Getting round Malta, the small island that delivers large experiences

A compact archipelago of three islands on the coronary heart of the Mediterranean, Malta is simple to discover.

Make the most of a handy community of buses and ferries, set out on journeys of discovery in a well-priced rental automotive, or journey an e-bike or electrical scooters alongside the spectacular waterfront esplanades of St Julian’s and Sliema. Here is our information to one of the best methods to get round Malta.

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Experience the bus to (most) elements of Malta and Gozo

Each Malta and its sister island of Gozo are compact, and bus companies operated by Malta Public Transport are a handy approach to discover. On Malta, routes start from the Valletta Bus Station, simply south of the Metropolis Gate, whereas on Gozo, the city of Victoria is the central focus. Tiny Comino is normally visited on organized day journeys from Gozo or Malta and it is sufficiently small to discover on foot. 

The frequency of buses ranges from each ten minutes to hourly on much less busy routes. Nonetheless, the shortage of punctuality generally is a problem, and afternoon and night buses typically run late. Buses are finest used for targeted day journeys to locations corresponding to Mdina and Marsaxlokk. As a result of most routes originate within the central hubs of Valletta and Victoria, utilizing buses to go to a number of locations in a single day could be problematic.

Test Malta Public Transport’s on-line journey planner or the Tallinja App for bus schedules and timings.

Public buses can get you near attractive seashores corresponding to Ghajn Tuffieha © Paul Biris / Getty Pictures

Tickets for public transport in Malta

Single tickets together with a two-hour switch window price €2 (US$2.10) and could be purchased on board buses. There’s additionally the choice of a 12-journey card for €15 (US$16), which can be utilized concurrently by {couples} or households. Discover Playing cards price €21 (US$22.30) and provide limitless bus journey for seven days, whereas ExploreFlex is a chargeable stored-value card providing discounted journey on buses and likewise harbor journeys with Valletta Ferry Companies.

One other variation is an ExplorePlus Meep card for €39 (US$41.40) incorporating e-bike rental, on-demand van companies, and sightseeing by bus and harbor cruise. For longer-term stays in Malta, it’s price signing up for a stored-value Tallinja Card. There’s a registration payment, however it gives one of the best reductions on buses and Valletta Ferry Companies, and likewise integrates with the Tallinja App.

Spectacular passenger ferries join Valletta to close by cities

A number of helpful passenger ferries are run by Valletta Ferry Services. From the southern fringe of Valletta’s fortified peninsula, ferry companies cross Grand Harbour to the Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua). A second service runs from Marsamxett Harbour on the northern fringe of Valletta to the business district of Sliema. Ferries depart frequently from 7am to 7pm every day from October to Could, extending to round midnight from June to September. Bikes are transported without spending a dime.

An alternative choice for crossing from Valletta to the Three Cities is by dgħajsa – Malta’s conventional hand-rowed water taxi service. These boats had been first launched within the seventeenth century, and boatmen cost €2 for a one-way crossing. Passing below the golden, honey-colored partitions of Fort St. Angelo, it is a good approach to cross Grand Harbour.

View of Valletta and Marsamxett in Malta on a bright Autumn day
Ferries throughout Grand Harbour provide beautiful views over the skyline of Valletta © joeborg / Shutterstock

Discover off the overwhelmed path with a rental automotive

Many distant seashores and smaller cities and villages on each Malta and Gozo aren’t serviced by bus, so having your individual automobile is beneficial. Be aware, nonetheless, that street visitors in Malta could be very busy, particularly within the built-up space round Valletta, Sliema and St Julians, and parking could be tough to search out. Driving and searching for someplace to park within the slim heritage streets of Valletta shouldn’t be beneficial. Park up earlier than exploring Valletta on foot; there is a Park & Experience facility simply south of Floriana, from the place free shuttle buses run to Valletta’s Metropolis Gate.

Automotive rental charges in Malta are amongst the bottom in Europe, particularly when you use regionally owned corporations corresponding to Billy’s Car Hire on Malta and Mayjo Car Rentals on Gozo. E-book forward on each islands in the course of the busy months of July and August, and choose a compact automotive to barter roads that may positively be extra slim than you are used to.

Cross from Malta to Gozo on the automotive ferry

Shuttling between the northern Maltese port of Ċirkewwa and Mġarr Harbour on Gozo, Gozo Channel’s automobile and passenger ferry takes round half-hour to cross between the 2 islands. Companies run each 45 minutes from 6am to 6pm, and roughly each hour via the evening, however the service is usually suspended throughout winter as a consequence of storms and tough seas. Leaving Ċirkewwa with a automobile, you solely pay earlier than your return journey getting back from Gozo.

Whereas automotive rental charges are sometimes cheaper on Gozo, any financial savings could also be offset by the prices of the ferry, so it is price protecting the identical automotive when you’re visiting each islands. Keep away from summer time weekends when locals journey to vacation in Gozo and queues to board could be lengthy and slow-moving.

Launched in 2021, Gozo Fast Ferry gives a handy passenger-only ferry linking Mġarr Harbour on Gozo to Valletta. Journeys take 45 minutes and you may take bicycles on board; simply ebook forward for one of many restricted variety of bicycle areas, both on Gozo Quick Ferry’s web site or by way of their app. This service is an efficient possibility when you’re planning on selecting up a rental automotive at Mġarr Harbour or exploring Gozo by bike, e-bike or scooter. A competing service is obtainable by Virtu Ferries.

Salt pans on Gozo, Malta
A rented bike can get you to all kinds of off-the-beaten-track areas in Malta © Christophe Boisvieux / Getty Pictures

Bike shares and electrical scooters are good for low-carbon journey

possibility for harborfront exploration round St Julians and Sliema is the Tallinja Bike bike-sharing scheme, with 11 docking stations on Malta and three on Gozo (areas embrace ferry terminals and the Valletta Bus Station). Single rides price €3 (US$3.20), and there is a low cost for Tallinja Card holders. An analogous service is obtainable by nextbike, which gives each pedal cycles and e-bikes. For brief hops on an electrical scooter, obtain Whizascoot’s app and get using.

Longer-term bike or scooter rental is helpful for extra bold exploring, particularly on Gozo’s quieter roads. Together with jeeps, quad bikes and 4WD buggies, scooters, pedal cycles and e-bikes could be rented from Mġarr Tourist Services, conveniently based mostly at Gozo’s Mġarr Harbour. Based mostly on the northern Maltese seaside resort of Bugibba, Eco Bikes Malta rents out bikes and e-bikes and runs guided bike excursions. For a payment, they’ll drop off bikes to wherever you’re staying in Malta.

Get strolling to discover Malta’s historic cities

Malta is an excellent vacation spot to discover below your individual steam, particularly the heritage streets of Valletta, Mdina’s hilltop walled metropolis, and the astounding Il-Kastell citadel within the Gozitan capital of Victoria. For longer walks, many trails observe the dramatic coastlines of each Malta and Gozo.

Taxis and rideshare companies are helpful for metropolis exploring

Cabs are helpful for metropolis exploring. Standard taxis could be booked with eCabs, both on-line, by telephone or on their app, whereas Malta’s main rideshare operator – additionally accessible by an app – is Bolt, with good service in built-up areas.

View down a narrow street in Valletta, the capital of Malta
The steep, stepped streets of Valletta could be tough to discover when you have restricted mobility © liseykina / Getty Pictures

Accessible journey in Malta

All Maltese buses have a low flooring to accommodate wheelchairs and are geared up with a wheelchair ramp and step-free entry. Ferries working on Valletta Ferry Companies’ two harbor routes and Gozo Quick Ferry additionally provide entry for wheelchair customers.

Be aware that steep and infrequently stepped streets of Valletta could be tough to barter for vacationers with restricted mobility, however key galleries and sights such because the Nationwide Conflict Museum at Fort St Elmo, and the Nationwide Museum of Archaeology provide ramps and wheelchair entry.

Why I like Valletta’s harbor ferries

Crossing Grand Harbour by ferry is one in every of world’s best city commutes, forsaking Valletta’s improbably compact fortified peninsula to strategy the towering ramparts of Fort St Angelo and the Three Cities. Tiny dgħajsa water taxis berth subsequent to leviathan tremendous yachts, and slim laneways arc away from the shelter of Dockyard Creek to disclose the quiet residential backstreets of Birgu.

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