Taking the bus in Malta can be quite overwhelming. Between delays and the amount of bus lines serving the island, it is easy to feel lost! Here is a guide to help you get a grasp of Public transport in Malta.
The main lines
Tallinja is Malta’s public transport network.
The island is very well connected via bus routes. Buses on the main lines run approximately every 15 minutes, with those on the minor lines running every 30 or 60 minutes. It is easy to reach the different towns if you know which buses to take and if you plan your route in advance.
Major bus stations
There are many hubs from which you can take a bus with ease.
- Valletta bus stop at the entrance to the city. Most lines leave from there and connect to all parts of the island.
- Kullegg bus station in Msida. Also very big, with many lines connecting you to almost everywhere on the island.
- San Giljan bus stop in Saint Julian’s is also one of the main bus stations, especially if you want to get to the north of the island.
- Sliema Ferries bus stop This is a good alternative and a frequent stopover for the main lines that serve Malta.
From Saint Julian’s to Valletta
The main lines serve the towns of Swieqi, Saint Julian’s, Sliema and Valletta.
- Valletta – Swieqi/Saint Julian’s: Bus 13, 13A, 14, 16
- Valletta – Sliema: Bus 13, 13A, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22
NB: To get to Valletta from Sliema Ferry and vice versa, you can take the ferry instead of the bus. It is a 5-minute journey and costs the same as a regular bus ticket.
There are several dozen other lines that take you to other areas of Malta. Even though you can find them all on the Tallinja website, we have listed the main ones for you here:
- South and South East: All lines from 70 to 90.
- Toward Central and West: All lines from 50 to 69
- North: All lines from 40 to 50, line 101
Lines to and from Malta Airport
Bus lines to and from the airport are usually denoted with the letter “X”. They operate every half hour or every hour.
- From and to the north of the island: X1 and X3
- From and to South: X4
- From and to Valletta: X4, 71.72,73
- From and to Saint Julian’s: X2, TD2
Tallinja Direct lines, called “TD”, are specific, faster lines. They don’t have as many stops as regular routes.
The TD2 and TD13 are found toward Saint Julian’s and/or Bugibba in the north, the TD10 towards Marsaxlokk in the south, and the TD14 towards Rabat in the centre.
Night buses run from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., or 3 a.m. depending on the line. They serve the main towns of the island and start with an “N”: N11, N13, N91 …
The TD Plus Malta Service
This brand-new service offers direct booking of your seat on a Malta Public Transport minibus. You just need to choose your pick-up and drop-off points between Valletta and Pembroke (including the cities of Saint Julian’s, Sliema, Swieqi, Msida etc.), as well as the time you want to travel.
The service operates from 05:30 a.m. to midnight daily. It is available to book on the Tallinja application.
For the moment, trips are €2, but this may increase once the service is properly in place.
Cards and tickets
You must purchase/show your ticket or scan your card each time you hop on the bus. Depending on your travel needs, you can either purchase single tickets or opt for a card.
Single tickets cost €1,5 from mid-October to May, and €2 from June to October. They are valid for 2 hours and must be purchased directly from the driver, using cash.
If you are only in Malta for a short period of time, you can buy a Tallinja public transport card. They are sold at all Tallinja outlets, and in some grocery stores and shops.
The Explore Card
This allows you to have unlimited travel for 7 consecutive days. You can use every Malta and Gozo bus lines except TD and TD Plus. The price is €21 for adults and €15 for children.
Have a look on the Explore Card page to find a complete list of resellers.
The 12-Day Journey Card
You get 12 single trips for the price of €15. This is the ideal solution for those who only take the bus occasionally. It includes 12 day-trips, or 6 night-trips / TD lines. This card is valid for 1 year.
Have a look on the 12-Day Journey Card page to find a complete list of resellers.
The Explore Plus Meep Card
This includes a free scenic bus tour with audio guide or even a boat trip to Comino, in addition to 7 days of unlimited travel across the entire Tallinja network (including TD lines). 2 trips on the Valletta ferry are also included.
You can buy this card at any Tallinja booth.
If you are staying in Malta for a while, it is best to choose a personalized and permanent card. It is non-transferable and allows you to pay less for your bus trips.
There is no subscription system per se. It is a card that you can top up with credit, and is scanned each time you board the bus. The price of the trip is directly deducted from your card balance.
NB: You can set up a recurring transfer of funds, so you don’t have to worry about having to top up your card manually.
This card is for adults aged between 17 and 59. 2 hours of travel time costs 0.75 euros for regular lines, and €1.5 for TD and night buses.
Once you reach €26 spent in journeys during the month, any subsequent trips (regular day lines) will be free until the end of that month. In short, the maximum amount possible that can be spent in a month is €26.
The child card
This card is for children aged 4 to 10 (children under 4 don’t need a card and travel for free). 2 hours of travel time costs €0.25. Travel is free for the rest of the day after €0.50 has been spent, and the rest of the week is free after €2 spent. (Excluding TD and night bus)
The Student Card
This card is for students aged between 11 and 16, and for all students doing a recognized educational training of more than 3 months in Malta (language schools are not included in “educational training”). 2 hours of travel time costs €0.75 for regular lines, and €1.5 for TD and night buses.
Once you spend at least €21 in journeys within the month, any subsequent trips (regular day lines) will be free until the end of the month. In short, the maximum amount that can be spent in a month is €21.
For 55 €, you will benefit from 3 months of unlimited transport on the Tallinja network (classic day lines). This option is called “Student Pass”.
NB: Students between the ages of 14 and 19 may use the public transport for free in Malta. Regardless, they must still have a Tallinja card.
Card for Gozo Residents
This card is for all those who officially reside in Gozo. 2 hours of travel costs €0.75 for conventional lines, and €1.5 for TD and night buses.
Once you reach €26 spent on journeys within during the month, any subsequent trips (regular day lines) will be free until the end of the month. In short, the maximum amount that can be spent in a month is €26.
If you only use the bus in Gozo, your trips will be free after the first €10 spent in the month (excluding TD and night bus).
The Discounted Rate Card
This card is for seniors aged 60 and over, and people with reduced mobility who have a European disability card. 2 hours of travel costs €0.25. Travel is free for the rest of the day after €0.50 has been spent, and the rest of the week is free after €2 spent. (except TD and night bus)
NB: Since January 1, 2020, seniors over 75 years of age benefit from free public transport in Malta, although they must still present their Tallinja card.
Ordering the Tallinja card
You will need to order your card from the Tallinja website by providing your details and uploading a standard photo and your ID. Persons with disabilities will also need to upload a photo of their disability card.
Obtaining the card will cost you €10, and you will need to make an initial top-up of 20 euros to activate it. It will be sent to you by post within one to several weeks, depending on the type of card requested.
Buses in Malta – Good practices and rules to know
Signal the driver
If you wish to take the bus, you will need to signal the driver to stop. Otherwise, it is very simple…the bus will not stop! Also, when you are on the bus and want to stop, press the STOP button well in advance and not at the last second. Depending on the mood of the driver, you may need to exit one stop further, and nothing can be done about it.
The reliability of buses
Never rely on official bus schedules. Buses will either be late, or too early, or simply not turn up! To properly plan your trips, look at the progress of your bus in the real-time section of the Tallinja app.
During peak hours (every morning and evening, as well as Friday and Saturday nights) and in the summer, the buses fill up very quickly. Expect to have to wait for a 2nd or even a 3rd bus to arrive before you can get on.
Allow for time
Distances may not be huge in Malta, but journey times are long! Therefore, allow for enough time to get to your destination.
Drivers sometimes think they are on a racetrack! Be careful when you are standing up on the bus, as it may make sudden movements and can brake at any time. On the other hand, drivers have expert knowledge of Maltese roads and manage to drive their vehicles down some extremely narrow roads.
The friendliness of the drivers
Do not expect a “Hello” from the drivers, who are rarely in a good mood. Being on the road all day in Malta must be very tiring, and they are only human, after all.
This sentence is THE sentence you will hear most often when on a bus. A rule of thumb while riding on Maltese buses: Move as far as possible to the back of the bus to allow other users to enter from the front, even if it means being pushed tight against other passengers.
If you prefer taking taxis rather than relying on public transport, have a look at our page on Taxis in Malta.