The Valletta bus terminal is an ever busy roundabout around the Triton Fountain exclusive to the buses in front of the Valletta City Gate.
There are 66 different bus routes going from here. You better get yourself a free copy of the ATP Main Bus Routes for free at one of the four information Offices at the outer edges.
2011 Update: The Malta bus service has been taken over by the Arriva bus company.
The Valletta Bus terminus serves most routes for the island and is situated just outside the city gates. The buses are the old Bedford type and are amazing. They congregate around the central Triton fountain - It looks mad and chaotic but quite organised really and "entertaining" to watch various drivers being verbally hurried along to get the buses out on time. Numbers are clearly marked and info leaflets on the frequency of the services and their position on the roundabout are readily avaialble. Fares are the same no matter how far you travel too so its a really cheap way to get around Malta. Lots of kiosks are found here too selling quick snacks and drinks - always popular with the locals.
Oh word of warning - keep hold of your bus ticket for the entire journey - ticket inspectors get on regularly, sometinmes our tickets were checked twice on even short journeys! Some are quite volatile too - we witnessed a storming row with one driver - wish I new what it was all about!
This in the photo is the main bus terminus, which is in Valletta. From here you can catch a bus to all parts of the island. They are not expensive and very efficient as well. You can also buy One-Day, Five-Day or Seven-Day Special Tickets.
** Have small change ready :)
It's quite easy to get to Valletta by bus. Almost every bus on the Island ends up at Valletta at the end of its route. Bus fares are quite cheap and the services quite regular and efficient (from what we saw, and we used the busses 3 or 4 times each day).
Valletta bus station needs to be seen anyway. It's a mad affair of concentric circles of bus lanes, the busses all stood one behind another, unable to go anywhere until the one in front leaves. Flare ups between drivers are quite commonplace as one wants to leave and the other is dawdling along.
The busses are timed to leave dead on their departure time, so don't be surprised if the doors are closed on you just as you are about to board. If the busses waited till every last passenger was on, every bus in the terminus would be 1/2 hour late! Don't worry, you'll be first in the queue for the next bus.
If you arrive in Valletta by cruise ship you will realize that your ship is not allowed to operate a shuttle bus due to taxi and bus unions. However a convenient bus service the line 198 operates from the cruise pier to the old upper town. Cost is around EUR 1 each way and tickets can be purchased directly on the pier.
Malta's colourful old buses, there are some newer ones, are a great way to travel around the Island. They are very cheap & quite frequent on main routes. The prices are only a few cents per journey. If you are using them a lot, it may be easier & cheaper to buy a pass.
The buses can get packed at certain times. Travelling on some of the old ones can be a bumpy ride. None of the buses have destinations on them, just a number. It's therefore advisable to get a bus timetable from the driver, tourist information or your hotel. This will help you identify each bus & give you an idea of its frequency. Mine also had a map of the Valletta Bus Terminus, handy as all the buses are parked there in a circle.
On our most recent trip to Malta (12 to 19 July 2011) Our base was Qwara, We walked up the main Qwara road which has not changed and over to Buggiba, although not really changed much the old yellow Maltese buses much loved by some (usually the tourists) and hated even feared by others (usually the locals) have been replaced, since 04/07/2011 Arriva are operating the bus service with a new fleet of blue buses. Much more comfortable and with air conditioning so they won't have to drive round with the windows and door open, they even have suspension which many of the older ones were sadly and bone jarringly lacking.
We purchased our 7 day bus ticket from the easy to use ticket machine at the bus station for 12 euro.
The morning after we headed off to the Bus Station at Bugibba to catch the bus to Valetta. It is certainly a good job that we bought our ticket the afternoon before as the que for the bus stations single ticket machine was enormous, nearly the same size as the que for the Valetta bus which was in with the door open but no driver, the new electronic display said it was due to leave at 10:15 though so just 5 minutes to wait though.
Well we waited and after 5 minutes the display changed to 10:25 for the next bus but we were still waiting and the bus was still driver less. A couple of buses came in together going in the other direction but still we waited and our bus with it's door open still was not going anywhere and we were all stood outside it it the sun slowly cooking until 2 number 31 buses came in together followed shortly after by another one great we thought because by now the que was going to fill 3 buses easily!
One bus was parked up with the door shut though and the driver got out of the other one and said he was having his dinner and proceeded to eat his large sandwich in front of a couple of hundred people who by this time were quite hot and quite annoyed. The 3rd bus let it's people of though and we got on that one, the driver with the sandwich relented wrapped it back up and let people on his bus and we were soon after thankfully on our way, it seems that Arriva still have some operating issues here and although early days the old yellow buses would certainly be welcome back at least by the tourists as there were no massive ques last time we came and the buses seemed plentiful enough. Modernisation may be for the better but sometimes it just does not seem that way. The buses are cooler than the old ones though but it seems to me that it would have been easier to leave the bus routes the same as they used to be for the first period as it took a great deal longer to get to Valletta as it used to do and the buses although look great with there route plans on the side so you can tell where they go only really work if that's the route they are actually doing.
We arrived at Valletta's bus station which looks completely different now more modern road marking's, bays for buses with the electronic displays (which have by this time given up displaying arrival departure times and are just stating “buses running at scheduled times” whose times though nobody really seems to know. Maybe the drivers or the people running around with clipboards shouting and waving at buses do? But then again it could be the Arriva staff that have been sent over from the UK to help organise it that have the answers though! I'm sure it will all come together eventually but it does not look like it is going to be soon.
A couple of days later we went to catch the bus from the nearest bus stop, our original plan was to get the bus to either the Airport of Valletta then the bus to Zurriq and walk to Hagar Quim, The airport bus went past without stopping as did 2 number 31's going to Valletta, the one stopped but as the Bugibba but is a loop it was the one going the other way. The next one that came was an old coach with a number 41 written on a piece of card, it had obviously been hired with driver by Arriva to help out. After checking it was going to Valletta we got on that, we already had our tickets but it would not have mattered as because he had no ticket machine he was not charging people anyway.
We arrived at Valletta and decided to change our plans and have another walk around Valletta as the queue's for the buses were long and they are just not reliable at the moment . hopefully they will sort them out soon.
Malta was once famous for its colourful old buses. They're gone now. They've been replaced by new boxy Chinese built buses run by the British company Arriva. They 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.
The main bus stop is just outside Valletta's city gates. Pretty much all buses run from here, although there are a few exceptions.
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.
Valletta bus station is actually the island central bus station. From here you can take bus to every spot on the island and here you will have to come to change bus when travelling between other locations.
The buses in Malta are fast and efficient once you get on one. Buses leave for different towns from different bus stops at the bus station at the triton fountain. People queue for the buses then when the bus comes, everybody piles on from all directions.
The fares are cheap. Most journeys are .47 euros.
There are two information offices at the triton bus station.
Bus timetables are also available in most hotels.
Malta has an amazing bus system which is rather inexpensive to use – a seven-day unlimited pass is only €12 and the routes go all over the island. The buses are modern and there is a large bus terminus just outside the city walls of Valletta. This terminus is where you want to get on and off if you are visiting the walled city of Valletta since very few buses go into the city, although we did see them go around the city just inside the walls, just not in the narrow roads. We actually did see one bus in those narrow roads while we were there – we noticed it because it couldn’t navigate the narrow turn and hit a parked car so the police were working things out with the drivers.
It was not unusual to see buses arrive one after another at some of the stops in many of the heavily populated parts of Malta. The buses were well used and the routes extensive.
We spoke with a couple touring Malta who had used the bus for the past several days and they were more than pleased with the punctuality and the routes, as well as the cheap price of the seven-day pass.
If you do not want to rent a car or use taxis as well as having the time to wait, the bus is an exceptional value and is well worth it.
The bus terminal is located just outside the City Gate. It is a very large roundabout where you can find lots of buses to various places in Malta.
Each bus doesn't have its destination written on the front, but a number. You had better to know which bus to take (the number!) once you are at the bus terminal. You can get a useful map with the exact locations of the various buses at one of the information booth at the terminal.
I like these sweet old buses... In Malta they drive on the left, like in UK. I have never been in the United Kingdom, so it was funny for me to think all the time that we are in the wrong side! (I was also afraid for an accident...)
Reaching Valletta by bus is pretty easy as there is the main bus station. Almost all busses go to this bus terminus in Valletta. Most busses go about every 15 to 30 minutes and depending from where you come there are several bus routes that you can take. The bus terminus is well organized, there's a map where you'll find which bus numbers, so that also leaving Valletta by bus isn't difficult.