Comino Island. Malta
In the center of the Mediterranean Sea, between the larger islands of the Maltese archipelago Gozo and Malta nestles their little brother Comino. From the north, it is protected by Gozo Island, and from the south, respectively, by Malta. Comino is part of the municipality of Ainsilm of Gozo.
Comino Island on the map
- Geographical coordinates 36.012184, 14.335468
- Distance from the capital of Malta, Valletta about 20 km.
- The nearest International Airport in Malta is 20 km south-east.
Comino Island is a small piece of land measuring 2.6 by 1.9 km and an area of 3.5 km2 . In principle, a leisurely walk around the island and see all its attractions.
The name of the islet comes from the plant life, in particular from the caraway seeds that used to grow plentifully on the archipelago. In Maltese the name of the island is spelled “Kemmuna”. It is known that previously the island was also called Efaestia.
The coastline is heavily indented by sea waves, so there are many cliffs, caves and grottoes. In ancient times, the island was used by smugglers and pirates.
The island of Comino. Malta. View from high above
Later, the knights of the Order of Malta used the island for recreation and hunting grounds. Only knights were allowed to hunt wild boars and hares here. Poachers were punished with three years of slavery. In the 16th and 17th centuries, unwanted or disobedient knights were exiled to the island.
The inhabitants of Comino Island
The island cannot boast a large population. It has been uninhabited or inhabited by very few people since the Roman Empire. The official population as of 2013 was only four (4. ) people. True, this does not include the employees of the local hotel. In May 2017, one of those four residents, Maria Said, died at the age of 90. The island’s official population is now three.
Comino is visited daily by one police officer and one priest. They provide assistance to locals, hotel workers and tourists.
There is only one hotel on the island. It is a 4-star Comino Hotel & Bungalows. It is located in the northern part of the island on the west coast of St. Nicholas Bay (San Niklaw Bay) and the coast of St. Mary’s Bay. Quite a decent place, by the way. Polite staff, cozy rooms, excellent service. You can stay there. But as a rule, tourists spend no more than a day on the island and go either to Gozo or Malta.
Hotel Comino Island
There is a campsite 800 meters east of the hotel, on the shore of St. Mary’s Bay near its bungalows.
Comino Island Attractions
Although the island is relatively small, there is plenty to see.
St. Mary’s Tower
It is the most remarkable local structure of the Middle Ages. It was built by the Knights of the legendary Order of Malta in 1618 in the southwestern part of the island. Its main purpose is the surveillance and protection of the island. It has a square shape with four (of course) loopholes in the corners. The walls are 6 meters thick. The fortress was built at a height of 80 meters above the sea, which gives it a significant advantage over the enemy. The fortress was also part of the signal chain between the town of Mdina on Malta and the Citadel on Gozo The Knights also built army barracks nearby. In the early 20th century, they were occasionally used as a quarantine hospital.
St. Mary’s Tower on the island of Comino
Remarkably, the tower is still used by the armed forces of Malta as an anti-poaching post. In 1982, this fortress was taken over by the country’s armed forces.
A charitable organization for the preservation of ancient monuments in 2002 restored the Tower of St. Mary. And now, although it is a military facility, the tower can be visited by tourists, and for free. You can leave a donation, it is very welcome. You can visit the tower on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-30 to 15-00. If there is a flag flying over the tower, you can safely go in. Try to climb to the roof, it is from here you will see stunning views. In the distance you can see the island of Gozo, and very close you can see the Blue Lagoon, another beautiful attraction of the island.
Comino’s Blue Lagoon
Next to the island of Comino there is another tiny island, named Kemmunett. Between these islands is the Blue Lagoon.
Do not confuse it with the Blue Lagoon of Iceland. By the way, it is not superfluous to read about it. This is a very interesting place where you can bask in the nice warm geothermal springs, surrounded by the snow caps of the nearby mountains.
The Blue Lagoon on the island of Comino is a small strait with crystal clear blue water and soft white sand at the bottom. The abundance of marine life and the opportunity to swim in the amazingly clear water attracts many travelers here. This is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
The Blue Lagoon of Comino Island
A small Catholic church
On Comino Island, not far from St. Mary’s Bay, there is a small church built, like St. Mary’s Tower, in 1618. It is active and has weekly services. The church is remarkable in that it is the only place in the entire Maltese archipelago where there is an iconostasis.
Church on Comino Island
The underwater grottoes of Saint Mary
About 400m east of St. Mary’s Bay is a site that will surely attract diving enthusiasts. This is St. Mary’s Grottoes. The amazing underwater world and the bizarre caves under the water will not leave anyone indifferent.
The underwater caves of Comino Island St. Mary’s Grottoes on Comino Island
Today Comino Island is not only a tourist attraction, but also a bird sanctuary. It is home to 50 to 80 pairs of yellow petrels and other species of birds.
How to get there
You can get to Comino Island from Malta, in particular from the ferry pier of the town of Serkewwa Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal. From here ferry ferries go to Comino. Ferries run every hour from 9 am to 5 pm in the summer, from April to May and from September to October from 10 am to 4 pm.
Keep in mind that the Straits are navigated from April through October. Don’t hesitate to check with the captain for the departure time of the last ferry.
The island of Gozo can be reached by boat from the neighborhood of the village of Cala or from the Gozo Ferry Terminal. If you are a guest of the only hotel on the island, the so-called shuttle service is available.
Malta. Comino Island and the beach Blue Lagoon
As usual in the off season we go to the sea, and this fall we went to the Maltese archipelago. We visited the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.
Today I will tell you about the smallest inhabited island of the state of Malta – Comino (Comino), the Blue and Crystal Lagoon, how to get to the island of Comino from Gozo and Malta, and 7 smarthacks to avoid the crowds. And of course, there will be lots of colorful photos
Our trip to Comino
We went to Comino for one day from the island of Gozo. We left on a 10-hour flight from Mgarr.
Blue Lagoon is a bay protected from the waves by the islands of Comino and Cominotto. The Maltese name of the Blue Lagoon is Bejn il-Kmiemen, meaning “between Comino”.
At the bottom there is fine white sand, and because of this the water received a bright blue color.
Opposite is Cominotto (Cominotto, Maltese: Kemmunett), a small uninhabited island 100 meters away from Comino, which protects the Blue Lagoon from the waves. Its area is only 0.25 square kilometers.
Every flat piece of land is occupied by paid sunbeds with umbrellas. The sun loungers are right next to each other. A beach there milipusenky a shred of sand.
Prices – 25 euros for 2 beds and an umbrella on the sand of the water, 20 euros on the rocks.
At the beginning of eleven in the Blue Lagoon were not yet a large crowd and not unfolded all the trade around the pier.
We decided not to swim in the Blue Lagoon, but to walk around the island.
First we walked along the shore to the right of the pier. The views are incredible! Lots of different arches, sea caves and holes in the rocks.
Near Crystal Lagoon there was no beach either, there was only a small concrete pad. There was only one couple besides us there. The water is clean and clear, it would have been cool to snorkel there. We enjoyed our swim.
There are fewer people there because you have to jump into the water and then climb the wall. It is not difficult, but it scares most people away
While we were swimming, a big ship docked, and other people came up from the shore, and our solitude ended.
There is a beautiful archway next to Crystal Lagoon that is easy to miss.
Then we went to St. Mary’s Tower . It itself is not any beauty, but it has great views of the rocks, the sea and the whole island.
Plans to build a tower on this place for the defense of the island were hatched in the 14th century, and for its construction there was even a special tax on wine. But King Alfonso V of Aragon changed his mind and used the money for other needs.
The island stood unprotected for two more centuries and in 1618 the tower was finally built by the Knights of Malta under the leadership of the Grand Master of the Order of Hospitallers, Alof de Vignacour.
Later it was used not only for defense, but also as a prison.
From here a dirt road leads to the other side of the island.
The beaches of Saint Nicholas Bay and Santa Maria Bay were unimpressive. In addition, after the storm, the water was muddy and there were piles of seaweed on the shore. If there was no storm, it would have been normal sandy beaches. We did not even take pictures of them.
By lunchtime, we returned to the Blue Lagoon and were stunned: there was someone sitting on every scrap of land, and we could not see how many people were there.
The big excursion ships from Malta came in. There was a trade near the pier: food, water, booze, sunglasses, lockers for valuables, sun loungers, and umbrellas.
We found a place to swim near the little arch (to the left of the pier), and then left back to Gozo.
Information about the island of Comino
The name Comino comes from the word cumin (zira), which was grown here. The island used to be home to a community of 60 farmers with their priest, teacher and bakers. In 1960, the farm was abandoned and the land was bought by the state. Now only three people live on the island.
In Maltese, the island is called Kemmuna.
Wikipedia says that the island of Comino during the Roman Empire, then abandoned, and the Middle Ages, its secluded coves have become a haven for pirates who robbed the ships that sailed between Malta and Gozo. Maltese knights used the island for recreation and hunting. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the island served as a prison, and at the time of the French occupation, Comino was a quarantine and an infectious disease hospital.
The area of Comino Island is only 3.5 square kilometers.
The movies Troy and Gone were filmed on the island. In the movie Count of Monte Cristo the tower of St. Mary was used as the castle of If.
How to get to Comino from Malta and Gozo
There are 5 ways to get to the island of Comino, and they are all by water.
1) Passenger boats (10 euro round trip). They go from Mjarr and Hondoq Bay on Gozo, and from Cirkewwa on Malta. You can take the Malta-Comino-Gozo or Gozo-Comino-Malta route for the same price.
The boats go once an hour, in season from 8 to 18, in the off season from 9 to 17. The ticket is valid only on the day of sale. If you’re going to spend the night on the island, get one-way tickets.
How do I know which boat to leave Comino on? Different companies have different colored tickets, and the captains shout something like “red ticket to Gozo” or “blue ticket to Malta”.
2) Water cab from the same ports (10 euros one way).
3) Excursion tour . From the island of Malta take large ships (30-50 euros). They leave from several cities, the price usually includes food and drinks. In the reviews for these tours, everyone complains about the crowd and the noise, but I guess it depends on who drank how much
Here’s a typical ship. There are dozens of them in season, and they stand board to board.
On GetYourGuides such sea cruises are cheaper – from 20 euros, and you can see reviews of other tourists.
They take small boats from Gozo, usually without meals.
4) Rent a motorboat (from 50 euro/hour 4-seater + fuel costs). We saw boat rentals in Hondoq Bay. No license is required for small boats.
5) By kayak or SUP from Hondoq Bay – the distance is only 1 km. Just be careful with the boats, especially in Blue Lagoon. This option is only suitable for experienced paddlers, because passing boats constantly create waves.
- Single-seater canoe 5 euros/hour
- Double kayak 10 euros/hour
- SUP 15 euro/hour
6) Water scooter from Hondoq Bay (from 40 euros for 20 minutes + fuel). There is also a one-hour excursion around Comino (from 120 euros + fuel).
Transportation on the island
The best way to walk around Comino is on foot – it’s small. Moreover, you will see more that way. The main thing is not to wear flip-flops, but some more athletic shoes.
For the lazy, there are tours with a guide on segways. It costs 15 euros per person and lasts 40 minutes. You can book directly at the pier. They drive only on dirt roads, do not go on the trails.
Minibuses run between the pier and the hotel (3 euros one way or 5 euros round trip).
You can also book a water cab to either end of the island. From the pier to Santa Maria Bay, the ticket costs 8 euros for adults, 4 euros for children under 12 years of age.
Accommodation on the island of Comino
There is only one hotel on Comino, the Comino Hotel 4*, which is only open from April to October.
It consists of two parts:
1) the main building in Saint Nicholas Bay (pictured),
2) the bungalows at Santa Maria Bay.
There is also a campsite near Santa Maria Bay but we didn’t like it: it was kind of uncomfortable and had little shade. And we didn’t notice any facilities like showers, toilets or kitchen.
How to avoid the crowds – 7 tips
Since all tourists want to admire the island of Comino, and there are few good beaches in Malta, unreal crowds come here. The boats are packed, the pier is crowded, there is nowhere to sit or lie down near the Blue Lagoon, and the sea is just a soup of people. It’s especially scary in the summer. It’s easier in the fall, but still crowded.
I’m going to share some tips on how not to be disappointed by a trip to Comino and to be there without the crowds.
1. Arrive by the very first boat at 8am. It’s important not to get there during rush hour. Most campers don’t arrive until 10 a.m. and leave on the last boats. Blue Lagoon is the quietest time in the morning.
2. After 10am, go explore the island. The next swim can be done at Crystal Lagoon and then the beaches on the other side of the island.
3. Escape to Cominotto Island. It’s less crowded and has a sandy beach. A round trip water cab costs 5 euros per person, children under 12 are free. An umbrella on Cominotto beach may be included in the ticket (ask when booking). If you have an air mattress, you can cross there for free, just be careful with the boats.
4. At rush hour, take a 20-minute tour of the sea caves, but book in advance, because there are a lot of people who want to go. 10 euros per person, minimum 2 passengers.
5. The evening boats are crowded, especially the last one. Often it happens that people just do not fit and then can not leave the island. There are scandals and almost fights to get on board. Lifehack: While they crowd on the pier, you can enjoy the island, watch the sunset, and then leave for Gozo or Malta by water cab. The price is 10 euros per person, but no queues and no crowds. Water cabs run until 9 pm, but it is advisable to book before 6 pm to be sure to leave. You can buy a ticket on the pier.
6. Arrive at sunset rather than the morning cruise – there is an option from Bujibba.
7. Stay overnight on the island at the Comino Hotel, then the island is yours in the morning and evening, along with a small number of other people.
Comino sights on the map
An Organic Maps or Google Maps map is enough to get you oriented. Here are all the places on the map: