For those who prefer a more peaceful relaxing lifestyle, Gozo, Malta’s little sister, is a viable alternative to consider. With its greener landscapes and much lower population density than Malta, living in Gozo is perfect for some expatriates. But there are also disadvantages to consider.
Staying in Gozo
If you want to live in Gozo, you will have to consider your accommodation, your budget and also your preferred location.
While the rents in Malta’s are very high in the main towns, it’s a very different story in Gozo. As the demand for housing is much lower on the island, rents are quite reasonable. A 1-bedroom apartment costs around €400 per month, and you can find a 3-bedroom apartment for €700 per month! By comparison, a single room in a shared flat in Malta costs around €500 per month.
Because Gozo is not a very large island, there are just a handful of main towns. You will find apartments to rent in Victoria (the capital), Xlendi, Marsalforn or Xaghra and Qala.
Victoria, the busiest place in the whole island, is full of bars, restaurants, shops etc… It is a town which is frequented by many tourists, both in summer and winter.
As for Xlendi and Marsalforn, they are two very well-known bays of Gozo. Xlendi is tiny but offers a very pleasant setting and a relaxing atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. Marsalforn is a little larger and is a popular seaside resort during the summer season. There are many bars and restaurants there as well.
Xaghra and Qala are residential cities, more frequented for their proximity to the temples of Ggantija and the beaches of Ramla Bay, close to Xaghra, and the turquoise blue water of Hondoq Bay, close to Qala.
To find accommodation in Gozo, there are many real estate agencies that can help you out:
Getting around Gozo
Getting around Gozo is more difficult than in Malta if you do not have your own vehicle, although public transport is available.
The Tallinja network also operates in Gozo, but with fewer lines. It also takes quite a long time to get from one place to another, although you will be able to get to the main towns without any problem.
You can rent a car for a long-term period or on an ad-hoc basis, depending on your needs. Rental agencies can be found in the main towns, but you should also consider comparing prices with Malta, even if it means making the ferry crossing with your vehicle. You could actually save a lot of money.
Two-wheelers: Alternatively, you can easily rent or buy a two-wheeled vehicle, with or without an engine. Getting around is easier on a scooter or motorbike in Gozo, as you will avoid traffic and reach your destination quicker.
Bolt has recently started to operate in Gozo the same way it operates anywhere else. The company is similar to Uber, which is better-known world-wide. A customer can book a car when they need it to get from A to B. This is the only company which offers this service in Gozo.
More traditional (and therefore more expensive) taxis are also available on request, such as Gozo Cab Service.
Inter-island connection and airport transfers
To travel between Gozo and Malta, you will need to take the ferry. It takes about 20 minutes for the crossing, and you can board the ferry as a pedestrian, in your car, or even on two wheels.
To get to the airport, you will need to use either a shuttle service or taxi service, or rely on public transport. The last option will be the most economical, but it will also take you the most time. The bus journey can take up to 2 hours, depending on where you need to travel from.
Since getting to the airport from Gozo can be quite expensive by taxi, the VisitGozo website has set up a fare-sharing platform for individuals wishing to get to the airport.
Social life in Gozo
In general, there are significantly fewer expatriates in Gozo than in Malta. The population is more made up of locals and tourists. This can be a benefit when wanting to integrate oneself into Maltese society, but rather less beneficial to your social life if you like to go out and meet people. The inhabitants of Gozo tend to be of the older generation, as younger people prefer living in Malta.
By contrast, social development in Gozo is attracting more and more expatriates, and you can enjoy a social life in Victoria or even in Marsalforn.
Gozo has one main nightclub, La Grotta in Xlendi. It is very popular with the Maltese during the summer, both for its atmosphere and for its magnificent decor.
Finding a job in Gozo
As the island is much less developed than Malta, most jobs in Gozo are in the tourism and agriculture industries. In high season, you should not have a hard time finding a seasonal job in hotel catering or event management, for example.
Living in Gozo – Conclusion
Life on the island of Gozo is very different to that of Malta, but offers you more tranquillity and a better immersion in Maltese culture. However, even if you will definitely save money on rent, think carefully about your expectations in terms of your daily life, social life and possible outings.
Are you looking for accommodation in Gozo? Check out our page about Real estate agencies.