Getting to Gozo is easy by using the Malta to Gozo ferry (also referred to as the Ċirkewwa ferry) or one of the Gozo fast ferry services.
The main one departs from Ċirkewwa (at the Northernmost part of Malta) and sails to and from Gozo (in around 20 minutes) up to 74 times every day of the week. The fast ferry services offer dozens of daily crossings taking roughly 45 minutes from Valletta.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to catch the Gozo ferry, what the options are, cost, timing, tips, and more!
The main Gozo ferry is run by the Gozo Channel Line, which operates four ships and operates a daily ferry service that carries both passengers and vehicles between the two main islands.
You’ll be able to find a ferry at almost every hour of the day, from early morning till late at night all year round. They run trips as frequently as every 30 minutes during peak times.
The ferry sails between Ċirkewwa (all the way up north in Malta) and Mġarr (a small harbour on the southeast coast of Gozo), and a crossing takes just around 20-25 minutes (one way). You can board the ferry as a passenger on foot, but you can also take a (rental) car on board. (And there are no extra car rental fees for driving in Gozo.)
Embarkation and disembarkation are simple and smooth, and in fair weather, the short trip to Gozo is a pretty pleasant one. You can find a seat indoors and relax or enjoy the fresh air on the sides of the main deck or the top deck. Ensure to keep your camera handy during the crossing – the scenery is breathtaking, including views of Comino.
To be able to catch the Gozo ferry, first, you need to get to the Ferry Terminal in Ċirkewwa.
These are the most commonly used transport options:
The Malta Public transport is an efficient way to get to Ċirkewwa. It’s very economical but not very fast. The following bus routes can take you to the Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal from various towns and villages across Malta: 41, 42, 101, 221, 222, X1 and X1A. If you take a bus from Valletta, it will take you around an hour to get there.
More detailed info here: How to get from Malta Airport to Gozo.
You can find taxis just outside the Airport terminal or from Valletta. A trip to Ċirkewwa with a standard taxi costs around €45 / £39 / $49 and will take you around 45 mins.
Renting a car in Malta is a good option when you want to uncover all the secrets the island has to offer. You might, for example, want to visit hidden, more secluded beaches like the ones I mention in my article on the Best Beaches in Gozo.
The way the ticketing works confuses some people, but it’s very straightforward: When you board the ship in Ċirkewwa, you do not need to collect/pay for a ticket. The fare for the trip is paid on your return.
If you’re a foot passenger, you’ll need to purchase tickets at the passenger terminal in Mġarr Harbour, while vehicular traffic has to pass through ticket booths to pay the fare and join the ferry queue for embarkation.
Here’s an overview of ticket prices:
|Type of ticket||Description||Cost|
|Children’s Fare||Ages 3-12||€1.15|
|Standard Passenger Fare||€4.65|
|Car And Driver Standard Fare||For 1 car + driver.||€15.70|
|Standard Motorcycle & Rider Fare||€8.15|
|Bicycle Standard Fare||€1.15|
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The embarkation process is different depending on whether you are a foot passenger or coming with your vehicle.
Once you enter the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal, you arrive at a hall with an information desk, a waiting room, toilets and a cafeteria in the back. This cafe is an ideal place to sit and wait for the ferry while sipping a coffee and enjoying great views.
As mentioned before, you don’t need to buy a ticket there, nor show your documents. Just wait for the signal from the staff to start boarding, then climb the stairs or take the escalator and walk a corridor to the ferry gate.
If you are driving a car, you don’t have to enter the Ċirkewwa ferry terminal, nor buy any ticket. Tickets are to be bought on the way back to Malta (see previous section). As you make your way toward the terminal, you will find lines on the floor where vehicles waiting to board queue.
Try to arrive in advance to the Malta to Gozo ferry to secure a spot onboard, as the waiting lines get very busy on weekends and public holidays.
A steward will show you where you should stop and wait. Boarding is by lines.
Once you enter the ferry, turn off the engine and climb the stairs to the main deck (you can’t stay in your vehicle for safety reasons, plus it would be a shame not to enjoy the great views during the crossing).
If you don’t need to take a car to Gozo, you can also take one of the Gozo fast ferry services from Valletta. That can save you some time if you’re staying in or East of Valletta, and even in St. Julian’s or Sliema, since you can cross over to Valletta with the Valletta ferry easily. You will have to cross over to the other side of Valletta, though (with a 15-minute walk).
Two operators run this service with the same fares and with similar vessels: Virtu Ferries Gozo and Gozo Fast Ferry. They have merged into one service called Gozo Highspeed. The schedule runs at nearly hourly intervals both ways. The earliest trip is at 5.45 am, the last from Gozo at 9.45 pm or 10.45 pm (Sat-Sun only). The schedule can change according to the season. Crossings take a little under 45 minutes.
The vessels in use by these operators are of a high standard, with comfortable seats and a small cafeteria on board.
The dock used by both operators is located on the East side of Valletta, across the road from Ta Liesse church and right next to the Three Cities ferry dock. Taxis are usually stationed nearby to offer arriving passengers a ride.
Are you considering taking the Gozo fast ferry but are still not sure if it’s the best option for you? Here are the pros and cons of the service to help you decide.
Once you arrive in Gozo (at Mġarr Harbour) you will need some form of transport to make the most of your stay. Gozo is a tiny island, just 67 km² (26 sq miles), and probably the best way to discover its most secret places is if you drive yourself.
Nevertheless, have a look at the options listed below to find the one(s) best suited to your needs.
Malta Public Transport operates 16 bus routes on the second Maltese island. Once you make the crossing, you can take a bus from Mġarr Harbour to other villages in Gozo.
However, all routes depart and terminate at Victoria (Gozo). So if, for example, you want to reach Marsalforn from Mġarr Harbour, you’ll have to take one bus to Victoria and hop on another to get to Marsalforn. As you can see, it’s not the most efficient service, but it gets you from A to B, and it’s cheap.
When using the bus service on the island of Gozo, you can travel using the same bus cards and tickets used in Malta. The 301 between Victoria (Rabat) and the ferry terminal operates every 30 minutes on average.
Hiring a car in Gozo gives you by far the most flexibility to get around on the island. Driving in Gozo is very easy, with hardly any traffic (apart from the main road leading to Victoria from the South at times). Parking is also much less of a headache than it can be in Malta.
Taxis are an option, but they are much more expensive than driving yourself around. You can easily grab a taxi at the ferry terminal on arrival. Bolt also operates on-demand taxi rides via a mobile app as well.
Get a taste of Gozo by visiting some of the best sightseeing highlights, from landmarks to natural beauty, churches, and other historic buildings, with a fun mode of transport that can take you to places regular tour buses can’t: a Malta-styled Tuk Tuk or a Quad Bike.
A renowned local touring company with great reviews operates both tours, which are all-inclusive (with transfers from Malta and a traditional local lunch). Find out more and book in advance here:
TIP: Use coupon code malta5 and get 5% off!
Hop-on-hop-off buses are also very convenient if travelling to Gozo island without a car and if you want to explore Gozo and see the main attractions in a short time. The buses stop at all the major attractions. Headphones are provided to listen to descriptions of the sights in 8 different languages. The harbour stop is right outside the passenger terminal.
You can buy the Gozo pass from iSeeMalta in advance online, which offers a combo with the hop-on-hop-off ferry. That service can take you to Comino and its Blue Lagoon, Buġibba and Sliema, making sightseeing convenient.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a bicycle to tour the island. Just beware that its hilly terrain makes for a real challenge (especially during the hot summer months)! Try Mġarr Tourist Services (4, Mġarr Harbour, Mġarr Terminal, Mġarr GSM 9031. Phone: 9982 9141). The cost is €15 per bike for the day (or €30-40 for an electric bicycle).
Another option is On 2 Wheels (15 Triq Il-Wied, Iż-Żebbuġ. Phone: 7926 6879), but you would first need to get to the village of Żebbuġ (in the North of Gozo). You can get a bike at the same price as the first option: €15 per day (or €30 for an electric bike).
The Gozo Channel ferry crossing takes around 25 minutes one way, from Ċirkewwa in Malta to Mġarr in Gozo, and vice versa. The fast ferry services take less than 45 minutes from Valletta to Mġarr.
When seas are rough, trips may take longer, and sometimes trips can even be cancelled due to bad weather.
For the main Gozo ferry, basic foot passenger tickets cost €4.65 for a return trip, while a car and driver ticket costs €15.70 (with passengers travelling with you being charged the regular passenger fee).
Standard tickets for the Gozo fast ferry services cost around €9.50-15 per person (return ticket).
Yes, all Gozo ferry services operate all year round. The only exceptions are times when seas are too rough to make the crossing. That happens only rarely, though.
The three operators have winter and summer schedules with slightly different timings and frequently run from early morning till late at night.
Yes. If you have hired a car in Malta, you can cross over to Gozo with it using the ferry (without additional rental fees).
Compared to the main island, driving on Gozo Island is easier and much more relaxed. There’s hardly any traffic, except perhaps in and around Victoria (also referred to as Rabat) in the centre of the island at times.
The options to get to Gozo from the airport are:
Unfortunately, not for the main Gozo ferry. The Senior fares are only applicable to Maltese residents. However, non-Maltese Seniors benefit from reduced ticket prices for the Gozo fast ferries.
Yes, you can get a ferry to Gozo from Valletta using one of the Gozo fast ferry services. These mostly operate during the day from 6.45 am until 7.30 am or 8.30 pm on weekends. Their schedules tend to change regularly, though, and these smaller vessels are vulnerable to bad weather (with trips being cancelled a few days in advance). They’re also not a great option for people who get seasick easily as it can be quite a rough ride.
Alternatively, you can take the iSeeMalta Hop-on-hop-off ferry from Sliema to Gozo.
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