Ramla Bay

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Most of the coastline of Gozo is surrounded by cliffs with wave cut platforms at the base of them. There are few beaches suitable for the sun-seekers.

Ramla Bay is on the north coast, reached either by walking from Xaghra past Calypso’s cave (good views) or the long drive from Nadur. The road drops down from the plateau into a fertile valley. The fields are irrigated and in May were planted out with lettuces and cabbages. The bottom of the valley is very wet and covered with a dense growth of bamboo. To the east are steep cliffs with limestone outcrops. There is plenty of parking along the side of the road.

It is a lovely, deep golden colour, sandy beach backed by sand dunes with typical dune flora. It is a popular swimming bay in summer. The day we visited there were strong winds blowing off the sea with quite a few white horses and big waves breaking on the beach.

There are two outdoor cafes at the top of the beach and a white statue of the Madonna standing in the middle of the beach. This is an ex-voto offering from three 19thC fishermen caught in a storm who promised to build a shrine if they returned safe.

Blue clay is exposed on the west side of the bay and this slope becomes unstable when wet. To the east are limestone outcrops with massive boulders. We followed a track from the east side of the beach which took us up the side of the cliff through tamarisk trees and wild oats. There were quite a few lizards darting around and disappearing into the undergrowth as soon as they saw us. Some were bright green, others brown.

The island had always been the subject of raids by the Turks. Ramla Bay was one of the few places ships could land easily. In the early 18thC, the Knights began building a series of fortifications to guard the bay. The remains of watchtowers can be seen on the headlands. They also built an underwater obstruction across the bay consisting of a submerged wall aimed at stopping boats landing. Apparently the remains of this can be seen on calm days.

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