Riding around Gozo
Gozo, Malta’s sister island and the second largest one in the Maltese archipelago, is a treasure-trove full of natural landscapes, verdant flora, lush foliage, crystalline beaches, and unique panoramas. Apart from enjoying peaceful walks and languorous days lounging at the beach, there are also those visitors who prefer to explore the island a little bit differently, through the hiring or rental of a quad bike, in order to better experience the beautiful Mediterranean vistas and coastlines, with the added thrill of roaming around in a more comfortable and practical way.
Quad bikes are easy to drive, even if one is a newbie. This type of car is known as an, ‘all terrain vehicle’, meaning that it is a vehicle which drives on low-pressure tyres, with a seat that is to be straddled by the driver and passenger, much like that of a motorcycle. Previous to the late 1980s, quad bikes were mostly three-wheelers, however today, the four-wheeler model is normally used. They are designed to handle a wider variety of terrain than most other cars. Although very like a motorcycle, this vehicle is much more stable and safe, as the added wheels guarantee not only slower speeds, but also better grip and control. Although the quad bike is relatively safe, since most people use it on rougher terrain than usual, it is also advisable to wear head-gear, like crash helmets, in order to minimise any possible incidents.
Quad bikes can be used to race on the beach, explore cliffs, navigate easily through muddy roads or run on rich soil without any danger of getting stuck or slowed down, which is why they are such a fun way of enjoying a place like Gozo thoroughly, since one would not need to impose any limits to one’s explorations due to terrain.
In Gozo, there are many places where one can rent quad bikes, be it for a couple of hours, half a day, a full day or even more. Most rental companies will also provide demonstrations of how to operate and manage quad bikes, as well as provide particular tours for those who prefer to have an experienced guide. The more adventurous types who need nothing more than directions and a map, will be given these instead.
Quad bikes are a fresh opportunity to explore and revel in the natural gems of Gozo more actively. Possible routes and destinations could include a visit to the Qala Belvedere, situated within the easternmost village in Gozo, whereby one can enjoy breathtaking views of the islet of Comino, the Mediterranean Sea, as well as cruise to sheltered small bays and inlets like Ħondoq ir-Rummien. Qala’s rocky coastline is perfect for a quad bike adventure, giving one the opportunity to discover the several interesting caves which pepper the cliffs.
Another worthwhile destination could be the Ramla Valley, situated in Nadur. One could take a look at the beautiful and historical sites by driving through Wied Binġemma to arrive at Ta’ Venuta, where the French troops landed in 1798. The trip will be admirably ended with the driver’s arrival at the magical Ramla Bay, and maybe a visit to the mythical Calypso Cave.
And what about such destinations as the picturesque salt pans just past Qbajjar Bay, west of Marsalforn? These 350-year-old salt pans stretch for about 3km along the coast, and are more than just scenic, as they are part of the centuries-old Gozitan tradition of sea-salt production.
The hidden routes and natural wonders to be found in Gozo are too many to be counted, yet making an effort to visit and find as many of them as possible is one of the great joys of visiting this island, and quad bikes would not only facilitate but add a tinge of spice to the adventure for sure!