Malta airport: transfer to Sliema, St. Julians and other cities
Malta: getting around
Malta Airport (also called Luqa airport) is the only international airport in Malta. It’s quite small and a place where it would be impossible to get lost. However, we advise you to get out of the plane in the first rows in order to take the queue for customs control, which may take an extra hour in Malta.
Couple advices: the Internet and sockets
Malta airport has free wi-fi connection, which doesn’t require registration. So if you need the Internet after arrival, it won’t be a problem. There are also a lot of electrical sockets in the baggage claim area if you need to charge your devices.
So, you need to get to Sliema or St. Julians from the airport. These are neighboring cities, so the public transport route is the same.
Taxi in the airport is ordered at the TAXI counter on the left side opposite to the exit to the meeting area. Price to Sliema and St. Julians is 20 euros (as the end of 2018). You pay at the front desk and then take branded Mercedes vehicle. Price will not be changed regardless of any circumstances, for example, traffic jams. Taxi drivers are polite, you can leave them a tip of 1-2 euros, but they will not ask for it and don’t expect it from you. If you need transfer to the northern part of the island, for example, Mellieha and Bugibba, the price for a taxi will be 3-5 euros higher.
Taxi to Valletta and cities in the central part of the island - Birgu, Fgura, Birkirkara - will also cost you no more than 20 euros.
Taxi through the app
There is no Uber in Malta, but there is something similar - the Taxify app. Download it and order. Probably, the price will be 3-5 euros cheaper. However, remember that you need the Internet for this purpose.
You can book online a hotel transfer at about 5 euros per person with luggage at https://www.maltatransfer.com/. Typically, this is a comfortable minibus Mercedes, which carries tourists to the hotels. It’s fast and money saving way to travel.
Even if you rented an apartment or decided to live in a host family, choose the closest hotel to your residence, where shuttle drop you off. From there you may walk or ask someone to meet you. It also works in the opposite direction. If you are going to Malta airport, book a transfer with departure near closest hotel.
The bus routes in Malta can be found on the website of Malta Public Transport - https://www.publictransport.com.mt/.
The fare is 1.5 or 2 euros depending on the season for a 2-hours ticket. When transferring to another bus, you can use the same ticket purchased within 2 hours. You don’t need to buy a new one. Even if your trip is 20 minutes, and the ticket expires in 10 minutes, you can still get on the bus and go safely. Just make sure you have valid ticket when you are boarding a bus. To get off press a big red STOP button in the salon.
The bus stop at the Malta Airport is located 10 meters from the exit on the right side opposite the entrance to the departure area. At the bus stop there is an electronic time table showing the arrival time of the nearest buses and their destination city.
Generally, schedule for buses - 6 am to 10 pm. In fact, there are some night routes across the island with price of 3 euros. Unfortunately, night buses don’t serve the airport.
If you don’t know exactly which bus you need, do not hesitate to ask the driver. Drivers are accustomed to tourists and always prompt the right route.
How to buy a bus ticket in Malta?
You buy a ticket while boarding a bus from the driver only for cash. A driver may refuse to change 20 or 50 euros, as he may not have a change. Make sure you have appropriate sum.
In the airport building opposite of the departure exit there is the Malta Public Transport Tallinja counter - the official representative of the Maltese transportation system, where you can find out the necessary information and purchase different types of maps for driving around the island.
Types of travel cards in Malta:
- Explore (Adult € 21 / Child € 15) - 7 days unlimited travel;
- ExplorePlus Card (€ 39) - a 7-day travel card + a ticket for the Hop On-Hop Off tourist bus;
- 12 Single Day Journeys (€ 15) - a travel ticket for 12 trips.
Read more about travel on Maltese buses, read the link.
If you plan to live in Malta for more than six months, it is better to order a bus card on the Malta Public Transport website here. It will arrive to your home address in an envelope and per trip costs 0.75 cents.
How to get to St. Julians and Sliema from Malta Airport
If you go to St. Julians, direct TD2 San Giljan express bus runs from the airport. The cost is 2 or 2.5 euros depending on the season and travel time will be 25 minutes.
Another option is a bus X2. It goes the same route, but with all stops.
If you go to Sliema, the mentioned X2 bus goes from the airport to Sliema. Travel time is about 1 hour. It’s only direct route. Other routes to Sliema from the airport will have transfer to another bus. The last stop is X2 - Sliema Waterfront, and before that the bus passes along Sliema's embankment and you get off at the right stop, pressing the "stop" signal. This is a the circular route of the bus, so then it will continue to the airport.
If you come to Malta for a long time, we recommend to download free tallinja application on your smartphone, which helps to build routes to any point in the country and shows departure time of buses.
Free ride with expats
For open-minded people, there is a way to get free ride with expats living in Malta.
Find on Facebook a groups related to expats in Malta. You’ll find out that people from your country living in Malta ask bring something to island. Such requests are usually accompanied in gratitude by the offer to meet in the airport and provide free ride.
So, if you are not shy about getting acquainted, you can feel free to post to Facebook group and offer to bring a small package or purchase in exchange for free ride, since this is your first time. Be sure that someone will respond.
But remember that in order to learn English, communication in the native language is desirable to be kept to a minimum for the period of staying in Malta.