If you’re making travel plans to Malta you’re probably wondering how to get around! Well, deciding whether to get a rental car in Malta really depends on what you want to do. For many, exploring the historic center of Valetta and the surrounding areas is enough on a short vacation. However, if you’re anything like us you’ll need to see more and rent a car in Malta!
While it can be a great way to see this incredible country, there are definitely some things you should know before getting your vehicle. Lucky enough, we spent some time in Malta with a set of wheels and are happy enough to fill you in!
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Malta Travel Inspiration
- Blue Lagoon Malta: 10 Things to Know Before Your Epic Island Adventure
- Visiting the Ancient Silent City in Malta: Fun Mdina Travel Guide
- 25 Wild & Fun Facts About Malta to Know Before You Go
- Planning a Trip to Malta: 10 Step Easy to Follow Travel Guide
7 Tips for Renting a Car in Malta
1. Be Strategic About Your Pick Up Day
So you’ve decided to rent a car in Malta. Great! Still, that doesn’t mean you have to pick it up as soon as you arrive. On many other islands in Europe we would suggest getting a vehicle at the airport right when you land. It’s often much cheaper to do it this way and obviously the most simple.
If you do decide to do that then save Valetta for the end of your vacation. There is very little parking available inside the old city and not much to speak of nearby either. Another option would be to hit the Valetta first and rent a car inside the city.
On our own visit to Malta, we actually stayed near Valetta for three nights without a car before traveling back to the airport to get one. This made it easy at the end of our trip as we could return it and get right on our flight.
Whatever you decide, just know that you won’t need a car in the main city. One of the most fun ways to get around is ferry boats! Even the popular areas of St. Julians and Sliema are not far away.
2. Get a Small Rental Car in Malta
The problem isn’t that Malta’s small… It’s really how densely populated it is! In fact, Malta is the most densely populated country in the EU! With that comes intense traffic and tighter roads which doesn’t make for the easiest place to drive in. Did we mention that they drive on the left side of the road?!
Well if you think you can handle it, the best piece of advice we can give you is to get a small rental car in Malta. Believe us when we say you’ll have a much better time trying to navigate the rotaries and sharp turns in something smaller. This will also save you some money as the smaller cars are often the cheapest and best on gas!
3. Hit the Swim Spots Early
Sometimes parking can be tough when renting a car in Malta, especially in peak season. The hardest time we had trying to find parking was definitely at the beaches and swimming holes. Specifically, at Għadira Bay it seemed impossible to get parking after a certain time in the summer.
For this reason, try to get to the popular places bright and early to secure a spot. If not, you may be left circling the block in your Malta rental car waiting for someone to leave! It’s hot in Malta and there are so many stunning and unique places to swim. Just make sure to get there early enough to find a parking space.
4. Yield for Locals in Your Rental Car in Malta
Now this part of our rent a car in Malta guide can be utilized almost anywhere, but it needs to be said. We found that locals in Malta drive fast and furious with little regard for tourists. They’re definitely used to the roads and traffic and they drive like it!
Honestly, the best strategy is to stay out of their way when possible. Go with the flow of traffic of course, but know when you’re trying to be passed on the tight roads. Slow down or even pull over if you have to.
There may also be times when you come to backroads tight enough to only fit one car. In this case simply back out and let the Maltese driver go through. It’s not worth the battle of who goes first or trying to both squeeze by!
5. Double-Check for Damage
If you’ve already looked up how to rent a car in Malta you’ve probably read the horror stories… “I returned my car in perfect condition and got a 2,000 Euro bill in the mail one week later!” Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid this. Yet, there are simple steps to take to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!
The first thing to do is make sure you have insurance. We use our credit card which covers us in the form of reimbursement for any damage. You can also buy insurance when you book your car.
When you go to actually pick up your Malta rental car is the most important part! Walk around the car and look thoroughly for damage. Take pictures from all angles and even go as far as to get a video circling the car.
Also, make sure the attendant writes down any damage big or small. This part of renting a car in Malta may be uncomfortable but it’s the best way to cover yourself!
6. Book with a Reputable Malta Rental Car Company
That brings us to our next point! Choosing a good company is so important when booking your rental car in Malta. We’re all for booking the cheapest possible car but make sure to look at reviews thoroughly.
If some of the smaller local branches have terrible things said about them, you may want to go with the more well-known brands. When traveling to Malta we used Discover Cars to compare the different companies.
The bigger companies (while sometimes more expensive) offer better customer service too if something was to happen. Not to mention they usually have better and more modern vehicles. For just a little bit more money it’s always worth it to feel safe and comfortable.
7. Don’t Miss Gozo When Renting a Car in Malta
Now that you know all about how to rent a car in Malta it’s time for the fun part! Planning your itinerary can be tricky with buses and public transportation but with a car rental in Malta, it’s much more simple. With that said…
Did you know Malta has more than one island to explore?? Gozo is just a quick ferry ride away and somewhere you’ll definitely want a car to see! Just make sure your rental company allows the car to be taken on the ferry or rent a car once you get to port on Gozo.
On the main island of Malta, there are so many more places you should plan to see outside of Valetta. Make sure to visit the Silent City (Mdina), Marsaxlokk, and St. Paul’s Bay to name a few. You definitely don’t want to miss these places!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own experience renting a car in Malta? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Malta Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. Even though Malta is small, you will want a car to get to all the best towns and beaches.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. Book a trip to the Blue Lagoon on a Catamaran, go on a full-day quad bike tour of Gozo, or join a 3-Hour Walking Tour of Valletta.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.