Taking The Malta to Gozo Ferry Was A Fun Experience!
Do you want to explore the island of Gozo from Malta but aren’t sure about the ferry ride? Taking the ferry to Gozo from Malta is easy – this makes the smaller island very accessible for visitors to Malta (and serves to connect locals between the two islands all-year-round)!
Eric took the ferry from Malta to Gozo (and back) when he visited Malta with a few friends on a previous trip. Even though the ride was short, it’s a scenic little adventure across the beautiful blue channel and was a highlight of his trip to Malta. Oh, and exploring Gozo was pretty great, too!
So, whether you are wondering where the ferry terminal in Mġarr is or whether the ferry is running during your visit, this guide covers what to expect when you take the ferry to Gozo and details like the ferry prices, the timetables for summer and winter, and other need-to-knows!
Since you are likely visiting Malta and looking to explore more, you should have a look at some of our other Malta and Gozo posts!
How to Take the Ferry from Malta to Gozo
Some ferry crossings can be confusing while others can be very straightforward. We’ve done ferries from Dublin to Liverpool, across a bay in Montenegro, and gone from Tallinn to Helsinki. The ferry from Malta to Gozo is definitely on the easier end of the travel spectrum!
Gozo Ferry Companies
There is only one ferry company that runs the route between the main island of Malta and Gozo. That company is Gozo Channel. They have four ships that make the crossing multiple times per day and frankly they do a great job.
Gozo Ferry Ticket Booking
To get tickets for the Gozo ferry, it’s going to feel strange but it’s fine: you just get on the ferry in Malta without paying. Then when you want to come back to Malta from Gozo, you pay for your ferry ticket at the ferry terminal on Gozo.
You do not/cannot buy the tickets for the Gozo ferry online.
Tickets can only be purchased in-person at that ferry terminal so there is no fancy website to book through with various prices. There’s one company, one price, and lots of ferry time slots to take so the process is very streamlined.
Malta to Gozo Ferry Timetables
The ferry Malta to Gozo only takes about 25 minutes and there are multiple crossings both ways per day. You can find the exact, up-to-date Gozo ferry schedule at the official website. It even tells you when the next departure is for each side!
Often there are multiple ferries per hour and there are even some that run during the night. With the exception of some holidays, the ferries basically run the whole year. Some ferry times – like Sunday night back to Malta – are busier. But then you could always opt for another ferry that day. There is also a summer timetable and a winter timetable which have a slightly different ferry frequency.
You can also download the Gozo Channel app which provides you with a timetable, any important updates, and more! This is handy if you’re planning your trip on the fly and need to look up the timetable while on the road.
Malta to Gozo Ferry Ticket Costs
The cost of the ferry journey from Malta to Gozo is very affordable given that the crossing is short. The “Standard Passenger Fare” is €4.65 at the time of writing. This is for a typical adult traveller who is foot traffic only (as in you have no car with you). There are other fares for residents of Gozo, kids, and a few other categories.
In case you were wondering, for those travelling with a car, the “Car and Driver Standard Fare” is €15.70. There are also different fares if you have a motorcycle, a bicycle, trailer, and other vehicle types. For a full breakdown, here is the official website for Gozo ferry fares.
Other Ferry Travel Considerations
Before you prepare for the ferry journey, there are a few other details that you should consider.
- Safety: The boats are equipped with more than enough lifejackets for everyone – a max of 900 people – as well as an AED, fire extinguishers, and inflatable evacuation slides and rafts.
- Cars: You MUST leave your car during the voyage and go to the passenger deck. You can return to it when you get to Gozo to drive away.
- Motorbikes: You need to secure it as per their instructions – but you should know what you are doing. If you’ve never rented something with two wheels before and you’re just taking it on the ferry, be extra careful so you don’t hurt yourself, the bike, or others.
- Accessibility: Three of the ships have a lift: Malita, Ta Pinu, and Gaudos while a chair lift is available on the Nikolaos. There is also a priority lane at each terminal to assist people with disabilities.
- Pets: Pets need a ticket and they must be on a leash at all times. They aren’t allowed in the food areas and on any chairs/benches etc.
- Cargo or Dangerous Goods: This is more for locals but as a traveller it’s good to know that there are separate ferry times for carrying large cargo and/or goods that are listed as dangerous (explosive, etc).
Our Experience on the Gozo Ferry
- Ferry Company: Gozo Channel
- Journey Time: 25 minutes
- Cost: Standard Passenger Fare €4.65 (at time of writing)
- Tickets Bought: Tickets are bought IN-PERSON ON GOZO when you return to Malta
Overall, we had a great experience taking the ferry from Malta to Gozo. To tell you a little more about our experience: We caught the ferry to Gozo in the morning and came back later the same day during sunset. Below is a more detailed account of the whole experience. Generally speaking, it’s very straightforward.
Leaving Malta for Gozo
If you’ve decided to take the ferry to Gozo, you need to first get yourself to the ferry terminal on Malta. The ferry terminal is located at the northernmost end of the main island of Malta close to Paradise Bay Resort.
Location of Ċirkewwa Passenger Terminal: Located at the north end of the island of Malta in Ċirkewwa.
If you are staying in Sliema, Valletta, or a number of other cities/towns on the island, you will need to head north. There are a number of ways to get to the Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal.
You can drive there from the south end of the island in about 45 minutes. There is parking available at the terminal if you aren’t taking the car to Gozo. If you are taking the car, just follow the signs into the vehicle waiting area and await instructions to drive onto the next ferry.
You can also take the bus to the Ferry Terminal. This is what we did from the Sliema area. The following bus routes can get you to the Ferry Terminal in Ċirkewwa: 41, 42, 101, 221, 222, N11, X1, X1A, X1B. You can learn more about bus routes and timetables at the official website for Malta Transport. The bus system is very good in Malta so use them!
If you are coming right from the airport, you can hop on a bus (mentioned above), hop in a rental car, or hop in a cab for a ride that is around 30 Euro – but make sure you account for traffic and getting across the island if you are trying to catch a specific ferry to Gozo.
Once you arrive at the terminal, it’s honestly pretty straightforward. Since you don’t have to buy a ticket, you basically just hang out in the large seating area. There’s a little cafe in the terminal for coffee and little sweets. They announce which ferry is boarding and when the time comes, simply follow the signs/crowds into the ferry.
Once on-board, there is seating inside and out so choose what works best for you and get comfortable. We opted to stand out in the sunshine to see as much as we could. This would prove to be a great idea.
Ferry Ride to Gozo
Once everyone and the cars were on board, off we went! The short ride was largely uneventful – which is what you want from a ferry ride across the open ocean. It was very smooth and people were both inside looking out the windows as well as up on the upper deck taking in the views.
They actually cancel the ferries if the seas are too rough but usually it’s easy-going through this channel. Eric also didn’t visit Malta in the high summer season – but we can imagine the ferry and terminal being a little more hectic and busy during that time. Honestly though, it’s such a straightforward process and an enjoyable ride.
If you want to stand outside (like we did) you might want a sweater or jacket because the wind on the water can make things very chilly even if the sun is shining brightly. In fact, this can be more dangerous because you don’t feel how much your skin is burning when the cold wind is on it!
In terms of things to know: The boats have free wifi on board and there’s also a small cafe that does light food/snacks and drinks. Good to grab a coffee (or beer, more on this later) if you are in a pinch. That said, you can wait until Mġarr harbour for the little seaside cafes/restaurants/bars for lunch.
As you cross, you also get great views of the island of Comino, the third-largest island that makes up the country of Malta. There is a separate ferry company (Comino Ferries) and the island has a few attractions like the Blue Lagoon which you might want to check out.
Arriving on Gozo
After about 20 minutes, it’s time to get ready to get off. You see the island of Gozo coming closer and it can be a little exciting. The first thing you see is the little harbour full of boats – this is Mġarr Harbour. You also might notice a church up on the hill – this is the Church of the Madonna of Lourdes.
You can read up on rent a car right on the spot in Gozo, or catch the Malta Public Transport bus.
The bus is good because any Malta day tickets you might have work on these buses on Gozo, too. The 301 Bus and the 323 Bus take you directly from the Ferry Terminal (stop called Vapur) to the capital city of Victoria (the main bus terminal, it’s obvious). The 303 will also get you to Victoria but in a more roundabout way.
Just so you know, you can also buy a ticket for the hop on the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus. Sounds silly, but you can then use it as both a way to get around the island while you are there (as it has multiple stops and buses running the same route) and as a great way to learn about the sights to check out.
Boarding on Gozo Back to Malta
Once you are done in Gozo – for us it was a very long but awesome day – you can basically do the whole thing in reverse. You need to first head from wherever you are on Gozo to the Gozo Ferry Terminal back at the harbour.
One thing you need to know is that if you are travelling on Sunday or a holiday, the ferries get very busy because locals make their way to Gozo for the weekend and all come back on Sunday. The traffic to even get to the harbour can be backed up significantly so if you have a ferry time in mind after 2:00 pm on Sunday leave yourself lots of time!
If you are in a car, just follow the signs to line up for getting back on the ferry much like you did heading for Gozo. If you are on foot, just head back into the small ferry terminal. This time you will buy your ticket to head back to Malta. You need it to go through a set of gates so you can’t get on without a ticket in Gozo.
Just so you know, you can go and purchase pre-paid return tickets at any time – it doesn’t have to be right before your return ferry trip (but it usually is for most travellers). This can be done at the Mġarr Harbour/Gozo Ferry Terminal when the office is open.
Arriving Back on Malta
The ride back is much the same as when you go – except people are usually more tired because they have been in the sun all day or have been exploring.
Eric’s ride back was very memorable. This is because of the amazing sunset he was treated to and the circumstances of the ride. Eric and his friends brought a beer on-board and had a “cheers” to a great day on Gozo. They cleaned up their bottles and drank responsibly so it was a great way to end off a fantastic day – beers on the top deck!
Once back in Ċirkewwa everyone on foot got off pretty quickly while the cars got off as well. Eric then headed for the buses again at the large bus stop area outside the terminal.
Depending on where you are staying, there are lots or fewer buses you can catch to get back to the south end of the island. Usually, they are frequent so it’s not a huge deal if they fill up. If you took the car, then off you go again to where you are staying!
And there you have it – our experience taking the ferry from Malta to Gozo and back! Taking the ferry is very easy if you know what to expect. Just follow the signs, leave yourself time, and be sure to enjoy the views from the ferry when you cross. Above all, enjoy Malta – it’s a fantastic little country of more than just sunshine.
As always, Happy Gozo Ferry Waddlin’,
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