Discover the Citadel (aka Ċittadella) in the heart of Victoria, Gozo, a remarkable Maltese fortress that has guarded the island since the late medieval era.
The Citadel is a testament to Gozo’s rich history that served as a shelter against barbary pirates and Saracens of the island’s resilient past.
The fortress showcases a beautiful architectural tapestry shaped by different civilizations across centuries. Each step reflects the footsteps of those who left a mark on this Ċittadella.
I visited this amazing site while traveling around Gozo and have created this detailed guide covering everything you need to know about the Ċittadella in Gozo, from getting there to the best things to do in the surrounding area.
And, I’ll fill you in on the breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view from one of the island’s highest points.
- Where Is The Citadel?
- Best Options To Get To The Citadel In Gozo
- Things to Do in The Citadel
- Where to Stay in Gozo
- More Malta Travel & Adventure Guides
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
Where Is The Citadel?
Citadel is situated exactly in the central part of the capital city of Gozo, Victoria (also known as Rabat). This fortified town is uphill once you pass the It-Tokk Market on the right-hand side.
Best Options To Get To The Citadel In Gozo
When I visited Gozo I decided to rent a car in Malta and take it on the ferry across the Gozo Channel from Cirkewwa. This was a great way to explore the island and get to Victoria.
However, there are plenty of other ways to get to Victoria and explore the amazing Ċittadella. Below I'll break down the best options.
One of the best ways to reach the Citadel is by booking an all-inclusive, hassle-free day trip to put your mind at ease. The tour by Yippee Tours provides a convenient pick-up service and transportation back to Malta and I highly recommend this if you are staying on the main island.
- The Gozo Tuk Tuk Tour takes you to the best spots around the island, including the Citadel, and your driver will share their local knowledge with you at every stop.
- Alternatively, you could take the popular self-drive Gozo Quad Bike Tour, where you’ll follow a lead driver to a mix of stunning offroad places hard to reach by car as well as popular seaside locations.
Rent a Car
For more exploration of Gozo, check availability and compare prices with well-known online comparison sites such as DiscoverCars. In my opinion, driving around Gozo is very easy, and you can rent a car for pickup from the airport in Malta, drive up north to Ċirkewwa, and take your rental car across to Gozo on the ferry.
Near the Citadel, the most convenient and spacious car park is located next to the main bus station, offering plenty of parking space. This free-of-charge car park is just a short 10-minute walk away from the Citadel.
Car Park GPS Coordinates: 36°02'34.3"N 14°14'31.8"E
Alternatively, if this car park is full, I recommend driving to the parking area at the very top of the hill just outside the entrance to the Citadel. There is a small charge of 2 euros to park here but it's worth it for the convenience.
There is a public ferry connecting the north of Malta to Gozo Island. This departs from Cirkewwa and accommodates cars and passengers.
Once you arrive at Gozo, you want to take the bus. A good option is to hop on bus number 301 from Mġarr Harbour. This operates every 30 minutes all year round and allows for a short bus ride that will take you directly to Victoria's main bus station where you can walk to the Citadel in less than 10 minutes.
Taxis offer various options but is the priciest way to get to Victoria. Traditional taxis, easily recognizable in white color, and modern ride-hailing services through smartphone apps like Bolt, Uber, and eCabs provide accessibility from anywhere on Gozo.
In my opinion, getting the ferry and public bus is a much better option since you'll save money. However, if it is convenient you're after, a taxi from Mġarr Harbour should cost about 10 to 15 Euros. Prices can vary based on the time of day and the specific taxi company.
It's always a good idea to agree on the fare of the ride before starting the journey.
Things to Do in The Citadel
1. Take in the Panoramic Views of Victoria
Don't miss the scenery from the Citadel.
It's one of the highest points on the island, offering a 360-degree view of the island. Get ready to be fascinated by one of Gozo's most beautiful sunset viewpoints, with breathtaking landscapes over the countryside and villages.
From my experience, the best spot for this panoramic view is the southeastern bastion of the Citadel. This is a great place to look out into the city, especially during golden hour when the setting sun casts a warm glow over Victoria.
2. Ta' Rikardu Restaurant
One of my favorite restaurants in Malta is located right in the heart of the Citadel. It's called Ta' Rikardu and they offer amazing artisan wine and cheese.
I highly recommend stopping in this restaurant, especially if you want great views! Their rooftop dining area offers one of the best vantage points inside the Citadel.
3. The Cathedral Museum and Cathedral Square
The Cathedral Square is a charming square at the heart of the Citadel. This is one of the best places to take photos.
It also leads you to the Gozo Cathedral Museum. We went to the museum to check out the art and artifacts, including ancient relics and stunning masterpieces.
4. Museum of Archaeology
The journey through the cultural history of Gozo from centuries ago can be found at the Gozo Museum of Archaeology.
This is another museum worth checking out that showcases materials from various archaeological sites. It's split into three areas: Prehistory, Classical, Mediaeval, and Gozo's Early Modern periods so I recommend spending at least an hour to get up to scratch!
5. Folklore Museum
The Folklore Museum, also known as the Gran Castello Historic House, is a world of authenticity from the 16th century.
While we didn't visit this one, there are great reviews online about it. It was also recommended to us by the team at Yippee Tours who operate in Gozo. They told me you'll find fascinating displays of rural trades, traditional hobbies, model churches, traditional costumes, and marvelous furniture pieces inside.
6. Gozo Nature Museum
Behind the Courts of Justice, the Nature Museum is interconnected with domestic buildings dating back to the 1600s.
With a storied history and having served as a shelter during WWII, this museum now welcomes visitors with exhibits on diverse subjects, including geology, minerals, human and animal evolution, marine life, insects, flora, and ecosystems.
7. Old Prison
The Old Prison was my favorite attraction at the Gozo Citadel and features a unique collection of prison-related memorabilia.
The graffiti on the cell walls featuring palm prints, games, and depictions of sea vessels is a poignant collection that reminds prisoners of their difficulties and experiences.
Where to Stay in Gozo
Due to its small size and well-connected network of buses and roads, choosing the ideal location to stay in Gozo is less crucial than on the main island of Malta.
However, if you ask, locals will always tell you that to get the complete Gozitan experience, what's more important is picking a traditional boutique hotel over a luxury resort or modern hotel. You'll find many boutique hotels in Gozo dotted all over the island, from Nadur to Xlendi. Below are the 3 top picks.
- Quaint Boutique Hotel - Nadur
Accommodation on Malta’s quieter sister island should reflect its more peaceful and traditional ambiance. This beautifully renovated boutique hotel is situated directly beside the Nadur Parish Church, with spacious balcony terraces looking over the town square.
- Viewpoint Boutique Living - Xlendi
This family-run boutique hotel dates back 300 years and is situated on a beautiful cliff overlooking the Xlendi Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. The location is ideal for couples looking to get away, with convenient access to the beach and just a short 2 km drive to the Citadella.
- Kempinski Hotel - San Lawrenz
For travelers preferring modern, 5-star luxury, the Kempinski Hotel is your best bet. This amazing hotel is located in San Lawrenz, on a 30,000m² tropical oasis. An excellent choice for larger groups and families as there are self-catering apartment options as well!
Things to Know Before Visiting
Opening hours and Ticket Prices
The entrance hours are from 9 am to 5 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday.
The Citadel and the other sites always close on Good Friday, Christmas Eve & Day, and New Year's Eve & Day.
When we visited, we noticed that the fees for Adults (18+) are €5.00, while Youths (12-17), Senior Citizens (60+), and students pay just €3.50. Children (6-11) can enter for only €2.50, and children aged 1-5 are free!
I suggest the Citadella Combo ticket from Heritage Malta which includes access to the Gozo Museum of Archaeology, Gran Castello Historic House, Gozo Nature Museum, The Old Prison, and the Citadel Visitors Centre.
Why was the Citadel built?
The Citadel fortress was built as an important sanctuary for the population at different points in Gozo's past, the late medieval era and Neolithic times.
What Does Ċittadella Mean?
“Ic-Ċittadella," the Maltese word for the Citadel, also goes by another name, "Il-Kastell," both meaning castle.
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Must See Attractions in Victoria Outside of the Citadel
Looking to explore the rest of Gozo's capital? Here are some good starting options.
Walk through Independence Square, locally known as Pjazza Indipendenza. This square is full of beautiful architecture, and the atmosphere here is fantastic. Enjoy yourself the most traditional way as friendly locals welcome you for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee.
It-Tokk market is the most popular street market on the island. You'll find any Gozo-related item, from souvenirs to handmade items, clothing, and jewelry, while chatting with friendly local vendors.
St. George's Basilica
I recommend checking out Gozo's deep origins and beauty at the iconic St George's Basilica in the heart of Victoria. It is an incredible testament to Gozo's architectural, religious, and cultural significance. This magnificent church is adorned entirely with marble.
Republic Street is one of the capital city's main streets.
This street is famous mainly for diverse shops, shopping arcades, cafes, eateries, drugstores, banks, and other retail establishments. This is my favorite street in Gozo and while strolling this famous street we found Villa Rundle Gardens, a must-visit!
Victoria by Night
I highly recommend walking through the narrow and winding streets of the old town in the evenings to witness the unique beauty of Victoria Gozo.
While there, enjoy something to eat or drink at lovely coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs.
More Malta Travel & Adventure Guides
I hope that you've enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Gozo's famous Ċittadella. This is one of my favorite spots on the island and I recommend it to all my friends who visit Malta.
While you're here, check out some of my other guides I've published to help you plan your trip!
- 70+ Things to do in Malta - my ultimate Maltese Travel Guide covering all the must-see attractions and hidden gems in the archipelago.
- 16 Things to do on Comino - my detailed guide to the island of Comino
- 40 Amazing Things to do on Gozo - I explored every corner of Malta's sister island of Gozo to form this comprehensive travel guide
- Best Beaches in Malta - a thorough beach guide covering the most popular spots and plenty of hidden gems
- Guide to Mellieha - a detailed travel guide covering the top 16 things to do in Mellieha
- 26 Things to do in Valletta - I cover my favorite things to do in Malta's capital
- Top Sunset Spoints in Malta - wind down your day at one of these epic sunset locations in Malta
- The Malta Blue Lagoon Guide - the most up-to-date resource on visiting Malta's most popular natural attraction, the Blue Lagoon!
- Accommodation resources: Looking for places to stay? Read my guide to finding where to stay in Malta. Or, for a unique stay, check out this list of great Boutique Hotels in Gozo and more Boutique Hotels in Valletta.