A twenty minute ferry ride from the mainland, it’s hard to believe that Gozo can be so pure and retain its rural charm. As you breath in the fresh air from the upper deck of the ferry with the views of Fort Chambray and greenery all around, one thing is immediately clear- most of Gozo remains unspoilt. Life on Gozo is pretty laidback, traffic is a rarity and because of its’ size, nothing is far away. That, together with the slower pace of life, climate, friendly locals and the minimal language barrier, make it a desirable locale for people looking to relocate.
Many expats wouldn’t hesitate to call Gozo their home after settling here. So what is it about life on Gozo that the expats like the most?
SAFETY, PROXIMITY, A SIMPLER WAY OF LIFE
Imagine walking through quite alleys in a hamlet, or streets in village or town to see doors left wide open. Walk a bit further, you know what else? Keys left in the door, on purpose. This is a common sight in the quieter locations, albeit no longer the norm on the island. What may seem like an oddity at first quickly becomes the way of life.
The national crime rate averaged 37.84 recorded crimes per 1,000 residents per one of biggest factor which entices expats. The slower pace of life is another. When everything is ten steps away, life really does become simpler.
ENGLISH SPEAKING ISLAND
English is widely spoken on the island. The solid expat community has made it even more so than ever before. While there is a tendency to lapse into some Maltese phrases every now and again, you can get around comfortably if you’re English speaking.
What if you don’t know English? Learning English shouldn’t be that difficult with an influx of English people living on the island and an ever growing number of language schools. In fact, many expats relocate here for that exact reason.
The Maltese diet may not be as wholesome as it once was, but with the abundance of fresh crops grown by local farmers or imported from Sicily, avoiding junk food is easy. While there are still a fair number of Pastizzi outlets, you won’t find them around every corner as on the mainland.
Fresh produce is also considerably cheaper and easier to obtain with everything being five minutes away. If you’re a fan of seafood, fresh fish is plentiful and reasonably priced.
GREENERY, BEACHES, THE ISLAND LIFE
The natural environment. Being able to walk for miles on end throughout unspoilt countryside, by the cliffs, with awe-inspiring views is something which everyone enjoys about Gozo. Of course, the island life is in its fullest come summer. Swimming, boat rides, diving (or cliff diving, if you’re the daring kind), surfing, canoeing – in summer there are endless ways to relish in the incredible waters.
Whether you’re the type to enjoy a glass of wine in a quite bar, a delicious homely-meal in one of the seaside restaurants, star-gazing on a sandy beach, or prefer the clubbing scene, there’s always something to do. Sun-kissed, everyone is quick to smile and the attitude is contagious.
Ten to fifteen years ago, seeing an unfamiliar face while walking down the streets in Gozo was a rarity. Everyone could instantly place you within an ancestry. Seeing a couple of untraceable faces on the streets is a breath of fresh air. The greater part of the expats say they feel like locals, welcomed and at home. A few would report feeling like outsiders. Ultimately, it all depends on your own experiences and the people you’ve come in contact with. A closely knit island is slowly opening up to others. Yet even with the expats, Gozo remains Gozo and that’s why they love being here.
You can read Andrea Said’s full article on this month’s issue of VIDA.