Why we love our hometown of Qala, in Gozo
The Story of Qala
Il-Qala is Gozo’s easternmost village, with spectacular views of Comino and Malta, as well as a lengthy history of settlement dating back to the second half of the seventeenth century. Qala is one of the island of Gozo’s oldest communities. It is located on the island’s most eastern tip. Il-Qala, which translates port, most likely alludes to the neighboring bay and landing stage of Hondoq ir-Rummien, one of the top swimming spots on the island of Gozo.
Views from the il-Qala Belvedere and the little courtyard in front of the Il-Madonna tal-Blat Church are breathtaking (Saint Mary of the Rocks). This church faces Comino, and tradition has it that it was erected so that residents from the adjacent island might attend Holy Mass from across the sea when the weather was bad.
The village of Qala today
Nowadays the village of Qala is full of soul, bustling from day to night with locals, expats and tourists. The village square, where a variety of restaurants and taverns are open all year, is the focal point of social life in Qala. Clients travel from all across Gozo and Malta to visit this plaza. Every evening, the square serves as a peaceful gathering spot for both locals and tourists. Weekly music jam sessions are held in Zeppi’s Pub.
Activities in Qala, Gozo
Throughout the year, several activities take place. Among them are the Carnival parade, the Easter Passion Procession, and the International Folk Festival. Here are the top 5 things to do in Qala, Gozo.
1. Attending the village feast
The village festa, dedicated to St Joseph, is the most important event of the year. It takes place over 10 days, from the final weekend of July to the first weekend of August. Cultural and folk events, concerts, band marches, and ground and aerial fireworks displays all take place in quick succession, culminating on the last day of the festa.
2. Hiking and enjoying Gozo’s nature
Qala is a community surrounded entirely by farmland. It provides a range of short hikes with stunning views wherever one chooses to stroll. The rocky bay of Hondoq ir-Rummien is one of the island’s most popular beaches. It has beautiful natural settings and crystal pure water. The Belvedere, located on one of the village’s hills, offers a breathtaking view over Mgarr Harbour, the island of Comino, and the Maltese Channel.
3. Discover Gozitan Culture through the Folklore Festival
Each September, the Qala Local Council, in partnership with the Menhir Qala Folk Group, conducts the Qala International Folk Celebration, a four-day song and dance event. This frequently accommodates a varied range of local artisan traditions such as lace making, knitting, wood-carving, stained glass making, pottery making, and others. It also hosts a ‘Traditional Maltese Wedding,’ in which actors and locals re-enact the medieval marriage, replete with all the pomp, ceremonies, processions, dancing, and singing that provided as a backdrop for the occasion.
4. Relishing in the sea at Hondoq Bay
Another sight to view in Qala is Hondoq ir-Rummien Bay, which is located opposite the Isle of Comino. ‘ondoq’ is a pebbled bay that is one among Gozo’s most popular beaches, especially among Maltese inhabitants and visitors. ondoq is also a huge attraction for divers, especially beginners. It is easily accessible from the hamlet of Qala through Immaculate Conception Street, and enough parking is available along the bay.
5. Taking a day trip to Comino
Hondoq Bay is also one of the main connections to Comino Island from Gozo. In 20 minutes, you can walk down the country road to the bay and get a ferry from there. There are also frequent busses.
Bus Connections to and from Qala, Gozo
An efficient bus service connects the settlement to Gozo’s city, Victoria, throughout the day. It begins at 5.00 a.m. and concludes at 23.00 p.m. The ‘Buttigieg’ bus stop is directly across the street from our house.
There are several more interesting places to see in and near Qala, including the best preserved windmill on the islands and some prehistoric ruins. A solitary menhir and pottery sherds were unearthed, indicating the presence of a Temple Period megalithic building. Punic and Roman remnants have been discovered around the hamlet, including Fuq l-Gherien, Marga valley, and near the Immaculate Conception shrine. Ras il-Qala of Saint Anthony’s Battery, also known as It-Trunciera by locals, was built in 1732 to protect Gozo’s eastern shoreline by the Knights of the Order of St John. Throughout Qala, the British dug fourteen bunkers during WWII.
Book your stay in Gozo at il-Wileġ, in Qala
Would you like to choose Qala as your basis when staying in Gozo? I-Wileġ accommodation is your best choice. Choose between an owner run bed and breakfast or a private farmhouse with magnificent views.