Getting Around in Malta:  A Guide to Transportation Options

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Valetta Malta


Malta, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, is a traveler’s paradise. To make the most of your visit to this archipelago in the Mediterranean, it’s essential to understand the various transportation options available. From renting a car and mastering the art of driving on the left to exploring the quaint streets and harbors of Valletta, Gozo, and beyond, this guide will help you navigate Malta with ease.

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Most of the distances on the island are pretty short unless you are in the southeast corner of the main island around rush hour when it is evident that there are far too many cars for the small area and you should be prepared to wait in traffic. This will be true whether you are in a rental car, Uber, public bus, or tour bus. If you want to optimize your time sightseeing and minimize your time in traffic, try to not be in that area trying to get somewhere at the end of the work day (5-6 pm). I have seen it take 10-15 minutes just to get from one bus stop to the next at that time of day.

Church on gozo

Renting a Car

One of the most convenient ways to explore Malta is by renting a car. This allows you the freedom to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems. This can be especially true if you are staying near Valetta but want to easily access the western or northern parts of the island.

Driving on the Left

Malta follows the British tradition of driving on the left side of the road. If you’re not accustomed to this, take some time to acclimate before hitting the road. I prefer driving on the left on a trip when I have a co-pilot who can help with navigation and can when need be, yell “Keep left, keep left!”

Narrow Roads

Malta’s charm lies in its narrow, winding streets. While they add to the picturesque scenery, they can be challenging to navigate, especially in crowded areas. Opt for a smaller vehicle to make maneuvering through these roads more manageable. Malta is seldom flat so if you are not good at driving a car with a standard (stick) transmission you may want to pay extra for an automatic transmission.

Maltese Drivers

Locals are generally friendly, but driving styles can be assertive. Exercise caution, especially in urban areas and when navigating tight turns. I found that the locals I met were the worst critics of the other Maltese drivers. Having driven in numerous countries I did not think they stood out from other drivers in other countries in the Mediterranian area.

Rental Cars and Valetta

If you have a rental car, don’t expect to be driving around in the city of Valetta. This is an old medieval walled city and was frankly just not built for cars. If you are staying in the city you might be able to drive to your hotel or apartment or you might not, depending on its location.

There is a congestion charge to drive inside Valetta except on evenings and weekends. The initial 30 minutes of access are complimentary. Access exceeding 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes is priced at €0.82. For access surpassing 60 minutes, the cost is €0.82 per hour, with a maximum charge capped at €6.52.

Your best option to visit the City if you choose to rent a car would be to park in one of the large parking lots in Floriana €4 just outside the city walls and walk into the city. 


Malta Without a Car

Do you need a car in Malta? No. Malta is not hard to get around without a car. The bus system is extensive and ride-sharing is available. The best place to stay in Malta without a car is close to the city of Valetta. You can either stay in the city or just outside in Floriana or across the harbor in Sliema where you can easily access the city by ferry. 

I stayed in Floriana in the comfortable Tritoni Valletta Boutique Hotel which is a short walk from the main gate of Valetta and the Valetta bus station. In Sliema, The Londoner Hotel Sliema is a stone’s throw from the Sliema Ferry and is right on the waterfront.

The best place to stay in Gozo without a car is the city of Victoria which is the main city on the island and the center of the bus routes. I can recommend The Duke Boutique Hotel which is about 2 blocks from the main bus station. It is also just down the hill from the Citadella.

Ride-Sharing Services

Before my recent trip to Malta, I read several blogs that told me that there was no Uber on Malta. Almost the first thing I saw when I got out of baggage claim at the main airport was a billboard proclaiming its availability on the island. Ride-hailing services like Uber, GoTaxi, and Bolt are available in Malta. They provide a convenient option for those who prefer not to drive.

You can compare prices among the different apps, but many of the drivers are driving for multiple services so I did not see a big difference in prices.

One Uber driver on Gozo told me that he was intentionally not taking me on the route that the app was telling him to take. The app was trying to take him on a narrow dirt route along a cliff that he found was not particularly safe. Hopefully, your ride-sharing driver will be equally aware.

Gozo Bus Routes

Gozo Bus Routes

Bus System

Malta’s public bus system is an economical and efficient way to get around. I traveled by bus almost exclusively on my most recent trip to Malta, just taking Ubers to and from the airport. Malta buses have wi-fi.


Bus fares are affordable, making this a budget-friendly option for travelers. For most buses, a bus ticket costs €2 during the daytime and €3 during the night. 

That cost is €3 for the TD (Tallinja Direct) routes which make fewer stops and quite often will be faster than the other buses on a similar route.

 7-day Explore Card

You can purchase a Tallinja bus pass for unlimited travel for 7 days as I did on my trip. It’s a cost-effective choice for those planning to explore multiple locations. The cost is €21 for Adults and €15 for children.

The easiest place to purchase a bus pass is at the main bus station on Gozo in Victoria or on Malta in Valetta, but they can also be purchased in the airport arrival lounge at other locations in Malta.

Caution: I very confidently bought a bus pass and was told on the very first bus that I went to board that I could not use it. The 7-day Explore Card will not work on a TD (Tallinja Direct) bus route. Some resources I saw in line mention a more expensive bus pass that will cover TD routes but the Malta public transportation site no longer seems to sell such a pass.

12 Single-Day Journeys (€15)

You can buy a group of 12 journeys by bus at a discounted price of €1.25 per ride if you buy the 12 Single Day Journeys pass. This pass does work on the TD buses but each TD bus route is charged as 2 of your 12 journies for an effective cost of €2.5.

Bus System Layout

On the main island of Malta, the main Valetta bus station is the central hub, but there are hubs like the University and the airport. On Gozo, the main hub is the bus station in Victoria 

Bus Apps

Download apps like Tallinja to track real-time bus arrivals and plan your routes effectively. I used a combination of the Tallinja app and the Google Maps App. I can’t say that I found either of them very good at predicting when the next bus would arrive. The bus stop signs were also not useful for that purpose. I did have a couple of occasions where I was in the right place at the right time but the bus didn’t stop anyway. But, this is likely the complaint of bus riders in many countries.

fountain by Valetta main gate

Hop-on Hop-off Buses – Malta

If you don’t want to drive and you mostly plan on spending your time at the typical tourist spots then the Hop-on Hop-off buses in Malta may be a good alternative for you. You can reach these same sites by public bus but you will need to spend more effort on navigation and you will likely need to make more bus connections.

All of these buses are your usual double-decker buses where the top deck is open to the sky and better for a day with nicer weather.

The tours include an audio guide while on board and can be purchased with an optional boat tour. The buses have wi-fi.

Name Schedule Loop Frequency
South Route 08:30 am – 1:30 pm 180 Minutes 60 Minutes
North Route 08:00 am – 11:00 am 210 Minutes 60 Minutes
  11:00 am – 11:30 am 210 Minutes 30 Minutes
  11:30 am – 2:30 pm 210 Minutes 59 Minutes

North Route departure times from Stop N1: 08:00, 09:00. 10:00. 11:00, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30

South Route departure times from Stop S10: 09:05, 10:05, 11:05, 12:05, 13:05, 14:05

Northern Route:

  • 1 Bugibba (Topaz Hotel/Pebbles Resort) (St Paul’s Bay)
  • 2 Bugibba (Pebbles Resort) (St Paul’s Bay)
  • 3 Bugibba Jetty (Seatrips Outlet)
  • 4 Bugibba Centre (Opposite HSBC)
  • 5 Bugibba (Santana Hotel) (St Paul’s Bay)
  • 6 Malta National Aquarium (St Paul’s Bay)
  • 7 Qawra Palace Hotel (Bus stop opp Hotel) (St Paul’s Bay)
  • 8 Qawra Seafront (Opposite CitySightSeeing Outlet)
  • 9 Bellavista Hotel (St Paul’s Bay)
  • 10 ITS Roundabout (Radisson & Corinthia Hotels Roundabout) (St. Julianʼs)
  • 11 St.George’s Bay (CitySightseeing route stage)
  • 12 Westin Dragonara (St. Julianʼs)
  • 13 Hilton Roundabout (St. Julianʼs)
  • 14 Spinola Bay
  • 15 Balluta Bay (Opposite Balluta church)
  • 16 Sliema Seafront (Opposite Preluna Hotel)
  • 17 Sliema Ferries
  • 18 Opposite Bayview Hotel (Gżira) (CitySightseeing outlet)
  • 19 Valletta City Centre
  • 20 Valletta Waterfront Terminus (Change for South route)
  • 21 Farsons Brewery Experience
  • 22 San Anton Gardens
  • 23 Mosta church
  • 24 Ta’ Qali – Aviation Museum
  • 25 Valetta Glass
  • 26 Mdina Glass
  • 27 Ta’ Qali Crafts Village
  • 28 Mdina Main Gate
  • 29 Skorba
  • 30 Golden Bay

Southern Route

  • 10 ITS Roundabout (Radisson & Corinthia Hotels Roundabout)
  • 11 St.George’s Bay (CitySightseeing outlet)
  • 12 Westin Dragonara
  • 13 Hilton Roundabout (St Julian’s)
  • 14 Spinola Bay
  • 15 Balluta Bay (Opposite Balluta church)
  • 16 Sliema Seafront (Opposite Preluna Hotel)
  • 17 Sliema Ferries
  • 18 Opposite Bayview Hotel (Gżira) (CitySightseeing outlet)
  • 19 Valletta City Centre
  • 20 Valletta – Malta Experience/Fort St Elmo
  • 21 Valletta Waterfront Terminus
  • 22 Vittoriosa Waterfront
  • 23 Esplora Science centre (Kalkara)
  • 24 Marsaxlokk fishing village
  • 25 Ghar Dalam Cave
  • 26 Blue Grotto
  • 27 Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples

Victoria Gozo

Hop-on Hop-off Buses – Gozo

Gozo also has hop-on, hop-off buses with 2 different routes but a smaller number of stops on this smaller island. The service runs from 9:45 am to 5:30 pm (the last bus departs).

Name Schedule Loop Frequency
Blue 11:35 – 17:30 55 Minutes 45 Minutes
Purple 09:45 – 15:45 90 Minutes 45 Minutes

Blue Route:

  • 10 Victoria to Marsalforn
  • 11 Marsalforn
  • 12 Ggantija Temples
  • 13 Ramla
  • 14 Nadur
  • 15 Mgarr

Purple Route:

  • 1 Mgarr
  • 2 Xewkija
  • 3 Savina Creativity
  • 4 Victoria to Dwejra
  • 5 Ta’Dbiegi
  • 6 Dwejra
  • 7 Ta’Pinu
  • 8 Fontana Cottage
  • 9 Xlendi
St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta

St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta

Guided Tours

A more expensive but more enjoyable way to see the sites is on a guided tour. There are many guided tour options on Malta from group tours, walking tours, and food tours, to custom tours that just go to where you want.  The right guide can also make an experience better. 

Getting around Valletta

Valletta, Malta’s capital, is a treasure trove of history and charm. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 


Valletta is best explored on foot. Wander through its narrow alleys, discover hidden cafes, and immerse yourself in its history. Getting a walking tour or a food tour is also a great way to explore the city. I should caution you that Valetta is built on hills. Combine that with cobblestones and it is not a great city for people with mobility issues. I particularly enjoyed having a guide at the Valetta Co-Cathedral.

horse drawn carriage Valetta

Horse-Drawn Carriages

Experience the romance of Valletta by opting for a horse-drawn carriage ride, offering a unique and leisurely way to see the city.

Ferries to Sliema and the Three Cities

Take a ferry for a scenic and quick trip between Valletta and neighboring areas like Sliema and the Three Cities. It will still be a walk up the hill from the ferry terminal to the main square of Valeta but the ferry is cheap and quick and provides a nice view of the city’s fortifications.

Ferry to Sicily

For a day trip, consider a ferry ride to Sicily, offering a taste of Italian culture and history.

Malta Cruise terminal

Cruise Terminal

If arriving by cruise, the terminal is well-connected, making it easy to explore Valletta and beyond.

Barrakka Lift (Elevator)

On the southern side of the city of Valetta, facing the Three Cities you can take an elevator from the Valletta boasts a lift connecting the Grand Harbour to the city center, providing stunning views and convenient access. The elevator is at the Upper Barrakka and provides easy access to the water taxis, the fast Gozo ferry, and the cruise port. It cost a single euro.

Valetta Harbor cruise

Harbor Cruise

One thing that I would highly recommend when you are in Valetta is a harbor cruise. The best place to see Valetta and its impressive fortifications is from the water. This was the first thing that I did when I got to the island and it was a great introduction to the city of Valetta and the surrounding harbors including the Three Cities.

Bus Station

Valletta’s central bus station is a hub for exploring the rest of Malta. It is located just outside the main city gate. 

Getting to Gozo and Comino

Regular ferry services connect Malta and Gozo. The service is inexpensive and quick. Passengers on the ferry from the northern tip of Malta to Gozo will pay only €4.65 round trip. If you take a car, the cost for a car and driver is €15.70. The boats leave every 45 minutes and the voyage takes 30 minutes. There is Wi-Fi and some food service on board the ferry.

There is also a high-speed ferry from Valetta to Gozo that takes 45 minutes and costs €7.50.

Several sightseeing tours of Gozo and Comino use a private boat but a number of the tours just use the standard public ferry. Make sure you read the details of whatever tour you take and the reviews before you purchase the tour.

author by the main gate of Valetta

author by the main gate of Valetta


Whether you choose to rent a car, rely on public transportation, or explore on foot, Malta’s diverse transportation options cater to every traveler’s preferences. By understanding the nuances of each mode, you can make the most of your time exploring the wonderful country of Malta.

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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