Gozo vs Malta - Which Island is Best For Your Vacation?

As you may know, Gozo and Malta are the two primary islands in The Republic of Malta. There’s a third island called Comino – the location of the Blue Lagoon – but it’s very small and virtually uninhabited. Thus, when planning a trip to Malta, every tourist will run into the Gozo vs Malta debate.

Ideally, you’ll want to see both islands before your departure, but most tourists wind up staying at a single resort and spending most of their time on one island or the other. With that said, here’s an organized Gozo or Malta comparison to help you decide which island you should start your Malta holiday on.

Gozo vs Malta: Peace vs Party

malta fishing boat

Malta fishing boats in the harbour

To keep it short and sweet: Malta is the bustling party, shopping, and entertainment side, while Gozo is the more secluded and serene side. Gozo villages are so much more tranquil than the ones in Malta. On the other hand, there’s a lot more to do and more people to meet in Malta, so you definitely take a social trade-off by choosing the less popular island of Gozo, which partially explains why it remains the less crowded of the two.

It would be overly stereotypical to say that nothing exciting happens in Gozo, as there are still parties, events, and venues that are worth checking out. Still, with Gozo having a tiny population of only 30,000 — less than one-tenth of the 400,000+ population of Malta – it can’t be denied that the latter is a better spot if you’re searching for a social adventure. More specifically, the Paceville and St. Julian area of Malta is known for being party central, with a decent selection of nightclubs that are always booming.

Gozo vs Malta: Accommodations and Services

Gozo with Malta in the background

Gozo with Malta in the background

Of course, since Malta gets way more tourists it makes sense that it has more hospitality accommodations than Gozo. Transportation and most other services are also much more prevalent and conveniently accessible than in Gozo, but many tourists have complained that in Malta, buses often deviate from their schedule or fail to stop.

In Gozo, there are plenty of bus routes and they’re much more reliable, so if getting around the island is important for you when deciding on Goza or Malta, one could argue that the public transportation system is actually better in Gozo.

Basically, whatever you’re looking for can almost always be found in Malta, but the same level of convenience cannot be guaranteed in every part of Gozo. With the aforementioned factors in consideration, it’s easy to see why Malta is often considered “the place to be,” but where Gozo really shines is in its natural beauty.

It’s also worth noting that accommodations and services in Gozo are typically much more affordable, so it may be a better holiday base to choose if budget is a concern while considering the Gozo vs Malta debate.

Gozo Vs Malta: Scenery and Attractions

salt pans in gozo

Gozo salt pans

Finally, a section of the comparison where Gozo undoubtedly takes the cake, and for many tourists, this is the only feature that matters – is scenery. Despite being located only about a half an hour from Malta via ferry, the island of Gozo looks like a completely different country, with its own unique landscape, a small but friendly local population, and tons of open space.

While the natural attractions can be more appealing in Gozo, don’t expect tons of tourist support or guides like you’d find in Malta, so you’ll have to take a more independent approach if you want to squeeze all the good sites into your schedule.

Overall, Gozo is a much better match for tourists who prefer spending time in the great outdoors instead of crowded city streets and shops. However, the downside is that businesses close very early in Gozo and the attractions are very spread out, so even though the buses will get you there, you’ll be spending a good bit of your day riding a bus. Thus, if you choose Gozo, you should plan to make your stay a little longer, so you’ll have time to get around and truly enjoy everything.

Malta Pros and Cons

malta view

Malta

Ultimately, Malta is still the crowd favorite even though many people feel Gozo is actually a more beautiful destination. The widespread flocking to Malta is partially due to it being named after the republic itself, as that has attracted the interest of developers who want to brand their venues and attractions in a more internationally appealing way.

In other words, it’s easier to get tourist to visit your spot when it’s located on the island of “Malta” in Malta, versus expecting them to stumble upon the lesser known island of Gozo. To recap, here are the pros and cons of Malta:

Pros

  • Party central – home to a world-famous nightlife scene
  • Difficult to get bored even in the daytime – plenty of tours and activities to enjoy
  • More history and culture – a larger number of historical sites and cultural exhibits
  • More accommodations – more hotels, restaurants, tour guides, rental services, etc.
  • Better Architecture – denser urban environments with more buildings and streets to view

Cons

  • Crowded – tourists are everywhere
  • Unreliable public transport – buses are often late or don’t come at all
  • Higher prices – almost everything is more expensive than in Gozo

Gozo Pros and Cons

gozo lighthouse

Gozo lighthouse

Gozo is definitely picking up popularity in recent years as more tourists look for a quieter alternative to the main island. There’s no denying that Gozo is definitely a more relaxing place to be. As a recap, here are the pros and cons of Gozo summarised:

Pros

  • Peaceful – undeniably preferable for tranquillity seekers
  • Cheaper – the obvious choice for travelers on a budget
  • More Natural Beauty – there are landmarks and scenic spots everywhere you turn
  • More Reliable Public Transportation – Buses are usually on time and go everywhere on the island

Cons

  • No Nightlife – everything closes early
  • Fewer Tour Guides – you’ll have to figure more things out yourself
  • Lots of Walking and Hiking – for some this isn’t a con, but just know that you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking, hiking, and bus riding to get from place to place.

Making the Decision Based on Holiday Intentions

Mgarr ferry in Gozo

Mgarr ferry in Gozo

The above comparison should help you decide which island would be best for your upcoming holiday based on what kind of experience you have in mind. In conclusion, the island of Malta is the place to be for fun and partying while Gozo is a great environment for relaxing and soaking up some scenery.

So what’s it going to be? For you, who wins this Gozo vs Malta comparison? Gozo or Malta? Comment below. 

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Heading to Malta and cannot decide whether to stay on Malta or Gozo? Check out this Gozo vs Malta comparison to make sure you choose wisely.

Heading to Malta and cannot decide whether to stay on Malta or Gozo? Check out this Gozo vs Malta comparison to make sure you choose wisely.

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