What makes Comino Blue Lagoon Malta so special? What else is on Comino and how do you make the most of your trip? Here’s all you need to know.
Comino Blue Lagoon
There’s one little spot within the Maltese archipelago that looks like a piece of Caribbean Paradise that was accidentally dropped into the Mediterranean. Complete with glorious white sand and dazzling turquoise waters, the Malta Blue Lagoon is nestled in the narrow channel between Comino island and Cominotto. These two tiny islands lie between the main island of Malta and the island of Gozo.
The occasional strong currents passing through the Blue Lagoon and the unusually thick and heavy white sand ensure crystal clear waters that never get murky. In addition, the reflected sky-blue colour and surrounding islands on all sides give the impression of a natural swimming pool. The Blue Lagoon’s natural beauty has inspired several film makers to use this location in their productions; it appears in Troy (featuring Brad Pitt), Swept Away (featuring Madonna) and The Count of Monte Cristo.
What To Expect
The crystal clear blue waters of the Blue Lagoon are the main attraction. A small white sandy beach sits by the jetty on one side on Comino island and a second larger Blue Lagoon beach lies across the channel on Cominotto. Sunbeds and umbrellas catering to hundreds of tourists visiting per day cover both these beaches as well as the surrounding rocky area. A number of kiosks sell drinks, soft drinks, ice cream and snacks on Comino. A cave arch cuts through Cominotto to the other side of the tiny island, lending the Blue Lagoon its iconic picturesque backdrop.
In addition to several tourist boats, you’ll find a variety of water sports, from crazy sofa and banana boat rides to wake boarding, water skiing, flyboarding and jet ski hire. If you’re content to just kick back and simply indulge on the natural surroundings, ensure you take a snorkelling mask to complement your swimming − the rocky coast along the Blue Lagoon is teeming with Mediterranean marine life from sea urchins and bright red starfish to colourful parrot fish and even barracuda.
Getting There & Away
Take The Ferry
You can catch a glimpse of the striking turquoise waters even as you passage between Malta and Gozo on the ferry. Ferries to Comino Blue Lagoon also depart from Cirkewwa or nearby Marfa. The Comino ferries are therefore easy to reach by any bus that takes you to the Gozo ferry. A direct bus runs from near the Golden Sands Resort & Spa and the ride takes 20 minutes. The Comino Ferries run daily from 9am to 6pm during the high season and can be arranged during the winter (tel: +356 99408294). In the later afternoon, the ferry ride will tend to include a sightseeing tour of the caves in Comino, of which there are many. The trip lasts 25-35 minutes and costs 10 euro return per person. If required, you can also arrange with the Comino Ferries for drop-off and pick-up at Santa Marija Bay.
Hop On A Day Tour
It is also possible to take one of several private blue lagoon tours. The day cruise will depart either from the Sliema Ferries or from the Bugibba Boat Jetty. The time of the cruise may vary from company to company but the boat trip will generally be a day tour that follows the east coast of Malta, pauses for a few hours at the Blue Lagoon and returns via a tour of the caves. All in all, it makes a beautiful day trip.
Charter A Boat
Better still, charter a yacht to experience the Comino Blue Lagoon in private luxury bobbing on the waves. Plus your very own skipper can take you to different parts of the island’s coast to enjoy. Plus your steward will ensure you are well taken care of, whether it comes to your meal or sorting you out with kayaks. Boating in Comino is definitely our most highly recommended option.
Staying Overnight In Comino
Staying overnight in Comino offers one major benefit: you can enjoy the Blue Lagoon without the crowds. Alas, the inviting beauty of the great attraction means that during ferry hours, the Blue Lagoon can get rather crowded and noisy. Come 6pm, however, most of the day visitors and boats have gone and the true enchanting beauty of this location in its pristine state is revealed. Even more magical are the mornings before the first ferry arrives.
There are three main options for staying overnight on the barely inhabited island. One is the secluded hotel at St Nicholas Bay (San Niklaw), which also offers a number of bungalows in the neighbouring Santa Marija Bay. The most secluded yet convenient campsite on the Maltese Islands lies behind the beach at Santa Marija Bay − you unload the car straight into the ferry at Marfa, get dropped off just 200 m from the camping ground in Comino, there are trees offering shade, and there are fully equipped public showers and toilets. Alternatively, spend the night on the aforementioned chartered yacht for an unforgettable night between sea and stars.
What Else To Do In Comino
The coast of Comino consists of towering cliffs, curious creeks and coves, several caves and a sprinkle of small white sand beaches. The land itself is quite barren, bar some shrubbery and a few pockets of trees, as most of the soil has eroded away in time. The typical Maltese garrigue (scrubland) nonetheless hosts a variety of endemic flora. In fact, Comino actually gets its name from cumin, which grows abundantly on the island. Comino is also a bird sanctuary and nature reserve, where just three people live permanently. There are no roads or cars on Comino, only walking trails that provide a wonderful opportunity to explore the island’s meagre 3.5 square kilometres (1.35 sq mi) in blissful peace and quiet, away from it all. From the Blue Lagoon, you can take a round trip along the trails to see most of what Comino has to offer.
Enjoy Various Activities At San Niklaw Bay
Head north east (left) along the dirt road from the Blue Lagoon to St Nicholas Bay. At the Comino Hotel, you can make use of the restaurant, several bars, an internet café and a mini-market. Things get more exciting if you choose to settle on the beach here for a while, as the hotel also offers a variety of water sports, including sailing, windsurf, canoes, pedal boats, water-skiing and PADI scuba diving courses. The hotel also has a tennis court or French Boules pitch, while renting a mountain bike may be a good idea to explore the rest of the island.
Stop Over At Santa Marija Bay
Further along the dirt road, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Santa Marija Bay for the tree groves leading down to the little 13th century Chapel of Our Lady’s Return from Egypt, which is effectively Comino’s parish where mass is held every Saturday evening. A pretty little beach lined with trees lies at the bottom of the hill, with a police station (yes!), public toilets and showers, and the Comino Hotel Bungalows on the left. Recently, sunbeds have taken over this beach too and a kiosk has emerged, killing the last pristine beach in Comino. However, it also means that there are more conveniences for campers − the campsite lies just behind the beach − and those visitors escaping the crowds at the Blue Lagoon.
Get Adventurous At Santa Marija Caves
Past the kiosk, follow the path towards Santa Marija Caves. Where you observe a collection of large boulders sitting out of place, remembering the ancient storm that put them there, veer off the path and walk through them to the mouth of the extraordinary cave. It is certainly worth the effort to find this cave. Step down from the mouth onto a lower ledge where there’s a natural swimming pool. Walk across to the other side of the cave, pass through a small passage and emerge inside another cave on the other face of the cliff. Swim out of this other cave and see several more caves, which are popular for DWS (deep water soloing). The sea pool inside the main cave also includes entry and exit points at both ends, making the natural caves a popular dive site.
Enjoy Breathtaking Views From Saint Mary’s Tower
Back on your trail from Santa Marija Bay, return the way you came, but take the dirt road on the left at the fork. This will take you up a hill past a cemetery for foreigners with the plague or cholera, a pig farm from when the foot and mouth disease forced all the pigs of the Maltese Islands onto Comino, and some old army barracks. The residence of the only three inhabitants of the island is near the barracks.
Past the barracks, you arrive at the top of some steep cliffs with the Santa Marija watch tower perched on top. The Knights of St John built the watch tower in 1618 to protect the islands from pirates that used the Blue Lagoon and surrounding caves for shelter. The view from here is one of the best in the Maltese Islands and perfect for sunset. Interestingly, during the 16th and 17th centuries, misbehaving knights were isolated on Comino to manage St Mary’s Tower as a punishment.
Relish The Peace At The Crystal Lagoon
Below the steep cliff supporting St Mary’s Tower are the sparkling blue seas of the Crystal Lagoon. Less known only because the Blue Lagoon outshines it, this cove and its surroundings are actually stunning. The water is a Lapis Lazuli blue while the surrounding cliffs are tall and white, featuring several caves and windows. A small pier allows swimmers in and out of the water but the bay is popular mainly with local boaters who prefer the more peaceful atmosphere. If you find the Blue Lagoon a little too busy for your taste, just walk 5-10 minutes to here (head right along the trail from the Blue Lagoon).
Sneak A Visit To Saint Mary’s Battery
The half-island circuit we just described does not include one other place of interest: St Mary’s Battery, which lies on the south-west side of the island. Another trail connects it with Santa Marija Bay and Santa Marija Tower, if you wish to take this route. The battery offers spectacular views of Malta and it is also a great sunrise spot.
Blue Lagoon Malta Tips
- Get there early to make the most of the time when the Blue Lagoon is less crowded.
- Avoid the weekends, when local visitors add to the throngs of tourists.
- Although they may look unsightly, it may be worth hiring deckchairs and an umbrella to stay comfortable on uneven rocks and safe from heatstroke.
- Topless bathing is not allowed. A policeman decked in shorts may come over to request you cover yourself.
- Stay within the swimming zone to avoid injury from boats and beware of occasional strong currents.
- Do not cliff dive from Cominotto, although it may be tempting to do so − many people have injured themselves doing this, requiring an air lift to hospital.
- Do venture a short walk to the other beaches and places of interest in Comino.
- Don’t miss out, no matter what − the Blue Lagoon is definitely one of the things to do in Malta you can’t miss.