Gozo is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of Malta. After the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Compared to its southeastern neighbor, Gozo is more rural and known for its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms.
As of March 2015, the island has a population of around 37,342 (out of Malta's total 475,000), and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans (Maltese: Għawdxin). It is rich in historic locations such as the Ġgantija temples, which, along with the other Megalithic Temples of Malta, are among the world's oldest free-standing structures.
The island is rural in character and, compared to the main island Malta, less developed. It was known for the Azure Window, a natural limestone arch that was a remarkable geological feature, until its collapse on 8 March 2017. The island has other notable natural features, including the Inland Sea and Wied il-Mielaħ Window. There are many beaches on the island, as well as seaside resorts that are popular with both locals and tourists, the most popular being Marsalforn and Xlendi. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a center for water sports including open water swimming.
Open Water Swimming
- Nicky Farrugia completed the first swim from Sicily, Italy to the island of Gozo in the Malta archipelago in 1985 in 30 hours 17 minutes.
- Neil Agius completed a 100 km Sicily to Malta swim in 28 hours 7 minutes 27 seconds on 26 June 2020.
- The Malta-Gozo-Malta Open Water Swimming Competition is located in Malta, an archipelago situated in the Mediterranean Sea south of the coast of Sicily, Italy. The course is a channel swim between the main island Malta and its sister island Gozo that passes by the small picturesque island of Comino on the east. There are two distances: a one-way crossing of 5.5 km and a two-way marathon swim crossing of 11 km, usually the third Saturday of August.
- The Malta-Gozo-Malta Open Water Swimming Competition is a competitive swim that may serve to generate funds for the swimmer's favored charity. All swimmers are escorted by safety boats. Swimming in groups up to 4 is allowed, although group swimming is not part of the competition.
- The two-way 11 km swim starts in Marfa Bay, Malta with a turn-around buoy in Qala, Gozo and the finish in Marfa Bay. The one-way 5 km swim starts from Gozo.
- The channel swim is part of the local open water swimming championship series organized by the Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club which manages another 6 coastal swims, 5 of which are 2 km and one 4 km. These swims are held between June and August and serve as qualifiers for the local swimmers to do the channel swim. Foreigner swimmers must produce a recent medical certificate and a letter from their coach, club and national federation for them to participate. It is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims and one of the World's Top 100 Island Swims named by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- On 30 June 2012, Neil Agius completed a 126.3 km swim from Linosa, Italy to Xlendi Bay, Gozo on Malta in over 52 hours at the age of 35.
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