The quickest way to Valletta from Sliema is the ferry that runs straight across the harbour (the bus goes on a detour around the coastal road). It takes only about 15 minutes and isn't affected by traffic, but it does tends foul up when the weather gets bad - and it doesn't seem to take much wind to shut down boats on the harbour. The ferry does have the advantage of giving you magnificent views of Valletta, but does leave you at the lower levels of the city giving you an arduous walk uphill.
You can get the ferry from the Sliema from the waterfront (at the Sliema Ferry bus stop). Fares are 1.50 euros for an adult one-way, and 2.80 return.
Malta's airport is located just seven kilometers from Sliema in Luqa, and is typically referred to as Luqa Airport. It's a very busy airport for such a small island, and has international flights all over Europe and North Africa. Along with multiple budget airlines and charter flights for holiday makers, Air Malta is a major national airline too.
When I landed at Luqa I was expecting a bumpy ride. Being a flat island in the middle of the Mediterranean, the wind can get quite strong, and when I touched down in December it was nearing gale force. But the landing was remarkably smooth. That's because the Maltese have cleverly built the landing strip running towards the North-West where its strong winds usually come from. That means typically no nasty side winds.
The airport is very easy to get to from Sliema, just take bus X2.
The two key buses are 12 and 13 which run west along the coast from Valletta to Qawra and St. George's Bay respectively. These will take you to the central bus station in Valletta from where you can visit pretty much anywhere on the island. It takes about 20 minutes when the traffic is normal, and up to 40 minutes in bad traffic.
There are some other buses which go through Sliema and can be useful to tourists. The X2 will take you to the airport. The 202 and 203 will take you to Mdina and Rabat. The 222 runs all the way to the ferry port for Gozo. But for anywhere else you'll probably have to go to Valletta.
Maltese buses are incredibly good value. You can travel anywhere on the island for two hours for just 2.20 euros. You can buy a day ticket for just a little more at 2.60. And an entire week of travelling all over the island of Malta costs just 12 euros. Residents of Malta even get a discount of nearly 50% on these already low prices. Note these prices cover just the island of Malta, and don't cover the ferry to Gozo or the island of Gozo either. You have to buy additional, equally cheap, tickets for Gozo.
Print the list of buses
There are so many buses in Malta, and many buses going via same places (expesially hotel areas) that it was huge help for us, when someone asked me to print the routes before we go. When you know where you want to go, you´ll just search the name of the place from this list, and you´ll know the right bus.
Most buses going through Sliema are sixty-something, like 61,62,63,64,65,67 and 68 also some others. So there are plenty to choose from when coming from Valletta. They have some differences in routes they use, so check the list anyway.
The bus-drivers were allmost the worst English-speakers at whole Malta. And when all the other locals were so helpful and friendly, the bus drivers felt allmost rude! Are they trained to be so ;) ? But the bus is so cheap (mostly 0,47e,and 1,10e highest!) that we choosed not to care about their rudenes!
If you don´t want to pay any extra, use the small coins, they don´t usually care to give back the smallest ones. But we didn´t mind, it´s not so much anyway!
- Budget Travel
Ferry crossing to La Valletta
Captain Morgan has a ferry service to La valletta. The crossing takes only 5 minutes and the price (June 2010) was 93 cents one way.
From 1st October to 30th April the ferry leaves hourly (on the hour) from 8 am to 10 pm, then every 30 minutes until 4.40 pm. The last crossing is then at 5.30 pm. From 1st May to 30th September there’s an earlier crossing at 7.30 am and a later one at 6 pm. Not all crossings take place on Sunday and during public holidays, so you’d better cross-check my info.
Return is at 15 ad 45 minutes past the hour.
Take the ferry from Sliema to Valetta
Take the ferry from Sliema to Valetta it is quite a fast way to get there and the ticket was only 93 cents per person oneway. This ferry does not run all day long, but it starts in the morning at 08.00am in wintertime and at 07.30am in summertime and makes mostly just 1 crossing per hour untill around 06.00pm. On the link below you can see the accurate timetable of the boats leaving from Valetta and from Sliema.
You will get to the backside of Valetta, from where you have to step up steep streets or some stairs in order to get to the citycentre of Valetta.
- Family Travel
By taxi to and from the airport
The Taxi-prices in Malta are prefixed by law and they include a car with up to 4 persons and up to 4 normal-sized suitcases. these prices apply to any day of the year, including holidays and include all taxes.
From Sliema to the airport you pay 20,75 euros one way and it is best to book the taxis in advance, taxis are quite rare in Malta and you hardly find a free taxi driving around in order to look for customers like in other cities of Europe.
Click on the link below and you will find a list of all the different taxi-fares in Malta.
- Family Travel
Take the Hop-on & Hop-off-bus from Sliema
The hop-on & hop-off-buses of Malta will all start and end in Sliema and they are a great way to explore the island and get out of the bus for some time at the most interesting places.
These Buses are going each 30 min and for the full day you pay 15 euros. I took the very first bus, spent some time in the park of the president, 1 hour in the Aviation-museum,30 min in Mosta and 1,5 hour in Mdina, that was the maximum I could do in a single day. All the other places of the tour I stayed onboard and got back by the last bus in the evening.
The seats on the lower floor of the bus are simply too hot, the ones on top are great, but sometimes you are hit by branches of trees and you need a cap that will not fly away in the winds.
- Family Travel
From Sliema to the airport by public bus
From "The Strand" of Sliema you can take any public bus passing by, they will all go to the central station of Valetta and there you have to change to Bus No.8, that is the airportbus. That airportbus is certainly the cheapest all over Europe, because you pay just 47 cents plus a small fee for each piece of luggage. I payed a total of a bit more then 1 euro with 2 suitcases.
Some things that you should considder, when going to the airport:
calculate at least 1 hour to get there and be aware of the fact that these buses will not take anybody with luggage, when the bus is quite full already.
I was refused by a bus in Sliema, that had quite many people standing already inside and the driver just said "We are full" and drove away.
The bus No.8 is leaving every 20 minutes from Valetta and it takes about 30minutes to get to the airport, because it does not take the direct way, but passes through lots of suburbs as well.
Even when the buses have a luggage-compartment, they never open it for their passengers and you have to take your suitcases inside, put it on a seat or on the floor,it does not matter !
- Road Trip
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Captain Morgan’s Harbour cruise is a 90 minutes cruise around the two natural harbours of Valletta: Marsamxett Harbour and the Grand Harbour. There’s a live commentary on board, in English and (at least when I went ther) in Germna. All places of interest are explained and the cruise is generally interesting, except the part of the cruise past the commercial port (boring and smelly).
Departures from Sliema Ferries are daily. From October to April at 10.30, 11.30 (optional), 12.30, 13.15 (optional), 14.45. From May to September 10.00, 11.00, 12.15, 13.15 (optional), 14.45 and 15.30 (optional). In June 2010 prices were € 16.00 for adults and € 13.00 for children under 12.
HOP ON HOP OFF SIGHTSEEING
Although the local buses in Malta are good the hop on hop off buses are also a great way of seeing the island.
THE NORTH TOUR
The tour picks you up from your hotel [a city sightseeing minibus]
The double decker bus starts from Sliema ferries at 10.15am.
It drives through Selima, Gzira and ta Xbiex to Valletta bus station where passengers can also get on.
It then goes to Mosta to visit the beautiful church, which you get to visit with a guide.
From there you go to the Ta’qali crafts village and visit a glass blowing centre and a silver jewellery centre.
Next, you visit Rabat where you can get lunch. Then a short walk to mdina and the beautiful walled city.
On the way, back they drop you at your hotel.
The tour lasts about 6 hours.
THE SOUTH TOUR
As with the north tour, you are collected from your hotel and taken to Sliema ferries where the tour starts at 10.15am.
Your first stop is at Valletta where you take a walking tour with your guide. Back on the bus, you visit the three cities stopping at Vittoriosa with a walking tour. Next stop is the Tarxien temples where for 5 euros you can visit the ancient temples. Next stop is marrsaxlokk for lunch. Then after passing the limestone quarries, you go to the blue grotto where you get a chance to go into the grotto on a boat.
The tour then drops you back at your hotel.
You can get tickets for the tours at the ticket booths in Sliema and Valletta, some travel agents [they have a sign in the window], online or from your hotel.
The cost of the tours is-
13 euros adult
9 euros child [5 to 15]
Under 5’s free
If you take the north and south tour, the cost is 15 euros with a free harbour cruise.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Taxi from the airport
Taxis are available 24 hours a day from the airport to any destination in Malta. The rates are fixed, so if you look at the airport's website before you set off, you can see how much your journey will cost. Pre paid tickets are purchased from the ticket booth in the arrivals hall & then presented to the taxi driver.
There is a Novelty bus that takes you on a tour to the Three Cities, this pink coloured one, and a blue one in the second picture.
It departs from Sliema Ferry, and the cost at Oct. 2008 is Euro 10.
The ferry between Sliema & Valletta gives great views of both cities and Marsamxett Harbour. It departs from the Strand in Sliema & St. Salvatore Bastion in Valletta.
The one way fare was 93 cents, tickets are purchased when the incoming ferry docks. Departure times are either every 30 minutes or every hour during the day. The ferry runs between around 8am & 6pm daily.
Ferry to Valletta from Sliema
Take a ferry from Sliema seafront next to Captain Morgan boats you will see the blue ferry. I think the cost is 1.86 Euros. This is a nice experience because you get to cross over from Sliema to Valletta and vice versa. In bad weather usually the ferry does not work. This is ideal if the buses are full up or if there is a big event like Carnival in Valletta. This service is offered 7 days a week.
Please see attached the schedule of the times
For further information please contact The Marsamxetto Steamferry Services Ltd.
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