How To Get Around Malta: By Foot, Bus, Ferry and Taxi
“How to get around Malta” should be the first question you ask when you arrive. The roads are narrow, buses are late, taxis are not too bad and Uber is not available.
Malta Transportation Guide
Arriving at Malta Airport
When arriving at MLA (Malta International Airport) you will see a bus ticket machine/counter near the exits. There will be a transportation counter with people there to help explain how the bus works in Malta…but I can do that too!
Using the bus in Malta
“Tickets can be purchased from the Bus Driver on all our Buses. These Cash Tickets are Single Journey tickets that can be used to get to any destination within two hours, including interchanging. Rates vary between Summer and Winter months. Summer rates apply between mid-June and mid-October.”
I went during peak summer pricing. As you board the bus, you hand €2 to the bus driver and then he’ll print you out a one-way journey ticket. The ticket will be valid for 2 hours so you can transfer buses as needed. This was pretty awesome because it only cost €2 to get from the airport to my hotel.
Unfortunately with traffic, rush hour and the small roads it took 2 hours to get there! This was the express airport bus which had limited stops.
Since the airport was the first stop, it wasn’t too crowded at first. But as we continued the journey the bus became super packed too! I was cramped in a corner sitting partially on my luggage since all the seats were taken and many people were standing. Of course, I did feel lucky to have a seat and not have to hold my luggage the whole time.
Even though there are express airport bus lines, these buses do not have a section to place your luggage. There is a small section on the bus without seats. This was normally used for parents with strollers, people with wheelchairs and tourists with large luggage. I’m very glad I pack light.
Malta Bus Pro-Tips
- A lot of people take the bus in Malta. It’s going to be crowded. The best chance to snag a seat is if you’re queued up for the very first stop.
- If you’re taking the bus and it’s not the first few stops of the bus route, expect the bus to be late. I normally showed up 5 minutes before a bus was scheduled to arrive, but ended up waiting 10-30 minutes for the bus to arrive.
- Have exact change. Always have a few € coins on you to pay for the bus. The bus driver can provide change if needed, but that slows everybody down.
- If you have big luggage, just take a taxi. It’ll be easier than having to navigate through a crowded bus with large luggage.
- Sometimes the bus skips stops. Always be ready to hit the “Stop” button once you get close.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the bus driver for directions. Normally I’d confirm with the bus driver if the stop I arrived at was heading in the correct direction. I’d rather confirm the destination than having to was an hour trying to backtrack.
Traveling Through Malta by Foot
If you’re already in a part of the city you want to be in, walking is the ideal choice. I stayed mostly in the Bugibba area and I don’t think I saw any taxis driving around. I probably wouldn’t have taken a taxi either because I’ve been ripped off many times around the world. Uber is also not an option. You can also schedule a transfer through a car service., but that’s actually slower and just as expensive as a taxi. The only two real options are the bus and walking.
Walking is very difficult in Malta. A majority of the island is hills. Not only do you have a steep climb, the sidewalks are very small. The sidewalks are the width of 1 person taking a lot of space, or 2 people taking up a small amount of space. If I stood on the sidewalk with my luggage next to me, that’s the whole sidewalk. The sidewalks are all made of bricks. If you’re rolling your luggage, prepare for a bumpy ride.
Another issue would be that the sidewalks were very small. Just enough space for 1 person to pass which makes it difficult if you run into another person. Think this through if you have luggage or kids with you.
The roads are generally not that smooth. I walked to a few of my destinations with my luggage and that really wore out the wheels.
Google maps is not completely up to date in Malta. There are many addresses that don’t exist on it. For example, the Airbnb I stayed at. Google Maps sent me to the wrong address 1 mile from my destination. Luckily (sort of), I was already on the higher side of Bugibba so it was a downhill walk.
Google maps took me through roads, that I wouldn’t classify as roads. There were abandoned lots full of trash and fields with tall grass and lots of garbage. I was very apprehensive about using these roads. But the more I walked around the more I didn’t want to walk which made me mad. So, I thought “Google maps thinks I’m afraid of being murdered in this alley, I’ll show you Google maps!” Then I power walked through these alleys as fast as I could.
Malta is very safe and the people are nice. That’s the sentiment I got from most people so I was more willing to take chances like walking down a dark alley where no one could find me if something happened.
Note: No pictures were taken in the shadier roads because I had to stay vigilant. The world can be a dark place so staying safe is a priority over trust sometimes.
Taking The Taxi In Malta
I took the taxi once in Malta and it looked just like a regular car. This was from the Radisson Golden Sands to Malta Airport for €25. I booked the taxi through the hotel and confirmed what the price was before booking. The price sounded pretty good for a 45-minute taxi ride to the airport. My other option was to take the 2-3 buses (with my luggage) for at least 2 hours. I don’t need that kind of stress in my life.
Other than that, I did see taxi stands in Valletta that gave people flat rate prices around the island. Expect around €20 for about a 20-minute drive.
Taking the Ferry To Gozo Island
This is a pain. Don’t try to be a hero. Gozo is a small island Northwest of the main island of Malta only accessible by ferry. Before doing any research on Gozo, I considered staying there because the airbnb’s were very cheap. The reason for that is it’s difficulty of access. Most of the life in Mala happens on the main island. Gozo is quiet and mostly for locals except around the touristy spots. But if you’re not going to listen to me and try to go to Gozo anyway, here’s how you do it:
From Malta Airport
Take a bus or taxi from Malta airport to Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal. The fastest you can get there is in 2-hours by bus according to Google Maps. Realistically, you’re looking at 3-hours. From Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal you take the ferry which departs about every 45-minutes. The ferry ride there is 25-minutes and the fare will be €4.65.
Getting To Blue Lagoon
Pretty much the same way as getting to Gozo, but you take the ferry to Blue Lagoon instead. It’s very expensive to stay there (Comino) but you can enjoy all of Blue Lagoon and Gozo in a day with a ferry tour. It’s a full day and well worth it. I took a full day tour of Blue Lagoon and Gozo island for about €30 and it was awesome.
Renting Yachts in Malta
Malta also happens to be a place for the wealthy which means you can rent yachts with a full crew! I had to ask about the pricing and found out it starts at €1950 for a full day. There was absolutely no way I was going to rent a yacht, but I’m glad when I asked they answered me like I was a real potential customer. Very classy Radisson guest services.