The delightful sea inlet of Xlendi Bay on the Southwestern coast of Gozo lies at the end of a deep, lush ravine which was once a river bed. Until just a few decades ago Xlendi was a small fishing port and a restful summer resort for a few locals and Maltese “tourists”.
Today Xlendi is on the must-see list for most day-trippers but it is worthwhile lingering a day or two to enjoy the sunsets and some al fresco dining at the water's edge. Its small sandy beach is ideal for both young and old while the more adventurous may choose to swim or snorkel off the rocks bordering the beach where strategically positioned ladders give easy access to the deep blue waters.
Despite the construction of a few hotels and holiday apartments in the area, the bay retains a peaceful, chilled-out atmosphere and the countryside surrounding the village remains pristine and undeveloped. The resort is still a working fishing village and harbours a number of luzzijiet fishing vessels which add to the colourful picture-postcard perfection of the bay.
Xlendi is flanked by steep cliffs and a short climb up the stairs to the right of the village affords panoramic views of the beach below and the open sea.
Standing proudly on a scenic promontory surrounded by hand-dug salt pans is Xlendi Tower, the oldest free standing coastal watch-tower in Gozo. Built during the reign of Grand Master Lascaris in 1650, the Tower helped to stop smugglers, pirates and evaders of quarantine from entering the bay. The Knights of St John built a series of coastal watchtowers on Malta, Gozo and even on the tiny island of Comino to defend the islands' shores. The armed guards on duty in Xlendi Tower commanded extensive views of the south-western approaches to Gozo and the entrance to Comino Channel. The Tower remained “in service” for over 200 years.
Xlendi is also a popular diving site favoured by beginners who can explore the underwater reef formations.