Given its small size, Malta's public transport system consists only of buses, with extensive routes on the two larger islands. Other options include taxis and driving. Expats who prefer driving around Malta can hire a vehicle. That said, most people find it unnecessary to own a car in Malta.
Travel between the islands is made possible by ferry, seaplane and the centuries-old water taxis known as dgħajsa (pronounced ‘dysa’).
Public transport in Malta
Malta Public Transport operates bus services on the islands of Malta and Gozo. Buses on both islands usually run between 5.30am and 11pm, seven days a week, with reduced 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 at Valletta Bus Terminal. When consulting a schedule, one- or two-digit routes are mainline routes that operate to and from Valletta, while routes marked ‘X’ are express routes that run to the airport.
Single- and multiple-journey tickets are available at ticket booths and vending machines at central locations. Bus drivers sell specific tickets, but expats should preferably pay with exact change, as drivers may refuse large notes.
Frequent commuters should consider buying a Tallinja Card, which offers better deals on fares and is rechargeable 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 standard fees. Taxis can also be hailed off the street or found at taxi ranks, but expats should agree on a price with the driver beforehand. There are also black taxis, which are more comfortable, but expats will have to book these in advance.
Uber is currently not operational in Malta, but other ride-hailing applications, such as eCabs and Bolt, are available.
Driving in Malta
Expats driving in Malta should do so defensively, since the country has a reputation for erratic driving. To drive legally, expats will need a valid driving licence. Licences from other EU countries are accepted and are exchangeable 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 driving licence.
►For info on the banking system in Malta, see Banking, Money and Taxes in Malta
"Public transport is efficient on the whole island. 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. There's no other form of public transport on the island."
Read more about Marianna's experiences in Malta.
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