In the middle of the blissful mediterranean sea sits the island paradise of Malta. In 2017 we visited for 3 weeks as a break from our busy, full-time lives in the UK, and it has quickly become one of our favourite travel destinations in the world. As well as the beautiful main island of Malta, there are many day trips that you can take to the neighbouring islands, as well as the Italian island of Sicily. Here are our favourite day trips that we took on our holiday in paradise.
Comino Island and Blue Lagoon
A short boat trip from Malta sits the remote Comino Island, predominately known as the Blue Lagoon. This is the smallest of the Maltese archipelago including Malta and Gozo with only a small number of permanent residents. Comino is an extremely popular island amongst the tourists, especially in the summer months with its crystal-clear waters and epic boat parties.
There is very little accommodation on the island and no transport, therefore most people access the island for a day trip by boat. We chose an organised boat trip which took around 2 hours, costed approximately 20 euros and boasted a buffet and free bar on board! It was a nice way to take in the views and chill in the sun, and besides who doesn’t love a free bar?!
Food and Drink
The stunning Blue Lagoon surrounds Comino Island attracting visitors daily to bathe in the warm water and rest on the shore. There are pop up stalls on the stony walk down to the water serving food, ice cream, drinks, cocktails etc. However be warned, these can be very pricey and we would recommend bringing a packed lunch instead.
Spread around the rocky shores of the Blue Lagoon are rentable sunbeds. There is a high demand for limited sunbeds and you need to be an early bird to get one. By the time we arrived the tiny beach area was overcrowded with them, so we chose not to bother and spend our time snorkelling and exploring instead! We also saw a couple of sunbeds that were starting to go underwater by the time we were leaving, which would be far from ideal if you had left your bags there!
Lockers for Valuables
There are locker services available which I would recommend taking advantage of to store your belongings safely. These are handy if you plan on swimming across the Blue Lagoon to explore the nearby caves, as it is about a 15 minute swim to get across. The lockers come at around 5 euros for the day.
This is the perfect paradise for snorkelers and divers, with caves around the island to explore and plenty of sea life to discover. We stuck to the main swimming area and snorkelled our way across to another small island. There is a jet boat which takes you a tour to the caves costing an additional 15 euros, we didn’t do this but I have heard the caves are beautiful.
Unfortunately, being one of Malta’s main tourist attractions it is very, very busy. There isn’t really any room to put a towel down and relax if you wanted to, and loud music and lots of hustle and bustle will prevent you from enjoying beach naps! Thankfully the warm, crystal clear water is too nice to get out of anyway!
The final island of the Maltese archipelago is Gozo, smaller than the main island and larger than Comino Gozo is a beautiful place to unwind. We took a day trip to the island starting at the Cirkewwa ferry terminal at the very northern part of Malta.
We boarded a ferry which took approximately 25 minutes and we arrived at Mgarr, a harbour town on the east coast of Gozo. A convenient hop on hop off bus waits for tourists disembarking the ferry at the terminal and offers the chance to listen to the history and facts about each area (remember your earphones!). This gave us the freedom of seeing the scenery and hopping off at our chosen locations.
Gozo is a lot more rural than mainland Malta, we passed many grassy areas which may have been used as farmland. Dotted around Gozo are many, MANY beautiful sights, ranging from ancient cathedrals to stunning beaches. Below are our top sights to see on this tiny island.
Our first hop off point was Ramla l-Hamra, the most popular sandy beach in Gozo as well as the largest. The sand is almost a dark red colour and is surrounded by countryside, with a winding, edge of your seat bus ride to get there.. There are facilities nearby and a lifeguard on the beach. We only had a short amount of time in each location as we wanted to hop off at as many different places we could, however we still managed to squeeze in diving through the waves to cool off.
Gozo’s most popular tourist attraction, a 28m tall natural arch located on Dwejra Bay – the famous Azure Window. This amazing piece of Limestone was created by the collapse of a sea cave. It was a popular hop off spot, everyone wanting to get some photos of the arch. Despite there being a sign asking people not to walk on the arch many people still did. We weren’t brave enough and took photos from below.
Sadly after a period of heavy storms, on 8th March 2017 the arch collapsed into the sea. However with every cloud and silver linings, this is now a popular diving spot as the remains lie below the surface, hot to a huge range of sea life.
Our last hop off was at this popular bay where we chilled out and ate ice cream. There’s a small sandy beach leading into shallow waters and may people swimming and snorkelling as the sun was setting. It is also a very popular diving spot. We didn’t have a meal out there ourselves, however restaurants were filling up as we were leaving to get back on the bus.
A four-hour ferry away from Malta is the beautiful Italian island Sicily. It was an early start, we were collected by a minibus at around 4am and taken to the ferry port. We booked an organised bus tour which had a tour guide showing us the sights for the day. There was no toilet on board the bus and the first part of the drive was around 3 and a half hours so make sure you go before you leave (or bring a bottle)!
We stopped for a few hours to admire the stunning views and enjoy the local Italian cuisine in Taormina. A hill top town on the east coast of Sicily. This is a hot spot for tourists, meaning it wasn’t the cheapest, a small ice cream cost approx. 6 euros. However, on a hot day with the stunning views of the sea below, it was definitely worth it!
This also provides the perfect spot for a quick bite to eat before the bus heads off to the next location. The early lunchtime deals, paired with the authentic Italian cuisine make a winning combo!
Our next main stop was Mount Etna located 3350m high, another top tourist spot in Sicily. Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe, most recently erupting in March 2017. There was the option to go on the cable cars which went higher up and gave a closer view of the volcano. It cost around 30 euros for this trip so we decided we would take our own tour around the black sand and volcanic rocks.
The contrast in temperature and weather between these tourist spots was incredible. Make sure you bring a layer with you to put on when you get up to the volcano!
So those were our favourite spots to visit off of the main day trips to take the next time you are visiting this amazing part of the world. Ever since our trip, we have been counting down the days till our next visit to this little slice of heaven and we cannot recommend it enough.
If you enjoyed reading this blog check out our other guides to Malta, as well as other European countries that you must visit! Also catch up with us on social media to see what we are currently up to.
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