As soon as we booked our tickets for Malta we knew we wanted to do a boat trip, and preferably one like we did in Santorini with unlimited wine! After researching online we settled with Barbarossa Excursions, and couldn’t have been happier with our choice.
Our day started with our guide picking us up from the central square of Xhagra in a small open back tuktuk, very similar to what we’ve ridden in Thailand and Vietnam! We bounced our way down to Maggr Port where we met our boat. The first ones on board we headed straight for the front of the boat and settled ourselves in. Without any introduction or greeting from the boat staff we cast off and headed on our way, with only 8 other people on board. We just couldn’t believe our luck with how big and spacious the boat was.
Little did we know we were headed over to Malta to pick up the remainder of our passengers. Once fully boarded there was nowhere left to sit! There were people on top of the cabins, along all the seats and a couple even had to sit inside. Thankfully we managed to commander a space right next to the bow meaning we didn’t have anyone sitting next to us and had uninterrupted views of where we were headed – many others weren’t as lucky!
Finally we got an introduction from our captain, with the obligatory jokes about it being his first time sailing the boat that seem to come with every water based tour you book. Why do they always think this is funny!? He explained the boat trip had some people on a half day trip (us) and others who had booked a full day cruise or cruise/jeep combo. He didn’t however mention at what point the half day would finish or where we could find the unlimited wine that we signed up for. With our priorities in order though we headed off to find the wine.
Wine in hand, the sun on our backs and the best seats in the house we were patting ourselves on the back for a day well planned. First stop of the tour for us was the St Maria Caves. We’d expected stunning sights, but we weren’t prepared for just how stunning the scenery was actually going to be.
The most highly anticipated stop of the tour was the Blue Lagoon on Camino Island. Apparently by midday in summer the Blue Lagoon has over 6000 visitors, meaning that its beaches are full, boats are almost bumping into each other and its barely enjoyable for anyone. Because of this our captain made a beeline there as soon as we left Malta, hoping to beat the crowds. And beat the crowds did…
Neither pictures or words can capture how incredible the water at the Blue Lagoon actually is, its absolutely crystal clear and bluer than you could ever imagine. We couldn’t believe out luck when we dropped anchor and got to leap over the side. Anyone who has been anywhere near a cliff, large rock or boat with me knows how much I live jumping off things and can imagine how excited I was when the captain said we could jump from the bow of the boat!
Mark and I separated ourselves from the hordes jumping off the boat and swam away to enjoy a little peace and quiet. I’m pretty sure the conversation just went “Wow, the water is so blue. “Yea, the water is so blue.” “Look how clear the water is” “Isn’t this amazing” “It’s so blue”.
After our swim stop we all headed back to the boat and around the corner to the Crystal Lagoon. As the crystal lagoon is only accessible by boat, its a lot quieter. We also found that a lot of the people from our cruise didn’t jump off the boat because they’d “already been for a swim”. We had no such hesitation and were throwing ourselves off the side again minutes after we were given the go ahead. My phone has the ability to change the burst photos that it takes into videos, which were the cause of much hilarity!
We had the option of paying an exra €5 for a boat trip to the caves. Ever money savers we skipped and decided to swim over instead! I’m glad because the caves were actually rather underwhelming…
Our third and final stop of the half day was St Nicholas Bay, home to Comino Hotel and Bungalows. This is the only hotel on the Island of Comino, and guarantees you access to the Blue Lagoon without the masses! We didn’t go ashore here but spent more time drinking wine, swimming and trying to see if we could fit a return to stay at the hotel into our plans for the rest of summer – we couldn’t.
Following this stop the captain had the floor again and informed us all that we were now headed back to Gozo where we would drop those who had booked the half day Jeep Tour. We knew full well that this also meant the end of our boat trip, but we were having so much fun we decided to take advantage of the lack of organisation and stay onboard. The majority of the passengers disembarked, but nobody noticed us on board until we’d left the harbour. We pled ignorance when they finally mentioned it and ended up getting away with only having to pay an extra €20 for lunch and another 4 hours of sunshine and wine!
The second half of our day was even better than the first, we had less than 20 people onboard and the scenery still had us in awe.
By this point the camera had fallen by the wayside and we were more focussed on swimming and drinking all of the wine. The crew humored us, telling us that they were out of wine. Only to bring out another 4L! I’m not 100% sure on the names of the places we stopped, after 5 hours of blue ocean and free wine we weren’t worrying too much about what we were actually looking at.
Most reviews we read of boat cruises around Malta complained that they were overpacked, overpriced and occasionally underwhelming. Thankfully ours wasn’t! While the first half was busy, we spent most of the time staring off the boat, drinking wine and oblivious to the hordes of people behind us. By the time we were ready to truly relax, tan and take ridiculous photo’s they’d cleared off and we had free reign.
Arriving back in Gozo we were pleasantly tipsy, laughing at anything and everything and headed back to a bar to keep things going.
For everyone who asks for a recommendation of a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon, Barbarosa Excursions will be top of our list. 8 hours on the water, lunch, unlimited wine, incredible views and great company. Not bad for €60!