The Malta Inland Sea on Gozo is a magnificent natural saltwater lagoon and dive site on Gozo’s west coast. Find out everything you need to know about visiting, swimming, and diving at the Inland Sea in this useful travel guide.
The Inland Sea, also called Qawra is a scenic lagoon separated from the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea by a long tunnel rock formation. This amazing seawater lagoon and sea cave is great for swimming, scuba diving, or for photography!
In this guide, I’ll give you a useful rundown on the Inland Sea to help you plan your travels through the Maltese Islands.
About the Inland Sea on Gozo Island
The Inland Sea gets its name from the large lagoon of seawater beneath the high cliffs of Dwejra Point. This shallow semi-circular lagoon is lined by a thin, pebble beach and is often dotted with small fishing boats laying anchor during rough seas.
Connecting the inland sea to the Mediterranean Sea is a long limestone tunnel (natural arch) running straight through the cliff face for over 80 meters. It is believed that this natural phenomenon was caused by an eroding faultline in the limestone cliffs.
Today, this tunnel is considered to be one of the best sea cave dive sites in Malta. Divers will swim through the arch, slowly descending until roughly 26 meters once they reach the open sea.
However, even if you're not a diver, there's good reason to visit. Swimming in the cave is permitted and many tourists and locals visit the Inland Sea to relax on the sheltered, pebble shores and to check out other unique geological rock formations in the area like the nearby Fungus Rock, Blue Hole, and remains of the former Azure Window.
It's also possible to take a boat trip through the tunnel, which I'll get into below.
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Where is the Inland Sea?
The Inland Sea is located in Dwejra Bay, on Gozo's west coast (San Lawrenz). Below I've pinned the exact location to help you find it.
How to Get to the Inland Sea in Malta
Below are the two best options for getting to the Inland Sea from Malta or Gozo Island.
Inland Sea on the Gozo Island Tour
The most convenient way to explore the beautiful island of Gozo is to take the famous full-day jeep & boat tour from the main island of Malta.
This tour visits many iconic Gozitan sites, including Ramla Bay (Calypso's Cave), and the Dwejra Bay highlights like the Inland Sea (optional boat tour) and the Blue Hole– plus a scenic boat tour of the Blue Lagoon and Comino Caves.
Visiting the Inland Sea Independently
The best way to get around Malta and explore all the epic attractions is to rent your own car. Those travelers basing themselves in the popular tourist hubs on the main island can easily rent a car there. I found that DiscoverCars is the best option for comparing dealerships and prices.
Once you've got yourself a set of wheels, you'll want to head over to the Gozo Channel Ferry, where you'll find scheduled crossings every 45 minutes.
There is a large Public Parking area just near the Inland Sea, and getting here from the main ferry terminal in Mġarr Harbor will take roughly 20 minutes.
Alternatively, it’s possible to reach this spot via the frequent bus service on the 311 line bus, stopping at the Dwejra stop.
What to Expect at the Inland Sea
Once you arrive at the parking lot nearby the Gozitan west coast, you will need to walk up over the small hill to the north, passing the Blue Hole on your left. Once here, the Inland Sea is unmistakable.
On the shores, you'll be free to throw down a beach towel and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful place. The high cliffs and vertical walls wrap around the coast, forming a sheltered lagoon area, which is perfect on windy days in Malta.
We decided to take a small swim through the cave. Once we were inside, we noticed that there are many vertical fissures in the tunnel walls, both on the left and the right. These would be awesome to explore if we had our dive gear this day!
We also noticed that there were some boat tours running into the cave, which means you have to be careful when swimming or scuba diving in the Inland Sea. These boat tours cost just 4 euros and one of the local boat drivers will likely offer you a trip once you approach the lagoon.
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The Inland Sea Dive Site
Of course, the main draw of this fascinating location is its appeal to scuba divers. In fact, the Inland Sea was apparently among one of the favorite dives of Jacques Cousteau! When we were on Gozo, we dove with St Andrews Divers Cove in nearby Xlendi Bay and definitely recommend them for dives in Dwejra Bay.
The maximum depth of this site is roughly 25 meters. At the start of the dive, it begins with a short surface swim to the entrance of the tunnel. From here, it's a short descent to roughly 6 meters and then a gradual descent further on to roughly 15 meters once you reach the pebble bottom of the sea cave.
There is plenty of marine life at the Inland Sea dive site, including cardinal fish, John Dory, parrot fish, colorful sponges, anemones, and if you're lucky, some tiny nudibranchs and fire worms! However, the main attraction of this dive site is the feeling of being inside a huge tunnel. There's something special about this, especially as you approach the exit to the sea at the end of the tunnel, where you'll experience stunning lighting effects!
Where to Stay On 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!
More Malta Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
I hope you've enjoyed this detailed guide to visiting the Inland Sea on Gozo Island, Malta.
While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides to the Maltese Islands below.