The 300-year-old wood oven at the entrance of the converted bakery
"Il-Forn" in Zebbug 5 min from sea
"Il-Forn" in Zebbug 5 min from sea


Entire home/apt

8 Guests

3 Bedrooms

6 Beds

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1
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Ages 2 - 12
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About this listing

Our restored bakery is found in the rural village of Zebbug on the unique island of Gozo. It is only five minutes drive away from the sea and the city Rabat/Victoria where all the shops are.

The space

"IL-FORN" is a uniquely-converted historic bakery in Zebbug GOZO, with lots of charm and character just 5 min drive away from the sea and cultural places. A warm and cosy place ideal for those who want to relax and enjoy their stay. Stunning views of the sea and countryside from the roof.

Part of this historical building dates back to 300 years and was recently restored by the owners with great attention to detail. One can easily feel the warm and cosy atmosphere of this comfortable accommodation as soon as he enters. The house is accessed through a private alley making it very quiet and peaceful.

Right at the entrance one can see the original stone oven of the bakery which was still in operation up to the 1980's. Beautiful old vaults house a pleasantly decorated seating area where a sofa can be used as an additional bed. One can admire the "lenbi" where women used to make the dough for a whole week's bread. The entrance, which can easily be heated in winter by the small wood stove, is tastefully decorated with local tiles on the walls together with antique furniture.

Another original feature is an ash-pit found during restoration. This can easily be used as a wine cellar. The flagstone flooring throughout the bakery adds further character. During the hot summer days, the small but landscaped courtyard invites anyone to relax in the spa in the shade of the huge banana trees . Also on the ground floor there is a twin single bed-room (with AC) with a shower en-suite. On the first floor of the former bakery is another double room (with AC) with a tiny balcony and en-suite shower room. Here is a staircase leading to an open-plan loft overlooking the living room and where one can find another double bed . This loft leads to a small terrace overlooking the alley, and from which one can admire the fireworks of the village festa which comes in August.

The air-conditioned living room (use of AC not included in price) with the satellite TV and electric fireplace and the lovingly crafted kitchen lead to a small balcony overlooking the internal yard and which gives access to the roof. From the roof of the house lies the unspoilt view of the north of Gozo to the sea. You can spend memorable time on the sun-loungers or enjoy some grilled meat on the BBQ or a hearty pizza cooked in the wood oven (we will be very pleased to help you in case the need arises).

More charm is added to this place when you hear the fish vendor, followed by the baker and the fruit and vegetable vendor who come to our small village every morning. However taking a stroll in the picturesque capital city Victoria (or Rabat as we call it) and do shopping there is so easy and just 5 minutes away by car. Marsalforn which is a fishing village is just 2km from Zebbug and offers a vast variety of restaurants, bars and cafes for every taste.

Car is not required when staying at "il-Forn" because one can make use of the public transport which is both very cheap and convenient on the island of Gozo. Bus stop is just 50 metres from accomodation.

Discovering Gozo, a tiny island measuring about 14km by 7km with about 31000 inhabitants, is the key to discovering one of the most untouched and unique islands in the Mediterranean. Gozo, which is more scenic and tranquil from the sister island Malta, is the perfect island holiday destination, a serene land where time has stood still and where the locals are very helpful and friendly and are always ready to go out of their way to help. Its outstanding climate with temperatures hardly reaching 10 degrees Celcius in winter, is an all-year round destination.

“Zebbug” means 'Olives' and this village was once famous for its abundance of olive trees. The olives were grown and harvested here and taken for pressing into oil at the adjacent village down the hill ,on the way to Victoria which is called Ghasri (meaning the ''pressing place'' ).
Zebbug is an old hilltop village with exotic views. The village's highest spot is marked by its parish church and the customary stone cross in front of it. Except for the coastal portions of Qbajjar and Marsalforn, the villagers of Zebbug actually live on two hills connected by a narrow strip of land. The land drops abruptly all around. This can be experienced along the road to Qbajjar and Marsalforn. Here you will see that Zebbug commands spectacular views over the coast , land and sea. Another steep hill at Zebbug is the flat topped Ta’ Kuljat, which contains some bronze age silo pits. The area between this hill and Qbajjar to the north contains many Punic and Pre-Historic tombs.

The villagers are known for the high quality of their (Bizzilla) lace, weaving and woolen blankets. Their religious values are untarnished, as judged for example from the high priority given to the maintenance of street niches.

Included with Zebbug is a good portion of Gozo's north shore, which is characterized by some scenic inlets, natural bluffs and man-made salt pans. At Wied il-Ghasri, one of the islands beauty spots, quaint boat shelters align the narrow canyon, which also offers a secluded small sandy beach.
Our unique location blessed with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea offers a quiet place to get away from it all. At the same time, all amenities are close by. Seafront restaurants, supermarkets, beaches, diving, boat trips to Comino & Blue Lagoon, historical and cultural places are just 5 minutes drive away. For those who want to feel the remote life of a typical rural village, one can buy the fresh bread from the 8am van. Also the fish vendor and fruit and vegetable van come everyday infront of the house. For those who do not want to cook after a whole day exploring the island, one can visit Francesco’s Pizzeria in the village centre just 100m away from the house, and help himself at the hearty pizza at a very good price. Gozo’s traditional dishes include the sheep cheese filled ravioli, the “bragioli”, the local ftira, the mouthwatering fresh fish especially the “lampuki” pie and the “pastizzi”. On their day of arrival, our special guests are served with local delicacies including crunchy traditional pastizzi, sheep peppered cheese served with galletti…a heaven for those who love typical cuisine.

THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE...

•WALKING AND CYCLING Holidays during Spring and Autumn (Guided walking guide booklets are available for free from our accommodation)

•Snorkelling and diving in Gozo which is attributed to have the best diving spots in the Mediterranean. Further information available from our accommodation.

•Carnival is celebrated on the five days preceding Ash Wednesday. It usually falls in February. Initiated during the Aragonese rule (before 1530), the celebration has continued to grow and expand. Colorful artistic floats, grotesque masks and dance companies of all ages and sexes parade the streets of the town and the main villages throughout the whole week. Becoming more popular is the spontaneous carnival organised after sunset in the village of Nadur. Hundreds of people walk up and down the main street dressed in comically distorted figures and the most imaginative and creative costumes and masks to conceal their identity.

•The week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, known in the Christian calendar as Holy Week, is full of religious and folkloristic shows. The central event is the Good Friday procession during which several life-size statues representing various moments from the passion and death of Christ are paraded through the village streets of Zebbug. Several men make vows to walk in the procession carrying a heavy cross or dragging heavy iron chains tied to their ankles. They wear hoods to conceal their identity. Scores of boys and young men are dressed in period costumes to add to the pageantry of the manifestation. Most impressive is the Roman legion, a gleam of breastplates, spears and shields and who announce themselves with trumpets and drum rolls. The procession is accompanied by the village band.

•On Easter afternoon there is a procession with the statue of the Risen Christ in our village. When the statue reaches the village square, the bearers stop for a moment and then return the Risen Christ inside the church with a run.

•Strawberries festival in April - Festa Frawli Mgarr Malta (Transfers to and from accomodation available on request)


•Malta International Fireworks Festival Spectacular pyrotechnic event between APRIL - MAY. (Transfers to and from accomodation on request)


•The Medieval Mdina Festival takes place in May. The festival focuses on re-enactments, pageantry and floral displays. Activities also include a medieval street market, jousting, a display of birds of prey, as well as medieval games for everyone. Entrance fees for all museums and attractions in Mdina have been reduced. Details of dates to be given later. (Transfers to and from accommodation are available on request).

•The Malta Jazz Festival takes place in July of every year.

•Local folklore reaches its climax during the Village festas – During June to September there are celebrations every weekend in a different village. A festa worthy of the name is made up of illuminations, brass bands, fireworks and a procession. End of August is Festa of Santa Maria at Zebbug our village with a whole week of celebrations and spectacular fireworks during the weekend. Detailed program available from our accommodation.

•Nadur Wine Festival - Delicata Wine Festival at Nadur during last week of August (every day from 6pm till midnight). Public transport from and to the festival.


•Festival Mediterranea October-November of every year. An annual event on the Island of Gozo, Festival Mediterranea offers all that Gozo boasts of in the cultural and artistic arena. This mid-autumn festival has an island-wide aspect, with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor events. Music concerts dominate the celebrations, but there are also international conferences, walks and talks in ancient and historic places, field trips, food and drink events and art exhibitions. Festival Mediterranea offers visitors a great opportunity to learn about Gozo's temples and archaeological sites through a series of lectures and visits.


•Betlehem at Ghajnsielem 2017

Christmas village in Gozo
Visit the island of Gozo in December 2017 and January 2018 and experience Bethlehem f'Ghajnsielem - the largest animated Christmas village in Europe.

Guest access

Guests will have access to all the house. In case of a couple, only one bedroom will be prepared so one of the bedrooms will be closed unless requested by the guests.

Kindly note that the third bedroom is accessed by stairs from the blue bedroom. It is an open loft but curtains can be used for privacy.

Interaction with guests

We live close by so whatever the guests need we will be there to assist them.

Other things to note

IMPORTANT DETAILS TO NOTE

Although bedrooms have AC's their use is not included in the price.
15 KWh of electricity/day are included in the price for up to 4 persons using main blue bedroom and loft.

A SPA, which is available upon request, has been installed for those relaxing moments after a whole day out exploring our lovely island!
This is not included in the price. Those interested please enquire for its cost.

A late check-in fee of €25 applies from 10pm till 7am

Cars can be parked on the main road.

The house sleeps 6 adults + 2 children.

We have quite a few steps in the house so we regret that “ il-forn ” is not suitable for people in wheelchairs or people having mobility difficulties.

Unfortunately the house is not suitable for people who like to party during their stay. People coming with this intention will be kindly asked to leave and their money will not be refunded.

“ il-forn ” has a no smoking policy. Smokers may however smoke outside and an ashtray is available on request.


The space
Bathrooms: 2
Bedrooms: 3
Beds: 6
Check In: Anytime after 4PM
Check Out: 10AM
Room type: Entire home/apt

Amenities

Prices
Extra people: €10 / night after 2 guests
Security Deposit: €450
Weekly Discount: 35%
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House Rules
No smoking
Not suitable for pets
No parties or events
Check in is anytime after 4PM

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
Wifi 1.5 GB/day . Downloading between midnight and 6am is unlimited.

Bed linen, towels and beach towels(in summer)

Local food on arrival and breakfast items for the next morning

Reading material and maps are available.

UPON REQUEST:
Bicycles
Beach umbrellas
Baby cot, high chairs, bath tub (at an extra cost).

Extra fee of €25 for late check-in between 10pm and 6am.

USE OF AIRCONDITION FOR HEATING AND COOLING IS AGAINST PAYMENT however we give some free electricity units for this purpose to make the house more comfortable.

A Tourist Eco-Tax of €0.50/person per night (up to a maximum of €5 per person per stay) is to be paid by adults of over 18 years of age.


Unfortunately the house is not suitable for people who like to party during their stay. People coming with this intention will be kindly asked to leave and their money will not be refunded.


Cancellations

Strict

Cancel up to 7 days before your trip and get a 50% refund plus service fees back.


Safety features
Smoke detector
Fire extinguisher

Availability
1 night minimum stay

11 Reviews


Accuracy
Communication
Cleanliness
Location
Check In
Value
Elsje User Profile
January 2017
This is a fantastic place to stay! The house has been renovated very well with a great interior but the roof patio was the best part. It has incredible views over the village and the sea. The house has 3 bedrooms, two with double beds and one with 2 singles. The two double rooms are upstairs and share a bathroom, and the downstairs room also has an ensuite. Mary and Andrew are brilliant hosts, very accommodating, kind and full of useful information about the island.
Mary User Profile
Response from Mary:
Dearest Elsje thank you so much for your wonderful review. It was so nice hosting you and your lovely family at our restored bakery. You are great people and took great care of our house and would be very glad to host you some other time in the future. You will always be in our hearts! Mary & Andrew
January 2017

Huarda User Profile
October 2016
Mary and Andrew were welcoming and warm hosts who made us feel at home straight away. They went out of their way to show us where things were on Gozo and recommended activities that we might like. Their house is a beautifully converted old bakery situated on a quiet street in Zebbug, and just a couple minutes from the bus stop. Everything was spotless, and they had even prepared some pastizzi and basics to get us going upon arrival. Overall a lovely experience on a picturesque island paradise, with hosts who made us feel more like friends than guests.

Julia User Profile
September 2016
mary and andrews place is just so lovely. it is accurately represented in the photos. its really interesting and in a lovely wee village, lovely view from the roof over the local village and church to the sea. it's very quiet, beds are really beautifully comfortable,and it's well equipped. they are both warm, genuine people who care about their home. they made us feel very welcome, waited up late to greet us, responded to emails extremely promptly. regarding the previous reviews about the electricity.. there's no problem.. lots of electricity available and you can monitor the consumption yourself. we didn't end up using the spa but it looked lovely. all very clean. a car would be preferable as there is so much on gozo to see. you could really spend a week on gozo and not see everything. it's beautiful. if you get bitten maybe bring some mosquito repellant. thank you mary and andrew for such a lovely stay. I'd love to return some day.
Mary User Profile
Response from Mary:
Dearest Julia we cannot thank you enough for your outstanding reviews! We are so glad you enjoyed staying at our restored bakery and that you found yourselves very comfortable in the house. Yes we agree perfectly with you that even a week is not enough to visit Gozo - even though it is so small there is so much to do and see and there is something for everyone beaches, cultural activities, historical places, great walks along the coast and in nature....We would be very pleased to host you once again here in the little village of Zebbug:)) Wishing you all the best! Mary & Andrew
September 2016

Stina User Profile
July 2016
Mary and Andrew were excellent hosts! They provided all information we needed (and more) The house was great and we enjoyed it very much. The views from the roof terrace is stunning! We used the public busses a lot, and the bus stop is a few meters from the doorstep to "Il forn" The SPA ( hot tub) was nice to relax in, but a bit expensive. There is a limit of how much energy you are allowed to use for free, but it was not a problem for us. However- it was not so relaxing to think of the energy constantly . (No lights on, turn of water heater directly, only have AC on in the nighttime etc) Food vendors came by every day, which was really nice and easy. If you are planning a trip to Gozo -Stay here!
Mary User Profile
Response from Mary:
Dear Stina so nice hearing that you had a great time at our restored bakery and that you found everything so close to you. We are eco-friendly people and thus we recommend our guests to be slightly more sensible about the consumption of electricity and water when it is so expensive and scarce on the island. So sad to hear that it might not have been relaxing to constantly think about it. You had a smart reader telling you how much you are consuming and there was nothing to worry about when you hardly used 70% of the units that were included in the price. Our prices do not include the use of AC but we still give our special guests enough extra units to make the house comfortable. Any extra electricity units used above those included in the price are to be paid at the local government rate. But from your positive recommendations we see that this was not a very big issue at all and we really look forward to hosting you all at our restored bakery "il-Forn". Take care! Mary & Andrew
July 2016

Mary User Profile
December 2015
I have just returned from a wonderful holiday on Gozo, my family and I spent a week in Zebbug staying in "Il- Forn", hosted by Mary and Andrew. They are wonderful hosts, pull out all the stops to welcome us to this beautifully restored and really well equipped house in a village with everything we needed...the list is really endless and includes the information on the house, the village and the island, the comfy dressing gowns, the lovely stove, (well worth the extra for timber supplied by Andrew), the hot tub, ( also well worth the extra charge for it's use, and definitely possible to use generously within the electricity limits), the thoughtful and generous Christmas gifts which made us feel so welcome, the practical help with hiring a car, ( would definitely recommend Raymond's- nothing fancy & perfect for our needs on the island), the lovely smell of hot pastries when we arrived! The list is really endless. The village highlight we all agreed was Francesco's, in the square opp. the church, it's a real locals favourite with great pizzas and calzone and a great welcome from the owner Francesco and his family, and very very good value as well the atmosphere. Gozo was all amazing and Christmas is a great time to visit, the church events were really beautiful and appeared to happen each day, real community, and cultural, events with music and drama. We loved it and the sun shone for us too, not swimming weather but beautiful sea and great walks everywhere- the azure window and inland sea at Dwejra are not to be missed- take the boat ride there, apart from that everywhere we went was just beautiful, the car was really worth the €20 per day, and arriving back to our lovely house and hopping into the jacuzzi! Without Mary and Andrew we might have missed a lot of it- they love their island and are like ambassadors for it- we recommend them, their house and the island- all wonderful- thank you! We had the best holiday and are already planning a return trip.
Mary User Profile
Response from Mary:
Dearest all, we really cannot thank you enough for such an exceptional review! We are so happy that you had a wonderful stay and that all the members of your family enjoyed "il-Forn" and our unique destination - Gozo. Although Gozo is small in size, however it offers so much to our special visitors and there is so many things to see and visit that at times two weeks are not enough to explore all its hidden gems. It will be such a pleasure hosting you at our restored bakery another time so do take care of yourselves and hope to see you very soon! Wish you all a healthy, happy, peaceful future:)) Mary & Andrew
December 2015

Lucie User Profile
October 2015
Il-Forn is a lovely unusual and interesting place to stay and Mary and Andrew were excellent hosts. It has been renovated to a very high standard and was very clean. We did decide to pay the extra for the spa and we were glad we did as it was a great place to relax after a day of exploring! Mary and Andrew were very knowledgable and gave us lots of ideas and tips for exploring.....definitely make sure you get to the Blue Lagoon Comino as early as possible to at least see it for a while without the crowds! I would certainly recommend this as a place to stay. We didn't hire a car and getting around on buses was easy but think if we came to Gozo again we would hire a car to save time waiting for bus connections. The bus from zebbug to Victoria was very reliable infact all the buses were amazingly punctual.
Mary User Profile
Response from Mary:
Dearst Lucie and Craig it was so nice hosting you both. You are a lovely couple and we really enjoyed talking to you when we had the time. A heartfelt thanks for your outstanding review - it is so very nice hearing that our guests look forward to being back in the house and enjoy the spa after a whole day out exploring our lovely island. Wish you both good luck and health in the days to come and it will be our greatest pleasure and honour to host you once again some other time in the near future at our restored bakery "il-Forn":))) Always in our hearts Mary & Andrew
October 2015

Our hosts Mary and Andrew were the best. They were kind and accommodating - and even took us to our dentist's office and the pharmacy on the way home from the ferry! They also offered many tips on enjoying the island served up with pastry and coffee. They have done a stunning job on renovating this very old bakery and have turned it into a unique living space. The village is very quiet and serene this time of year ... the views are amazing and the island of Gozo is meant for the nature lover and 'trekker' - but probably best enjoyed in warmer weather. Nothing hosts can do about that! There are no shops in the village, at least during the wintertime, but I don't think there are many others in the high season. There are vendor trucks that come by in the morning and honk to let you know they are outside your door. Fruit & veg, fish, bread...ect. but miss the truck and you are out of luck. There is a bus on the half hour that gets into town in about ten minutes and you can provision. You'll want to load up on basics and have food in the larder so you can cook in most of the time since there are only a couple of pizza restaurants in Zebbug. Of course, it you have a car - then none of this really matters. We rarely had a car during our travels. Being a stone house without central heating, we were cold, but it was February and expected. There is airconditioning/heating but it is expensive to run and not very efficient for warmth. The wood fired stove was more helpful. The hot tub is an extra expense and took too much of our 'electricity' allotment to heat it, so we didn't use it, nor could we enjoy the roof deck due to wind and rain - both of which would be wonderful in the spring and summer. This is a great airbnb offering - definitely one of the most attractive and unique in the 48 we've enjoyed during our last 18 months of European travel. It is perfect if you love the outdoors and the simple lifestyle that this historic and beautiful island of Gozo has to offers.
Mary User Profile
Response from Mary:
Dearest Michael and Debbie thank you so much for your outstanding reviews about our restored bakery and about us as being the best out of nearly 50 hosts you have had so far! Such an honour for us! As you rightly said our village offers exceptional views and Gozo should be a great destination during this time of year. One can do walks in the lush green valleys and hill tops and along the unlimited coastline which offers such varied geological landforms. Historical places are just a stone's throw away from our unique village of Zebbug. Zebbug is the traditional, laid back village, away from it all and there is only one grocery shop, a small one I must say, but as you rightly said the shops and restaurants are only 6 minutes bus drive away and so one can do all the shopping he needs and be back home in just an hour. But there are the vendors, not one bread vendor but two and more than one fruit and vegetable vendors, so if you like to laze in bed in the morning you will still be in time for the next one. Our special guests however opt for shopping their provisions on their way back home after a whole day out as wherever you go by bus in Gozo you always have to end up in the city Victoria. There are three pizzerias serving also grills in our village which serve hearty meals and wine at a relatively low cost of not more than 6 euro for a large pizza. We are a bit disappointed hearing that you felt cold in the house when we gave you enough electricity units for free even to heat up the hot tub if you wished to. You only had to organise yourselves a little bit and be slightly more sensible about the environment - qualities which nomads should have after all:)) At just a bargain of slightly more than 400 euro/week for a house full of character and equipped with towel warmers, airconditioners for heating in both bedrooms and even in the living area and a wood stove, we cannot unfortunately give unlimited electricity for heating. However all the guests we have had so far during the winter months (which were exceptionally wet and cold this year), observed our recommendations and were successful in warming up the house and heat even the spa at no extra costs and they enjoyed their stay giving us excellent reviews. In Malta and Gozo we do not have central heating, but the airconditioning which is used for heating, is the best and most effective (with the lowest costs) means of heating. Our AC's are newly installed and are the latest technology and cannot be more effective than that. Besides the house, being very old and with very thick walls helps to keep the warmth inside and thus is a great plus. We also provide our guests with wood ( at an extra cost ) to burn their wood stove so that, as they come in, the house feels warm and cosy. When guests exceed the allotted electricity units/KWh they are kindly asked to pay at the local rate which is not that expensive. However as I explained there should be no need for any extra payments if you are conscious and turn off appliances when one does not need them. Our islands are encouraging sustainable means of water and electricity consumption and thus our special guests have to be that tiny bit more responsible. But all in all it was a pleasure hosting you and we are glad you enjoyed staying in Gozo and will be back some other time:)) Take care! A big Thank You once again! Mary & Andrew
March 2015

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Malta · Joined in April 2014
Mary User Profile

I love hosting other people and I constantly try my very best to make guests have a memorable stay.

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