Getting around in Malta

What's the best method to get from A to B?

Posted by Christian Jung on Thu, Jan 24, 2019
In Malta
Tags bus, taxi, ecabs

Getting around in Malta

In Summer 2018 I visited Malta for the first time and fell in love with this tiny island in the mediterranean sea. I often get asked how to get around in Malta and what places to visit. Here are my personal recommendations.

Public Transport

Malta has a very good bus network. The number of bus stops in populated areas is very high, they usually get served very frequently and it’s fairly easy to get from A to B. Bus stops in less populated areas might be less frequent though, with a bus coming only once an hour.

If you consider taking the bux, I recommend the following tips:

  • wave when the bus approaches: a common mistake of tourists is that they wait for the bus to stop and they get very upset if the driver ignores them. If you see your bus approaching, wave with your hand!

  • buying tickets in the bus: if you didn’t have time to buy a ticket in advance, no problem. If you have to buy the ticket in the bus, be prepared and have the appropriate number of coins, since the drivers might not have enough change and cards are not accepted!

  • buy a Tallinja Card: if you know you’ll take the bus several times during your stay, it might be more efficient to buy a prepaid card. There are several options available, for example a 7 days unlimited ride ticket.

  • install the Tallinja App: granted, the app is not particularly user friendly and can be slow at times, but it can calculate the route between places (use the “best route” option) and it can tell you when your next bus is approaching (“My next Bus”). Google Maps also works fairly good and can be useful to calculate routes as well.

Ferry Service in Valletta

There are two ferry lines: one from Sliema to Vallatta and one from the Three Cities to Valletta. The tickets are quite cheap and it’s a very quick ride. It’s worth checking the Valletta Ferry Services web site for the current service status, since the ferries do not operate when the weather conditions are bad.

Taxi

Although official taxis have meters and they have to charge you by the meter, there are some drivers which will try to squeeze some extra money out of you.

To avoid getting ripped off, try those tips:

  • pay your taxi in advance: there are official taxi booths where you can buy a ticket which you present to your driver (e.g. at the Airport in the arrival hall between the HSBC ATM and Costa Coffee, at Valletta City Gate,…). The driver might still ask you for a tip, but at least you know you paid the correct amount.

  • never jump into a taxi: talk to the driver first, let him/her know where you want to go and ask for an estimate.

Taxi alternatives

I’ve been using eCabs many times and I’m quite happy with their service. The app looks very familiar, if you used popular apps like Uber. You can add your credit card to simplify payment. The app does not give you a proper receipt automatically and you’ll have to contact their customer support.

A few aspects are a bit “unusual” compared to other apps though:

  • if you use eCabs they will charge you before the ride. The upside is that, what ever detour the driver has to take, you won’t get charged extra.

  • if you have to restart the app after you booked, you’ll find your current trip under “My trips” since it might not show up automatically.

  • the estimate how soon your cab will arrive is usually off, but since Malta is a small island, I never had to wait more than 15 minutes for the car to arrive.

  • if you have trouble finding your car, there is a “call your driver” button in the app.

There are other apps like Taxify, but I’ve never tested their service. And no, I’m not related in any way with eCabs and don’t get something for this article.

Walk

Many places are easy to reach by foot. Give it a try and you might enjoy it much more than sitting on a bus or taking a cab.

Bicycle

Be careful when using a bike. Bicycle’s are not very popular in Malta. There are no dedicated lanes like you might know it from other cities or countries.

Check out Malta

Know that you know how to get around in Malta, read the next article which gives you some ideas on where to go.