The Blue Lagoon is a pristine lagoon with crystal clear turquoise waters on the tiny, car-free island of Comino, Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. The Blue Lagoon is truly stunning and one of the “must see” activities in Malta. I’m talking paradise pretty and waters as turquoise as those you see in travel magazines. Since its so pretty, its super, super, super popular with tourists and a crazy amount of people descend on the Blue Lagoon everyday. Despite its touristy nature, I loved the Blue Lagoon and was more than happy to spend a day there! Dan on the other hand, thought it was just too touristy. We’ve summarized our experience in this post and how to make the most of your day!
HOW TO GET TO THE BLUE LAGOON
There are three ways to reach the Blue Lagoon – a public ferry, a private boat, or joining a guided tour. The guided tour option is certainly easier, but a public ferry will be less expensive. A private boat is, by far, the most expensive and, FYI, most private boats do not dock right in the Blue Lagoon (or even that close to it). So unless you have lots of money and don’t really want to see the Blue Lagoon, public ferry or tour is the way to go!
If you go the ferry route, small ferry boats leave from Cirkewwa port in Malta and Mġarr Harbour on Gozo all morning and make the 25ish minute commute to Comino throughout the day (coming from Gozo is slightly shorter). These ferries are pretty small and the ride can be a bit rough. The cost is not expensive (around 10 Euro RT) and you don’t need to book in advance. If you take one of these ferries, you will be dropped off near the Blue Lagoon and left to explore it and Comino on your own.
Alternatively, you can join a guided boat tour from Malta or Gozo; the options are countless. We looked at a few tour companies and choose Hornblower Cruises based on other blog reviews that we read. We were iffy when booking due to the touristy nature of Hornblower Cruises, but I think we made the correct decision. Hornblower Cruises does an excellent trip to Comino for those of all ages (although it is oriented toward the 20 – early 30-something crowd)!
No matter how you travel to the Blue Lagoon, be sure to have your camera ready and try to snag a “window” seat on the boat. The views are stunning, especially from Malta to Comino, and the Hornblower gets up close to several gorgeous caves.
WHAT TO DO AT THE BLUE LAGOON
Once at the Blue Lagoon, the ideal thing to do is swim in the turquoise water! If you join a guided boat tour, most of the touristy boats dock near the blue lagoon with space for passengers to swim near the boat. Hornblower even had a water slide that we could use! The most famous (and bluest) part of the Blue Lagoon is a short walk away from where most of the tour boats dock.
If you don’t take a guided tour or don’t like where your boat parks, the “heart” of the Blue Lagoon and the bluest waters are near the grouping of kiosks and white umbrellas a few minutes walk from where the tour boats dock. You can’t miss it. Very early arrivers can rent loungers on the shore of the Blue Lagoon and anyone can simply get in the water and swim. However, this area is SUPER, SUPER crowded with tourists and if you do not arrive very early, be prepared to flight your way into the water to swim around. I would say that this busy part of the Blue Lagoon is worth seeing, but only if you have a lot of time at the Blue Lagoon. We took a few photographs and went back to swim near the Hornblower, and I would not necessarily visit this part of the Blue Lagoon again.
Around the very crowded part of the Blue Lagoon, there are a number of kiosks selling souvenirs, flotation devices, food, and drinks. Prices are slightly upmarket for fast food, but the food was quite good. Dan and I ordered delicious chicken wraps and mozzarella sticks, ha. We also opted for a pineapple filled with an adult beverage because, why not? It was good, but quite sweet. Most of the kiosks took credit card.
Aside from the Blue Lagoon, Comino is tiny with just one hotel and restaurant. This hotel and restaurant is located about a 15 minute walk from the Blue Lagoon, on San Niklaw Bay. I have heard that tourists sometimes walk to this area to utilize a less crowded beach, but we found it sufficient to lounge in the Blue Lagoon.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE HORNBLOWER
Hornblower offers two tours to the Blue Lagoon – one that only goes to the Blue Lagoon and one that goes to the Blue Lagoon and also visits Gozo for a few hours. Spoiler alert, its the same boat and the same tour, and the sole difference is whether you stay at the Blue Lagoon all day or leave early to visit Gozo. Since we planned to stay on Gozo later in our trip, we opted for the Comino-only tour. We booked online before we left the US for about $35 US per person, although I don’t think its necessary to book very far in advance.
The Hornblower lists its departure as 10:30, but the boat begins boarding at 8:30 and you need to check in by 10 AM. We took a Bolt car (like Uber) from St. Julian’s in Malta and arrived in Cirkewwa around 9:15 AM. The Hornblower (clearly labeled) was one of the few boats in the harbor and we checked in simply by giving our name to the person at the entrance of the boat.
The Hornblower boat is 3 public floors – an open roof deck with space for sunning, a covered main floor with seating, and a lower floor restaurant and bar. We arrived early to snag a prime spot on the top deck, but in retrospect, it didn’t really matter (as people move about all day). In any case, we set up our towels on the top deck and waited for our other passengers to arrive, who also crammed on the top deck…
Shortly before the tour started, an employee went around selling tickets for a short tour of the caves surrounding the Blue Lagoon. The cost was 10 Euro per person, payable in cash only. We opted to do this and it was SO FUN and highly recommended (see below). I would further note that if you are going on your own, I am not sure how you would organize this tour.
Our tour departed Cirkewwa promptly at 10:30, and we set off for the Blue Lagoon. The ride took about 25 minutes and was a tad bumpy; I can imagine it could be quite rough in the off season.
On arrival to the Blue Lagoon, the Hornblower docked in a prime location, right next to the most turquoise water and a short 5 minute (or less walk) from the most touristy part of the Blue Lagoon. As soon as we docked, the staff let down the waterslide and opened a gate so that passengers could jump into the water from the top deck or enter the water from a latter on the main deck. You could also disembark the boat and explore Comino. While the Hornblower was docketed, you could move on and off the boat as you wished.
While many people started to swimming, all passengers who signed up for the cave tour (recall, the 10 euro extra ticket that we bought earlier in the morning), boarded smaller boats and set out on the cave tour, which lasted about 20 minute and went into a number of caves, even one with pink sand! Our guide for the cave tour was an awesome gentleman whose theme is “Merry Christmas” – it was even tattooed on his back… In any case, this tour was great. I recommend it to everyone.
After returning to the Hornblower from the cave trip, the ship announced that it would be departing for Gozo in about 45 minutes. We took this opportunity to grab our things and walk to the main part of the Blue Lagoon to see it and grab lunch. While we were gone, the Hornblower made a quick trip to Gozo to drop off the “Gozo” passengers and then returned and docked back at the Blue Lagoon as if it never left. We actually left our towels and water on the boat; it was fine. The Hornblower staff also announced the departure and return time numerous times over a loud speaker, so it was quite clear what was going on at all times.
While the boat traveled to Gozo, we walked a few minutes to the main part of the Blue Lagoon, which was SO crowded and honestly, kind of miserable. In addition to jam packed blue water, this part of the Blue Lagoon is home to several food and drink trucks. We ordered some chicken wraps and a rum drink in a pineapple! The food was surprisingly good and while a bit more expensive than normal, the prices were not outrageous.
After lunch, the Hornblower returned and swam in the water next to the Hornblower, even trying out the slide! This water was much less crowded than other parts of the Blue Lagoon and it was quite relaxing.
Before we departed around 4 PM, Dan and I had a drink at the on-ship bar and snagged our spots on the top deck for the trip back to Malta. See pictures further down for a glimpse of the menu on the Hornblower with prices. I found everything to be quite reasonable and cheaper than the kiosks off the boat.
After leaving the Blue Lagoon, the Hornblower stopped by Gozo to pick up the “Gozo passengers” and then returned to Cirkewwa port, making the return journey a tiny bit longer. All in all, we had a lovely day and I am confident that the Hornblower was the best way for us to experience the Blue Lagoon – 100% would do again! I would also recommend doing the Comino only portion of the trip, as the Gozo group had very limited time at the Blue Lagoon, especially if they also did the cave tour.
WHAT TO BRING AND TIPS
- A bathing suit. And I recommend wearing it under your clothes. There’s not really a good place to change on the Hornblower.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, and/or a hat!
- Cash and credit card. The Hornblower is cash only, and there is no ATM on Comino. For purchase on the boat are tickets to the cave tour, drinks, alcoholic and not, food (think burgers, fries, etc.) and some water things – like floats and water-proof cell phone covers. The Hornblower was less expensive than the kiosks on Comino. See pictures below for prices as of July 2019.
- Many of the kiosks on Comino, however, take credit card.
- A towel.
- Any sort of flotation device, etc. that you plan to use in the Blue Lagoon. Its very popular to buy a fancy flotation device (like a flamingo or donut) and take pictures in the water with them. These are cheaper on Malta and Gozo than on Comino.
- Your camera & back-up charger.
- There are lockers on the Hornblower and on Comino (8 Euro for a large). We did not bring anything expensive and mostly left our stuff on the Hornblower without problem. If you travel on your own, you will probably want to use one of these lockers.
- There is a first aid stand/ambulance near the Blue Lagoon.
- There are decent restrooms on the Hornblower.
- Cirkewwa port is home to a couple restaurants and exactly 1 shop near the Hornblower, where we purchased towels. Recommended to bring most everything you need with you to the port.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Hornblower Cruises: Reservations can be made on the Hornblower’s website. The boat leaves daily from Cirkewwa Ferry at 10:30 and returns around 17:00. Boarding starts at 8:30.