Wedged between Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, Comino is the smallest island in the Maltese Archipelago. This sparsely-populated and aesthetically stunning island woos beach enthusiasts and nature-lovers from around the world with its otherworldly landscapes and impossibly blue waters. The island’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon–a patch of shimmering turquoise water that has become one of Malta’s main tourist draws in recent years.
The Blue Lagoon in Comino (not to be confused with Iceland’s Blue Lagoon) is one of the country’s most beloved swimming holes. This sheltered inlet is packed to the brim with day-trippers. And for good reason. The lagoon’s water is brilliant and warm. The surrounding arid landscape is a breathtaking tapestry of browns, greens and oranges. And the sweeping views of nearby Malta and Gozo are unparalleled.
I visited the Blue Lagoon as a day trip from St Julian’s after two wonderful days of exploring Malta’s fortified cities. Visiting the Blue Lagoon without a tour is easy, rewarding and inexpensive.
To reach the coveted swimming hole, I took a public bus along Malta’s eastern coast–past Paceville, Bugibba and Ghadira Bay–to the town of Marfa. Once I arrived in Marfa, I bought a €10 roundtrip boat ticket from Comino Ferries Co-op and embarked on the 25 minute journey to Malta’s smallest island.
Due to a lazy morning at my hostel, I arrived at the Blue Lagoon in the early afternoon, when boatloads of tourists had already inundated the beach. Since the area was incredibly crowded, I took a quick dip in the aquamarine lagoon, before gathering my things and finding a quiet place to sit and soak in the view.
From a solitary outcrop of rocks away from the crowds, I admired the ocean’s patchwork of turquoise, sapphire, cobalt and navy.
With a total area of only 3.5 square kilometers, Comino is devoid of bustling cities or towns. In fact, Apart from one hotel and four permanent residents, the island is virtually uninhabited. Comino is car-free and contains no roads. It is worlds away from the chaotic humdrum of nearby Malta.
After relishing the views of my surroundings, I slowly made my way toward St Mary’s tower. The tower is Comino’s most prominent architectural feature. It was built in the 1600s to defend the islands of Malta and Gozo from the Ottoman Turks and to deter pirates and smugglers from using Comino as a hiding place.
The island of Comino is an arid wilderness with jagged cliffs, small sandy beaches and a coastline that has been sculpted by the ocean waves over time. Though difficult to explore from land, the return boat trip from Comino to Marfa allowed me to take a close look at the sea caves and natural arches that litter the island’s coast.
I still had a few hours of daylight to spare after returning to Marfa from Comino, so I chose to take bus 101 to Golden Bay on Malta’s western shores.
Golden Bay is home to one of the softest stretches of sand in Malta and is arguably the island’s best beach. In a country that is not particularly known for its sandy beaches, Golden Bay stands out among the fray with its gilded grains of powdery sand.
Like the Blue Lagoon in Comino, Golden Bay can be packed with tourists. By the time I reached the beach, however, most day trippers had already gone back to their respective hotels and I had the stretch of sand largely to myself.
Lounging on the soft sands of Golden Bay was the perfect way to cap off my relaxing day trip to Comino. As I waited for the sun to set, I lay down on the beach, closed my eyes and listened to the soundtrack of gently lapping waves–drifting peacefully in and out of sleep and temporarily forgetting that my impromptu vacation to Malta was already halfway over.