Malta Driving Guide

Malta Driving Guide

Malta Driving Guide

Malta is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

Updated Apr 9, 2021·9min read
Malta photo by antheah

Malta is also a superb family destination with its sunny weather and relaxing atmosphere. The islands offer a peaceful and tranquil environment, and each family can choose from the different beach resorts. There are well-developed hotels with the prerequisites of modern living, so you can relax while the children cool down in a pool. Other hotels have secluded and pristine waters, great for nature lovers who seek a new escape from city-living.

Malta has modern water activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. What makes Malta unique is that it has 7,000 years of history, and exploring the depths around the island will reveal countless stories and legends of the Mediterranean. Discover the country full of wonders by getting your International Driving Permit. Once you have an IDP, you can easily travel to any destination in Malta.

How Can This Guide Help You?

This guide will help you learn more about the small island state and ensure that you have the correct information for a safe and memorable trip. Malta has a rich history and many hidden secrets to discover in the nooks and crannies, and it is best to carve your route with a rented car. You will get information on driving in Malta. From the first steps on getting to Malta, road rules, and driving etiquette, you will know what to expect once you get there.

General Information

Malta is the tenth smallest country globally, but it is complete with hidden wonders and pleasant delights within its land and sea borders. It's just a few hours away from most mainland European cities by plane. There are multiple scheduled flights with Air Malta as they have flights with major European cities, North Africa, and the Middle East. There are also low-cost carriers that have regular schedules and also offer charter flights.

Geographic Location

Malta is an archipelago that consists of three main islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. It is located at the center of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy’s Sicilian coast, and 288 kilometers north of Africa. The entire archipelago occupies 316 square kilometers with a total population of a little over 500,000 locals. Malta boasts of rich coastlines that abound as an island state, which offer prime beach resorts for an island getaway.

Languages Spoken

Malta has its language, Maltese. It is the official language of the archipelago, along with English. The Maltese language has Semitic roots, but it has incorporated many English and French words under these countries’ rule. There are also many Italian words in their vocabulary, possibly due to its proximity to Sicily.

Land Area

Malta is the smallest European member state which is about 316 square kilometers. It can fit Luxembourg eight times, and it is only twice the size of Washington, DC. The uninhabited islets in Malta are Kemmunett (Comminotto) and Filfla, lying 58 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles north of Libya. It consists of three islands right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and they have sunny weather for most of the year, making it the perfect beach destination.

History

Malta has a long and rich history dating back to the golden Neolithic period, where they discovered the remains of mysterious temples worshipping the goddess of fertility. There were traces of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Byzantines, and the Romans all over the Maltese islands. Paul of Tarsus brought Christianity to the Maltese islands.

Since then, the Arabs took hold of the islands until 1530 when Malta became Sicily’s extension. Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta in 1798, but the Maltese citizens sought the English to drive out the French. It was under English rule until 1964 when Malta gained its independence. As a British colony, Malta adopted the British governmental and educational system.

Government

Malta became an independent monarchy and parliamentary state under the 1964 constitution, but they amended the constitution in 1974 to make the country a republic state within the Commonwealth. Now, Malta’s government type is a unitary multiparty republic. The parliament consists of the House of Representatives, and they appoint the president, who is the head of state. The prime minister is the head of the government.

Tourism

With its accessible location and pleasant weather, Malta is the main tourist stopover in Southern Europe, and tourism accounts for 15% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contributing to the major influx of tourism as well. As they acknowledge the role of tourism in their economy, Malta has developed its infrastructure, specifically Malta’s main island. In 2019, over 2.1 million tourists visited the country in the first nine months of the year, a 4.8% increase from 2018.

IDP FAQs

In Malta, cruising by the islands would be a breeze if you’re driving a rented car. There are many stopovers to explore, and it’s best to go at the pace that suits you. Driving in Malta is hassle-free when you have an International Driving Permit since it is a translation of your local country’s license. However, you still need to bring your driver's license as a legal requirement. Get to know the essential information on getting an International Driver’s Permit in Malta.

You may use the IDP at any time when you are driving in a foreign country. Even if your local license is understandable for local authorities, car rental companies would often require an international driving permit. There is a regional language in Malta, and there are also many residents who speak Italian, French or other languages. An IDP can help you transact with all of them. If you will stay and drive in Malta for more than a year, you need to learn how to get a driver’s license in Malta.

Do I Need an International Driving Permit for Malta?

It would be advisable to have IDP when you travel to Malta, especially if you do not have a license issued from a European country, Australia or Switzerland. The IDP allows local authorities in almost every country to recognize your local driver’s license. When you rent a car for driving in Valletta, Malta, for example, officers can easily interpret your local license whatever your country of origin.

An international driver’s permit can benefit anyone who wants to engage in foreign driving in Malta or other countries. If you are driving in Malta with a US license, authorities would recognize it because it’s in English. However, for other countries that issue licenses in their local alphabet, like Hangul in South Korea, you would need a translation. An IDP provides your license translations in 12 widely spoken languages, allowing you to drive anywhere in the world.

Can I Apply for an IDP Online?

You may visit the International Driver’s Association website application page here to get an IDP online. It’s best to get one before you travel or any time before you drive since the IDP helps you plan to rent a car. You may get instant approval online when you have the complete requirements, and you don’t need to pass through government offices. The International Driver’s Association offers express shipping worldwide for your convenience.

Anyone who wants to drive in foreign countries can apply for an IDP. If you are over 18 years old with a local driving license, you can apply for an IDP, and it only takes approximately 20 minutes. You can apply online on the International Driver’s Association website at any time before your trip, and it will deliver your International Driver’s Permit to your desired destination.

Can I Drive in Malta on a UK Licence?

The only driving licenses valid in Malta are those issued in the European Union (EU), Switzerland, and Australia. Malta traffic authorities will honor the driver’s license from EU countries as long as they are still valid in their home country. If you have a non-EU driver’s license, it would be necessary to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) as an international translation of your local license.

An IDP is a translation of your native driver’s license in twelve significant languages, so it cannot replace your actual license as a legal identification card. However, the IDP allows you to drive in most countries worldwide without being bothered to obtain temporary permits and separate translations. The IDP will let you go to Malta for 12 months. You can rent and drive a car even without taking a driving test in Malta.

Renting a Car in Malta

Malta offers many attractions for travelers of all ages, and since the country is an archipelago, there would be many opportunities for sightseeing and adventure. Driving on your own is a more practical way to travel around. Rental car companies in Malta understand the joy of going through the roads and coastline, and they will try to give the best vehicle on a reasonable deal. You can quickly identify Malta’s rental cars since they end in a “K” or a “QZ.”

Car Rental Companies

International car rental giants like Hertz, Europcar, and Avis have their operations in Malta. You can rent a car right at the airport. You can book a car rental even before you arrive through their international websites. However, there are also local alternatives like CB Car Rental, which can also offer an entire fleet of vehicles depending on what you would need. Here are other car rental companies in the country:

  • Budget
  • Compass Hire
  • Goldcar
  • Firefly
  • First Car Rental
  • R & R Car Hire Malta
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty

With Malta being a country consisting of islands, many narrow roads can get congested. It is advisable to get a smaller car, whether a compact or an economy model if you do not have a big party. You can even rent a two-wheeler or an APV or All-Purpose Vehicle for recreation. Scooter driving in Malta has become a trend since it allows you to explore faster and escape traffic bottlenecks.

Documents Required

The primary documents to rent and go car driving in Malta deal with identification and payment. The essential requirement is the driver’s license. Car rental companies can honor your local driver’s license, but they need to know more than just the validation date. You need the International Driver’s Permit since it translates to any driver’s license. It would be easier for the rental companies to see your driving limitations.

Rental companies will also ask for your passport or your European ID. An international credit card is needed to settle the payments. Credit cards like Visa or Mastercard are the most common, but American Express and Discover are honored. If you booked your car rental online, the car rental companies would ask for the reservation. If you made a deposit or downpayment, there should be an online receipt or official transaction record.

Vehicle Types

Companies can offer an entire array of vehicles, from scooters to compact sedans to full-size sedans, Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), passenger vans, and even coasters or small buses. People will often advise you to rent a car that is just right for the number of passengers and cargo. There are narrow roads that have heavy traffic, especially during the holiday seasons.

There are also restrictions on entry for larger vehicles, and it can be challenging to ferry them when you want to bring your rental car to Gozo, the other main island of Malta. Driving is not allowed on the smaller island of Comino. Check first with your car rental company whether they would let their cars go on ferries. Take note of the public announcements on the maximum weight of the vehicle allowed on the ferry.

Car Rental Cost

The price range depends on the vehicle that you intend to rent, but on average, the prices fluctuate for a mid-size sedan depending on the time of year. From January to February, the average cost is 12 Euros per day, the lowest rates for the year. It is best to look out for possible surcharges due to age and read the fine print on the insurance coverage.

From March to June, the price increases to 14-17 Euros per day. In the summer, around July and August, the price peaks to 27-32 Euros per day. The price tapers in September to 22 Euros per day until it reaches the winter rate of 13 Euros. If you are alone, it might be a good idea to drive a scooter in Malta instead.

Age Requirements

Driving in Malta with a valid license is allowed in Malta as long as you are at least 18 years old, but renting a car is a different matter. You need to be at least 21 years old and have had a valid license for more than two years to be able to rent a car.

Car rental companies may also have different restrictions for more significant car categories, and they would usually have a surcharge if you are under 25 years old. The maximum age to rent a car is 70 years old. Some companies will impose a surcharge if you exceed 70 years old or require you to have a companion.

Car Insurance Cost

The car insurance cost depends on different factors such as your age, car’s type, driver’s good standing, good credit, type of insurance, and of course, the profit of the insurance company. But to give you an idea, a car valued at £ 8,000 has an insurance cost of about £200 per year. Get as many quotations as you can as the insurance market is competitive in Malta.

Car Insurance Policy

Just like a travel insurance policy, you also need a car insurance to ensure you're covered in case you get caught in an accident. While third-party liability insurance and collision coverage are standard for all car rental companies, insurance conditions differ with every company, so it is best to read and clarify the provisions in the rental agreement. One example is the area coverage. Car rental companies in Malta do not allow their vehicles to be taken outside the borders, even to fellow EU countries.

Some rental companies are stricter, such as Hertz. They do not allow their cars to be ferried even to the neighboring island of Gozo, which is the second-largest island of Malta. Once you take your vehicle out of Malta’s main island, the insurance is void, and any damage incurred will be shouldered by the lessee.

Valetta Malta photo by Zoltan Tasi

Road Rules in Malta

Driving in a foreign country can be a pleasant, enlightening experience, but it can take a traumatic turn if you are not aware of the essential rules. In Malta, they have their perspective on driving rules based on their topography, climate, and culture. As an island country known for its beaches and coastline, Maltese roads outside the capital may not be as developed as other countries, giving it that wild, adventurous feel.

Road Malta photo by chrisjzammit

Important Regulations

Before you drive on the country’s road, make sure you know the essential rules and driving laws to keep everyone safe on the road. Read more below to understand what you should do or what you shouldn’t do on the road.

Drunk-driving

In Malta, despite the island culture and the heavy tourism, the government of Malta has stringent regulations on driving under alcohol (DUI). They treat it as a severe offense, and the blood alcohol concentration limit in Malta is 0.8 mg of alcohol per milliliter(ml) of blood. Drivers of buses, taxis, and minibusses will have a zero alcohol limit.

The Maltese government is proposing to have the limit reduced to 0.5 mg and even 0.2 mg for drivers who have had their license for less than two years and drivers of large vehicles and motorcyclists. Malta police officers are authorized to stop people who they think are drunk-driving. They will use the breathalyzer, and if the results show that they are over the allowed limit, they need to take a second test to confirm.

General Standards of Driving

If you have solid experience driving in your home country and are confident in your skills, driving in Malta will be easy. In Malta, the general principle in using a roundabout is yield-at-entry. You must slow down when entering a roundabout and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and the traffic already in the roundabout. Once you’re already inside, proceed around the central island and take the right-hand exit. Make sure you're also parking your car in the right parking spots. You'll find time parking zones in major cities.

Speed Limits

Malta’s speed limits are 80 km/h on the open roads and highways and 50 km/h on urban or built-up areas. Some areas have even lower limits, specifically around schools, hospitals, and churches. There are clear signs placed on these areas with the corresponding speed limit, and there are no highways or motorways in Malta since they have a small land area. Thus, there are no higher speed limits. You'll find several speed cameras on major roads so make sure you don't go beyond the speed limit. If you're caught on speed cameras, you'll be fined by traffic police.

Seatbelt Laws

In Malta, the government requires all passengers in the front and rear seats to wear a seatbelt. Even with the low-speed limits and tight rules for drunk driving, seatbelts are a necessary precaution. Malta is strict with their restraint laws as they require even the rear passengers to wear seatbelts, which would limit the allowable load of passengers.

Malta has implemented strict restrictions for child car seats. Children are not allowed to ride in cars that have no actual child seats. They have classifications based on age and the child’s weight. The government has strict regulations on children below 12 years old, and even children below 150 centimeters are not allowed to occupy the front seat without proper child restraints. Otherwise, they should only stay in the rear seats wearing adult seat belts.

You should take note that the responsibility of providing and fitting the child seats falls on the parent or car renter, not on the rental company. If the parent/guardian does not have a car seat and fails to order one before renting a car, he must sign a waiver that absolves the car rental company from liability. Always make sure to arrange for car seats if you cannot bring your own.

Driving Directions

As an island state, there are no land borders in Malta. Driving is also not allowed in Comino, the smallest island. Ferry boats can accommodate vehicles traveling from Malta’s main island to Gozo, but some car rental companies may void insurance if it’s against their terms.

The main island of Malta is just 27 kilometers by 14 kilometers in area, so it is possible to drive all around it one day. You can take it slow and savor the sights and atmosphere on day trips from your accommodation. Malta’s driving tour should not be in haste since there are many places to see and experience.

Traffic Road Signs

As part of the European Union, Malta has adopted the EU standard road signs. There are four categories of road signs with similar images with the types of function: warning signs, regulatory signs, informative signs, and guidance signs. Malta has recently tightened the noose on traffic violations along with stiffer penalties.

Warning signs notify the drivers of changes in the road structure, pedestrian presence, and possible hazards that could lie on the road ahead. These signs will give you time to anticipate them and take appropriate action. Malta has some unique warning signs since it is a small archipelago (ex. Low flying aircraft). These will be part of the driving theory test in Malta. Examples of warning signs:

  • Pedestrian/Elderly/Children Crossing
  • Bend/Double Bend/Multiple Bend
  • Tunnel
  • Traffic lights
  • Uneven Roads
  • Tram Warning
  • Equestrians

Regulatory signs inform drivers of what actions or directions they can or cannot take on their traversing. Many of these regulations concern tourism activities that can affect traffic, like “no entry to vehicles except motorcycles” on the narrow streets and roads near the coastline. Some examples of these are:

  • Closed to all vehicles
  • No horse riding
  • No animal-drawn vehicles
  • No power-driven vehicles
  • No large vehicles
  • Maximum speed/Maximum speed ends here
  • Maximum Width
  • Maximum Length
  • One Way/ Give Way
  • Keep Left and Keep Right
  • Turn Left and Turn Right
  • Stop for Pedestrians/No Stopping/No parking

Informative signs provide information on the road situation on the horizon. It also informs you of where vital structures are located, such as hospitals. Some examples of Informative signs:

  • Priority Road
  • Priority Road Ends Here
  • Parking
  • Directions to Parking
  • Intersection street names

Guidance signs will help drivers arrive at their destination. They give directions, help drivers find their way to their destination. Like the information signs, guidance signs are also green in color. Some examples are:

  • Direction signs
  • Distance signs

Right of Way

Being aware of who or what has the right of way is very important when driving. It will prevent any untoward incident, and it will also determine who is liable in case of an accident or collision. Motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road in Malta, similar to the United Kingdom. They also prioritize public transport in any form. Thus, you need to stop when you are driving when passengers ride and alight from the vehicle.

When you are in a roundabout, you should give priority to the vehicle coming from the right. There are no traffic lights on the road structure in Malta has plenty of roundabouts, and traffic lights do not always govern the intersections. You should always check the right of way in case there is a collision or road accident. That will be the basis for deciding who will shoulder the liability.

Legal Driving Age

Malta conforms to most countries’ driving age at 18 years old, and they do impose certain conditions for drivers who have held their licenses for less than two years. There are also age restrictions on other aspects like car rentals. You need to be over 21 years old to rent a car, and some companies even increase it to 23 years old. They also have a surcharge for drivers below 21 years old.

There are rules for car rentals and stricter conditions on drunk driving to control tourism activities that could cause harm to both locals and visitors alike. To drive in Malta, you need to have a valid driver’s license. Licenses issued in European countries, Switzerland and Australia are accepted without special permits for the first twelve months, while those from other countries can supplement with an International Driver’s Permit. After 12 months, they will have to know how to get a driver’s license in Malta.

Laws on Overtaking

According to the Highway Code of Malta, overtaking should only be done when it is safe. Contrary to Malta’s driving tips on the internet, recent trends show that drivers have erred on the side of caution, resulting in hold-ups in the central part of town.

Since the towns and built-up areas have narrow roads, overtaking is discouraged unless the front vehicle travels well below the minimum speed limit. You must give time and space for the car in front, check your side mirrors before you make a move. You should also not overtake unless you have a clear view of the road ahead.

Driving Side

Since Malta was occupied by the British before it gained independence, they adopted various British practices, including driving laws. On your Maltese vacation, you will move on the left side of the road and the driving wheel is on the right, just like the law in the UK and its other colonies. If not, you would need to make slight adjustments. If it's your first drive on a left-side driving country, take an initial drive on much quieter roads that fewer people use.

The speed limits come in handy while you try to adjust from right to left side. Most roads in Malta are narrow, with only two to four lanes on each side. There is not much room to cover since it is a small island country, so it would be best to take it slow and enjoy the scenery while you get yourself accustomed to the change.

Driving Etiquette in Malta

For drivers around the world, you would know that anything can happen once you take the wheel. In a foreign country, there are times where you are alone while facing unexpected circumstances. It is best to familiarize yourself with the local driving etiquette to know how to react, what is acceptable and what you should avoid. As a general rule, familiarizing the driving etiquette in Malta is an important bit of knowledge you should get.

Car Breakdown

Despite your best effort to check your car’s condition before driving, there is still a possibility that it would break down. The first step is to take your vehicle off the road to avoid obstructing the traffic. Roads in Malta are not very wide so that any roadblock can cause a bottleneck. Your next step is to warn the oncoming motorists and use your hazard warning lights. If possible, place a reflective warning triangle or any other accepted warning device at least 50 meters from your car and 1 meter from the edge of the road.

Although it is not required and is not necessarily standard equipment on all rental cars, you should use the reflective triangle. You should ask the rental car company to provide one on the unit you will drive. Visibility is essential, so turn on the sidelights when visibility is low, and make sure you do not block them when you stand. Stay safely on the side of the road so you would not obstruct the oncoming motorists.

Police Stops

Local police are authorized to stop drivers for routine checks. Remember that they can identify your car as a rental vehicle since you have a license plate ending in “K” or “Z.” They can check for your documents like your passport and whether you’re driving in Malta with a US license. Police can also check for safety equipment for your rental car, like fire extinguishers and early warning devices.

Even if you feel that you did not violate any traffic rules, you should stop and cooperate with the officer. If a police officer tickets you for a traffic violation, they must clearly state which infraction you committed, and they should not ask to pay for money upfront. Always remain calm and respond to the queries politely. Avoid bribes even if the police officer solicits. Politely decline and inform them that you will settle it according to standard procedure. You can also contact your car rental company for assistance with driving and police matters.

Asking Directions

Most of the Maltese can understand and speak English since 88% of the population can speak and understand English. They may also talk to Italian or French, but their educational system is based in the United Kingdom to communicate in English. But in case you want to ask for driving directions in Maltese, here are some of the phrases and words you can use:

  • Can you help me? - Tista tghini?
  • Can you show me on the map? - Tista' turini fuq il-mappa? (tis-taa tu-REE-nee foo-UH ill map-pa?)
  • How do I get to _____ ? - Kif nasal sa ______? (keef NAH-sal saa _______)
  • ...the airport? - ...l-ajruport? (liy-roo-PORT)
  • ...the _____ hotel? - ...il-_____ hotel? (ill ______ ho-TEL)
  • ...restaurants? - ...ristoranti? (ris-to)
  • ...Historic center (old city) - Ċentru storiku
  • ...Downtown (city center) - Iċ-ċentru tar-raħal?
  • How long does it take to get there?: Kemm iddum biex tasal hemm?
  • How can I get to the museum? : Kif nista' nasal il-mużew?

Most of the locals are helpful towards tourists, and they would recognize the license plates so they would anticipate you need help. There are few records of hostility towards visitors, so as long as you smile and ask politely, you are likely to get a good response. Do not be afraid to ask locals directions if you are lost because they will quickly respond to your questions.

Checkpoints

In Malta, local authorities usually establish checkpoints during the peak travel periods like Easter, summer, or Christmas. Checkpoints should be well-lit and visible. The police officers operating them should be in uniform or identifiable law enforcement garb. Their purpose is to provide roadside assistance in accidents, but they are also looking out for drunk drivers.

Ensure that you always carry your travel documents and identification when you are driving because you cannot be sure when police officers will stop you at a checkpoint. Always bring your passport and driver’s license and your international driver’s permit if your license is not English. They will conduct a breathalyzer test if they suspect you of drunk driving.

Other Tips

Aside from the driving etiquettes mentioned above, it is essential to know what to do in emergencies. Drivers usually panic and lose their sense of mind when facing an unfortunate situation, but this information will help you with the things you should do in accidents.

What if I Get Involved in an Accident?

In Malta, if your vehicle is involved in a minor collision, they allow you to move along if there are no injuries. You do not have to inform the police. Just complete a “bumper-to-bumper” form or simply file a Statement of Facts, just for insurance purposes.

The Statement of Facts is a form that is compulsory for all drivers and includes a carbon copy for both drivers to exchange. The drivers can submit these to their respective car insurance companies. For severe accidents and collisions, contact the police and emergency medical service at 112.

Driving Conditions in Tanzania

Malta used to have a reputation for having unruly drivers. The island culture and lack of highways may trigger locals and visitors to fill their need for speed on the open roads. These incidents have led the Maltese government to propose tighter regulations and impose stringent penalties for violations, specifically on drunk driving.

Accident Statistics

In the second quarter of 2020, the number of reported traffic accidents decreased by 40% compared to the same period in 2019. There are more accidents in the Northern Harbour district, with 739 cases that account for 32.8% of all accidents. The majority of the casualties are persons aged 26-40, which supports the perception that alcohol and partying may be blamed. There are also more accidents recorded during the peak season of tourism. Malta's road fatalities are caused by speeding and drunk driving.

According to Malta's National Statistics Office, road traffic casualties went down to 225, which is 46.6% lower than that of 2019. More than half of these accidents involved passenger cars, which have experienced an upswing in Malta. More and more Maltese families are purchasing cars, while tourists are also renting cars. It has led to more traffic on the road, making a sharp reduction in vehicle accidents a remarkable achievement.

Common Vehicles

Passenger cars are the primary mode of transportation in the small islands of Malta. There are more passenger cars in Malta per 1000 people (782) than in the European Union (602). There are also a large number of motorcycles and All-terrain vehicles (ATV). ATVs are convenient when treading the island’s rougher roads. You should take note that most cars are on a manual transmission, even though some of the more prominent car rental companies. You need to be very specific if you want to drive an automatic.

During the summer months in the peak tourism season, locals frequently use scooters in transportation to avoid traffic jams. You can rent scooters from car rental companies as well. You need to drive with travel light since the islands are small, you can cover the whole area with day trips from your hotel or inn. There is little need to rent a full home trailer or SUV since you would probably not have overnight driving trips.

Toll Roads

You must know that toll roads and highways or motorways do not exist yet in Malta, so there won’t be toll booths in any route you’ll drive on. The country’s main roads are only dual carriageways (two lanes in either direction), and the two types of road classification are arterial and distributor roads. However, you need to pay a fee when entering Valletta, known as the controlled vehicular access (CVA) system.

Road Situation

In Malta, you need to drive your vehicles on the road’s left-hand side, just like in the United Kingdom. If you have not lived in the UK or any of their territories, this could take some getting used to. The roads are not as comprehensive as those in world urban areas. Even in Valletta, few roads exceed two lanes on either side. Not well-maintained roads cause heavy traffic in the peak season, so it is best to anticipate the congestion and prepare your itinerary accordingly.

Knowing the conditions of the road in Malta is important to better prepare on what lies ahead your trip. There are plenty of roads in Malta in poor condition, so you need to take extra caution. Renting an SUV is not always recommended. There are many narrow roads with semi-blind corners, so there could be instances when others will clip the side mirrors if you are not careful. Compact cars and sedans can negotiate the terrain with a skilled driver. When you time your drives and avoid congested areas, driving can be a pleasant experience. You'll also find several petrol stations across the country.

Driving Culture

Malta has challenging driving conditions in the past. There are fast drivers and even reckless drivers. Some locals, since they know that if you’re a foreigner driving in Malta on a rented car, may try to overtake you on an open road when they become impatient. However, as mentioned, the government has caught on. The road accidents due to drunk and reckless driving have reduced more than 50% as there are improvements in locals’ and tourists’ driving habits.

On the bright side, there are a rising number of Maltese drivers who would be more than happy to assist you. They can give you directions to your destination along with tips for driving in Malta. The government recognizes tourism as a big help to the economy, and the locals are aware of that now.

Other Tips

You should also know the unit of measurement of speed to see if you drive below the maximum speed limits. Aside from that, it’s best if you take note of what to do if you are driving at night or it is even safe to go at night. Read more to learn other relevant driving situations in Malta.

Are They Using KpH or MpH?

Most car speedometers display both KpH and MpH. The metric system has been the world unit of measurement with a few exceptions like the United States. As Malta was occupied by the British in the past two centuries, they ascribe to the metric system and use KpH as the primary speed unit.

Your rental car is likely to display both speed measurements, but be more mindful of the KpH since it is the basis for the law. KpH is slightly less than twice that of MpH, so the number on display is higher than what you would expect. If there are road signs with just numbers, you should assume that it is KpH.

Is It Safe to Drive at Night?

In the nighttime, the islands are relatively safe. Malta is known for its rich and vibrant nightlife on the islands’ coasts and even in the city. You can plan for nighttime strolls and even a night drive as the cities are alive with many dining options. Malta is not known for criminality, and many casualties are the result of accidents. Driving at night to avoid the crowds or have a more romantic atmosphere may be a great idea.

What is the Parking Situation?

Parking is also an issue since many resorts only have shared parking. There is paid parking in the car park right outside Valletta with access to the Valletta Waterfront directly from its lower level through an underground tunnel. It would be best to park outside the city proper in the busy months since it’s a five-minute walk away.

There are public parking lots in two areas that lead to the Great Siege Road. While the parking itself is free of charge, it is customary to give tips, usually 1 Euro, to the parking attendants who would present themselves to assist you. Giving tips is just standard practice, not strictly required.

Things To Do in Malta

Malta is an excellent place for an island getaway and a few days of rest and recreation. However, when you get used to the road conditions and get along with the locals, should you consider staying in Malta and getting a job? It is possible, but you need to be aware of the requirements to become a resident. As a foreigner seeking employment, you need to apply for a Schengen employment visa since Malta is a member of the European Union and part of the Schengen area.

Drive as a Tourist

You can drive in Malta as a tourist as long as a European country, Australia, or Switzerland issued your local driving license. If not, you need to get an International Driving Permit to go to your different destinations in the country. There were penalties when local authorities caught you driving without any valid and legal document. Another option for you is to get a probationary driver’s license in Malta that will be valid for three years.

Work as a Driver

If you think driving in Malta has become as fantastic for you as the island breeze, then you may consider staying and driving for a living. You can get a driver’s license in Malta since you cannot work as a driver when driving in Malta with a UK license. The first step in getting a driver’s license in Malta is identifying an instructor and obtaining a learner’s permit. After that, you need to prepare to take the theory test for driving in Malta and set up the practical test for the different categories (A and B).

You should note that many residents in Malta like to drive their cars rather than take public transport. Most of the driver vacancies are in the commercial and industrial fields. There is heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driving jobs in Malta, while public transport listings are rare. It helps that the country speaks English, but you need to know the driving test in Malta, the price, and the conditions for passing the required tests.

Work as a Travel Guide

After staying in Malta and familiarizing yourself with the beautiful sights, you have decided to stay and guide tourists like you. You can use your time and skills to be a travel guide to help other travelers to know the country. Just take note that aside from the residency requirements, it is better to be a part of the Malta Union of Tourist Guides (MUTG). It is also part of the more excellent European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations.

A tourist guide has a license, and to obtain that, you need to present your skills to the Malta Tourism Authority. Many aspiring guides take a course at the Institute for Tourism Studies. It runs for 2-years if you take it full-time. After that, the government will consider level 5 of the international skills framework. The course includes 250 hours of internship work experience supervised by a licensed tourist guide.

Apply for Residency

Are you thinking of moving to Malta? It is not a surprise if you want to live in the country and fall in love with architectural gems, a pleasant climate, and a safe environment that permeate life on the island. There are two types of residency you can choose from to live in Malta: permanent residence and ordinary residence. The permanent residence is open to everyone, your country of origin, while the ordinary residence is for European citizens.

According to the Maltese Citizenship Act, if you are from a European country, you can only be a Malta resident if you live in the country for over six years. There are other ways to apply for a residency if you’re coming from a non-European country. You can obtain it by marriage, by Malta Individual Investor Program, or by living in the country for a certain period. You can submit a residency permit to Valletta.

Other Things to Do

If you want to have a new life here in Malta, you can check out different work opportunities waiting for you here. You must take a leap of faith and set out a new life, new career, and new dream in the country. Check out other opportunities waiting for you here.

Are There Other Work Opportunities in Malta?

Aside from driving and guiding tourists, other job opportunities in Malta include diving and jobs regarding aquatic activities and island living. These are jobs that deal with tourism, and you can learn them through special courses in a short period. Careers in other industries may require you to undergo formal education, which would be more expensive and complicated.

If you want to know what jobs are the most in-demand right now in Malta, understand that the economy heavily relies on tourism, technology, financial services, and manufacturing. Just take note that before you work, secure your visa first if you are from a non-European country, then get your work and residence permit afterward. You also need an employer license to work in the country.

The Top Destinations in Malta

Malta is a small country packed with sites full of significance. There are various reasons why these are notable--whether it’s their beauty or historical importance, you will come home with a ton of pictures, videos, and memorabilia. With a mix of human-made and natural spectacles, there is a lot to do once you land and even more when you turn on the ignition and drive.

Malta photo by viajeminuto

Malta

Of the three inhabited islands of the country, Malta is the biggest in terms of land area. Under the scorching sunshine, Malta’s landscape is full of seaports, old fishing villages, hilltop towns, and many wonders of creation. The capital of Valletta is a good starting point when you explore the islands since there are many historical places in the area. What are you waiting for now? Explore the enchanting islands of Malta.

Driving Directions:

Malta International Airport is about 9.5 kilometers away from Valletta. It will take you less than 20 minutes if you drive from the airport via Route 1. Here’s your driving guide:

  1. Head southwest and go to Vjal L-Avjazzjoni/Route 1
  2. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on Vjal l-Avjazzjoni/Route 1
  3. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Triq Il-Kunsill Tal-Ewropa/Route 1
  4. Keep left to continue toward Triq Giuseppe Garibaldi/Route 1
  5. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Triq Dicembru 13/Route 1
  6. Keep right to continue on Triq Dicembru 13/Route 6
  7. Continue onto Route 6 and Triq Sant' Anna
  8. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Triq Girolamo Cassar
  9. Continue on St Paul St
  10. Turn left at Lotto Office 121 onto St.Frederick to reach Valletta

Things to Do

Many Malta postcards are photos of Mdina, as it looks like a setting plucked out of fairy tales and legends that we learned from childhood. Visitors describe their Mdina experience as similar to stepping into a time machine. The Maltese government has done its best to develop the town into a tourist haven without spoiling its heritage. What are you waiting for now? Explore different stunning places in Malta.

1. Go to the Fortified City of Valletta.

Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it should be the starting point of your Maltan journey. Malta’s capital boasts rich sculptures, architecture, and heritage pieces that are timeless records of its rich history. The city itself tells stories of how it was the military hub of the island. The Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and the Order of St. John, who have all ruled the city at specific points, have left indelible marks that have made it a historical marvel packed in a few square kilometers.

2. Visit the medieval Mdina Town.

Located near Rabat, Mdina is a medieval town that is truly a gorgeous attraction. It is listed as a top 15 hidden destination by Mastercard users and is one for the bucket list. Locals called Mdina the Silent City since it is within fortified walls. Its unique location sitting on top of Malta’s highest hills adds to the grandeur and the original architecture of most preserved structures.

3. Check out the underground temple in Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is an actual prehistoric underground temple that UNESCO heavily protects for a good reason. As part of preserving the site, they limit visitors to just 80 per day, so you need to book in advance--like months before visiting in the peak season. There is also a 30 Euro entrance fee, but the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is one of a kind and truly worth the visit.

4. Take a look at the Dingli Cliffs and Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra.

Take a short drive West from Mdina and have some bold action at the Dingli Cliffs. Right after lunch at the breathtaking hilltop town, it would be fun to dive into these cliffs, the island’s highest points. Drive north from the falls, and you can witness the megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra. From here, you can have a full view of the coast, then continue your swim with a short drive to Għar Lapsi.

5. Swim or go snorkeling in Ghar Lapsi.

As you’re driving around Malta with your US license, traversing from Valletta moving West, you would want to have a relaxing swim. If the Dingli Cliffs dive is too intense for you, Ghar Lapsi is known as a natural swimming pool, and it is about a kilometer away from the Blue Grotto. It is a small hidden bay, like a pocket of crystal clear water within a rocky formation. The conditions are perfect for a relaxing swim or snorkeling. Underwater photographers frequent this site for fantastic shots.

Gozo Island photo byDorianPro

Gozo Island

If you want to try a new and relaxed vibe, go to the Island of Gozo in Malta. Your best choice for refreshing and relaxing beach vacations is your idyllic Mediterranean island of peaceful bays and fishing villages. Gozo is known for its vibrant vibes during summer since there are many sheltered beaches ideal for swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Despite being a small island, there are many things you can try in the area.

Driving Directions:

You can bring your rented car to the northern island of Gozo by ferry. You can take your rented car even if you only carry a non-EU driver’s license, but it helps if you have an International Driver’s Permit. The ferry leaves every 45 minutes, from 9 a.m. onwards. You need to pay for the tickets upon arrival in Gozo, so you can just proceed to the ferry line. From the Gozon ferry terminal, you’ll reach the Citadel of Victoria in about 16 minutes.

  1. Head south toward Triq Ix Xatt
  2. Take Triq l-Imġarr to Triq il-Kastell in Victoria
  3. Turn right at Gozo Ferry Terminal onto Triq Ix Xatt
  4. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Triq l-Imġarr
  5. At the roundabout, continue straight onto Triq Fortunato Mizzi
  6. At Mizzi, continue onto Triq ir-Repubblika
  7. At Visit Gozo, continue onto Pjazza l-Indipendenza
  8. At Gift Shop, continue onto Triq Sir Adrian Dingli
  9. Continue on Triq il-Kastell. Take It-Telgħa tal-Belt to Pjazza Katidral

Things to Do

Gozo has a lot of activities in store for you. Here are some of them:

1. See ancient structures in Cittadella of Victoria.

Gozo boasts of the Citadella of Victoria, the capital of Gozo. It is a walled city constructed primarily of limestone. Tourists can enjoy spectacular views of the coastline on the tallest structures while getting a glimpse of a properly functioning fortress. At the center is the Citadel built by the Knights of Saint John to fortify the island defense after the Turks destroyed their medieval walls.

2. Have a look at the gorgeous architecture of the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Inside the Citadel is the Cathedral of the Assumption. An architectural masterpiece designed by Lorenzo Gafà boasts of a facade that is a classic representation of 17th-century Maltese Baroque style. It has an ornamented doorway with Corinthian pillars; they highlight the Virgin Mary statue since the Cathedral celebrates her Assumption. There is also a Folklore museum and the Archaeological Museum inside the Cathedral.

3. Take a boat tour in Dwejra Bay.

You can take a boat ride from an inland sea to take you to a small cave and to the spot where the arch stood. You’ll have a different and new perspective on appreciating nature and the sea, and you will have a view of the dramatic cliffs. You can have this boat ride for just four Euros to see the caves and the purple coral in the rocks inside. The locals are also very accommodating in answering your questions.

4. Admire the beauty of the Ta Pinu Basilica.

It’s free to go inside the fascinating human-made basilica on the island known as The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta Pinu. Thousands of Christians go on a pilgrimage in the Ta Pinu Basilica. It’s a mystery how a large basilica is in the center of the rugged cliffs and tiny homes. Go and drive here since there are many car parking spaces outside the commanding building.

5. Go to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ggantija Temples.

The Ggantija Temples is one of the best-preserved archeological sites in the country, and it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Locals believed that it is the oldest free-standing monument globally, even predating the Stonehenge in England. You can enter the temples through a contemporary Interpretation Center that displays significant findings of prehistoric sites.

Comino Island photo by DorianPro

Comino Island

In the Roman period, Comino Island became the hunting grounds and the defense area against the Ottoman Turks. After World War II, it remained as a backwater until it revived in tourism in the 1960s. Comino, named after plentiful cumin (flowering plant), is a small island between Malta and Gozo, and a small number of people only inhabited the place. Travelers go to the island to hike across another Maltese island or to go on a camping trip.

Driving Directions:

Since Comino is Malta’s smallest island, it is easy and fast to go from one place to another. If you are from Julia Cave, you can reach St. mary’s Tower in less than five minutes. Just take

Triq Il Gvernatur for faster route. Here’s your driving guide:

  1. Head southwest
  2. Turn left at Outdoor Explorers
  3. Slight right and turn right in the church
  4. Continue onto Triq Il Gvernatur
  5. Turn right at Abandoned Isolation Hospital to reach St Mary’s Tower

Things to Do

Comino Island has jagged cliffs, rocky wilderness, sandy beaches, and caves. The most famous place in the area is Blue Lagoon Bay with its azure-colored water. Find out more of the things you can do here.

1. Swim in the Blue Lagoon.

On the west coast of Comino, you can find this most visited place in the area due to its natural beauty and clear blue waters. The Blue Lagoon Bay is a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. But unlike regular bays, there’s a constant current of water flowing in the bay, so don’t leave any children unattended. The place is hugely popular with tourists, and it’s best if you go on off-season and a weekday.

2. Explore Comino Islands’ cliffs and cave.

One of the caves you can explore is the Santa Marija Caves to reach through a tunnel from Snat Marija Bay. It is also another excellent location for scuba diving and snorkeling in Comino.

3. Have a picnic in Santa Marija Bay.

Besides Blue Lagoon Bay, you can go to Santa Marija Bay to relax your mind and body and spend your time with your family. You can have a picnic, or you can swim around the area. Enjoy the tranquility and quietness of the place.

4. Pray at the St. Mary’s Chapel.

The locals dedicated this chapel to the return of Our Lady from Egypt. There’s a mass held in Maltese every Saturday at 4:30 pm and every Sunday at 5:45 am. It is nearby the Comino Island campsite.

5. Go to Santa Marija Tower and Battery.

One of Malta’s watchtowers is the Santa Marija Tower that monitors channels between the main islands. It is open on Wednesdays, Fridays to Sundays from April to October. The government opens it to the public on specific days. On the other hand, the Santa Marija Battery is used to protect the South Comino channel. It is one of the three surviving coastal batteries on the island.

References:

Wheel IDP

Ready to get your International Driving Permit and start driving abroad?

Get an International Driver's Permit starting at

Start my Application
Start my Application