From popular crystal clear beaches to desolate, abandoned architecture. It pays to stray away from the tourist hotspots on Comino island, Malta.
Comino is tiny – a 3.5km squared dot of land in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s also home to the Blue Lagoon, a very popular tourist attraction in Malta.
Two things surprised me about Comino. First, just how many people go to visit the Blue Lagoon – after our boat pulled in a scrum of people disembarked and headed down to the crystal waters, and by the time we came back from our walk it was totally packed out. Second, just how many people don’t do anything else on the island but visit the Blue Lagoon.
We came across a couple of people on our walk; a few had come to visit the watch tower, but once we were about halfway in we lost the tourists completely. I think we saw two of the island’s then four inhabitants (as I was researching for this post I learned that Maria, the island’s oldest resident, had sadly passed away) but otherwise it was desolate. As a Londoner, it’s such a novelty to feel like you are really alone somewhere; that you’re not going to see people around the corner.
The lack of people means that wildlife can thrive on Comino. Plants run rampant, sprouting up out of every nook available, while lizards (including chameleons – although we weren’t lucky enough to see one on our visit) and birds live on the island in relative safety.
I’m not usually into wartime history, but Comino has some interesting relics. St Mary’s tower was used as a lookout point in the 1400’s, to protect Malta from pirates. Further along the path, there’s a battery, armed with a handful of cannons, that was built by a catholic military order back in the 1700’s. I didn’t spot it, but apparently after it was abandoned a fig tree grew over the entrance – a nice coincidence due to the tree’s association with peace.
We also passed some more modern artefacts. A huge complex of buildings that was totally abandoned, with danger signs strewn all around, was a little spooky. I’ve looked into just what it could be since we’ve been back. I think it was most recently a pig farm; other sources talk about a commune of lepers that lived in a now-abandoned building.. Maybe it’s the same place.
A regular ferry runs from Mgarr harbour on Gozo or Cirkewwa in Malta.
6.4km / 4 miles
Easy; a few short scrambly sections, but otherwise a leisurely walk.