The Xlendi Walk is one of the best coastal walks in Gozo, Malta. Basically, the walk starts in Mgarr (Mġarr) and finishes at Xlendi Bay. Along the way, you’ll see spectacular coastal landforms and mindblowing natural scenery. The highlights en route include Mgarr ix-Xini (Mġarr ix-Xini), Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs and the Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint.
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Xlendi Walk. After a trail description, we’ll talk about things to do in Xlendi after the walk. This will include details about where to eat and where to stay.
Table of Contents
Xlendi Walk Overview
The Xlendi Walk is also known as the Xlendi Cliff Walk and Xlendi Trail. Personally, this walk from Mgarr to Xlendi was our favourite hike in Gozo. That’s because of the sensational natural scenery on offer throughout the coastal walk. So, without further ado, let’s look at the nitty-gritty specs of this trail below.
Xlendi Walk Details and Map
- Type: One-way
- Distance: 12.9km
- Time: 3.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 255m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Gozo Ferry Terminal
- Map: Wikiloc
Xlendi Walk Trail Description
In this trail description, we’ll break down the route into sections to show you the highlights. Indeed, the best sections of this Xlendi Walk are Mgarr ix-Xini, Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs and Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint. Of course, all of these natural attractions can be visited separately as standalone activities. But, by following this trail, you’ll get to experience all of these epic destinations in one star-studded coastal walk. Let’s start by looking at how to get to the trailhead in Gozo.
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How to Get There: Gozo Ferry
Public transport: if you’re staying on the mainland of Malta, you’ll need to catch the Gozo Channel Ferry (Mgarr Gozo Ferry). Additionally, it’s possible to take your car hire from the mainland to Gozo on the ferry. The Gozo Channel Ferry service runs 24/7 and in 2022, is €15.70 ($15.70USD) for the car and passenger, plus €4.65 ($4.65USD) for each additional passenger. If you don’t have a car, you’ll just pay the standard passenger fare of €4.65 ($4.65USD) for the return ferry. Also, you’ll pay on the return ferry from Gozo to the mainland. You’ll depart from the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal on the mainland and return from the Gozo Ferry Terminal (Mgarr Harbour).
There are limited details about how far in advance you need to arrive to board the Gozo Channel Ferry. Personally, we found arriving 10–15 minutes beforehand meant you’d usually get on the next ferry, coming to or from Gozo. But, during peak season in summer, you might want to arrive 15–30 minutes before your desired time of departure. Check here for the Gozo Channel Ferry schedule.
FYI – you can explore Gozo with Hop On Hop Off – if that’s your preferred way of getting around the island.
Hiring a Car in Malta
We hired a manual car from Malta International Airport for only €17/day ($17USD). It was possible to get a cheaper manual car for €13/day ($13USD) with Sicily By Car. But, they require an International Driver’s Permit and have a poorer reputation. Anyway, for an automatic car, you’d be looking at around €22/day ($22USD) with a reputable company.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
Mgarr Harbour (Mgarr, Gozo)
Basically, the walk starts from the Gozo Ferry Terminal, AKA Mgarr Harbour or Gozo Port, if you don’t have a car. If you have a car, we recommend parking here for free and starting the walk from this point. If you leave the mainland early enough, you may even get to enjoy sunrise in Mgarr, Gozo. Personally, we watched the sun pop up just next to Mgarr Harbour, where we parked the car for the day. From Mgarr Harbour, you’ll walk by a spectacular stretch of coast known as Xatt l-Aħmar.
During this part of the coastal walk, you’ll walk by a stunning set of salt pans, which are called Xatt l-Aħmar Salt Pans. FYI – next to the salt pans, there’s a popular diving site for the MV Karwela Ship Wreck, which is known as the Xatt l-Aħmar Wreck Dive Site.
After walking through the Xatt l-Aħmar area, continue west towards Mgarr ix-Xini. With the sparkling Mediterranean Sea to your left, you’ll soon reach Mgarr ix-Xini Tower. The tower was built in 1661 by the Order of Saint John. Out of 14 coastal towers in Malta, Mgarr ix-Xini Tower is considered the largest. Indeed, Mgarr ix-Xini Tower is a magnificent coastal fort worth checking out. You can climb the stairs for a bit more of a nosey!
After passing the tower, you’ll arrive at a serene bay called Mgarr ix-Xini. It’s a narrow and slender bay that’s very popular with tourists and locals alike. Hopefully, by starting the Xlendi Walk early, you’ll beat the crowds as you pass by the picturesque Mgarr ix-Xini.
Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs
Once you’ve walked by Mgarr ix-Xini, you’ll briefly walk parallel to the coast, but further inland. Soon enough though, you’ll steer closer to the spectacular vertical cliffs known as Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs. Certainly, these sandstone cliff walls are a highlight of the Xlendi Walk. Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs are extraordinarily high sea cliffs with a vivid yellow complexion. Beck and I spent a lot of time admiring these incredible sea walls. Personally, we think Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs are one of the most amazing stretches of coast in Malta. Of course, take care as you near the edge of the cliffs.
Once you’ve admired Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs, you’ll head sharply inland and around the town of Sannat. Because of the large Hotel Ta Cenc complex, you won’t be able to continue along the coast at Sannat. You’ll need to head inland to circle around this Sannat-based hotel. Along the way, you’ll see Rotunda St. John Baptist Church in the distance. Eventually, you’ll round Sannat and head back towards the coastline, heading to the Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint.
Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint
After leaving Sannat, you’ll reach the highest point of the walk at around 129 metres above sea level. Not far away, you’ll arrive at the superb Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint. Indeed, Sanap Cliffs is an amazing spot to watch the sunset. Admittedly, Beck and I didn’t watch sunset at Sanap Cliffs. Still, though, the Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint is worth checking out at any time of day. Similar to Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs, the vertical sandstone cliff walls at the Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint are simply mesmerising. Certainly, along the Xlendi Walk, you’ll be continuously spoilt with different stretches of magnificent sandstone sea cliffs.
Once you’ve soaked in the stellar views at the Sanap Cliffs Sunset Viewpoint, it’s time to continue towards Xlendi Bay. Before reaching the bay, you’ll arrive at Xlendi Tower. This small watch tower was built in 1650, again, by the Order of Saint John. Admittedly, Xlendi Tower isn’t as impressive as Mgarr ix-Xini Tower. So, Beck and I didn’t spend too long at this tower.
Xlendi Bay: Endpoint of the Walk
As you near the bay, you’ll walk down by the lovely Xlendi Grotto. After passing the grotto, you’ll walk along the southern edge of Xlendi Beach. From there, you’ll enjoy great views of Xlendi Bay, which is the endpoint of this coastal walk. So, it’s time to put your feet up and relax at the gorgeous Xlendi Bay. Before going for a swim, we recommend exploring the town of Xlendi. Certainly, the buildings surrounding Xlendi Bay are quaint with charming coastal vibes.
Also known as Xlendi Bay Beach, Xlendi Beach is the perfect spot to unwind and relax. Indeed, a swim at Xlendi Beach is the perfect way to end the coastal walk! But, there’s more to Xlendi than just swimming at the beach.
Things to Do in Xlendi After the Walk
There are plenty of great things to do in Xlendi. Once you’ve finished the Xlendi Walk and gone for a swim at the beach, what’ll you do next? Let’s look at your options below.
Xlendi is a great place for watersports. There’s actually a company called Xlendi Watersports, that’ll take care of all of your watersport needs. Are you keen on kayaking, water ski wakeboarding, paddle boating or paddle boarding? Or are you just wanting to hire a boat? You name it, Xlendi Watersports have you covered. Anyway, you can find their stall on the right-hand side of Xlendi Beach.
After the Xlendi Walk, you’ll definitely be ready for a bite to eat. Indeed, there are many fantastic Xlendi restaurants at the ready. We recommend The Boathouse Restaurant, Ta’ Karolina Restaurant and Talija. These Xlendi restaurants come highly rated.
If you’re keen on staying at Xlendi Bay, there are plenty of fantastic hotels in the area. To make life easier, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury Xlendi hotels to choose from.
Budget – Ulysses ApartHotel
This apartment hotel is the best budget find in Xlendi Bay. Ulysses ApartHotel is a well-equipped modern hotel. Feel free to use the kitchen to do your own cooking or eat at the on-site restaurant.
Mid-range – Hotel San Andrea
Hotel San Andrea is one of the most popular hotels in Xlendi Bay. It’s beautifully located on the promenade; so, you’re just metres away from Xlendi Beach. You’ll also have amazing seaside views at this boutique hotel.
All year round, you can expect fairly warm and dry weather in Xlendi. Although, Beck and I did experience strong gusts and heavy winds along the Ta’ Ċenċ Cliffs during the Xlendi Walk. By way of preparation, make sure to check the Xlendi weather forecast before heading out. For the Brits, you can check the weather in Malta using MetOffice.
Hiking Gear Essentials For the Xlendi Walk
It can obviously get very hot in Malta during the summer. Make sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. You’ll also want to take a towel and swimmers! Otherwise, here are our five hiking gear essentials for this coastal walk.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
- Getting back to the Gozo Ferry Terminal from Xlendi: catch the 306 bus to Victoria, then catch the 301 or 303 bus to the ferry terminal.
- Extend the walk: personally, Beck and I continued to walk to Dwejra Bay, near San Lawrenz. Basically, the one-way coastal walk from Xlendi to Dwejra is a modified version of the Dwejra Walk.
- Other things to do when visiting Gozo: explore Xwenji Salt Pans, Tal-Mixta Cave, Wied Il-Għasri and Wied il-Mielaħ Window.
- Other great walks to do in Gozo: the Daħlet Qorrot Walk, Saltpan Walk and Ramla Walk.
Read our ‘Best Hikes in Malta List‘ to find out about the nine best hiking routes on the island.