Malta is a unique and super picturesque place! You’ll go from the most beautiful beaches in the European summer to the oldest archaeological sites in the world in just one trip… And there’s even a touch of Arab influence that gives it a certain culture shock charm, to make the trip even more interesting 🙂
But if I fell madly in love with the Mediterranean Sea, much of the blame lies with the other two islands in the Maltese archipelago: Comino and Gozo .
Blue Lagoon: paradise in Comino
Virtually uninhabited, the island of Comino is so stealthy that it was chosen as the setting for the prison in the movie The Count of Monte Cristo. The big star of Comino is the beautiful Blue Lagoon (which is not a lagoon but is very, very blue). A swim on this beach already makes the whole trip to Malta worth it
Unlike most beaches in the Mediterranean, in the Blue Lagoon the water is very clear… More like the Caribbean Sea! As the beach is in a more remote part and surrounded by rocks, there are no waves and we can see how unbelievably transparent the water is! Wonderful!
The island of Comino is very small, measuring just 2 km 2 and located halfway between the islands of Malta and Gozo. There isn’t much to see on land, but you can take small trails to enjoy the wonderful view over the Blue Lagoon or explore the rocks that surround the beach. Another option is the speedboat rides to see the caves on the island , beautiful too!
Schooner ride to Comino
To get to Comino, you can take a schooner ride or take public ferries. There are also people who hire a private boat, I think you can negotiate that at the hotel.
We went with the schooner Oh Yeah Cruises, on a 13 euro tour that runs from 11 am to 4:30 pm, departing from Mellieha Bay (tip: stay on the benches on the left side for shade). Our boat spent about 3 hours at the Blue Lagoon and then made a second stop for diving at Anchor Chrystal .
The best part is that we could dive from our own boat, away from the crowds on the beach (the strip of sand is small and gets crowded in high season). Entering the water at the “high” part was perfect for us to swim freely and enjoy the calm and transparent sea of Comino 🙂
If you prefer public transport ferries, the return ticket costs 10 euros and you can check the timetables on the Comino Ferries website. There are 2 boarding points: Marfa (in front of the Riviera Hotel) or Cirkewwa (near the ferry terminal to Gozo).
Malta to Gozo ferry boat
Gozo (I think the pronunciation is Gozzo, like “pizza”) is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. There are also schooner trips there, but believe me: Gozo deserves a whole day.
The best way to cross between the two islands is the ferry boat that departs from the terminal near Mellieha Bay. If you’ve rented a car, you can go by car and everything (there’s a “parking lot” inside the ferry). If you don’t have a car, the good news is that Gozo has a much more organized hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus (punctual, well signposted) than the one in Malta.
Boarding for passengers without a car has a little catch: nobody has the habit of buying a ferry ticket on the way out. Everyone buys the round-trip ticket (€9.30) on their way back to Malta from Gozo. In high season, there is a certain stress when the Maltese start to rush unsuspecting tourists who stop at the ticket office and delay the boarding queue. Enter directly and pay the ticket only on the way back!
In Gozo, the perfect photo at the Azure Window
If the star of Comino is the Blue Lagoon, the star of Gozo must be the Azure Window , in the village of Dwejra. The stone that forms a “window to the sea” became a postcard of Malta and became even more famous when it appeared in Game of Thrones . Every fan of the series wants to see the stunning setting in which Khal Drogo and Daenerys get married.
If the sea is not rough, take the opportunity to get in the water with this beautiful landscape as a backdrop – there is a natural pool known as the Blue Hole, which attracts divers and snorklers.
Resist the idea of walking over the arch, even if you see other people doing it… The stone erosion process is already well advanced and it’s possible that the window won’t hold much longer. It seems exaggerated, but Aruba had a similar “natural arc” that fell in 2005 :O
Update: the Azure Window collapsed on March 8, 2017, unable to withstand the undertow after days of stormy weather in Malta. Not even the bases of the arch exist anymore… News that left everyone who knew or dreamed of visiting this beautiful place heartbroken ♥
One of the nicest parts of our day in Gozo was lunch in Xlendi, a village where the restaurants are literally on the seafront (the beach has no sand, so the sea is right there). A small cove, calm and clear water, a very family atmosphere, good food… In my opinion, Xlendi gives Ramla a ten out of zero, which is the most famous beach in Gozo (and also the busiest).
Another point with dining options is Victoria, the Citadel of Gozo. There is no view of the sea but you can see the whole island from the top of the walls. The visitor center at the entrance to the old fortification has been completely modernized and has free screenings of a short film about the history of the island.
On the way down from the Citadel, a small discovery that ended our day on a high note: we bumped into a wine and liquor store on It-Telgħa tal-Belt street where we tasted Lord Chambray beers for the first time – the best craft brewery in Malta. Here’s the tip to ask to meet in restaurants too! 🙂