Getting to & around Malta

Being an island, the only way to reach Malta is to fly or take a ferry. What awaits you is a small and easily explorable island with some of Europe’s friendliest people. Malta is inexpensive to travel around, making it a great budget-friendly, sunny destination.

Air Travel
It is possible to reach Malta within a couple of hours from a number of major European cities using Air Malta, the national airline, or one of the several budget airlines that fly there. Malta’s international airport is located in the southeast of the island in the town of Luqa. Airlines that fly here include EasyJet, Ryan Air, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Austrian Airlines, Alitalia, Air France, British Airways, KLM, and Scandinavian SAS.

Ferry Travel
Flying isn’t the only way you can get to Malta. From major European cities you can take the train down through Italy to Syracuse in Sicily, giving you one of the rare opportunities to take a train ferry. Once in Sicily, you need to head to the town of Pozzallo to catch a ferry to Malta. The ferry brings you to the Maltese town of Valletta in just 90 minutes. The ferry company is Virtu Ferries, which runs sailings as much as six-days a week and as many as three times a day. While this method takes much longer than a flight, it is a great way to stop in a few places along the way and see Europe. However, the ferry cost can be more expensive than flying at an average of 100 euros per person.

If you want to go to Gozo there is a regular ferry service that runs between it and Malta, and the journey only takes 20-minutes.

Cruise Stop
Visiting Malta as part of a Mediterranean cruise is a popular way to reach the island.
Most major cruise operators, including Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises have trips that stop in Malta. Cruise ships dock in Grand Harbour where it is easy to go ashore and explore the best attractions.

Public Transport
For those arriving at Malta’s airport there are several transportation options. One of the most economical ways is to book a ticket on the official airport shuttle. This shuttle will bring you from the airport to hotels in towns all over Malta, and even to Gozo. If you prefer, you can get a taxi from the airport to many towns at a fixed rate. Prices range from 11 to 32 euros depending on your destination.

The public bus service is very good in Malta and Gozo, making it easy to reach most places easily, and cheaply. Buses usually run daily from 5.30 am to 11 pm. Regular bus journeys are quite cheap, costing as little as 0.20 to 0.60 euros per journey. There are four ‘X’ routes that run between towns and the airport.

While technically not a public bus, the Malta Sightseeing bus is a great way to explore the island. You can find in many tourist destinations and the bus is a double-decker, open top bus that is hop-on hop-off. Malta’s buses cover four different routes around the island, stopping at the best sights and they provide multi-lingual audio guides.

Car and Bike Rentals
Hiring a car is a great way to have independence to explore Malta at your leisure. The airport has several major car rental companies, including Hertz, Avis, and Europcar. There is an airport express bus that will take you to the car rental parking lots. You can also rent motorcycles or bicycles from several companies. Rental prices are generally very reasonable at an average of 70 euros a week in off-peak times and 180 euros a week during peak season, but navigating Malta’s roads can be a bit tricky, and parking scarce, not to mention you have to drive on the left.

3 Responses to Getting to & around Malta

  1. Off to Malta says:

    Great info package about transportation on the islands. I had been seriously planning to rent a car for a day or two, but if public transportation is really that good, maybe that’s not necessary. Can anyone tell me more specifics about moving around in Gozo, which is my destination? Did you find buses adequate for getting around or would you advice me to rent a car?

  2. Renting a car says:

    I think buses should be adequate for getting around, they are fairly convenient and cheap. However, I would probably advise to rent a car, it’s still quite a bit easier to get around that way, especially to slightly more remote places. I would advise to rent one well in advance though as it can get quite pricey the later you leave it.

  3. What about island hopping? says:

    I am planning a vacation in Malta and want to rent a car for the duration of my stay. I was just wondering how can I combine the car rental and island hopping, i.e. is it worth taking the car from one island to another or will it turn out to be really expensive? I was told that at least in the Greek islands that’s a foolish arrangement, as the ferry tickets for a car transportation are sick expensive and it’s a way cheaper to rent a car separately in each island you go.

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