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On the Gozo trail

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Sitting down for lunch, I wondered whether Brangelina chose this same table, too. Tucked to one side at the back of a shady terrace, uninterrupted views across the bay, pretty flower-filled trees overhead. Perfection, especially if you need to remain anonymous. Or avoid sunburn, like I did.

"You're close," said the restaurant's owner, Sandra. "They sat at that table," she said pointing behind to a colourful table and chairs set underneath a vine-clad pergola away from the hoi polloi. Of course, only the best table for the A- listers — or hipster Parisian couples discussing wine.

I was lunching at Rew Rew, a pretty beachside restaurant at the magical — yet unpronounceable — Mgarr ix Xini bay, on the tiny island of Gozo in the Mediterranean. With its secluded location, pristine waters, picture-postcard beachside taverna, it's not hard to see why the Hollywood power couple chose Malta's sister island as the location for their 2014 film, By The Sea. It's the perfect spot to soak up Gozo's magic.

I wasn't drawn here by the Hollywood connection (maybe a little...), however. I'd heard rumours they served up the best fish dishes on the island. Rew Rew lived up to its reputation — I defy anyone not to fall in love with the food here. Whether it was for the Brangelina connection, the food, the setting, the diving opportunities, or simply everything, this place was certainly popular, with most of the tables full even in late September.

Despite its glittering credentials — did I mention a few Games of Thrones scenes were filmed across the island at Dwerja? — tell people you're visiting Gozo and be prepared to draw a blank. "Gozo, is that in Greece?"; "Is that an island?"; "Is there anything to do there?"; "Are there restaurants?" Clearly, Gozo remains relatively unknown, I preferred to translate these stifled reactions as testament there still remains the odd undiscovered Mediterranean gem — one I'm now worried is in danger of being discovered.

For a relatively unknown, and tiny island — just six by 14.5 kilometres to be precise — Gozo is packed with interest. I quickly discovered a week here was not going to be mostly spent lying face down on my beach towel as I'd first thought. Yet, that's not to say it isn't laidback and easy at the same time. It is, but it manages to pack in glorious variety and you'll find prehistoric temples, fossil studded cliffs, hidden coves, thrilling scuba diving, and interesting towns and streets with an intense history. You can go from swimming in the sea to visiting a cliff-top prehistoric site, to a harbourside restaurant all in the space of a few hours.

That said, tummies full, we manage to prise ourselves away from our newly discovered waterside haven and carry on with our itinerary, which promised a good mix of entertainment. Next stop, the Lord Chambray Brewery, the first craft brewery of its kind on Gozo. Here, we take a tour and learn about the process before an all-important taste of its heady craft beers, all named after the island's most beautiful sights — The Blue Lagoon, San Blas, Golden Bay, and... Fungus Rock.

A few souvenir bottles safely stowed, we press on for a taste of Gozo's ancient history, at the island's capital, Victoria, named for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 — when Malta and Gozo were British ruled. The chief town of Gozo sits in the centre of the island and is the main hub of shops and services, home to quaint postcard-perfect streets, though it's the ancient Bronze Age citadel most people come to explore. A walk all around its walls offers some of the most amazing views over Gozo as far as the sea. It's also home to various little museums celebrating Gozitan life, including the fascinating Old Prison museum where the hot-tempered Knights Templar were said to have been locked up once upon a time — with graffiti to prove it.

Gozo's most remarkable ancient sight, however, isn't in Victoria, but in the pretty town of Xaghra 10 minutes away. Perched on the crest of a hill, this is where you'll find the Ggantija Temples, awe-inspiring megalithic stone structures offering soaring views over southern Gozo. Now a UNESCO site — they're the biggest megaliths on the Maltese islands — said to be older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

The mind boggles, although perhaps no more so than on a visit to the eccentric Pomskizillious Museum of Toys just around the corner. Set in a traditional stone structure with a rudimentary wooden green door, this unassuming building is home to an impressive collection of 19th-century and 1930s doll houses — as well as a case devoted to nonsense poet, Edward Lear, who coined the word 'pomskillious' on a trip to the island to describe the Gozitan scenery.

Heads full, it's time for some well-earned time lying face down on that beach towel — but not before a quick slightly backwards detour to Mekren's Bakery in Nadur, to pick up some ftira, delicious Gozitan pizza covered in all sorts of toppings, freshly baked in a bread oven.

Chewing as we go, we make the steep hill to San Blas, a white-sand beach set in a stunning little cove, where we grab a coffee at the laidback little straw beach shack and stop to admire the view. But it's Ramla Bay almost next door we decide to call home for the afternoon, which is mostly spent lying down on the distinctive orange sand, wondering whether Brangelina did this too?

For more information on Gozo, visit www.visitgozo.com

Ellie Seymour stayed at Abraham’s Farmhouses, www.abrahamgozofarmhouses.com.

Ellie Seymour is a journalist and travel writer based in Brighton, England. She also writes a blog, called Ellie & Co., In which you can visit here: www.ellie-and-co.blogspot.com.

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