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Car Rental in Malta: the Land of Sea, Stunning Architecture and Winding Roads
A visit to Malta is not just a visit to a craggy limestone archipelago surrounded by the azure blues of the Mediterranean Sea – it is also a blast into a much disputed and architecturally astounding past, including temples remaining from the Neolithic era! Experience the remains of numerous ancient civilizations mixed with the flavor of relaxed local charm. With a mixture of Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavors, Malta will serenade your senses across its tiny geography. Hire a car to make the most of your visit and discover the adventures awaiting you around each bend along Malta’s many winding roads.
While winters are guaranteed to be a bit wet, they can be a great time to visit for cool explorations. If you’re more interested in uninterrupted sunshine, however, you’re in luck, as Malta’s beach season is wonderfully long, spanning from April to October.
The official languages of Malta are Maltese, a language similar to Maghrebi Arabic though written in the Latin alphabet, and English, making travel for any basic speakers of English fairly easy. Many Maltese citizens also speak Italian and French.
Like much of continental Europe, Malta’s currency is the Euro.
If you’re arriving by air, you’ll arrive at the Malta International Airport between Luqa and Gudja, a 20-minute drive from Valetta. As a rental car can often cost as little as a taxi ride to and from the city, hiring a car directly at the airport is an excellent idea. Car rental is also available across the main island of Malta in Valetta and the surrounding area, as well as Marsaskala and Bugibba. You can also rent in numerous places on neighboring island Gozo, particularly in Victoria.
Malta is fairly small, so it doesn’t take much time to get anywhere, even though the roads may be poor and the speed limit is quite low. To travel from Valetta to major historical site Mdina takes less than 30 minutes outside of rush hour. Driving from Valetta to Victoria, the capital city of Gozo, takes about an hour and a half. For many European and American drivers, you’ll be moving at a slower rate than you’d like, but enjoying the view should not be a challenge at all!
Driving in Malta
Though some roads in Malta are still in poor condition, driving has become a very comfortable way to get intimate with the island in recent years, and renting a car in Malta is the most inexpensive way to head out on your explorations. Booking your rental car beforehand is recommended, as you are likely to find better deals than if you book after you arrive.
- Unlike continental Europe, traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road in Malta.
- In residential and urban areas, the speed limit is 50 km/h.
- As most of the island is residential or features particularly windy roads, the general speed limit elsewhere is 60 km/h.
- Traffic in Valetta during rush hour can add a significant amount of time to your journey.
- Parking can be a challenge in Malta, so turning into paid parking lots across the island is recommended. Outside of Valetta itself, paid parking lots are fairly inexpensive, and worth the cost. By no means park on double yellow lines! You’re likely to be clamped very quickly (this is a lucrative business in Malta!) if not towed.
- Your domestic driver’s license is valid in Malta, though be sure to carry your passport with you whenever driving, as well as your insurance documentation.
- While there are no toll roads in Malta, you will have to pay a congestion charge when you enter Valetta.
- The minimum driving age in Malta is 18, but you have to be 23 for any automobile hire.
- Visa regulations for Malta follow those of the Schengen Agreement; many nationalities can enter visa-free, a good number of them for up to 90 days. Double-check visa requirements for your nationality before you leave.
- Any speeding or other fines you may accrue while driving on the island will be held against your passport number unless you resolve them before you leave, so paying immediately is quite prudent!
- Overtaking or passing cars and trucks often appear suddenly in Malta, particularly when there seems to be no room to pass – even in traffic circles! Keep an eye on your mirrors to avoid this surprise.
- Be aware that many drivers in Malta don’t use their turn signals as often as you’d like them to. If the car in front of you is moving at an irregularly slow pace and you don’t feel comfortable passing, be patient. They’re likely planning on turning quite soon.
- Expect drivers to cut you off by turning into your lane often as well. Expect good road surfaces to deteriorate quickly and keep an eye out for potholes and ruts.