Travel in Malta
There are many ways of getting around this country, but here are some of your best options for traveling in Malta:
Traveling by Bus
Given Malta’s size, buses act as the main form of transport. The bus system, previously made up of charming, highly decorated, but completely antiquated hand-me-downs from the U.K., has been overhauled over the past five years with the service now run by the Arriva transportation company. It’s easy to use and cheap by European standards. You can expect to pay 1.50 euros for a standard ticket, or you can grab a seven-day ticket for a reasonable 6.50 euros.
Traveling By Bike
There are a number of bike rental shops dotted around the island, and it’s a great way to explore, particularly if you’re aiming to get beyond the capital. The small size of the islands means you can hit a lot of sites without Tour de France stamina. Keep in mind, though, that there are no bicycle lanes in the country and drivers can be a little impatient with cyclists. You should also chose a more comfortable way of traveling if you’re planning on hitting the road during the height of the summer heat.
Taxiing around the Island
Malta’s white taxis, which are licensed to pick up passengers from the side of the street, come metered. However, these meters are often not used. Usually, you can expect to pay around 15 euros for short trips and up to 40 euros for longer journeys. The government of Malta has issued guidelines for trips to and from the airport, which range from 10 to 30 euros. However, you can travel more cheaply, particularly on airport runs, if you use one of the island’s black cab firms. Easy Private Taxi, Active Cabs, Peppin Transport, Malta Airport Cabs, and Malta Taxi Online have lower rates than the white cabs (ranging from 15 to 20 euros), although you have to prebook online.
Driving By Car
Owing to its British-influenced past, Maltese traffic drives on the left. Given the size of the island and the availability of cheap, modern, reliable bus transport, I wouldn’t suggest buying a car. However, renting a car once in a while to see some of the country is a great idea. Renting is inexpensive. With the roads having improved dramatically over the past decade, driving can be a pleasure on the island. Just remember to prebook to get the best prices. In any case, Malta has low rates for car rental. You can get a prebooked rental for a week for around as much as it costs to go to and from the airport. Remember to make sure you bring your driving license with you—without it, you risk not being covered by the rental company’s insurance. Some of the companies offering rental services include, Avis, Europcar, Hertz, First Car Rental, and Active Car Rental. Active Car Rental, among some others, offer car hire at the airport.
While GPS is available on the island, some would claim that it’s not always 100% accurate. That said, with a bit of common sense and the bilingual road signs, you should be able to find your way to almost anywhere. Plus, the Maltese are an obliging bunch when it comes to giving directions. One difficulty, though, can be driving in the capital city. Valletta’s streets are beautiful and romantic, but they’re also narrow, winding, and often one-way only.
Getting Around by Ferry
There are two types of ferry to consider—the ferry services that run between the main islands of Malta and the international services. A regular ferry runs between Ċirkewwa on Malta’s main island and the docking point of Mġarr on the second island of Gozo. It operates every 45 minutes in the summer and almost as often in the winter. It’s large, clean, quick, and inexpensive. A return ticket costs 4.65 euros for a standard passenger. There are also more irregular services to the largely unpopulated third island of Comino. You can also catch a ferry to Italy, docking at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo. It takes 90 minutes. Schedules vary, so take a look at the website of operator Virtu Ferries for full details.
Walking Around the Island
Malta’s old cities of Valletta, Mdina, and Birgu are great to walk around because most of the sites and attractions are within easy walking distance. Gozo is a little different in that its main attractions are spread out, so a bike, rental car, or bus are better options than walking. Coastal walks all over the country are a real treat too, taking in stunning scenery, gorgeous countryside, and sheer cliffs running down to picturesque Mediterranean beaches.