Let’s see the best way to discover Malta and getting around

If you are on the way to visiting the archipelago of Malta, you have must be aware of the options for getting around to save time and, possibly, money. Like many other small islands, Malta has no subway or trains and the only public transportation to discover the country is the bus. Alternatively, it’s possible to rent a car or moto/bike, but they are not always the best option for different reasons. 

How to reach the different areas of the Island from  Malta International Airport

The International Airport of Malta is situated on the southwest side of the Island next to Luqa and Gudja villages, and it is the only airport in the archipelago. It is around 10 km far from Valletta (13 km from St.Julian’s-Sliema, 20 km from Bugibba) and well linked with the different towns of the Island through buses and taxi. In the arrivals hall, you’ll find the tourist office (on your left side).

Means of transport at the airport:

  • Bus: It is the cheapest option which connects the Airport with the rest of the Island. The single ride costs 1,50 € during winter and 2 € in summer  (3 € night service). The bus stops are right in front of the arrivals area, where you’ll also find a table with schedule and routes. You’ll find a small office of Malta Public Transport in the arrivals area (next to the pharmacy) where you can buy the bus card for tourists (the single ride is purchased directly on board). Click here to see the official website of Malta transport.
  • Taxi: in the arrivals area, you will find a kiosk where you must book your taxi ride. A trip to Valletta costs about € 17, for Sliema € 20 and Bugibba € 28. 
  • Shuttle (Shared Taxi): different companies offer a shared solution at affordable prices (starting from 5 €). You can find their stands inside and outside of the arrivals. Just keep in mind that it could take longer than usual because it won’t move until the shuttle is full. 
  • Private Transfer: another good option is to reserve in advance a private transfer. The driver will wait for you at the arrivals area with a sign indicating your name (we paid 20 to reach Sliema). Click here to book your private transfer. Alternatively, you can book it through the web platforms  Viator.com or GetYourGuide.com, which offer different solutions and prices.
Malta international airport
Malta international airport

Getting around Malta by Bus

The Bus is the only public transportation on the archipelago, but in our opinion, it is the best choice to visit Malta and getting around quickly and free of hassle. The bus is cheap and efficient, linking the whole territory with 80 different routes (plus 15 different routes in Gozo). Moreover, there are the express routes that connect the International Airport and villages quickly since they have limited stops (all buses with the letter “X” or “TD”).

The single ride costs 1,50 € in winter, 2 € in summer and 3 € for the night service. The ticket can be bought on board from the driver and lasts 2 hours after ticketing (so you can catch more than a bus).

If you plan to use the bus, different bus cards allow you to save money. The cards can be purchased through the Malta Transport sales booths (you’ll find one at the airport and one at the Valletta bus terminal) as well as many third-party outlets. Click here to see the location of party outlets and Malta transport sales offices.

About the bus cards:

  • The explore tallinja card allows you unlimited travels for 7 days, and it costs 21 .
  • The 12 single day Journeys tallinja card is perfect if you use the bus now and then. Since it includes 12 journeys to be used, this card can also be shared. It costs 15 and is valid for 1 year.
  • The Valletta tallinja card allows you unlimited travel on the buses and includes two trips on the ferry service, which you can use to travel to Valletta from Sliema and the Cospicua, and back. With the Valletta Card, you can visit any three of The Palace State Rooms, The Palace Armoury, The National Museum of Archaeology and Malta 5D. It lasts 24 hours from the first time it is used and costs 19 €.
  • The Explore plus tallinja card allows you unlimited travels for 7 days and includes 2 trips on the Valletta ferry and 2 sightseeing options.  You can choose between a full-day tour on the hop-on/hop-off buses or a boat trip to Comino island and its incredible Blue Lagoon. It costs 39 €.
  • The Personalized tallinja card is suitable for those who decide to stay longer on the island. The card is personalised with your photo and name and can be topped up with credit easily online, over the phone, at any Malta transport sales outlets or any MaltaPost post office. It allows you to save money since it includes a daily, weekly or monthly capping (there are several personalised cards).

Click here for more information about Malta transport tallinja cards.

It’s handy to download the smart apps Moovit and Tallinja, where you can set your position/destination and find the best bus route.
Malta bus
Malta bus

Getting around Malta by taxi or private transfer

Taking a cab is the most expensive option to get around the island; anyway, if you don’t have time, it’s the fastest way to reach your destination. The taxi can be hired by booking from taxi booths (in Valletta is next to the bus terminal, close to the Triton fountain, in Sliema next to Zara shop, close to the ferry terminal), from designated taxi stands or by hailing in a place where it’s safe to stop. When a taxi is hired out from a location with a taxi booth, the fare is calculated using a taximeter (3,5 initial fee, then around 1 € per km). Alternatively, some private companies provide the same service as a taxi (basically is like the more known Uber). Click here to see the website of E-cab company and check about private taxi rides. You can also download the smart app of Ecab to book your private trip everywhere around Malta.

Renting a Bike or a Scooter

Nowadays it is possible to move around the centre of the Island by bike. Since 2016, there is a bike-sharing service with around 60 points and more than 400 bikes. The service is available in Pembroke, Sliema, St. Julians, San Gwann, Ta’ Xbiex, Imsida, Gzira, Swatar, Naxxar, Vittoriosa, Valletta, Bugibba, and St. Paul’s Bay. Just register by downloading the Nextbike smart app or through the official website. If you want to know more about bike-sharing and prices, click here. Aside from being an excellent service, Malta’s roads are not bike-friendly but quite dangerous, so we recommend avoiding this transportation. But if you want to try the bike, you should do that in Gozo, since the place is less chaotic and you can enjoy the rural area of the island.

If you think to rent a scooter or quad bike because the Maltese road surface is not well preserved, the traffic, and in the towns, the roads are very narrow. Moreover, remember that Malta is a left-hand drive as in the U.K. so, if you are not used to it, it can be quite challenging to drive over there.

Rent a Car

The same applies to the car if you are thinking to rent your vehicle. Not only because of the traffic is annoying, the roads, the left-hand but also for the parking. It can be very annoying, and you can waste a lot of time struggling around for a place where to park your car. Anyway, if you want to rent a vehicle, click here to check the prices and get your deals.

Some beautiful attractions like Marsaxlokk, Blue Grotto, Dingli Cliffs, Hagar Qim Temples, are in the southern part of the island that is not so well served by bus (usually, there is a ride every hour). Therefore, if you don’t have a lot of time and you want to enjoy this area, it could be a good idea to rent a car for a day only.

Gozo ferry
Gozo Ferry

Ferries from/to Malta – Gozo – Comino

Malta is an archipelago of three islands connected very well by ferries.  The available routes are the following: 

  • Malta (Cirkewwa) – Gozo (Mġarr) and vice-versa: it takes around 25 minutes, and the cost of the return ticket is 4,65 €  per person (1.15 € for children from 3 to 12). For timetables, fees and info, click here.
  • Sliema – Valletta and vice-versa: it is the easiest and quickest way to reach Valletta. Taking the ferry, you can cut the traffic and have a beautiful view of Valletta from the sea. It takes around 10 minutes, and Single Ticket costs 1,50 € while Return Ticket 2,80 € per person (Children Single: 0.50 € and Return: 0.90 €). If you stay in Malta much longer than a few days, we recommend you to buy Weekly Pass: it is valid for 7 consecutive days with unrestricted use, and it costs 10 € (click here for more info about fares). Night Service is available during high season and starts from 7.30 pm (Single: € 1.75 Night – Return: € 3.30). It usually runs every 15 minutes, and you can check the timetable by clicking here
  • Valletta – Three Cities and vice-versa: As per the route Sliema – Valletta, to reach the Three Cities by ferry will help you save a lot of time. The ferry, which connects Valletta and Cospicua ferry terminal (Bormla), takes around 10 minutes and Single Ticket costs 1,50 while Return Ticket 2,80 € per person (Children Single: 0.50 € and Return: 0.90 €). Night Service is available during high season and starts from 7.30 pm (Single: € 1.75 Night – Return: € 3.30). It usually runs every 15 minutes, and you can check the timetable by clicking here. The jetty is situated under the Upper Baraka Gardens, so you can choose to take the elevator from there (it is free on the way up) or walking along the Valletta Waterfront.
  • Malta (Cirkewwa or Marfa) – Comino (Blue Lagoon) and vice-versa: Comino Ferries Co-Op provides rides daily, and it takes around 25 minutes to go and 35 minutes to return. If you want, you can continue your journey to Gozo from Comino because the ticket is the same. You have to confirm with management at the ticket booth to confirm availability and departure times. The return ticket costs 13 €; child aged 5 to 12, the price is 4,50 (you can save 1 if you book your ticket online). For more info, timetable, and prices, check the Comino Ferries Co-Op website.
Malta ferry
Malta ferry

Tour packages for visiting Malta, Gozo and Comino.

Another useful way to visit the best attractions of Malta (and Gozo) is to take the Hop-on/Hop-off bus that offers different routes with stops next to the island’s main spots. There are 2 companies: City-sightseeing Malta and Malta sightseeing. 

If you decide to plan a trip to Gozo and Comino, you can book it directly once in Malta or through web platforms. If you choose the first option, then go to Sliema promenade (best choice), Bugibba or St. Julian’s jetty where different booths offer packages (boat tours to Gozo and Comino, jeep tours to Gozo and Malta tours) starting from 25 – 30 (some includes food and beverage). Alternatively, if you prefer to book it beforehand like us, then go on Viator.com or GetYourGuide.com and get the right one for your taste. 

Malta, Sliema promenade
Malta, Sliema promenade

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