Hiring a car in Malta is worth your while

Malta Car Hire: How to decide and Best Car Rental Prices

Malta Car Hire: How to decide and Best Car Rental Prices
4.7 (93.85%) 13 votes

Malta car hire rates are relatively cheap, with plenty of rental agencies around that offer low car rental prices all year round. It’s also fairly easy to rent a car, with several pick up and drop off options for wherever you decide to stay in Malta or Gozo.

In this article, I’ll help you with:

  1. Advice on deciding whether or not to rent a car for your holiday
  2. A rough idea of cost and prices depending on the time of year
  3. Where and how to rent a car in Malta
  4. What you need to be able to rent a car
  5. Top tips
  6. Information on road law enforcement in Malta

(Click on any of the above links to take you right to a section.)

Just want to get the best rates?

Search for the best offers through Rentalcars.com – I’ve used their service for over 5 years and highly recommend them.

Hiring a car in Malta is worth your while

The level of customer service that is provided by car hire agencies (both local as well as international brands) generally gets good reviews. It’s worth noting that with major international car rental companies (and their policies) in particular, you need to be vigilant when renting a car for your Malta holiday.

Should I hire a car for my holiday in Malta? Is it worth doing so?

Hiring a car in Malta makes sense if:

  • You’re planning to visit different points of interest and explore the islands
  • You’ve got easy parking facilities if you’re staying in a major tourist location like Buġibba / Qawra / St. Paul’s Bay, St. Julian’s or Sliema. Public parking spots are hard to come by in these areas.
  • You’re a confident driver. Driving in Malta can be challenging, with impatient drivers, traffic jams and tricky traffic situations. If you’ve been driving for a while and don’t get stressed out easily behind the wheel you’ll find your way. Prepare yourself with my Tips and FAQs for driving in Malta.

Hiring a car in Malta offers you the flexibility to plan your outings the way you want, rather than according to the available bus routes. Public transport in Malta is relatively inexpensive, but not always punctual and increases travel time drastically. Moreover, the bus routes offered around Malta and Gozo can make it difficult to plan to visit multiple points of interest within a short span of time.

What will Malta car hire cost me?

Let’s start with the obvious: The earlier you book, the cheaper your car hire will end up costing. Having said that, premium rates for the high season (July – September) are often fixed well in advance.

To give you a rough idea, these are sample estimate prices for a small economy car at different times of the year (last updated March 2016):

  • January/February: €10 per day
  • March: €12 per day
  • April/May/June: €15 per day
  • July/August: €25-30 per day
  • September: €20 per day
  • October: €16 per day
  • November/December: €11 per day (€13 per day around Christmas)

As for fuel, at the time of writing (March 2016), this is what you can expect to pay at the pump:

  • Unleaded petrol: €1.32 per litre (€5.00 per US gallon) (Most rental cars will be running on Unleaded)
  • Diesel: €1.22 per litre (€4.62 per US gallon)

Carefully read the terms and conditions of whatever car hire agency you choose. There may be additional charges for insurances, younger drivers, location pickup/dropoff, etc. The devil is in the detail!

Where and how can I rent a car?

Cars are available for rent both at the airport as well as major tourist areas. However, you get the best rates by booking online in advance usually. Most international car hire agencies like Avis, Hertz and Europcar operate in Malta but don’t discount the local agencies who generally do a decent job of offering reliable service and good quality cars.

Car hire in Malta is an easy process. You can book your car online and have the choice to have it delivered to the address of your accommodation or to pick it up on arrival at the airport. Your car hire agent will usually inspect the vehicle together with you to check for any pre-existing damage and will need to swipe your credit card and settle your bill (usually upon arrival). Most Malta car hire agencies will require a deposit at the time of booking (usually an amount reserved on your credit card) in the case of damages or fines.

I’ve teamed up with Rentalcars.com to offer you easy access to the best and most popular car rental agencies in Malta.

Search for the best rates at the top of this page. Take me there (click or tap here)!

What do I need to hire a car in Malta?

If you decide to hire a car for your trip to Malta, there are a couple of important items that you should remember to take with you:

  • If you’ve booked your car hire online, take a copy of your reservation with you, along with a proof of deposit payment (where applicable)
  • A valid driving licence
  • A credit card (of which VISA and MasterCard are the most widely accepted)
  • Passport or EU ID card

Although you’ll probably be eager to start your holiday, it pays to read the car hire agency’s terms and conditions, and any insurance policy booked. Ensure that you do actually get a copy of the car hire agency’s terms and conditions and insurance cover and that the car hire representative checks the car for damage in your presence and makes note of any pre-existing damage correctly.

Top tips

Things to keep in mind when hiring a car in Malta:

  • Make sure that your car hire rental agency provides you with their terms and conditions and checks the state of the car together with you when the car is delivered
  • Malta is one of the few left-hand drive countries in the world (which the Maltese inherited from the British). Pretty important to make note of before you drive off!
  • Maltese summers are hot and relatively humid. You will not regret skipping the ultra-budget car category and going for a car with air conditioning
  • Staying in Sliema, St. Julian’s or St. Paul’s Bay? Note that parking is very limited in these areas, particularly during the summer months. Make sure parking arrangements are available and easily accessible in advance to avoid frustration.
  • Know your destination and route before driving off. Hesitating over which turn to take can be dangerous and will definitely trigger road rage. Check out the map of Malta for routes and directions.

Information on road law enforcement in Malta

  • There are a number of speed cameras on the island, with speed limits set at 60 or 70 km/h (37 or 43 mph)
  • The police patrol mostly urban areas and don’t get involved much with law enforcement on the road. They do occasionally put up road blocks to carry out spot checks for drink driving and illegal substances
  • Traffic wardens are tasked with ensuring compliance with local road laws and regulations. They are easily recognisable by their green uniforms and authoritative gaze.
  • Parking areas near public beaches and places of interest are often overseen by a parking assistant. These guys are usually licensed by the Malta Transport Authority (ADT) and will ask you for a tip. Note that there is no obligation to pay a fee for parking. The general practice is to tip something small like 50 cents, but it is completely up to your discretion to do so (or not)
  • The Highway Code of Malta is available here. It’s based mostly on the British Highway Code.

NEW: Valletta travel guide!

Support MaltaUncovered.com - Get a copy of my 159-page Valletta travel guide full of local knowledge!

NEW: Valletta travel guide!

Support MaltaUncovered.com - Get a copy of my 159-page Valletta travel guide full of local knowledge!

7 Comments

  1. Hi Ed,

    I and my wife will visit Greece and Malta in October. After reading your advice, it seems car rental is strongly recommended while parking spaces are scarce in busy cities such as Valetta and Sliema. Does this imply that car rental is useful for traveling between cities only? Is the car useful for traveling inside Valetta as parking would be troublesome? We will have only 6 days/5 nights in Malta and wonder if we should rent one.

    Best Regards,
    Pairoj

    Reply
    • Hi Pairoj, if your goal is to really explore Malta and go into some of the smaller villages and less touristy places, then yes, I do think a car is the most efficient way to get around between places. Mostly because public transport (buses) and tour buses are pretty inefficient as a mode of transport between different places of interest.

      For reaching anything within the locality you’re staying, you can almost always go on foot – Villages in Malta are small and even Valletta only covers less than 1 km2 to give you an idea. In fact, most of the capital city is pedestrianised.

      Reply
  2. Very informative thank you – we are going to Malta in September and are hiring a car. We hope there will be parking available!

    Reply
  3. We’ll be in Malta last week of May and we were thinking of getting a scooter to get around. Any suggestions? We typically hire a car, but given great weather and short distances, scooter sounds like a great idea. How’s scooter driving there?
    We are also from the States, so driving on the left will be something we have to get used to.

    Reply
    • Hi Natalia, unless you’re planning to stay in Gozo (where the roads are a lot quieter) I wouldn’t advise renting a scooter. Although locals do ride bikes, scooters and bicycles the roads can be pretty chaotic and local drivers don’t have a reputation for being courteous. Rather, they try to shave off a few minutes from their commute by taking unnecessary risks and on a scooter you’re not going to be very well protected obviously. I’ve got more info on the topic here: Driving in Malta.

      Reply
  4. I am looking into car hire in Malta for the week 12 – 16th December. Is this the best way for 2 people to travel around? We want to visit as many sites as possible (churches, craft village, Bethlehem event,beaches etc) and of course. getting to and from the airport. We are English so no problems with driving on the left. But are there any other things that we should be aware of (car rental, parking …..)
    I am also looking for some small specific craft fairs with items produced by local people – good quality items , handmade but not by professional crafters, but by people who just love crafts and have another day job!

    Reply
    • Hi Ainslie,

      I’d say hiring a car is the most efficient way to get around and explore different places, however: 1) Only if you consider yourself to be a confident and experienced driver and 2) Avoid the central part of Malta during rush hour – Traffic congestion is a major issue. I’ve got an article on driving in Malta here: Driving in Malta.

      I’m afraid I can’t help you with craft fairs happening around that period – I don’t know of any myself!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This