Getting Around Malta

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Getting Around Malta

By bus

Until July 2011, one of Malta's joys (at least in small doses) was the wonderfully antiquated public bus system, consisting mainly of 1950s-era exports from Britain usually kitted up with more chintz than a Christmas tree plus icons of every saint in the Bible and then some. The only catch was that almost all buses radiated out from Valletta, so you might have had to detour back to the capital to reach your next destination.

On 3rd July 2011 Arriva took over the bus service in Malta, offering a safer and more comfortable bus service. After more than a month of delayed and missing services, the new bus system is finally finding its feet. The bus system is very easy to use and prices are low. 

For the Standard Fares, a 2hr ticket is €2.20, day ticket cost €2.60. 7-day ticket also available at €12.00. However, Standard fare tickets bought in Malta are not valid in Gozo and vice versa.

By taxi

Malta's white taxis are the ones you can pick you up off the street. They have meters that are uniformly ignored, figure on €15 for short hops and not much more than €35 for a trip across the island. There are now Gov't approved fares for taxis from the airport ranging from €10 to 30.

For cheaper airport transfers and local taxis try using one of the local "Black cab" taxi firms such as Active Cabs Taxi by Sean Taxi Service, Peppin Transport (Cheaper Online Prices), Malta Airport Cabs or Malta Taxi Online. Their rates are normally lower than white taxis but their services must be prebooked (at least fifteen minutes' notice).

If you would like a taxi tour, it is a good idea to book it in advance with an agreed price and arrange to be picked up from your hotel or apartment. The tours are best kept short, around 3 to 4 hours should do it. In a car you will be able to cover Mdina, Rabat, Mosta, Valletta and the Blue Grotto. However, some people say that when visiting historical sights it is best to also hire a licensed tourist guide (who will wear their license while on tour) and accuse taxi drivers of often giving inaccurate information.

By car

Renting a car in Malta is a fine way to see the country, since it's cheap and driving conditions have improved greatly in the last ten years. Having your own car allows you to make a lot more of your trip and discover the many hidden charms these small islands have to offer.

It is always best to pre-book your car rental online as this works out cheaper than booking when you arrive. According to the Mediterranean markets, Malta has very low rates for car rental. Any driver and additional drivers must take with them their driving licenses in order to be covered for by the insurances provided by the local car rental supplier.

There is GPS coverage of the Island by popular brands, however do check with your rental company as to whether they make this available to you or not. Popular opinion states that the GPS mapping of Malta isn't altogether that accurate, where certain routes planned on the GPS, will send you up one way streets without warning, best to use common sense in conjunction with this technology. Also the Maltese can be a very friendly bunch of people when giving directions are concerned.

By ferry

There is the regular ferry service between Ċirkewwa on Malta and Mġarr on Gozo, it goes every 45 minutes in the summer and almost as often in the winter. A return ticket cost €4.65 (Standard passenger fare). There are also irregular services to Comino.

By seaplane

Regular flights between Valletta Grand Harbour and Mgarr by Harbourair started recently. There is also a planned service to Sicily. The company also offers scenic flights for around 90EUR that take 30 min and provide beautiful views of the Maltese islands. Flights start in Valletta's grand harbor. Check-in and ticket office is at the sea passenger terminal, on the very end of the "Valletta waterfront", behind the cruise ship terminals.

By helicopter

Scheduled helicopter service between Malta and Gozo has been terminated.

By bike

Renting a bike in Malta is not a very common and popular practice but it doesn't cost much, and offers enough flexibility to explore. Bicycle rental shops are present all over the island but it is always better to book them from beforehand via their websites so as not to be disappointed.

Cycling is an orginal and fun way of discovering Malta and Gozo, known for their very small size. It is a good idea to cycle on the West of Malta, in the areas of Dingli Cliffs and Fomm ir-Rih as they are far from congested cities and offer a pleasant view.

It should be known however that most roads in Malta are dangerous for cyclists; most Maltese motorists are not friendly towards cyclists and there are no bicycle lanes. It is best to stick to country roads making sure to rent mountain bikes as country roads can get bumpy and uncomfortable for city bikes. In summer, do not go cycling between the hours of 11 am to 4 pm as the heat is unbearable.

By charter boat

The boat charter industry has grown considerably in Malta over the last few years. Malta's favourable tax regime for commercial yachting and its central location in the middle of the Mediterranean sea has meant that large, famous charter yachts - such as the Maltese Falcon - and a whole range of small and midsized yachts are now available for day and week charters. The Grand Harbour Marina has become the principal centre for bareboating (self-hire yacht chartering).

By walking

Valletta is relatively small and very safe for walking - as are both Mdina and Birgu, other old cities of Malta. A bus tour or car hire is more recommended for Gozo though.

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