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. Most people find it's not really necessary to own a car.
Travel between the islands is made possible by ferry, seaplane and traditional water taxis known as 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. Buses on both islands usually run from 5.30am to 11pm, seven days a week with less frequent night services on weekends.
Buses in Malta travel outwards from central hubs on both islands. Victoria Bus Station is the main transport hub in Gozo while the mainland hub is situated at Valletta Bus Terminal. When consulting a schedule, 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. Certain tickets can be purchased from bus drivers, preferably with exact change as drivers may refuse large notes.
Expats who will be using buses frequently should consider buying a Tallinja Card, which offers better deals on fares and can be recharged online or at vending machines and ticket 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.
Uber is not available in Malta, but there other ride-hailing applications that can be used, such as eCabs and Bolt.
Driving in Malta
Expats driving in Malta should do so defensively, since the country has somewhat of a reputation for erratic driving. To drive legally, expats will need a valid drivers' licence. 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 Maltese drivers' licence.
►For info 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. Now, the situation is better and organised. Buses are cheap, clean and run more or less on time." Read more about Marianna's experiences in Malta.
Are you an expat living in Malta?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Malta. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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