Kayaking in Gozo

The crystal clear seas, unspoiled beaches and coves
make Gozo and its smaller sister Comino with a total
coastline of about 55 kilometres between them an
excellent location for kayaking. There is a surprising
variety of scenery which can be reached within a
short paddle from all the launching points
ranging from a coastline of small coves and
caves, to ramparts of towering limestone cliffs
which fall 140 metres sheer into the sea.

There is also the additional and important bonus
that if strong winds and high waves make kayaking
difficult an alternative sheltered beach or cove on the
leeward side of the island is never more than a ten minute
drive away. This coupled with an average 300 days of sunshine
a year, plus sea temperatures which even in winter never get below
15 degrees make Gozo Kayaking a safe and interesting experience for
canoeists of all levels.
The sport has been growing in popularity on Gozo in recent years, and now a certified local operator offers a wide range of trips in groups with an instructor/guide. These range from a short 3 hour paddle between fishing ports and beaches on the northern coast, to expeditions of up to three days with the possibility of camping out overnight on sandy beaches. On the longer trips canoeists will be able to land and visit places which are only accessible by sea, and which even in the peak summer months of July and August are largely deserted.

Many of these secret coves and caves along the northern coast also have strong historical echoes, for the first settlers to land on Gozo from Sicily came ashore here some 7 millennia before, to be followed over the centuries by Roman, Turkish , French and English galleys and ships of war. Smugglers, slavers, pirates and brigands have all used these secret beaches to invade the island or to store contraband in the hidden caverns by the sea. On the lovely island of Comino, the Blue Lagoon is one of the most beautiful beaches of the entire Maltese archipelago, and canoeists can paddle over blindingly white sand just a metre beneath their craft in the clear water.

Xavier Hancock
Xavier Hancock - kayaking in Gozo
"Gozo's coastline is absolutely magical...it offers a natural paradise for sea kayaking" [01:45

The northern coast, with its small fishing towns and the beaches of Ramla Bay, Marsalforn and Dahlet Qorrot which are popular in summer with beach going locals and tourists have easy places to launch. Yet within minutes of leaving a busy beach new hidden coves open up which can be accessed only by sea. The south western coast has some of the highest cliffs of the Maltese archipelago, extending between Xlendi and Mgarr ix–Xini where kayakers can land on ledges and paddle inside caves which can only be accessed during the calm periods of the summer. The best launching places here, weather permitting, are the rocky inlets of Xlendi and Mgarr ix –Xini, with the possibility of paddling through the 80 metre tunnel which leads from the Inland Sea at Dwejra out to the spectacular Azure Window. Newly available this year is the opportunity to combine kayaking with snorkelling and Mini B diving. Here paddlers go to a location with their guide, beach the canoes and using either snorkels or small diving kits, explore reefs and rocky underwater caverns which are home to many species of fish.

The best period of the year for Gozo kayaking is from May until November, but even in winter calm sunny days can make for excellent conditions to go paddling.

Find out more about activities in Gozo
Responsible Travel would like to thank the Ministry for Gozo for their sponsorship of this guide
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