A Day on Comino
by Anthony Mizzi
The Maltese love Gozo. Not a holiday goes by that they don’t prove it; supermarkets are shopped clean, the locals whispering to each other as unrecognized families take their place in church for mass, not to mention the exodus via ferry on Sunday night. And I’ve heard the complaints as well, as to how Gozo is slowly losing its old-world charm and allure, partially due to modernization and partially to the over-crowded and overbuilt villages. But what’s most interesting is the fact that most Maltese and Gozitans overlook one of the best getaways: Comino.
Now don’t go and think that Comino is going to offer you the best weekend vacation you’ve ever had. Far from it. But it will give you something you could probably use: peace and quiet. Comino’s blessing is in it’s simplicity. There are no cars. There are no buses. There are almost no shops. There are barely roads. Don’t come here expecting to be pampered.
Do come to Comino if you are looking to relax. Come to Comino if you want to walk around and take in the scenery. Stay a while at the beach and cool off. A typical day on Comino can go something like this; an early shuttle ride over to Comino from Marfa with Comino Ferries Co-Op. They’ve been shuttling people between the islands for the last 15 years, and they know what they’re doing. The 20 minute ride in itself is a great start to the day. The 9:00am ferry is best, Comino is still mostly deserted at that hour and the Blue Lagoon is your oyster. Enjoy a few hours of lazy swimming or sunbathing. For convenience, there’s a young man who rents out beach chairs and umbrellas, and a couple of truck kiosks for simple snacks. Public convenience is just up the hill.
Just after 11am is a great time to take a walk up the hill to the St. Mary’s Tower for some exercise and history. Built around 1618 by the Knights of Malta, it formed part of a chain of defensive towers – the Wignacourt, Lascaris and De Redin Towers. Standing 12 meters high, with 6 meter thick walls, it sits on an 8 meter high platform. Recently restored to it’s former glory, the tower is now open to the public. Look for the flag flying from the top of the tower, which signals that the tower is open that day. The view from the roof is outstanding.
A short walk away is the San Niklaw Bay. If you’ve neglected to pack a lunch, don’t fret. The Comino Hotel’s Blue Lagoon restaurant is open to the public, where diners can help themselves from the large buffet tables. It is spacious and welcoming, with extensive window space ensuring superb sea views throughout.
Since you’ve made it this far, why not go a little further? You’ll know you’re at the Santa Maria bay, when you spot the tiny Roman Catholic chapel, dedicated to the Sacred Family Upon its Return from Egypt. The bay features shoreline trees that offer much appreciated shade in the summer months, but keeps you close to the beach for an afternoon dip. A haven for yachts and sailboats, it’s a frequent tourist hotspot.
With the day almost over, it’s time to head back to the Blue Lagoon for our return to Malta with Comino Ferries Co-Op. Hope you didn’t lose your return ticket, or you’ll miss the short trip past the Comino Caves. These caves have been featured in such movies as The Count of Monte Cristo and the 1980’s classic Popeye.