Malta City Guide Table of Contents
Malta is a small, island country in the Mediterranean Sea that lies south of the island of Sicily, Italy.
Malta is an archipelago, but only the three largest islands of Malta, Gozo (Għawdex) and Kemmuna (Comino) are inhabited.
Most people will arrive by plane, at the tiny Malta airport. When flying to Malta, look out of the window. You can see the whole country out of one side of the plane. It really makes you realise how small this island is.
Several public busses (€ 1.5) will take you from the airport. Note that the actual travel time is around an hour for Valetta (bus 71, 72, 73, and others), and may be as much as two hours in bad traffic to St. Julian / Paceville (Bus X2) - Google-maps' claim of a 17 minutes travel time in 2016 is erroneous. Slightly quicker Bus X1, which also continues to the ferry in Cirkewwa, also holds at Pembroke Park one km from Paceville. The X4 bus goes to Valletta in around 20 minutes and is the best option from the airport.
Alternatively there are very cheap private transfers available. Warning: Do not use the white airport taxis in front / nearby the terminal. They are very expensive compared to private transfers. Uber is not available in Malta.
24 hours a day, pre-paid ticketed TAXI can be purchased at fixed rates from a booth in the airport
There are ferries to the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, Italy (90 minutes). At present, only Virtu Ferries make the crossing. There are no sailings on some days, so do check their website for the schedule. The ferries also take vehicles.
However, discount airlines like Ryanair can be more convenient and the prices of their flights are often comparable or lower than those of the crossing by boat. In the high season, ferry ticket prices can skyrocket to above €100 per person, without a vehicle.
I would highly recommend you only think about staying in Sliema and St. Julians.
Malta has an island-wide bus network. Weekly tickets are available and useful for getting around, with prices being low by EU standards. Malta Public Transport maintains an online Journey Planner which provides information and route maps. In most cases, buses will not run past 23:00.
Buses are generally regular between the main places of interest, but may not run precisely according to schedule. The island's main bus station is located outside of the city walls of Valletta and will provide links to all points in the island. Be aware that traffic can often get heavy during the day, causing delays.
Many of Malta's buses are equipped with digital plans and automated announcements signalling stops. In some circumstances, these may not be operating. Tickets can be bought on board from the driver.
Bus stops generally contain information on timetables and routes. It is necessary to wave or otherwise indicate for a bus to pull over at a bus stop if you wish to board, and the 'stop' button on board will indicate that you wish to depart.
Until 2011, Malta typically used many 1950s-era British buses, often with the driver's cab decorated, commonly with religious imagery. These have been replaced by a modern fleet.
The main area for nightlife is in Paceville (near St. Julians). It is a big party area, with big bars, big clubs and lots of drunken tourists.
Mdina is the old capital of Malta, and although tiny it is worth the 5 mile trip from St Julians. It has lots of back streets, and feels like a smaller (and older) version of Valetta - definitely worth checking out!
Paceville is the party central part of Malta! If you want to find busy (and loud) pubs/clubs, then head to Paceville!
Spinola Bay in St. Julians is probably the nicest bay in Malta. It has lots of nice restaurants, and nearby in Paceville lots of pubs/clubs.
Valetta is the capital of Malta. It is a small but interesting city, where you can wander around the backstreets and find interesting shops and sights.