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Everything you need to know before you go!

Valletta Malta at sunset www.mimosamerma

Getting there

You can fly to Malta direct from most regional UK and London airports with,

 

Easyjet

Ryanair

Jet2 - book via the Jet2 app for additional savings, also sign up for their updates as they frequently send discount codes.

Air Malta

British Airways

Pricing this year with the low cost carriers is crazy expensive as they would rather sell one of their package holidays than a flight only. I'd strongly encourage you to carry out an all airline search before booking as scheduled airlines are often much cheaper. The Skyscanner site is an awesome comparison tool to use.

Skyscanner

 

Flights take around 3.5 hours and all arrive into Malta’s International Airport, Luqa.

Package Holidays

 

Following the pandemic, your local travel agent is more important than ever. They hold licenses which protect you and your money, and can assist with everything you need, from travel insurance, to currency. A number now also allow you to spread the cost of a holiday with monthly direct debit schemes and in most cases can price match any offer you see online.  

Tour operators offering holiday packages to the Maltese Islands include, TUI, First Choice, Jet2 Holidays, Easyjet Holidays, and Mercury Holidays

 

As the island is so quaintly compact, transfers to mainland resorts take no more than a maximum of 45 minutes. (Transfers by bus will of course take longer)

Entry requirements for UK nationals

 

Up to date entry requirements for UK nationals can be found at the following links, along with two links to Covid related sites,

Entry requirements - Malta travel advice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

COVID-19 Updates (visitmalta.com)

Travelling to Malta | Covid-19 | Malta International Airport (maltairport.com)

At the height of the pandemic, the Malta International Airport website housed a plethora of invaluable Covid 19 related information. 

Covid-19 swab centres 

I feel by removing this it's tempting fate, so I'm leaving this here for the time being just in case - if required swabbing centres across the islands can be found here 

 

Time difference

No jet lag here, Malta is GMT+1

Dialling code

You can contact all of the new Maltese friends you will make using country code +356

 

Language

 

Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English. Italian is also widely spoken.

Religion

 

Predominantly Roman Catholic, but many other religious denominations are also represented too.

Public Holidays Holidays

The islands have 14 annual Public Holidays.

 

The only date which varies from year to year is Good Friday, every other holiday is celebrated on a set date. Interestingly, Boxing Day is a regular day - pop it in your diary though, as Malta's Boxing Day Sales are amazing! 🤩

2023 holidays are as follows:

  • Sunday 1st January – New Year’s Day

  • Friday 10th February – Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck

  • Sunday 19th March – Feast of St. Joseph

  • Friday 31st March – Freedom Day

  • Friday 7th April - Good Friday

  • Sunday 9th April - Easter Monday

  • Monday 1st May – Labour Day

  • Wednesday 7th June – Sette Giugno

  • Thursday 29th June – Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (L-Imnarja)

  • Tuesday 15th August – Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady (Santa Marija)

  • Friday 8th September – Feast of Our Lady of Victories

  • Thursday 21st September – Independence Day

  • Friday 8th December – Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  • Wednesday 13th December – Republic Day

  • Monday 25th December – Christmas Day

Christmas is a truly magical time to visit the islands of Malta and Gozo, you can read all about this special time of year in my blog post here

 

Climate

 

Typically Mediterranean, the islands climate is strongly influenced by the sea. Malta gloriously enjoys over 300 sunny days a year.

Spring and autumn are refreshingly cooler than #summer, although the African Scirocco winds do occasionally bring in unseasonably high temperatures and humidity. I love spring as this is when the islands are at their greenest and abundant in beautifully colourful wild flowers.

 

In summer expect to enjoy 12 hours of delicious sunshine a day, Malta is one very hot and dry rock during these months.

 

In mid winter, sunshine drops to around 5-6 hours but the days are mild. Winters can also experience cold spells caused by the Northern winds from Central Europe. It’s not unknown for me to wear a fur coat and fur hat, then next day, T-shirt and shorts. Best advice, prepare for every eventuality!

 

Rainfall

 

You’ll be pleased to hear that annual rainfall levels are low, around 600mm a year, but be prepared, as when it rains in Malta, it really rains! Think monsoon, and the drainage on the roads  is dreadful.

 

Electricity

 

No panic, your hairdryer will work absolutely fine here as the islands use our 3 pin UK plugs. I would however recommend that if you staying in a farmhouse that you pop in a couple of two pin adaptors just to be on the safe side too.

 

Water

 

The official line is that tap water is safe to drink across the islands, but I’ve had one too many upset tummy’s to believe that over the years.

 

I always drink the local bottled water, it’s inexpensive and hotel rooms usually pop in a bottle or two to start you off, or replenish daily. I also avoid ice in my drinks unless I know it’s made from bottled water.

 

Driving

 

Beware! The Maltese drive in the shade, it’s sometimes comparable to the Wacky Races. On the plus side the official rule is you drive on the left. I have a dedicated blog post which covers everything you need to know when driving in Malta and Gozo. 

Getting around

Bus

 

Both Malta and Gozo have an inexpensive network of bus services. Do they run on time? Rarely! Are they often full or very crowded? Yes indeed. Patience is required by the bucket load in the summer months and expect to stand for part if not all of the way, and expect for buses to go right by you if they are full. Please also be careful of your belongings when travelling bybus, there are more and more reports of pickpocketing taking place, and its difficult to look after your bag on a crammed bus hanging on for dear life. My advice? A bum bag worn cross body. 

 

The main terminuses can be found in the capital Valletta, and in Victoria on Gozo. Single journeys which allow a transfer (full journey to be completed within 2 hours) are priced as follows,

  • Daytime €2.00 

  • Night Services €3.00 (bus numbers beginning with N)

Tickets can be purchased as you board from the driver (exact change in cash, or by debit card.)

Further savings can be made with the purchase of a 7 day Tourist card - the Explore Tallinja card. This offers  7 days of unlimited travel at any time of day, at a super cost of,

  • €21 for adults

  • €15 for children up to the age of 10

Find out more information here 

The Tallinja Explore Flex Card is a pay-as-you-go option, allowing you to top up your card and travel as you please with a discount of 15c per journey compared to regular fares. The initial card costs €6 which is added to the card as credit. A City Tour on a traditional vintage bus will only cost €2.50 using the Explore Flex card. 

More info may be found here

Tallinja Personalised Card - Holders of a Personalised Tallinja Card can travel for free on Day Routes, Night Routes and Special Services. Tallinja Direct (TD) Routes are not free and a fare will apply depending on the card used. Passengers are still required to tap their personalised Tallinja Card on the ticketing machine every time they board the bus. (Personalised cards carry your photo and name and can be topped up with credit easily online, via the free Tallinja App or at any of their sales outlets. Any credit loaded to this card is valid indefinitely. 

A full list of Tallinja Card sales outlets can be accessed here

 

Full bus schedule information can be found here

Taxi

Taxi's are readily available at the airport upon arrival, but beware they charge an arm and a leg!

 

Plan ahead and download the E-Cabs and Bolt apps to your phone. Once you have collected your bags you can hop on the app and book your ride.

 

These two companies are just like Uber and you can pay in cash to the driver as well as using a card stored in the app. Whilst saving you a lot of money they also offer you security, as you know the car registration and driver details of your ride, which you can share with a friend or loved one. Far safer than haling a cab in the street on an evening out.

Ferry

Take the breathtakingly beautiful journey from Sliema to Valletta by ferry or from Valletta to the 3 cities (Cospicua) onboard Valletta Ferry Services 

  • Adult Day single €1.50 (night services €1.75)

  • Adult Day return €2.80 (night services €3.30)

  • Child Day single €0.50

  • Child Day return €0.90

You can also use your Tallinja Explore card to reduce the fare to €1.30 each way.

When travelling back to Valletta from Cospicua do ask the crew for a ticket or retain your ticket as this will allow you to use the Upper Barrakka lift free of charge. Using the lift avoids the climb back up to the city.

Schedules and routes can be found here

There is no way to reach the island of Gozo or Comino other than by boat.

Gozo Ferry Service

 

Cars and passengers are carried by Gozo Channel services between Cirkewwa on Malta and Mgarr on Gozo and vv. These services operate year round, 24 hours a day. The full schedule can be found here

The crossing time is approx 25 minutes. Do take a seat outside as the scenery is stunning. Ferry tickets need only be purchased on your return from Gozo allowing you to board at ease in Malta. 

Fares are as follows,

  • Standard foot passenger fare €4.65 return (night fare after 8pm €4.05 return)

  • Standard child fare (age 3 to 12) €1.15 return

  • Car plus driver €15.70 (night fare €12.80)

 

To calculate a fare with a car, two adults and 2 children, €15.70, plus one foot passenger at €4.65 and two children at €1.15 each = €22.65

Gozo passenger only fast ferry service

Virtu Ferries Gozo and Gozo Fast Ferry operate a foot passenger only service from Valletta in Malta to Mgarr in Gozo. These are fast ferries with a journey time of less than 45 minutes! 

Adult fare €15 return

Child age 4-10 €6 return

You cannot use your Tallinja card to pay for the ferry with Gozo Fast Ferry. 

Hop on, Hop off services

The hop on, hop off catamaran service from Sliema to Comino and Gozo also stops at Bugibba, so you can have a super day exploring and island hopping!

  • €15 adults

  • €11.50 for children under the age of 12

  • Children up to 4 years of age travel free

 

Tickets and schedule information can be found here

As well as the catamaran, you can also have fun experiencing a hop on, hop off bus tour of Malta or Gozo including access to all of the major Heritage sites,

Check out the full list of options and pricing here

Comino

 

Comino can also be visited from Malta by one of the many day trips offered by various sightseeing companies. Your hotel will be able to arrange this for you, usually with a pick up and return from your accommodation.

 

Bella Comino Ferries operate a scheduled ferry service from Mgarr Harbour in Gozo to the Blue Lagoon on Comino. The journey is quick, no more than 15 minutes. Prices are,

  • €7 return per adult

  • €3 return per child (aged 5-10 years)

The full schedule can be viewed here

Word from the wise! Swerve the option of an add on cave tour for this one - the ferry is too large to enter. There are a plethora of speedboats available on Comino which will take you on a thrilling ride to the caves at a very reasonable fee. The speedboats can actually enter the caves allowing you to view the beautiful azure blue sea and the many colourful corals.

 

From Marfa and Cirkewwa on Malta the Comino ferry service is operated by the Comino Ferries Co-Op Ltd.

The journey time is approx 25 minutes.

Pricing is as follows,

  • €14 return per adult

  • €7 return per child (under the age of 10)

Schedules can be found here

Sicily

After all of the above, should you still have wanderlust its also possible to visit Sicily for the day too!

The service is ran by a high speed catamaran operated by Virtu Ferries Ltd.

The service transports you from Valletta Waterfront to Pozzallo in Sicily - there are a couple of tours offered, the most popular being a day excursion to Mt Etna and Taormina.

Departing on Thursdays and Sundays pricing is as follows,  

 

Adults €144

Children aged 4-14 €99

Under 4's free 

 

Please be aware that this is a long day, 

Depart Malta at 0630 - arrive Pozzallo at 0815

Depart Pozzallo at 2130 - arrive Malta at 2315

Sicily is a huge island in comparison to Malta so be mindful a large part of the day will be spent onboard the coach, however the scenery is stunning.

Full information can be found here

If you prefer to freestyle your visit, you can purchase foot passenger or car plus passenger tickets allowing you to spend your time in Sicily totally at leisure. There are also a number of wonderful promotional offers available this summer

Find out more here

Malta Gozo and Comino Map.png

Malta updates

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