Gorgeous, cosy stone cottage tucked away down a tiny alley in a beautiful, peaceful hamlet just outside Gharb. The house is full of character and has been beautifully finished with old, rustic antiques and farming implements and beautiful stone work.
The basement lounge is amazing and accessed via a TINY spiral staircase.
The farmhouse kitchen and family room is welcoming, well equipped and lovely for candlelit dinners.
The bedrooms are lovely - not huge but very comfortable with lots of wardrobe space, comfy beds, nice linen, rush fly screens and gorgeous Juliette balconies. The double room has a small ensuite (water pressure very low in the shower as I think it is gravity fed) and the twin room has ensuite toilet and basin. Downstairs there is another shower room (water pressure fine in there!) Plenty of towels available.
From the first floor another tiny stone staircase leads up to a lovely roof terrace with a stone built BBQ, table and chairs. There is also picnic crockery and BBQ utensils up here and a sink so you don't have to carry everything upstairs. We tried to BBQ one night but it was very windy the week we were on the island so it proved a bit tricky!
On the ground floor there is also a small courtyard with a lovely little plunge pool with a built in jacuzzi (unheated) and a couple of sunbeds.
We took a slight gamble on this property as it is clearly new to the market and didn't have any reviews but I would DEFINITELY stay here again. The quality of the finish and attention to detail is impressive for a rental property.
The location is great - about half a mile to Gharb and St Lawrenz for the little supermarkets and a 5 min drive to the Azure Window and Inland Sea (the €4 boat trip from the inland sea, through the tunnel and then around the azure window and the coastal caves is a must). We hired a car but I did notice a bus stop in the square 50 yards from the cottage. Its a very quiet spot and the only things we really heard were the the sparrows (they can have a lot to say for themselves!), some distant gun-shots (the Maltese are big on hunting) and the mid-morning postman on his motorbike.
Tony, the owner is lovely. We met him in Gharb outside the beautiful church and showed us to the cottage. Had we been on foot, then he offered to collect us from the ferry (also very frequent and cheap). We had a lovely complementary food parcel on arrival of all the basics to tide us over and even a bottle of his homemade wine!
Eating out in Gozo and Malta is very reasonable and the food is fantastic. Italian is probably the main influence with pasta, pizza and Mediterranean herbs but there were also some fantastic north african and arabic flavours too. Look out for local specialities like ricotta, capers, rabbit, fish, pastizzi (tasty little pea pies), Kinnie ( a local soft drink), carob syrup, strawberries, prickly pears, oranges, figs, honey, bean humous, ftira bread (traditionally served with tomato paste, tuna, capers and olives) and cheesy twistees (crisps). I strongly recommend Maldonado restaurant in Victoria (about 15 mins drive) for amazing food in a stunning, stone-vaulted setting with great cocktails too (cocktails only €3.75!!).
Bring comfortable walking shoes. Gozo is a beautiful island with quaint villages and stunning coastline so its great to get out walking especially in the spring when the weather is balmy and the flowers are blooming.
Be aware that the citadel at Victoria is currently undergoing major restoration so its a bit of a building site at the moment. Its still worth a visit though to see the view from the wall. The gunpowder battery and silos are a very interesting little tour, as is the old gaol.
The Blue Lagoon and Camino are a must and the waters around the islands are crystal clear, turquoise and stunning. Sadly, sea temperatures were rather chilly in April so we didn't venture in much but I'd love to go back diving later in the season.
Some of the roads can be decidedly dodgy (think rough, farm tracks) as can the driving (driving tests are a fairly new thing in Malta!) but the Maltese people - when not behind the wheel - are amongst the loveliest I've met.
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