Measuring an area of only 3.5 square km (1.35 square miles), Comino Island is the smallest of the Maltese Islands. It is often termed the “jewel” in the crown… but is it really?
I am no expert, just a normal tourist. I also only took a day trip to Comino and although there are many people who rave about Comino Island, unfortunately, it just left me feeling rather miffed and downright hard done by.
I had been advised not to go between 10am and 4pm, but that seems a bit crazy if you only have one day to see the place. We had to first drive to Cirkewwa which is just next to where the Goza Ferry boats are. This took about 20 mins, from there you can either take the ferry or a fast speedboat across to Comino – this all takes time…. so, even if you leave really early you will still only get to the Island by about 9.30am or so. I was also not visiting at the peak holiday period. It was mid September but it was CROWDED and I am NOT exaggerating, when I tell you that people were literally sitting, lying, standing and paddling shoulder to shoulder, a bit like sardines in a tin….
Boats were actually waiting in line to hook up to the small harbor and there were a couple of other larger boats tied up to the quay who were obviously there on a day trip. Hundreds of bodies of every description lined up on their rented deck chairs on a pocket sized piece of beach …. There are a couple of snack bars selling ice-creams and cold drinks, and there are ablutions but definitely not adequate for the amount of people there!
It was boiling hot, so if you do go, make sure you take lots of water with you, hats and sunscreen and proper shoes… this is a rugged, little island with rocky, sandy pathways. We escaped from the mass of humanity at the waterfront as quickly as possible and did eventually find a little place to have a quick dip away from the maddening crowds.
I wanted to see the Comino Hotel as it is the only one on the Island and, we had in fact, toyed with the idea of trying to spend a couple of nights there. It took us about 20 mins to walk there although it felt more like an hour as it was so hot.
On arriving, we were desperate for something COLD but we first went to the reception and asked about availability, what the rates were etc. The receptionist was obviously having a bad day…. She treated us like something the dog had dragged in. I know we more than likely looked a little sweaty, but then so did their guests and anyone else on the Island. She just told us they were FULL. We understood that but wanted to know what the rates were and whether could one still swim if you came in April etc, but she was not having any of it – rude, rude… Eventually, giving up on that we walked across the reception to the bar counter and ordered a beer and iced tea. Same story… we got the beer and iced tea but that was it, no glasses, no friendly chit chat or please feel free to take a seat….. just a surly, don’t pay us here, non-guests must pay at reception so back to rude receptionist we went…
It was awful, I dared not even ask where the restrooms were, I think they may well have thrown us out. I can’t say what the rooms are like, but from outside looking up at the curtains blowing in the breeze, they looked pretty tatty, but perhaps I was just cross by then and everything would have just looked awful.
Back with the “maddening crowd”, we thought about taking a trip across to the Blue Lagoon, just a short distance away. The small beach looked inviting but just as busy.
Included in the price of our return boat trip was a drive past the Blue Lagoon so that passengers could take photos of the iridescent water…… Well, that turned out to be a rip-off as well; we literally sped round the Blue Lagoon, madly trying to take pics and in the blink of an eye were speeding our way back to the mainland.
We felt really let down…
Comino has only 4 permanent inhabitants and then of course, there is the hotel. The Blue Lagoon is advertised as one of the best beaches in Malta. Yes, it does have amazing clear waters (but then so does the Blue Grotto where I swam every day), but my suggestion, would be visit in April or May or perhaps October. I am also sure that the Comino Hotel, although perhaps in need of an upgrade is quite fine for a couple of days and perhaps the staff were tired at the end of a busy season…. so, if I ever go back, I may give them another chance. Problem is though that I live in South Africa and it is not exactly a hop and skip from here, it took 3 plan trips spanning about 17hrs to get there in the first place….
Comino is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve and for this reason alone, I would think that they should restrict the amount of people they allow on the Island on any one day. That should be a priority!
I don’t mean to put people off going to Comino, if you visit Malta, it is definitely a place you have to see and experience and perhaps if we had gone at another time when it was not as busy, we would have come away with a completely different view. I am always prepared to give everything a second chance, but, there are so many other places to visit in this world, a place only gets ONE change to prove why I should return and spend my valuable time and money there. Something Comino Hotel and those “in charge” of the island should think about.
Have you visited Comino? What were your impressions?