driving in Malta

Feature Image by Nejc Soklič on Unsplash

As a tourist, driving in Malta can be both thrilling and challenging. While having a car allows you the flexibility to explore the islands at your own pace and reach off-the-beaten-path destinations and enjoying scenic drives along the picturesque coastline, it’s crucial to be mindful of local driving habits and adhere to traffic regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Despite the challenges, the opportunity to venture into the lesser-known corners of Malta and savour the island’s stunning landscapes makes driving an enticing option for many tourists.

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driving in Malta
Driving in Malta can be both thrilling and challenging

Driving in Malta offers a fantastic opportunity for tourists to explore this beautiful Mediterranean archipelago at their own pace and uncover hidden gems off the beaten path. It becomes an ideal destination for self-driving adventures. However, before hitting the road, there are several essential aspects to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

As a tourist, should I drive in Malta?

Yes, self-driving is highly encouraged for tourists visiting Malta. While the public transportation system is well-developed, having a rental car grants you the freedom to discover Malta’s diverse attractions without being confined to fixed schedules. The flexibility to stop at charming villages, hidden bays, and scenic viewpoints makes self-driving an ideal choice for travellers who wish to immerse themselves fully in the island’s charm.

That being said, however, self-driving is not essential in Malta, a tourist can also depend on the efficient public transportation system to get around. As a tourist, whether to drive in Malta or not depends on your preferences and comfort level with driving in challenging conditions. Here are some points worth pondering:

  • If you are an experienced and confident driver who is comfortable navigating through tight spaces and observing local driving habits, driving in Malta can be a great way to explore the country independently. It allows you to access places that might not be easily reachable by public transportation, giving you the flexibility to create your own itinerary.
  • On the other hand, if you are not accustomed to driving in such conditions or prefer a more relaxed travel experience, using public transportation in Malta can be a convenient and stress-free option. The island has an efficient bus system that covers most of the tourist attractions, and taxis are readily available as well.
driving in malta
Driving in a foreign country can be a unique experience. Here in Malta we find road side fuel pumps.

The Advantages of Driving in Malta

Driving in Malta offers several advantages for tourists:

  1. Flexibility and Independence: Having a car allows you to explore Malta at your own pace and create a personalised itinerary. You can visit off-the-beaten-path destinations, stay longer at places that captivate you, and deviate from the typical tourist routes.
  2. Access to Remote Areas: Some of Malta’s most scenic and secluded spots may not be easily accessible by public transportation. Driving enables you to reach hidden gems, such as remote beaches, charming villages, and picturesque countryside locations.
  3. Scenic Drives: Malta’s coastline and countryside boast stunning views, and driving provides an opportunity to enjoy scenic routes and breathtaking landscapes at your leisure.
  4. Time Efficiency: With a car, you can optimise your time and visit multiple attractions in a day without waiting for public transport schedules.
  5. Convenience for Families or Groups: If you are traveling with family or a group of friends, having a car offers convenience and cost-effectiveness, as you can share transportation expenses and travel together comfortably.
  6. Explore at Night: Public transportation in Malta may be limited during late hours, but with a car, you can explore and enjoy the island’s nightlife without worrying about transport availability.

Considerations While Renting a Car in Malta

If you do decide to rent a car, there are a few things you should consider:

  • The legal requirements: Tourists must hold a valid international driving license, and the minimum age for car rental is typically 21 years old.
  • The type of car you need: If you are only planning on staying in the main tourist areas, you can get away with renting a small car. However, if you are planning on doing some exploring, you may want to rent a larger car.
  • The time of year you are visiting: If you are visiting during the summer months, it is advisable to book your car in advance, as demand is high.
  • The cost of car rental: Car rental can be expensive in Malta, so be sure to factor this into your budget.
  • The driving conditions: The roads in Malta can be narrow and winding, so if you are not used to driving in this type of environment, you may want to consider hiring a driver instead.

› If you’d like to hire a car, be sure to compare car rental prices via Rentalcars.com to get the best deals.

Road Conditions in Malta

The road network in Malta is generally well-maintained, and major routes connecting towns are in good condition. However, travellers should be prepared for narrow and winding streets, especially in older towns and villages. Additionally, some rural roads might have uneven surfaces, so cautious driving is recommended. Keep an eye out for occasional potholes and adhere to speed limits, which are usually 60 km/h on urban roads and 80 km/h on rural routes.

In some parts on the island, driving can be challenging on narrow and winding roads.

What a Traveller Should Know Before Driving in Malta

Driving in Malta follows the British system, with vehicles driving on the left-hand side of the road. This may be unfamiliar for some international travellers, so extra caution is necessary when approaching roundabouts and intersections. Always pay attention to road signs and signals, and be aware that the Maltese drive assertively but generally adhere to traffic rules.

  • The speed limit: The speed limit in Malta is 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour) in built-up areas and 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour) on highways.
  • The traffic laws: The traffic laws in Malta are similar to those in other European countries. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
    • Seat belts are compulsory for all passengers.
    • Cyclists must use cycle lanes, if available.
    • It is illegal to drink and drive.

What to Take Note of When Driving in Malta

  • Parking can be challenging in popular tourist areas, so be patient and allow extra time to find a suitable parking spot.
  • Be cautious of narrow streets in towns, and when driving through villages, watch out for pedestrians, as local residents might cross the roads unexpectedly.
  • It’s essential to stay vigilant, especially during peak tourist hours when traffic congestion may occur.
  • Roundabouts are a common way to control traffic in Malta, so be sure to know how to use them.
  • Cyclists are a common sight in Malta, so be sure to give them plenty of space.
  • There are a few hills in Malta, so be prepared for some steep climbs.

About Parking in Malta

Parking can be difficult to find in Malta, especially in the main tourist areas. There are a few different types of parking available:

  • On-street parking: On-street parking is metered and can be expensive.
  • Parking garages: There are a number of parking garages in Malta, which are generally more expensive than on-street parking.
  • Parking apps: There are a number of parking apps available, which can help you find and book parking spaces.

Avoid parking in prohibited areas or blocking driveways to avoid fines or towing.

Watch out for signs like this to avoid blocking driveways.

About Fuel Prices in Malta

Fuel prices in Malta are relatively high compared to other European countries. Gasoline (unleaded) and diesel are the primary fuel options available at most fuel stations. It’s advisable to fill up your tank at major towns or before embarking on a long journey, as rural fuel stations might have limited hours of operation.

As of March 2023, the price of petrol was around €1.90 per liter (~$2.10 per US gallon) and the price of diesel was around €1.80 per liter (~$2.00 per US gallon).

Photo taken in April 2022


Driving in Malta as a tourist can be a rewarding and memorable experience, offering unparalleled freedom to explore the island’s rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and picturesque coastline. By considering the necessary aspects and driving with caution, tourists can fully enjoy their journey through Malta, creating unforgettable memories of this charming Mediterranean destination.

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