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Xwejni Bay Gozo: All You Need To Know About This Iconic Bay

by Karl Azzopardi

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If you find yourself in Gozo planning a day at the beach, Xwejni Bay in Zebbug, is the perfect spot for you. This must-see Gozo location in the area known as Qbajjar is tiled with impressive salt pans and welcomes many bathers, divers and culture enthusiasts alike each year.

You'll find beach-goers soaking up some sun on its gorgeous pebbled bay which is trumped only by the many underwater wonders that can be found on the north coast of the island. In this article, we will disclose some of the most notable features of this area, what you can do and how to get there. Just keep reading and start planning your trip to Xwejni Bay before summer's over!

Xwejni Bay Beach

When you arrive at Xwejni Bay, the first thing you'll notice is the white-pebbled bay surrounded by equally bright limestone rock formations and boat houses. This makes for a striking contrast with the aquamarine waters of Xwejni Bay beach which makes for a picturesque view. The sea here is quite shallow throughout the entire bay, making it ideal for anyone looking to casually bathe under the Maltese sun. 

xwejni bay beach

Xwejni Bay beach with the white hillock and Qolla l-Bajda Battery behind it, via cestujlevne.com

Even though Xwejni Bay is famous for its salt pans and salt production — which we'll get into later on in the article — it is known to be a quiet beach even during peak season. So, if a relaxed day by the sea is what you're after, Xwejni Bay beach in Gozo is where you should be. You don't even need to worry about packing lounging equipment or food as you can get everything from the vendors nearby.

Another eye-catching feature of Xwejni Bay in Gozo is surely the white hillock that stands tall on the right side of the bay. While it may be tempting to attempt climbing to its top, it's highly discouraged as it is quite dangerous to scale. So, it's best appreciated from a distance. If you have an itch for exploration, you can keep heading towards the right of Xwejni Bay beach until you come across an 18th-century battery named after the white hillock — Qolla l-Bajda Battery.

Qolla l-Bajda Battery

Qolla l-Bajda Battery, also known as Xwejni Battery or Qbajjar Battery, was built as an artillery battery by the Order of Saint John in 1715 as part of a large-scale fortification project around our islands' coasts. What makes this battery special is that it is one of the two last-standing batteries in Gozo and the last of the chain of fortifications that defended the north side of the island from Ottoman or Barbary attacks. It was used extensively until it was abandoned in the 19th century. When World War II hit the globe it was opened again to be used as an observation post.

qolla l-bajda battery xwejni bay

Qolla l-Bajda Battery on the right side of Xwejni Bay beach surrounded by the Salt Pans

In the true nature of the 1970s, Qolla l-Bajda Battery was relieved from its military responsibilities and converted into a discothèque in 1978 with major alterations taking place across the battery. Unfortunately, it has been closed and abandoned ever since so it can only be appreciated from the outside surrounded by a mosaic of salt pans. However, the Xwejni Salt Pans that Xwejni Bay is so well-known for can be found on the other side of the bay.

Xwejni Salt Pans

If you head towards the left of Xwejni Bay beach, you will come across the Xwejni Salt Pans — a chequerboard of shallow square pools that span over several kilometres along the seafront. These at the most well-known salt pans in Gozo that have been used for over 350 years and are still active to this day with numerous salt farmers harvesting sea salt every year between May and September.

Visiting the Xwejni Salt Pans during the summer months gives you the chance to observe the laborious process of salt-making — one of Malta and Gozo's oldest crafts dating back to the Phoenicians and Romans. During the day, salt farmers collect seawater from large pools that can be found scattered across the Xwejni Salt Pans and pour them into salt pans where they can harvest the salt from the seawater. 

xwejni salt pans

Salt farmer harvesting sea salt at Xwejni Salt Pans, via Travels with Tricia

As the water starts to evaporate, farmers brace the scorching sun and use industrial brooms to scrape up the salt. This process is repeated for around seven days until the salt is ready to be gathered into large mounts and left to drain. It's only once the salt is fully dry that the farmers can collect it and package it to be exported or sold locally. In fact, you can find vendors selling their harvested salt around the Xwejni Salt Pans.

Diving in Xwejni Bay

Xwejni Bay is also famous amongst divers for the numerous dive sites one can explore around the north coast of the island, the most famous of them being the Qbajjar Arch, also known as the Double Arch.

Found 20 metres below sea level, the Qbajjar Arch is not to be missed for diving enthusiasts as it is a rare sight with two arches standing on top of each other, and decorated with gorgeous reefs stretching up to 45 meters in depth. Being about 10 minutes away from the shore of Xwejni Bay beach, this site is abundant with sea life namely barracudas and groupers as well as other marine creatures hiding away in the small caves that can be found here.

xwejni double arch dive

Divers exploring the Qbajjar Arch also known as the Double Arch, photo by Michele Agius via Hotel Calypso 

A few meters away from the Qbajjar Arch you can find yet another impressive arch known as the Calypso Tunnel, that is also rich in flourishing reefs and marine life around 30 metres deep. Another diving site close by is the Submarine Cave which together with the previously-mentioned site makes for an interesting and enjoyable long diving trip along Gozo's north coast for experienced divers.

Useful Information

Getting there

Xwejni Bay has a large parking area right on the beach so if you're driving or getting a cab you have nothing to worry about. 

As for the bus option, you will need to hop on the 310 bus from Gozo's capital, Victoria, then hop off at the Xwejni and take a 10-minute walk through Triq ix-Xwejni till you come across Xwejni Bay beach.

Best time to visit

There's definitely no better time to visit Xwejni Bay beach than during the spring and summer months, not only because that is the best time to swim but it's also when the salt harvest is in full swing. 

If you plan to swim avoid days when southward winds are forecasted and we also suggest that you equip yourself with water shoes so you can walk more comfortably on the pebbles; though this is not necessary.

For more articles like this visit our Activity Tips section.

About Karl Azzopardi

Karl is a content writer who loves getting lost in the natural beauties of this world as much as he does in the fictitious lands he finds while poring through his unending book pile.

If he's not stuffing his face with a new recipe, he's probably hanging out with his friends' cats or dancing alone on the roof to nothing in particular.