Given its small size, public transport in Malta is limited to buses, with extensive routes on the two larger islands.
Other options are taxi cabs and, for expats who would prefer driving in Malta themselves, vehicle hire.
Travel between the islands is made possible by ferry, sea plane and traditional water taxis, dgħajsa (pronounced ‘dysa’), which have been used for centuries.
Public transport in Malta
Malta Public Transport operates bus services on the islands of Malta and Gozo. The last time there were trains in Malta was in 1931, with old buildings and pieces of track serving as reminders. Taxis are available but more expensive.
There are numerous bus routes on Malta and Gozo. Buses on both islands usually run from 5.30am to 11pm, seven days a week.
Buses in Malta travel outwards from central hubs on both islands. Victoria Bus Station is the main transport hub in Gozo and the main station in Valletta is near the City Gate. Other important hubs on Malta are at Mater Dei Hospital, to the west of the city, and Malta International Airport, to the southeast of the city.
Generally, one- or two-digit routes are mainline routes that operate to and from Valletta, while routes that are marked ‘X’ are express routes that run to the airport.
Single- and multiple-journey tickets can be bought at ticket booths and vending machines at central locations, such as the Valletta Terminus, the university campus and the airport. Certain tickets can be purchased from bus drivers.
Expats who will be using buses often should consider buying a Tallinja Card, which offers better deals on fares and can be recharged at vending machines and tickets offices.
Taxis in Malta
The most common taxis in Malta are painted white, with a ‘taxi’ sign on the roof and a registration number on the front doors. New arrivals can catch a taxi from the airport to various destinations at set fees, but passengers hailing a taxi off the street or at a taxi stand should agree on a price beforehand. There are also black cabs which may offer more comfort, but these need to be reserved in advance.
Driving in Malta
Expats driving in Malta should do so defensively, since the country has somewhat of a reputation for erratic driving. Cars drive on the left in Malta, with speed limits of 50mph (80km/h) on the open road and 30mph (50km/h) in built-up areas.
Expats will need a valid driver’s licence if they intend on driving in Malta. Licences from other EU countries are accepted and can be exchanged for a Maltese licence if the holder has lived in the country for six months.
Expats from elsewhere can use their home country licence for up to 12 months, after which they will have to get a driver’s licence in Malta.
►For information on where to live, see Accommodation in Malta
►For more on the banking system in Malta, see Banking, Money and Taxes in Malta
"When I moved here the first time, bus companies wouldn't publish their timetables in fear of private bus owners cutting into their routes. It was a happy chaos." Read more about Marianna's experiences in Malta.
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