THE BLUE LAGOON
Comino is a rocky wilderness, with jagged cliffs, two small sandy beaches, coves, creeks and a coastline dotted with deep caves. And of course, Comino Island is known for the famous Blue Lagoon bay with its crystal clear and azure-coloured water. With a permanent population of just four residents, one visiting priest and a policeman, this rugged little hideaway conjures up pleasant thoughts of dreamy island happiness. Indeed, only a few minutes from Malta’s mainland, the island of Comino presents an interesting little odyssey and a day trip of pleasant surprises.
Named after the plentiful cumin (flowering plant) that grows on the island, Comino is thick with wild herbs and flowers, with the entire island classified as a wildlife sanctuary nowadays. It is mostly visited by tourists for a day trip while some of the more adventurous Maltese people visit Comino to camp or hike across the island.
The island was inhabited in the Roman period, but did not have much significance until the Knights of St John arrived. It then had a dual role: hunting grounds for the Knights and a staging post in the defence of the Maltese Islands against the Ottoman Turks. It had proved a useful base for pirates operating in the central Mediterranean and, though stark and barren today, it was home to wild boar and hares when the Knights arrived in 1530. The Grandmasters went to great lengths to ensure that their game on Comino was protected: anyone found breaking the embargo on hunting could expect to serve three years rowing on a galley. After World War II, Comino remained a backwater until its fortunes revived with tourism in the mid-1960s.
Although most famous for the Blue Lagoon, with its sheltered bay of shimmering, clear water and easily accessible through the several boat trip operators in Malta or Gozo, there is much more to see beyond the lagoon. Comino is steeped in caves, creeks and grottos which lend themselves well to scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming, with many sunken treasures around as these caves were popular with corsairs (pirates) in the Middle Ages.
Comino has no cars or tarmac roads, has one hotel, a tiny ancient chapel and a small police station. But in summer it is a major tourist attraction offering a complete change of pace from the neighbouring islands of Malta and Gozo and is a great place to go for a day trip, or even to spend part of a holiday, especially for those who cherish peace and tranquillity.
From ‘IN LOVE WITH MALTA’ (The Hidden Treasures)
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