Though there are a lot of beautiful landscapes in Malta, none are quite as striking as the Blue Lagoon. Surrounded by cliffs, it’s a baby blue stretch of sea that is perfectly clear, allowing you to see the white sand and marine life at the bottom of the water.
Getting to the Blue Lagoon
You’ll notice, especially if you’re arriving in Valletta on a cruise, that the blue lagoon is almost as far away as it possibly can be. It’s on the small island of Comino, just before Gozo. This is only accessible by boat, and it’s mostly deserted, with only one hotel on the whole island.
The internet will have you believe that the only way to get there is by taking a bus to the other side of Malta and boarding a ferry from Ċirkewwa. While this is the cheapest option, there is no shortage of boat options from all over Malta. You can barely go anywhere without seeing signs for boat tours to the Blue Lagoon. If you want to go with a large organized and well-known company, you can take the Captain Morgan Cruise from Sliema that takes you all around the upper side of Malta to the Blue Lagoon.
If you have the time, I recommend staying out near St. Paul’s Bay or Mellieha so you can experience a different side of Malta. Then you can get to the Blue Lagoon and back comfortably in one day without spending all day on transportation en route to it. These parts of Malta have more beachy options than the area around Valletta.
Bus within Malta
There are several buses that take you all the way to Cirkewwa, depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re traveling anywhere near peak season, remember that everyone else is, too. So you’re liable to spend an hour and a half standing on a crowded bus while you traverse all of Malta on the way there and back.
Because of heavy traffic toward the islands, you also can’t rely too much on timetables. So you should do the Blue Lagoon on a day where you don’t have anything else to do in case your day ends up running very late. When we went, the traffic near the boat terminal was so bad that everyone got off the bus and walked the rest of the way.
Ferries, cruises, and boats
There are some ferries that you can book online, which sometimes saves you money and secures you a spot, like the Comino Ferries Co-Op. But you can also arrive and buy your ticket last minute. You just run the risk of not being able to go. The ferries take about 25 minutes and run regularly back and forth about every hour until about 6 pm.
You can also book smaller boats which are faster and may give you a little more flexibility. Since you’re going on a small 8-12 person boat, it’s also much faster. When you’re hauling ass on the Mediterranean bouncing up and down in your seat, you’ll either think this is thrilling or a huge mistake. But you’ll also save yourself the hassle of lining up with 200 people trying to cram into the same boat.
The price is generally about the same, about 5 euro each way. If you’re paying considerably more than that for some reason, you’re getting scammed.
In addition to simple return trips, some ferries include onward service to Gozo, so you can see the Blue Lagoon as a stop to an afternoon or night in Gozo.
Visiting the Blue Lagoon
As you can imagine, the area where the boats drop off tourists is extremely crowded. There’s only one long dock where boats stop to drop off and pick up constantly. There’s no way to avoid that area unless you charter a private boat and jump into the water from your own boat.
The entire area is also a shitshow of food and souvenir stands. I would call this a tourist trap, except that the exquisite turquoise water is totally worth the mess of people. There are two very small areas that have some sand and beach chair rentals that fill every square inch of dry land. Then the island becomes rocky cliffs that you can climb all over. Many people lay towels up there and lay out with a nice view of the lagoon but without any shade or beach access.
There are locker rentals so you can store your bags, cameras, gnomes, etc. so you can go in the water. You can share them and pretty much cram whatever you can in there. Some people leave their clothes or other non-valuables in some nook on the rocks.
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon
Being the Mediterranean Sea, the water is cold. Even at the very end of June, the water was freezing. You kinda just have to suck it up and walk in. Or jump in if you’re more adventurous. It helps if you’ve been walking around in the blazing sun. Then the water is a welcome respite from the heat. Once you’re in the water, the crowds don’t bother as much because most people are on the island.
There’s also a small island across from the main dock with beautiful cliffs and a nice stretch of sandy beach that is basically isolated. Even though the Blue Lagoon is fairy shallow, it’s not shallow enough to walk the whole way, but you can swim there or buy a floatie and float along that way. Or pay a small raft or boat company to take you over. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Walking to Crystal Lagoon
From Blue Lagoon, you can also walk over to see Crystal Lagoon, though that may have been part of your boat trip to Comino. It’s just 15-30 minutes on foot up on the cliffs (don’t believe Google Maps’ 10-minute lie).
The walk takes you through some rocky paths that snake up and down the edge of the island. The views all around are beautiful, but the walk is best done in actual shoes. So if you’re planning on doing this, don’t wear flip flops. I broke both of mine climbing up and down the rocks. At the edge of Crystal Lagoon, some people climb up and jump in from the top of the cliffs. There’s a small rope and a platform that you can use to hoist yourself back on land.
Crystal Lagoon is worthwhile if you want to enjoy the serene beauty of Comino without the crowds. The people are generally really sparse compared to Blue Lagoon.
Timing your visit
If you’re on a strictly timed tour, you may not have time to swim and eat and hike to Crystal Lagoon. We booked a round trip that gave us about 5 hours there, so we got to see the change in crowds throughout the day.
We arrived around 1 pm and left just after 6 pm. At lunchtime, the crowds are intolerable. So we went to Crystal Lagoon to wait out the people. By the time we came back about an hour or two later, it was already a little more sparse where you could walk around without feeling like you’re at a Las Vegas pool party. At that point, we ate, stored our stuff, and went in the water. If you have that kind of time, I recommend doing that so you can enjoy a little bit of everything and escape the people.
As much as I hate crowds, I also wouldn’t recommend coming too late in the day, because when the sun is beating down on the water from above, the Blue Lagoon looks the best. It’s also the hottest time of day, so swimming makes a little more sense.
Unless you’re taking a private boat or staying on Comino, most people are gone by 6-6:30 pm because the main ferries run until then.
- Bring hiking shoes to make getting around the island easier.
- Use water shoes to be able to climb all over the rocks and go in the water from any part of the island. This will save you the trouble of having to wade through a sea of people on the tiny strip of sand at the Blue Lagoon.
- Bring plenty of cash for storage lockers, food, snacks, beach chair rentals, umbrellas, and cocktails in hollowed out pineapples.
- Use a lot of sun screen, and reapply if you’re sticking around a while. There is absolutely no shade on the island and the sun is reflecting off the water all around you.
- Heed the lifesaver warnings. There were definitely jellyfish swimming around us and beating against the rock with the tide.
- Bring a waterproof pouch for your phone or camera. I can’t imagine a better time to take pictures underwater than when visiting the Blue Lagoon.
- If you’re taking one of the big ferries back, the line to board is a nightmare clusterfuck of people. I don’t have a tip here, just good luck with that.