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Comino takes its name from the cumin herb, one of the few plants that grow wild in the inhospitable topsoil of this basically uninhabitable island. For centuries Comino sat orphaned in the middle of the channel separating Malta and Gozo. Now it is a prized jewel, albeit sun-baked and barren; one of the few places left in the Mediterranean where there are no cars or roads and the land, including its airspace, is a wildlife sanctuary. The indigenous population remains in single figures, and with the exception of the residents of the one hotel all visitors and day-trippers depart before sunset, leaving only yachtsmen to linger for the night in the bays where 400 years ago Saracen pirates lay in wait.

Time your visit correctly – before 1030 or after 1600 – and Comino offers the finest bathing, snorkelling and diving for miles around. The translucent waters of the Blue Lagoon has a South Pacific quality; limpid crystal turquoise water over a white-sand leaf-sized beach.

Comino has retained that rarest of commodities – an unhurried temperament in a hurried world. It is a kindly and gentle island where even the sinister prickly pear seems to cast long defeated shadows.

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