Hear It From Locals

JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH SIMON GRECH FROM ZEBBUG, GOZO !

 

Simon Grech is a Maltese, working as a community pharmacist in Malta. He also runs a bed & breakfast in Zebbug. He is an aviation enthusiast and likes travelling around the world a lot. He is also an adventurer, a photographer, a musician, in other words he is interested in everything. He fell in love with Zebbug when he first visited this small picturesque village in the island of Gozo. His life motto is “The noblest art is that of making others happy !”

 

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Which is the best month to visit Zebbug and why?

Zebbug lies stretched on a peaceful hill to the north of Gozo. Its name in Maltese means olive trees, denoting a history of olive tree culture. Zebbug rises on two adjoining hills, from where one can observe a splendid panorama of the Gozitan countryside and the Mediterranean. 

Best month to visit Zebbug Gozo is August since the main annual village feast is usually celebrated on the third Sunday of August.

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View from Zebbug, the hill is Ta Gordan hill with lighthouse on top

 

 

What are the different modes of transport available from the airport to Zebbug, apart from cab? 

After arriving on Malta International Airport one must take the direct bus route X1 to Cirkewwa harbour. Then board the Gozo channel ferry and take the bus again to Zebbug route 301/303/ change to 309. Or you can easily use the direct airport shuttle services.

 

 

Which are the top 3 must visit places in Zebbug?

Marsalforn – Marsalforn was once a fishermen village but now it has developed into a harbour for sailing and cabin cruiser enthusiasts which come from the island of Malta and from different countries in the Mediterranean. One can find a lot of traditional food restaurants, and in summer live concerts and a variety of activities take place around the harbour promenade. A lot of sea related activities like canoeing, kayaking, diving, snorkelling, etc. can be found here in Marsalforn. A small church dedicated to St. Paul is situated in this village and a traditional feast in late January is celebrated. It forms part of Zebbug Local Council but  has its own Administrative Council and members.

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Photo by Valentin Salja on Unsplash

 

Xwejni Salt Pans – Xwejni Bay is just a few minutes walk down from Zebbug on the north coast of the island of Gozo. It is a place of natural beauty and very with locals and tourists alike. Xwejni is a place for production of Salt directly and naturally from the Sea and it is still produced the same way as from the Roman Empire, and it is said that its very high in Iodine which is very good for health. A family from Zebbug takes care of the Salt production. One can see the coastline which is dotted with shallow squarish or rectangular holes digged in the limestone. Xwejni Bay itself is a very popular bay for swimming almost all year round. The sea is very clear especially when the weather is very good. Divers from all over the world come here to explore the seabed which is very rich in fish, and interesting stone seabed scluptures exist. Xwejni Bay is also popular with photographers, fishin, canoeing and snorkelling adventures.

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Xwejni Salt Pans

 

il-Qolla l-Bajda (the White Hillock) – On the edge of Xwejni Bay is “il-Qolla il-Bajda” the White Hillock which is a small white clay hill which gives the bay that unique scene all year round. It is one of Gozo popular landmarks. 

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il-Qolla l-Bajda, the White Hillock

 

Further on with walking, one comes to Qbajjar Bay which is another popular swimming bay. It is used by fishermen to launch their boats and go fishing around the north coast of Gozo. It is also a bay where one can find a few good restaurants where one can dine till late. Early morning one can enjoy spectacular sunrise views. 

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Qbajjar bay as seen from Zebbug Gozo

 

 

What are the other things to do near Zebbug?

One can take the hop-on hop-off bus and tour the island in just one day. Most important to go is the Blue Lagoon, the Citadel, Dwejra bay, Xlendi bay and Ramla bay. If time permits there are other places of interest too. One can also rent a car since the island is not that huge to go around. Many places from Zebbug are reachable within minutes.

 

 

Which is the most celebrated holiday in Zebbug?

The most celebrated day is the annual village feast of the assumption of Saint Mary which is celebrated on the third Sunday of August. A whole week of activities, band marches and traditional fireworks including the famous “Sky Concert” pyromusical takes place. Street food and drinks are also a part of this popular feast. Another important feast is Good Friday with the traditional procession of statues and biblical representations. Christmas time is also quite popular in Zebbug.

 

 

Is Zebbug a vegetarian friendly place? Where can one find amazing street food in Zebbug? What time of the day is the best to visit there?

Yes vegetarian food is easily found in the restaurants. Zebbug is very popular among Maltese weekenders, Gozitans and tourists especially for its renowned pizza restaurants and traditional plates served on Sundays upon booking. These are Francesco Special Pizza, The View, Santa Maria Band Club restaurant, Qarju’s Pizza Place and Rovers Bar & Grill.

Street food is usually available during the annual traditional village feast and during carnival at the main square. Most famous traditional food is surely ‘Pastizzi’ which are oven baked cheesecakes filled with fresh Gozo cheese or peas. Fresh gozo cheeslets and peppered dried Gozo cheeslets are also a must to try. Other dishes include Gozitan Maltese platters, Bragioli, oven baked Pork, rabbit stew, baked macaroni, lasagne and a large variety of pizza. 

 

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Gozitan Maltese platter

 

There is no best time to visit the village but sunrise and sunset countryside views are spectacular from many places around the highest village of the island of Gozo. On Sundays most restaurants are open all day.

 

 

Where to head for affordable shopping? Which is the local craft, product or souvenir in Zebbug?

There are no shops in our village and most shops are found in the main city of the island of Gozo, Victoria. Z-Zebbugin are known for their bizzilla (lace); nsig
(weaving); and kutri tas-suf (sheep wool blankets). The surrounding countryside is
ideal for shepherds, their sheep produce Gozo’s finest gbejniet (cheeslets).
Zebbug is indeed a living example of cottage industry. The production of salt at Xwejni salt pans is also a local industry and one can purchase the salt from
the place.

The true souvenir of Zebbug Gozo is the “Ghazziela” which is a old
tradition related to religion, it is produced from flour , salt and water in the form of the
initials of Ave Maria, and is placed in windows every September to protect the local
houses from lightnings and thunderstorms.

 

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Zebbug Parish – Ghazziela

 

 

Would you recommend any popular local apps to tourists for transport, food and hidden gems in Zebbug?

There is no true local apps but one can visit local website visitgozo.com and local
facebook page like Zebbug Gozo.

 

Follow Simon Grech to know more about Zebbug, Gozo FACEBOOK

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