With its famed lagoon and alarmingly blue waters, it’s no surprise that almost every travel resource out there will recommend a day trip to Comino when in Malta.
While I always try to get off the beaten track as much as possible when in new destinations, there was just no way that we were going to miss out on Comino. And, just in case you’re planning to skip out on a day trip here due to its touristy reputation, I’ve written this post with the intention of changing your mind.
|A teaser of the photos to come – look at that water!|
The Blue Lagoon is easily this tiny island’s main attraction, but I also want to show you that there is more to see in Comino besides this famous water feature.
But first, you have to find a way to get there.
Getting to Comino
You’ll be happy to know that there are numerous ways to get to Comino. In fact, walk along any promenade in Malta, and I guarantee that you’ll be confronted by a large number of kiosks covered with posters advertising day trips to the island.
If you’re looking for a stress-free way to get to Comino, it’s better to book with one of these tour operators. You can usually get a pretty decent deal that allows a few hours on Comino, perhaps with lunch thrown into the mix.
For those looking to be more independent, there are regular ferries from Cirkewwa in northern Malta and Mgarr on Gozo. Be sure to check out the sailing times, though, unless you’d like to get stranded.
If you want to splash the cash, there’s also the option to stay at one of the small handful of hotels on the island.
We decided to take the speediest – and I emphasise the speed here – way to the island.
I don’t claim to be the most adventurous person when I’m at home, but there’s something about travel that can make you spontaneously desire to get out of your comfort zone. So, before I knew it, Chris and I had been convinced into booking a trip to Comino with Supreme Powerboats. These trips leave from various points on the island.
|Our verrrry fast mode of transport for the day.|
If you, like me, know little about boats, this description will mean very little: Supreme Powerboats takes you to Comino on a 33-foot speedboat powered by twin Yamaha 300hp engines. Or, an alternative description: these boats are damn fast.
The journey and the caves of Comino
As I’ve already hinted, going to the island via Supreme Powerboats meant that we were going to get there in no time at all. But I don’t think we were remotely prepared for what was to come.
Our chosen day for Comino looked rather gloomy; there were big grey clouds overhead and even the water in the Sliema harbour appeared choppier than its usual swimming pool-like surface.
I had never really been on a speedboat for any great length of time, so I didn’t know what to expect on a 25/30-minute journey.
So what did happen? I mentioned that the water looked a bit rough in the harbour, but this just increased a hundredfold as soon as we hit open water. Speedboats normally bump up and down along the waves, but our boat was lifting entirely out of the water, with us flying up in our seats and all crashing down again as gravity took effect – often accompanied by a faceful of sea water.
If this sounds terrifying, that’s because it was… at first anyway. Once I convinced myself that I wasn’t about to fly off my seat and out of the boat, I truly started to enjoy the ridiculous speeds we were reaching, as well as the spectacular views of the Maltese coastline as we zoomed by. We laughed, we screamed and soon the adrenaline became infectious to the point where we all sounded rather disappointed as we slowed down in the approach to Comino. As an added bonus, my internal organs seemed to have miraculously held their respective positions.
|The boat slows down with Comino in sight.|
|With us looking slightly worse for wear after the journey.|
Luckily, the much-stiller water allowed our boat captain to pull off some high-speed tricks and loops. Once this was done, it was safe to bring out the cameras.
A lot of boat trips to Comino include a tour of the island’s caves, which were once popular haunts of pirates and other shady characters. The great thing about travelling in the speedboat is that it’s narrow enough to go right into the caves.
|The picture-perfect coastline of Comino.|
|Along with short ventures into the caves.|
With the tall cliffs of limestone rising above us and the bright waters lapping up against the boat, it became quite obvious why Comino has been the backdrop for a number of films. This list of movies includes Gladiator, The Count of Monte Cristo and Troy.
After getting up close and personal with some of the caves punctuating Comino’s coastline, it was time to set foot on the island itself.
Strolling around the island
Like most boat trips on offer, we had four hours on Comino, which we could use up in the way that best suited us.
There was the obvious choice of the Blue Lagoon, but we wanted to see if there was more to this island before we started swimming.
Arriving at the dock, the first thing we saw was the walkway and a few colourful kiosks, offering all manner of cold drinks and other treats. To the right was the lagoon, but, instead, we headed up and straight past the kiosks.
|Arriving at Comino.|
|One of the island’s walking trails entices us further.|
|The stunning colour spectrum of Comino.|
We soon joined up with one of the many trails snaking their way across the island. Comino may be small – measuring a total of 3.5 square kilometres – but we could see why it’s a popular venue for walkers.
The landscapes on the island are dramatic, with the semi-arid conditions creating colours ranging from the green of vegetation to the intense red of the stones crunching beneath our shoes. As the sun’s warmth reached us, the plants gave off their fragrances as we passed by; it’s said that wild thyme grows on Comino. Every angle looked more beautiful than the next and, as we walked further out onto the island, I was so happy that we had to decided to explore beyond the dock area.
|Out on the water, another speedboat does its thing.|
|Impossibly clear water.|
Far ahead, the island’s most famous structure acted like a beacon.
Comino was inhabited during the Roman times, but only truly became significant once the Knights of Malta arrived. They built St Mary’s Tower, which stands tall at 12 metres in height. At the time of our visit, the tower was closed for visits but we found that our climb up to its door did not go unrewarded. The tower is the perfect vantage point, allowing views over the distance we had just crossed.
|The best vantage point on Comino: St Mary’s Tower.|
|And the well-deserved view you get once here.|
We didn’t get to see them that day, but there are other points of interest on Comino, including the 17th Century Chapel of Our Lady’s Return from Egypt, as well as St Mary’s Battery.
If you find that your day on Comino coincides with bad weather, making a swim rather undesirable, rest assured that the walking trails on the island are well worth your time. And, since the island doubles up as a bird sanctuary, it might be a good idea to bring along some binoculars!
The Blue Lagoon
Of course, we weren’t going to miss out on this spot entirely. Our impromptu hike had coincided with the sun finally overtaking the clouds, and we were very keen to cool off. On that note, could this water be any more inviting?
|The rightly famous waters of the Blue Lagoon.|
There aren’t many access points to the Blue Lagoon, but everyone tried to make room for each other on the tiny sand beaches. We pretty much just dropped our bags and got straight into the water. Appearances are deceptive, as the water was rather cold during our May visit, but that didn’t stop us from having a lengthy swim.
The Blue Lagoon is popular for swimming and – thanks to the quality of the water – snorkelling, with people crossing between the main beach and the one located on an even smaller landmass ahead.
|The Blue Lagoon looking like the very best natural swimming pool in the world.|
If you’re not too keen on the crowds, it’s possible to hire a private boat to take you to the more secluded spots on the island. For us, though, we were content to spend our afternoon at this world-renowned lagoon, with some sunbathing and a few ice creams thrown in to complete a perfect afternoon.
And it was perfect. Yes, the weather may not have been the best, but Comino – and the fact that there’s more to this tiny island than what first meets the eye – enchanted us completely. Comino is undoubtedly touristy, but there’s a lot of charm left here – along with some of the most photogenic landscapes I’ve ever encountered.
|One last look at Comino.|
The four hours flew by and it was soon time to board our speedboat once again. The waves were even bigger this time around but, as we bumped our way back to Sliema, with Malta racing alongside and with us laughing loudly each time we hit a particularly big wave, I struggle to remember a day trip as fun and as memorable as this one.
If you’re keen to brave a trip with Supreme Powerboats (do it!), check out their website to find your nearest pick-up point.
Have you taken the day trip to Comino? What was your experience like? Please comment below; I’d love to hear your stories!