Located between Malta and Gozo, Comino is the smallest of the Maltese archipelago, with an area of 3.5 square kilometres and 4 official residents. Despite its size, Comino is considered a paradise, is for sea lovers, who and hikers. On the island is the famous Blue Lagoon, probably the most scenic beach in Malta. In addition to this, Comino offers the opportunity to take a nice walk with a historical-naturalistic theme, with some things to see, listed below. Comino is easy to reach from the island of Malta, both with the excursions organized by Bugibba, Sliema and Valletta and with the ferry departing from Cirkewwa, that is the place where the ferries to Gozo also depart.
Beaches in Comino
The Blue Lagoon is not the only beach in Comino, in fact, there is at least another small beach, in the bay of Santa Marija, practically unknown to most, but much more peaceful. There are other small accesses to the sea, but they are very limited and difficult to reach.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a bay with clear waters that make it look like a pool in the middle of the Mediterranean. The lagoon is composed of two beaches: the main one, equipped with sun beds and umbrellas and several well-stocked kiosks, and on the other side of the lagoon that of Cominotto, easily reachable by swimming, or paying 5 € for a boat ride. Cominotto beach is generally less crowded, and in the afternoon it also offers some natural shade. Splendid in May – June, in summer the Blue Lagoon becomes a carnival full of tourists, so, if you want an umbrella, it is better to start early from Cirkewwa, as explained further on.
Bay of Santa Marija
The Blue Lagoon is not the only beach of Comino, from there you can reach, walking north along a dirt path for 20 minutes, the other beach, unknown to most: Santa Marija. With beach umbrella and sunbed starting from € 7.50, the small beach offers fine sand, shade and much more tranquillity than the Blue Lagoon, although it is obviously less scenic than the first. On the beach you can also find a kiosk where you can take food and drinks, at acceptable prices: if you arrive before 11:30 you can also make a substantial English breakfast for € 7.50, or refresh yourself with a pint of cold beer at 2, 50 €.
What else to see in Comino
Although small and famous for the Blue Lagoon, Comino has a past rich in history. Probably inhabited in Roman times, the island acquired sinister fame during the Middle Ages, when its numerous caves were the ideal hiding place for pirates and marauders. With the arrival of the Knights of Malta, Comino was used as a hunting reserve and as a place of detention or exile for the knights who broke the rules of the Order. Who was punished with minor penalties, had to serve at the Tower of Santa Marija, one of the few buildings on the island, a task considered dangerous? A curiosity: the very few residents of the island were part of the diocese of Gozo, so every week a priest reached the island for mass. In case of bad weather, the inhabitants followed the celebrations from the nearest church of Gozo, through a complicated system of flags, which marked the moments of the Mass.
The Tower of Santa Marija
The Tower of Santa Marija is a watchtower dating back to the 17th century and built by the Grand Master de Wignacourt: it is a large square building, with walls six meters thick; from its top, about 80 meters from the sea, the garrison had a good view of the open sea. The structure was part of a sighting system, with the task of sounding the alarm in case of attacks and allowing the people of Gozo and Malta to prepare.
During the period of French domination, from 1798 to 1800, the tower was used as a prison for spies. Later, with the English, the area was almost abandoned; probably served as a lazaret and a refuge for animals. The tower once again experienced a period of activity during the two world wars, only to fall into disuse again.
After being restored between 2002 and 2004, the tower was opened to the public: when it is open to visitors, a flag is hoisted on its top. Admission is free, but a donation is recommended. More information is available on the website of the Maltese national fund that manages it. La Torre is easy to reach from the Blue Lagoon, with a 20-minute walk.
Santa Marija coastal battery
The coastal battery of Santa Marija (in English St. Mary’s Gun Battery) was built in 1716, on the south side of the island, guarding the channel that separates Malta from Comino. The battery consists of a semicircular platform for cannons, which faces the sea, and a wall for the Musketeers, which looks out over the hinterland. The basement was used as an armoury and shelter for guard soldiers. Restored in 1996, inside its battery there are still some of its original guns. The battery is not guarded, so it is always open and can be visited, on this site you can find some more information. The battery is reached from the Blue Lagoon in about 20 minutes of walking.
How to get to Comino
You can get to Comino by first taking the bus to Marfa (just before Cirkewwa), and then embarking on the ferry to Comino, or with a boat trip starting from the main Maltese tourist locations: Sliema, St. Julian’s and Bugibba. Let’s see in detail how it works:
All lines arrive at Cirkewwa, where they make the terminus, and where you have to get off. Once you arrive in Cirkewwa, take the small road between the shelters and the main building (you should see a sign with the word Comino Blu Lagoon Ferries ), and cross the whole area by boarding for cars: on the other side you will see a bar with a small ticket kiosk; the ferry to Comino leaves from there.
The ferry to Comino runs regularly from March to November. The journey takes 25 minutes on the outward journey and 35 on the return journey, as the ferry extends the journey to pass in front of the caves along the coast of the island. The return ticket costs € 10 for adults, and € 5 for children from 5 to 12 years. Children under 5 travel free. By purchasing tickets online you will get a 10% discount. The first departure from Cirkewwa is at 9:00 am, the last at 3:30 pm (March to May is 3:00 pm), with frequencies of every 30 minutes in the summer and 60 minutes in the other months. The last return from Comino is at 6.00 pm in the period June – September, anticipated at 16:00 in the other months. During the winter months, from December to March, only a few sporadic trips are offered, contact the company directly on their website. Obviously, the service is suspended in case of rough seas, verified in advance on the same site. The big advantage of the ferry is that you can come back whenever you want, as the tickets are open: it’s very convenient if you have no idea how much you want to stay.
To find out how public transport works, read our article on buses in Malta. By car, just follow the signs for Gozo ( Ghawdex, in Maltese), once you arrive at the end of the road parked outside the boarding area, in the marked areas.
Option 2: boat trips to Comino from St. Julian’s, Sliema and Bugibba
Several companies offer the excursion by boat to Comino, with a certain variety of services, such as lunch and drinks included during navigation. More or less all depart around 10:00 am, with return at 6:00 pm. A boat trip from Sliema to Comino costs around € 25-30, while from Bugibba it costs around € 15-20. It is advisable to go to the pier well in advance to get in the queue, get on the boat immediately and take the best seats, which depending on the season are those outdoors and in the shade. Check out what is included and what is not included in what you pay. Roughly the two choices are:
- All-inclusive packages , with a trip to Comino of about 8 hours, lunch, drinks (water or beer), and above all with transportation to and from the hotel (great if you are not near boarding), with a cost of € 30 for adults and € 15 for children , and you can book here . Important: in the case of booking, the name of the hotel where you are staying should be indicated.
- If you are not interested in lunch on board, transport or anything else , the company with the newest boat is Sea Adventures, with underwater portholes to see the bottom (the photo above is taken from the porthole). The price from Bugibba is € 20 for adults and € 15 for children , it always lasts 8 hours, and you can take tickets directly at the pier: in high season, you should arrive early, as many tickets are sold before . Alternatively you can book from their website, with a 10% discount on the normal ticket, and present yourself directly at the pier with the voucher, skipping the entire queue. Free transportation is provided from other areas of St. Paul’s Bay, especially good if you are in Xemxija.
What is the best way to reach Comino?
- If you have a car , if you are staying in Mellieħa or you like a bit of bus (the road is at times panoramic), get to Cirkewwa and board the ferry: it costs less and there is more freedom with the timetables .
- If you are already in Bugibba or Sliema , or if you have children and you don’t want to do the bus tour, then take the boat trip: it’s convenient, and once you get on board you just have to worry about spreading sunscreen. Lunch on board, when included, consists of a salad of pasta or rice with other canned food. You have been warned.
Rent a bike and sleep in Comino
We put these two things together because they are made in the same place: there is a hotel in Comino where it is possible to stay, curiously it is not even as expensive as one would expect; with great imagination they called it Hotel Comino . Among the services offered by the hotel there is also the bike rental service . There is also the possibility of taking a tour of Comino by Segway: if they charge it, however, it seems to be a lot of fun (but we didn’t try it).