Gozo the "Eco" Island of the Maltese Archipelago in The Mediterranean
Nicknamed ‘the Eco Island’ by many, Gozo has a solid track record of green initiatives which also help retain its authenticity. A number of villages on the island have been recognized with the European Destinations of Excellence awards, several popular beaches are now also blue flagged beaches, and Gozo was awarded with the Quality Coast Gold Award for its sustainable practices.
Sustainability has become a way of life on Gozo. Local communities understand that the island is unique, and that its culture and environment need to be protected for it to continue to thrive. Several initiatives have already been put in place, including the implementation of solar panel water heating, the use of photovoltaic panels and the construction of a wastewater treatment plant. Many Gozitan valleys are cleaned on an annual basis in order to improve the catchment areas from flowing straight to the open sea.
Visitors have the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by using alternative modes of transport, including walking, cycling, Segway tours and kayaking.
Several accommodation establishments including hotels and farmhouses on Gozo are eco-labelled by the Malta Tourism Authority. The ECO certification is the national plan for ensuring the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural sustainability of hotels and farmhouses on the Maltese Islands. The new criteria follow a shift from an environmental plan to a sustainable plan covering environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality and health & safety.
Farm to Table
Gozo farmers are using organic methods to grow everything from tomatoes to figs, which is preferred by Gozitan catering establishments. Every nation has its food specialties and Gozo is no exception. Here, recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and favorites have changed through the years. As with everything on Gozo, seasonal fresh produce is at the core of everything made here. Freshly picked vegetables make up the base of the platters diners enjoy with a glass of Maltese wine, while fruit and pure Gozitan honey are the cornerstones of most desserts. Many of the popular products here are still made by hand as they have been for generations.
Take the tasty gbejniet for instance; these little, round cheeselets are made from goat’s milk by the same farmers whose parents and grandparents made them decades before. More importantly, they are delicious, and are served fresh or dried, and flavored with pepper and salt. Pastizzi are another must-try for your time on the island. These delicate filo-pastry parcels are stuffed with either peas or ricotta cheese, served with a cup of traditional, sweet tea.
The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sights and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta's patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire's most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife, and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do. For more information on Malta, visit www.visitmalta.com.
Gozo's colors and flavors are brought out by the radiant skies above it and the blue sea which surrounds its spectacular coast, which is simply waiting to be discovered. Steeped in myth, Gozo is thought to be the legendary Calypso's isle of Homer's Odyssey - a peaceful, mystical backwater. Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dot the countryside. Gozo's rugged landscape and spectacular coastline await exploration with some of the Mediterranean's best dive sites.