Transfers and Transport in Malta
There are a few options for transport to help you get around in Malta. There are various types of transport available, starting with a public transport system of buses with various routes that can get you pretty much everywhere on Malta and Gozo – and at a cheap fare. Other options are taxis and mini buses which are available for private booking and obviously car hire is widely available.
Public transport – Maltese buses
By far the cheapest and easiest way to get around the island, but not necessarily the quickest. The bright yellow buses can get you everywhere and anywhere, because routes are laid out well and pass by most tourist hot spots. Depending on the length of the ride, tickets start at € 0.47 or € 0.54 each. By far most bus routes are operated with the Valletta bus terminus as its base station. Express routes are also available, usually for direct connections between popular destinations or late night service, and usually have three digit numbers. The price of tickets is around € 0.90 on such routes but you’ll get to your destination much quicker. Gozo has its own routes and much less colourful (grey) buses.
A large number of buses are vintage and much loved by tourists, but not so much by the locals (who are concerned by pollution and unhappy with often slow commutes). For more information on Maltese buses, as well as routes, visit Malta’s Public Transport website.
Taxis and mini buses
Of course, taxis are available from almost everywhere and are either black or white. Your best option is to get a black taxi because they offer fixed prices for set distances, but unfortunately they’re quite rare to find these days. White taxis are far more common but will charge you more. Bargaining for lower prices is not unusual, as there is plenty of competition amongst taxi owners in the more popular tourist areas. When no competitors are around, however, bargaining for a better fare is difficult.
Mini buses are an ideal way of transport for groups of more than 4-5 people. They are particularly convenient for group visits to tourist sites, or for clubbers trying to get to the more remote and secluded open air clubs. The charge is usually around € 5.00-7.00 per person for a return trip, depending on the size of the group (normally up to 12). A time of pick up is usually agreed upon with the driver.
There are numerous car hire agencies around of international fame but also family run businesses. Both provide quality cars and at relatively good prices. Be informed before deciding to drive in Malta, as the country is one of the few countries that follow the British standard of left-hand drive. There are a few speed cameras around and its best to ask your car hire agency on details where these are posted.
Malta International Airport (MLA – http://www.maltairport.com/) is located between the villages of Luqa and Gudja, 10kms from Valletta (journey time – 15 minutes). Buses depart regularly to and from the main bus terminal at Valletta City Gate. Also, there is a full, 24-hour, taxi service to all parts of Malta, with fares being charged at a fixed rate.
The terminal complex at Malta International Airport comprises of split level Departure and Arrival Halls at either side of the main building with spacious Check-In, Baggage Reclaim and Welcomers’ Halls, cafeterias, restaurants, incoming and outgoing duty-free shops and other retail outlets. Other facilities include car hire, bank, bureau de change and offices. For the business travelers, the airport has three executive lounges as well as a separate, exclusive VIP building for Heads of States and diplomats.
All airlines that fly to Malta, including those offering cheap flights to Malta, have their own representation at Malta International Airport.
Gozo Channel line ferries
Even though it’s possible to pack you belongings in a plastic bag and cross the straight between Malta and Gozo by swimming the distance, using the ferries of the Gozo Channel line is a little more convenient, easier and safer. The ferries are accessible through Cirkewwa, which is situated in the Northern most part of Malta and is easily reachable by bus, being served by a number of routes. Trips usually take 20-25 minutes and the ferries cater for car transfers as well.
Getting to Gozo from the airport is easy with public transport, with direct a direct bus route (X1) that take you from the airport in the south of Malta, to the Northern tip of the island (Cirkewwa), to the Gozo Channel line ferries. Although definitely not the fastest way to get there (expect a 1-hour trip outside of rush hour), it definitely is the most economical, costing only a few Euro for a one-way trip.