Birgu, one of the 'three cities' which is a good place to stay in Malta without a car.

Where To Stay In Malta Without A Car – A Travel Expert’s Advice

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Travelling to Malta but without a car? Read on for the best advice!

Malta is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, but is it easy to travel around this island country without a car?

I travelled to Malta back in April 2024 and spent a week there without a car and was totally reliant on public transport and taxis.

So I’m the perfect travel blogger to answer this question and that’s why I’ve curated this post – to detail the best places to stay in Malta without a car and give all the details on your transportation options when visiting.

In a rush? My Top Hotel Recommendations for Malta:

Seafront akwador
Solana Hotel & Spa
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa

Where To Stay In Malta Without A Car

So is it easy to travel around Malta without a car? Well, yes and no. In my experience I used a lot of buses to travel from one destination to the next.

Although Malta has a very good bus service, the buses can often get very crowded and take a long time to reach your destination.

I actually found that Malta’s taxi options are the best choice; they are very reliant, fast and not so expensive.

Of course it all depends on where you stay in Malta that will effect your transportation experience. So let’s take a look at where the best places to stay are in Malta without a car:

Best City Stay – Valletta

If you’re looking for a city stay during your time in Malta then look no further than the island country’s capital; Valletta.

This is honestly the best place to stay in Malta without renting a car. There is a main bus station by the city centre where you can catch a bus to pretty much any destination around the rest of the island.

A typical street in Valletta with impressive architecture on show.
A typical street in Valletta with impressive architecture on show.

And Valletta itself is a lively, gorgeous place full of restaurants and bars and has a lot of lovely architecture. There’s plenty of interesting places to visit in Valletta as well and here are my top 3 places that you should most definitely see:

  • St. John’s Co-Cathedral – you may think that you’ve seen some amazing cathedrals in your time but be prepared to be impressed by this cathedral in the centre of the city – the interior is absolutely breathtakingly stunning!
  • Upper Barrakka Gardens – this public garden is a delightfully peaceful place to visit; it offers the best panoramic views of the city and the famous three cities close by.
  • Valletta Waterfront – this promenade is the perfect place to chill and dine, with several top rated restaurants that overlook the nearby harbour.

The stunning interior of St. John's Co-Cathedral in the centre of Valletta.
The stunning interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral in the centre of Valletta.

Best Place for Nightlife: St. Julian’s

St. Julian’s is known as the party town of Malta and is a popular destination to stay with tourists.

This is a lively place and definitely has the best nightlife on the island with plenty of clubs, so if you’re looking to party all night long while in Malta then definitely consider staying here.

The town does have more to offer than just clubs and is actually quite historical with interesting architecture. But I would suggest staying in Valletta if you’re looking for culture.

You can certainly travel easily from St. Julian’s to other parts of the island if you don’t have a car, with a good bus service here and of course taxis.

Best Beach Destination: Mellieha

Malta is famous for it’s beach resorts and if you plan on doing a lot of sunbathing during your visit, then I would recommend staying at the delightful village of Mellieha.

Based in the very north of Malta, Mellieha has several top rated beach options nearby, with Mellieha Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay all rated as some of the best beaches on the whole island.

You’re also close to nearby islands Comino and Gozo which are both just a short ferry ride away from this area. Both islands also feature top rated beaches and I definitely recommend a day trip to Gozo.

Travelling from Mellieha to other parts of Malta via bus and taxi is just as easy as anywhere else in the island, though keep in mind that if you want to visit some of the tourist sites in the south then your journey will take longer.

Best Quiet Stay: Marsaskala

If you want a quiet place to stay in Malta then I can personally recommend the port village of Marsaskala.

This is where I stayed during my week in Malta and found it to be a very delightful, idyllic and quiet place that had some really decent restaurant options.

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a top dining experience in Marsaskala then I can recommend: ‘Tiny Mint Bistro‘ which is based centrally.

As the name suggests, this is a small restaurant with just a few tables available but the intimate setting creates a wonderful atmosphere, and the food is exceptional too.

I discovered that travelling from Marsaskala to other places in the island was a bit hit and miss.

For example. catching a bus into Valletta would take around 40-minutes to an hour and each bus I caught would get overly crowded with people having to stand up for long periods of time and there was a lot of traffic jams too.

Marsaskala harbour front lit up beautifully at night.
Marsaskala harbour front lit up beautifully at night.

However, catching a taxi (either the local taxi service or bolt) was cheap and fast, costing just several euros.

If you can afford it then I would definitely advise booking taxis from Marsaskala rather than relying on buses. Although the buses are cheap, they’re not exactly a fun experience!

Best Romantic Stay: Birgu

For a romantic stay in Malta then you can’t go wrong with Birgu; one of the ‘three cities‘ that is based opposite Valletta.

Birgu is a beautiful place that has a grand harbour marina, a famous fortress (Fort St Angelo) and plenty of top quality restaurants and bars.

You can catch a ferry from Birgu to Valletta easily; there are ferries running throughout every day and it’s only a short ride that takes around 15 minutes.

I took an afternoon trip to Birgu and totally fell in love with this place; it’s quieter than Valletta (that is rather busy with tourists most days) and there’s lots of historical sites worth exploring.

The Grand Harbour Marina of Birgu.
The Grand Harbour Marina of Birgu.

Best Place for Families: St. Paul’s Bay

A popular destination to stay in Malta for families and couples is the town of St. Paul’s Bay.

It is based in the north of the island near Mellieha and is a quieter option compared to the likes of St. Julian’s (although it does get busy during the summer months).

This is probably Malta’s top resort place to stay, with a lot of package holidays based in St. Paul’s Bay, so it’s ideal for families during the peak season.

It has a lot of restaurants and bars and has a rocky beach, and public transportation to and from the area is very good.


Transportation in Malta

So if you’re not going to rent a car during your visit to Malta, then what are your transportation options? Well you only really have two options; bus or taxi.

Let’s look at each choice in detail and decide which is best to use:

Bus 🚌

As previously mentioned, Malta has a really good bus service, with multiple buses running throughout the city to all the major tourist destinations such as Valletta, St. Julian’s, Mdina and more.

If you’re on a tight budget when visiting the island then travelling around by bus is a great way to save money. My bus trip from Marsaskala to Valletta only cost me 1-2 euros!

Buses are frequent and on time in my experience, but expect them to get very crowded, especially during busy times of the day or during the holiday peak season months.

👉 Pro Tip: Download the ‘Tallinja App‘ prior to your trip to Malta. Tallinja is the bus company that operates in Malta, and with this map you can plan your bus trips in advance and get real time updates on each bus service that is operating.

Taxi 🚖

If cost isn’t an issue and you don’t fancy buses, then taxis are the best option for travelling around Malta.

There are few different taxi options you can use in Malta; the local taxis which are all white – I would avoiding using these taxis as they are the most expensive.

In my experience ‘Bolt‘ was the most commonly used taxi service in Malta, which were always quick and fairly cheap every time I used the bolt app to book a taxi.

Ecabs‘ is another taxi app used a lot in Malta, although I never used this and a lot of people think they’re overpriced as well. So I would definitely recommend using Bolt!

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    Best Hotel Recommendations in Malta

    There are so many options when it comes to accommodation that it can be difficult to find the right place.

    So, let’s take a look at three different accommodation recommendations at three different price levels:

    Budget Recommendation: Seafront akwador

    I can personally recommend this hotel as it is where I stayed during my week in Malta.

    It is based in the quaint port port village of Marsaskala which I really loved. Some rooms offer balcony views but there is also a rooftop terrace that you can access and enjoy the splendid views from – I certainly did!

    My room was basic but more than adequate for my stay and the hotel is very good value for money overall.

    ➡️ Book a room at Seafront akwador here

    Mid-Range Recommendation: Solana Hotel & Spa

    If you’re looking for a fancy stay in Malta then I highly recommend this 4 star hotel.

    It’s based in Mellieha which has plenty of beach options close by as previously mentioned, and the hotel features a lovely looking outdoor swimming pool, modern rooms and a rooftop terrace.

    Check out Ludmila’s top review of Solana Hotel & Spa:
    “The hotel is beautiful with rooftop pool and indoor pool. Amazing breakfast and dinner. Very comfy beds and friendly staff!”

    ➡️Book a room at Solana Hotel & Spa here

    Luxury Recommendation: Radisson Blu Resort & Spa

    If you’re thinking of having a luxury stay in Malta then there is no better option than the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa.

    This top rated 5 star hotel is based right next to Malta’s Golden Bay beach, with rooms offering stunning views of the sea and it has a private beach area too.

    The hotel features 3 restaurants, a spa and wellness centre and luxurious rooms.

    Check out Laura’s top rated review of Radisson Blu Resort & Spa:
    “Was a beautiful, relaxing stay, with friendly helpful staff, will definitely return.”

    ➡️ Book a room at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa here


    Map of Malta

    Check out this interactive map of Malta, featuring all the tourist destinations, mentioned in this blog post:


    Malta FAQs

    Still not sure about visiting Malta? Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this top European destination:

    Are there any trains in Malta?

    No, there hasn’t been a railway system in operation in Malta since 1931! It’s such a relatively small island that trains are not really required so much.

    The roads in Malta are in very good condition all around the island, so there is no need from an economic and geographical point of view.

    How many days should you visit Malta for?

    Personally, I visited Malta for 4 days and overall I felt that was a good enough time to visit and experience as much of the island as possible.

    A week is a really good option too, and would give you plenty of time to explore the best tourist destinations that Malta has to offer and more.

    The Blue Grotto sea cave in the south of Malta - definitely worth a visit!
    The Blue Grotto sea cave in the south of Malta – definitely worth a visit!

    How long does it take to travel around the island?

    It all depends on how much traffic there may be at a certain time of day or year for that matter.

    But a taxi ride from the south to the north can typically take around 45 minutes, whereas a bus ride will take you around 1 hour and a half or more.


    Conclusion: Where To Stay In Malta Without a Car

    So that concludes everything you need to know on where to stay in Malta without being reliant on a car.

    Travelling to a new country and having to rely on public transport or taxis can sometimes be a real pain, but I’m happy to report that’s not the case in Malta.

    Whether you choose to travel around the island via bus or the numerous taxi options, this doesn’t have to effect your holiday experience as long as you plan each journey accordingly.

    Malta has so many interesting places to visit and areas to stay, that you can enjoy travelling there with or without a car – which is definitely a cheaper option for sure!


    ➡️ Planning your trip? Here are my favourite resources:

    🏨 Accommodation: I recommend using Booking.com
    🚙 Rental Car: Use Discover Cars for the best car rental prices
    ❤️ Travel Insurance: I recommend using Visitors Coverage
    ✈️ Flights: Use Kiwi.com for the best prices on flights

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