How to move around Malta?
June 8, 2019
Are you planning to visit Malta and travel around the whole island? If your answer is “yes”, then the most important thing to plan is the on-site transportation. I gathered here my tips on how to move around Malta without wasting time and money. Avoid stress and disappointments, and instead, live your trip to the fullest!
Don’t rent a car!
Renting a car may seem the best mean to move around Malta, which is a rather small island. It allows you to stop anywhere you want and gives you independence from timetables and fixed roads. However, in my opinion, doing that in Malta isn’t the best idea. And I don’t mean just being afraid of the left-hand traffic (I have problems with it even as a pedestrian) and narrow, steep roads.
The biggest problem with moving around Malta are traffic jams. I’d been there at the beginning of May and even then the streets were full of cars. Don’t even want to imagine how does it look in summer… No one wants to spend his holidays standing in traffic jams and looking for parking spots.
Choose public transport
In my opinion, the best option is the Malta Public Transport. Malta has a large fleet of buses operating daily from between 5:30 am and 11:00 pm. About 100 different routes connecting different locations on Malta and Gozo islands. In addition, there is free wi-fi on every bus! Scooter or motorcycle also seems to be a good option, but they don’t seem to be very popular in Malta.
The single-journey bus tickets cost 2e (1.50e in winter). However, what I recommend the most is choosing the Explore Card – 21e for 7-days of unlimited rides around whole Malta and Gozo. Even on shorter stays, it may turn out to be much more affordable than the 12-journey Tallinja Card for 15e.
As Malta is full of tourists and beforementioned traffic jams, it’s important to be flexible while using public transport. The routs leading through the main cities are more packed than the ones on outskirts. Also, direct buses tend to be already full on their firsts stops. When the bus is full, the driver won’t let more passengers in and sometimes even stop on the bus stop.
My tip is to forget about accurate planning and focus only on the destination. Starting in Valletta, or another big city, hop on a random bus (even if it’s going in the opposite direction!) which allows you to change for another one somewhere further. While going back, think about straying from the road to a less popular place – e.g. instead of going from Mdina straight to Valletta, pay also a visit to Dingli Cliffs.
Learn the rules
And, what’s most important – observe people and learn the local rules. The buses stop only when it’s necessary. If you won’t wave at them, you can spend hours staying on the bus stop and looking at how they’re passing further. When you’re already in, it’s also good to know the name of the previous stop – if you won’t press the “stop” button in time, you won’t get a chance to get off. Also, when you’re used to the right-handed traffic it’s easy to choose the bus stop in the opposite direction, so be careful!