As the fifth smallest country in Europe at only 316 km squared, one of the main advantages of the small size of Malta (and even smaller sister island of Gozo) is the short travel distances, no matter where you are going.
There are a variety of public transport options available across the islands including buses, water taxis, car-sharing aps or ferries, making getting around easy even if you don’t have a car.
Here’s our guide to transport in Malta and Gozo to help you make the most of your car-free trip.
As the islands’ primary form of pubic transport, the Maltese bus system has recently undergone a major overhaul, with more than 380 buses and numerous routes servicing the 2,000 strategically-located bus stops around both Malta and Gozo.
Taking the bus to the beach or your historical landmark of choice is easy and cheap, with a single (day) journey costing €1.50 in summer and €2 in winter; while the night service costs €3.
If you know you will be frequently using the buses during your visit, you may instead choose to buy an Explore Tallinja Card (€21 for adults and €15 for children aged up to 10 years), which gives you the flexibility to jump aboard any route at any time on either of the islands for seven whole days. These cards are available to purchase from most stationery or souvenir shops across the island.
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If in doubt, make your way to the bus terminus in the capital city Valletta, which services (almost) all routes to any locality in Malta and is a good landmark to continue your journey. The same may be said of Gozo’s main terminus in Victoria.
Downloading the Tallinja Smartphone App (available on the App Store or Google Play Store) can also help you on your commute. Alternatively, you can also get the same service through the Journey Planner on www.publictransport.com.mt.
Open-Top Sightseeing Bus
If you want to combine some sightseeing with getting from A to B, then consider using the ‘Hop-On/Hop-Off’ bus tours that are available across the island.
These distinct red double-decker open-top buses take you on a multi-lingual guided tour of Malta’s unique history, culture and heritage, with many beautiful views and attractions along the way. Each tour lets you take as much time as you wish at each stop, after which you simply ‘hop on’ the next bus arriving on the route.
Rental Scooters or Bicycles
For a faster and more independent mode of transport, as well as making the most of the beautiful scenic countryside throughout Malta and Gozo, you could rent a scooter, motorbike or pedal bicycle from one of various rental outlets across the islands.
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Be warned, however, that bicycle lanes on major roads are limited, and the heavy local traffic and uneven road surfaces make for unsafe conditions even for the most highly experienced riders.
Water Taxi and Cruises
With the Maltese Islands surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, there’s plenty of transport on the water via cruises, water taxis and ferries.
A water taxi service is a fast and fun way of getting around, as it uses the traditional Maltese ‘dghajsa’ boats in the Grand Harbour to provide transport between Sliema and Valletta, and between Valletta and each of the Three Cities,
There are also many harbour cruises available around the areas of Sliema and Valletta, from which you can admire the impressive skyline of the capital city and the splendour of the famous Grand Harbour.
Regular boat services also operate between each island and Comino, which make a day trip to this picturesque islet possible.
Gozo Channel Ferry
The Gozo Channel runs a regular ferry service between Malta and Gozo, with the journey between the two islands taking around 20-25 minutes.
Its schedule changes according to the season (this can be viewed on www.gozochannel.com), and the ferry sets off Ċirkewwa in Malta and Mġarr in Gozo, and permits both foot passengers and those with cars.