Xlendi Bay is three kilometres away from Victoria on the southwest side of Gozo. This beautiful inlet with a sandy beach ideal as a swimming spot for both young and old. For many years this bay used to be a fishing village, but recently it has been transformed into a tourist attraction. As a tourist resort it is equipped with several tourist-oriented amenities, such as, bars, restaurants, holiday flats and hotels.
Xlendi Bay is one of the prettiest places on the island. Its inky blue sea, the cloudless turquoise sky and majestic cliffs makes this place a must for tourists to visit. In the middle of the approach to this bay, about one foot below the surface of the water lies a hidden rock. This rock while being somewhat dangerous to navigation, is at the same time providential, since, in rough seas the heavy waves loose much of their force against it before continuing their course towards the beach.
The valley with its little bay on the left of the entrance to this bay is known as “il-Kantra”, an Arabic word indicating the shape of the valley itself. The tower that can be seen here is “Xlendi Tower” built by the Universitas (Gozo’s Local Government) in 1658. Its guns watched the entrance to the bay. In 1961 some amphorae were recovered from the seabed near this tower from about dept of 150 feet. They belonged to a Roman merchant ship which plied between Italy and Tunis carrying wine and corn in the first century A.D. and which was wrecked in a tempest. There were about 100 amphorae on the sea-bad, 60 of them whole: some are still there. The majority are Greco-Roman amphorae, but some are Punic. Those with a wide mouth were used for storing food: in fact animal bones have been found in some of them.
On the right hand side of this bay a few meters away one can see a large cave, called St. Catherine’s Cave. In 1699 Grand Master Perellos, who used to pay frequent visits to this place, had lunch inside this cave, where he also received the chief personalities of the island who came on boats to pay him homage and also presented him with gifts. In the Bay itself there is another cave, sheltering fishermen vessels. On top of this cave, up the rocks, there are stairs that lead to another cave, “Carolina’s Cave”. This used to be a private spot reserved for the Domican Sisters and bearing the name of their benefactor Miss Carolina Cauchi. In 1868 the same Carolina Cauchi built a Small Church and it was dedicated to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
For the annual festivities at this church hundreds of local people and foreigners visit this place, where one can see the traditional and characteristic gostra (greasy pole). A large pole well covered with grease fixed to the rocks from one side and jutting out over seawater at 20º angle. At its extreme end a small flag is fixed. Swimmers climbing this pole try to snatch this flag in order to get the prize. Xlendi Bay is entirely clean and safe for swimming, snorkeling, diving and is also a place for artist. It is a place where restaurants specialize in local food, especially fresh fish dishes; one can also find foreign food.