Comino Malta - history, highlights, holidays and hotels
The tiny island of Comino, only 2km by 1.7km, is wedged between Malta and Gozo. From the sea, it looks like nothing more than a rocky outcrop but the plateaux harbours enough flora and fauna to earn it the status of a nature reserve and a bird sanctuary. The best time to visit is in the spring when the flora is blooming and it's teaming with animal life.
Little is known about Comino's history before 13th century when it became a parish centred at the little Chapel of Our Lady's Return from Egypt. Remarkably, this tiny church is still standing and, with St Mary's Tower built by the Knights of Malta in 1618, makes up the only two man-made structures on the island. Erecting St Mary's Tower fortified the island and swept away the bands of pirates using the island's many caves and inlets to hideout and wait for unsuspecting ships to pass between Malta and Gozo.
Few visitors come to Comino for its history however. During the high season, boatloads of bikini-clad tourists invade the island to take advantage of its hide-away beaches and clear water. The archipelago's main holiday attraction, the Blue Lagoon is a sheltered cove on the western side of the island, sandwiched on the other side by the tiny uninhabited islet Cominotto. One of the most photogenic natural attractions in the Mediterranean; the perfect white sand and still turquoise water is desert-islandesque, only the throngs of tourists detract slightly from this image.
There is only one hotel on Comino, open from April to October. The hotel is situated at San Niklaw Bay, the pick-up and drop-off point for visitors from Malta and Gozo, and a convenient stroll away from the Blue Lagoon. This four star place has a surprising number of bright, simple rooms and good facilities including a private beach and tennis courts. In fact, the hotel owns virtually all the facilities on the island and its not too keen to share with non-residents, reflected in the fairly stiff price day-trippers must pay to use them.
The Comino Hotel runs its own ferry service to and from Malta and Gozo, with up to 7 services a day during the high season. Although priority is given to the hotel guests, non-residents can also use it if there's space. The main tourist areas on Malta and Gozo also run shuttle services to the island during the summer.