s a mythical feeling here, like being on the edge of the world. Narrow stone walled lanes lead down to bamboo groves and to Fungus Rock (named after the ‘magic’ plant which grew there) and the Azure Window (a stunning stone archway framing the blue sea and sky behind).
Day 7 Bays and Towers Walk 11km/7mi/4.5hr
Begining at Qala, it’s an easy stroll to Dahlet Quorrot, a tiny harbour with gaily colored boat houses. Then it’s on through fragrant lemon groves, vineyards and past fig and peach trees to San Blas Bay, a hidden beach with gorgeous ochre-coloured sand. Your final stop is Nadur where the spectacular views at the end
of the day are a great finale to your week.
Day 8 Leave Gozo
Return by ferry to Malta airport for the flight home.
The terrain is moderate with some small hills and the walking is often along ancient roads and old farm tracks. There are some steep descents to the coast and the occasional rough, stony section. Otherwise the walking is essentially 1 boot level.