It’s our final full day in Malta and today we don’t have to worry about making plans – they were all made for us before we travelled. Whilst reading multitudes of Malta blogs to help put our itinerary together I came across a recommendation for a Comino day cruise with English Rose Cruises. Intrigued by the fab review I clicked on the website link to check out prices. €13.00 almost seems too good to be true. A quick Google across the web and I find nothing but top-notch reviews, so I go ahead and reserve us two spots.
Fast forward to a Monday morning in July. We originally planned to get the bus down to the departure point at Mellieha Bay, but we’re still smarting from last week’s public transport debacle so we’re not willing to risk the No 49 when we’re on a schedule. As luck would have it though, we find an on-road parking space almost directly across from the Tunny Bay Jetty. We take a quick recce walk, planning on a quick coffee somewhere before boarding, but we soon discover that our boat is already filling up, 45 minutes before departure time. We make a dash back to the car to pick up our bags and board the boat to get checked in. We’re greeted by Sandro, who unfortunately doesn’t have our names down on his list, but accepts that he sent the email that I’m now brandishing in front of him on my phone. We’re aboard and ready to go!
Except it’s another 50 minutes before we set sail, with more and more people arriving every minute. It’s not apparent at first where everyone is going to fit on such a small boat – the cruise company pride themselves on having compact boats which can sail close to the caves of Comino, but it seems that there may well have been some overbooking going on. But all fit on we do.
Once we’ve set sail everyone spreads out a little as the sun seekers find their spot on the front and upper deck, and it’s a pleasant cruise around the natural caves of the rugged coastline of Mellieha, before leaving Malta behind for the tiny island of Comino. But the excitement is palpable when Sandro announces that our next stop is the famed Blue Lagoon, and we’ll get a couple of hours of sunbathing and swimming in the glorious crystal blue waters.
It’s fair to say the Blue Lagoon isn’t entirely how it looks on those picture-perfect Instagram posts. Yes, the waters are crystal blue. Yes, you can buy a cocktail in a pineapple. But so can the other thousand people squeezed into this small bay. The tiny beach is crammed full of sunbeds and parasols, each one already taken for the day. The cliffs above are lined with food and drink outlets. We have arrived earlier than many of the organised boat tours, but others appear to have got ahead of the game by jumping on the ferry or water taxi.
We’re not deterred by the crowds though, and I gingerly drop myself off the side of the boat into the freezing cold waters which once again take the breath away. Mr Fletche is not a fan of the whole plunging into cold water thing so sensibly remains on deck, watching as I slowly turn back from blue to a slightly paler shade of blue. It’s refreshing and invigorating and I decide that Mr Fletche definitely needs to get in on this sea action. So I climb back aboard and we set off, hand-in-hand, picking our way through the throngs to where the sea gently laps the shore. Turns out Mr Fletche isn’t a fan of even gradual cold water immersion, but he perseveres to keep me happy and eventually we’re both bobbing along in the bay. Two and a half hours is a long time to spend bobbing though, so we emerge back into the sunshine and head up to get lunch from one of the clifftop outlets. Along with the obligatory beer and Kinnie. We spend the rest of the stop lounging around on deck, reading and soaking up the sun.
It’s time to head off for our second lagoon stop of the day, but not before a quick scenic cruise into Mgarr harbour on Gozo. Has it really been almost a week since we explored Gozo? Our stop at Crystal Lagoon is much more what I expected. It’s a much smaller bay, so the bigger boats are unable to moor up, but we are able to sail right up to the small jetty. It’s a shady, sheltered lagoon, so I take a guess that the water is going to be even cooler than at the Blue Lagoon, and decide I’ve had enough invigoration for the day. Instead, we scramble up the cliffs above and take a stroll, admiring the magnificent views over the channel. This walk connects all the way back to the cliffs above the Blue Lagoon, but we’re content to walk part of the way before ambling back and taking a pew with legs dangling over the waters below. It’s a beautiful place to sit and relax, listening to the gentle splashing of the swimmers and snorkellers below.
For €13.00, this trip has definitely been worth the money, and it’s late afternoon when we sail back into Mellieha Bay. Unlike our Kornati trip in Croatia, this one focused on giving customers much more time at the swimming sites rather than on the boat, and I don’t hear any complaints or grumbles from our fellow passengers as we disembark and head our separate ways.
We head back to George’s, where it’s time for us to start packing. Mr Fletche wants to return to Rabat and Mdina for a final time to capture the soft evening colours so we drive the now familiar road. This time it’s a lot quieter; yesterday’s festivities are a distant memory and only remnants of confetti on the streets hint that anything out of the ordinary has occurred in this sleepy city. As the light fades, we take a seat on the terrace at Fontanella in Mdina; we may have missed out on the coffee and cake during our visit, but at night Vinum Wine Bar & Bistro shares the space. We share a Mediterranean platter – as always, I worry if the dish will be enough to share and if we should have ordered a second option. Turns out this platter of bread, hummus, dolmades, chorizo, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, chicken wings and beef koftas is more than enough for us to work our way through. We’re not quite stuffed enough to turn down dessert though, and share a large slab of the cake that Fontanella has become famous for.
As the stars start to twinkle and elaborately lit-up churches penetrate the dark skies, we review our week on Malta. It has been frustrating at times, mainly the simple act of getting from A-B. Because of our isolated accommodation location we’ve had to use the car much more than intended, meaning less
drinking relaxing time for Mr Fletche. Valletta didn’t live up to our expectations, but that may be because we were grumpy and hot and tired before we even got there. But we enjoyed exploring Gozo, fell in love with the narrow streets and beautiful buildings of Rabat and Mdina, and had a wonderful final day at the lagoons. I think that if I returned to Malta, it would be as a city break to get a little more out of Valletta but for those looking to explore Malta, 5-7 days is the perfect amount of time to spend.
I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring Malta through the words and photos of A Brummie Home and Abroad! If this final one is the first one you’ve read, and you want to find out more about our Malta break, you can find them all by clicking here – A Brummie Home and Abroad Malta Travel Diaries. And please let me know if I’ve inspired you to visit Malta in the comments below 🙂
I’m Emmalene, a 40 something with a passion for travel, theatre, food, drink and the occasional accidental hike! I’m a born-and-bred Birmingham native so expect lots of Brum content on here too…