The islands of Malta and Gozo are beautiful to visit and renting a car in Malta is one of the best ways to see as much as possible. We highly recommend renting a car in Malta to have the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover everything the Maltese islands have to offer. With its prehistoric temples, beautiful beaches, dramatic coastline and Game of Thrones filming locations there is lots to see and do across the islands. We found driving safe and easy and we highly recommend renting a car in Malta. Here are our tips for renting a car in Malta to help you on your journey!
Tips for Renting a Car in Malta
Overall, we found driving in Malta to be very safe. We encountered good, albeit narrow, roads and a mostly high standard of driving.
Why Rent a Car in Malta?
Malta is comprised of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino and driving is permitted on the larger islands of Malta and Gozo. Malta is packed full of interesting sights and there are lots of interesting things to do in Gozo.
Renting a car in Malta is one of the best ways to explore. While Maltese buses are a good alternative, a rental car allows easy access to the more remote sights: we managed to visit all the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and Gozo, we visited the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, discovered the best things to do in Gozo and had fun exploring the island of Malta.
We loved having a rental car to explore. It allowed us to travel at our own pace, visit off the beaten track sights and generally make the most of our time in Malta.
1 | Booking your rental car
Renting a car in Malta can be relatively cheap compared to other European destinations. Malta is a very popular destination, especially in the summer months so demand for rental cars is usually high. We always recommend securing your rental car as far in advance as possible. We recommend using RentalCars.com to reserve your car. We’ve found they have a great selection of cars and very competitive prices – check prices now!
We’re huge fans of road trips and have driven rental cars in almost 50 countries so we have a lot of experience renting cars in foreign countries. Book your car now with RentalCars.com, where you will find very competitive prices.
Renting a car in Malta tip: The biggest benefit of having a rental car in Malta is that you can visit the off the beaten track sights and stay in hotels from the crowds. This also allows you to save money as generally hotels in urban areas are more expensive as tourists can’t travel too far from them without a car.
2 | Choosing a rental car
In Malta, the smaller the car the better. There are many narrow roads and tight spaces to navigate and we found life easier with a smaller car!
3 | Renting Eligibility
Most rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 and to have held their license for more than one year. Some companies impose a surcharge for renters aged under 25.
4 | Drive on the left-hand side of the road
Driving is on the left-hand side of the road in Malta, similar to the UK, Ireland and Australia.
5 | Speed Limits
In Malta, the general speed limits are 50km/h for urban areas and 80km/h on open road. Other speed limits are marked by road signs along the route.
There are a number of fixed speed cameras on the island of Malta. Due to traffic, winding roads and the lack of motorways in Malta we found we rarely drove above 50km/h.
On Gozo, speeding is monitored by the Maltese police who use radar guns. Fines are issued to the rental company in the event that you are caught speeding.
Renting a car in Malta tip: these speed limits apply as at the time of publishing this article. Be sure to double check the speed limits when you travel.
6 | Standard of roads
The major roads are generally in good condition. Some smaller roads had potholes and were a bumpy ride.
There were frequent signs approaching major turns and big towns.
7 | Sim card
We recommend purchasing a SIM card with data when you arrive in Malta. We always find having mobile data invaluable and extremely useful for navigating in the rental car. It also meant that we could research places to visit when we were on the road.
There is a Vodafone stand which sells sim cards in Malta airport.
Renting a car in Malta tip: if you have a data package from another European country you may be able to use this data in Malta. For example, we used our Three UK data package in Malta.
8 | Car Parking
Parking spots can be hard to come by in the busy areas of Malta, especially in peak tourist season. Avoid parking where there are yellow road markings.
Valletta: avoid the green parking bays within Valletta’s city walls as these are reserved for residents at all times. Blue parking bays are generally fine to park in between 7am and 7pm but are reserved for residents in the evenings. Check the parking signs to make sure it is ok to park. There is an underground car park close to the Valletta City Gate or, alternatively, a park and ride operates from close to Floriana.
9 | Driving style
We’d consider Malta one of the more laid back places in which we’ve driven! The locals can be a little impatient but we generally found other drivers courteous. At roundabouts/traffic circles it seemed that the larger cars took preference so do be careful.
Renting a car in Malta tip: The registration of rental cars have K or QZ at the end of the letters making tourists easily identifiable. Most locals gave us a wide berth in our rental car!
10 | Traffic
You are much more likely to experience congestion in Malta where traffic can be heavy. This is especially so on weekdays at peak commuting times in Valletta and other major towns. It can also be heavy around towns and beaches on weekends.
Gozo is relatively quiet in comparison and traffic tends to be much quieter.
11 | Fuel
Rent a diesel car if you can as petrol is relatively expensive. There are lots of modern garages and most accept credit cards. During the day, many stations have pump attendants who will fill the car for you.
12 | Navigation
Google Maps worked well and the app navigated us well during our time in Malta.
13 | Tolls
There aren’t any toll roads in Malta or Gozo. A congestion charge is payable in Valletta: check with your rental company on entry rules and payment.
14 | Car Seats for babies and children
We usually travel with our own car seats. It is also possible to reserve these with the car rental company. The rules state:
- Children under 12 must be restrained by a child restraint system according to the child’s weight e.g group III if between 22kg and 36kg
- Children under 150cm and aged between 3 and 12 must use an appropriate child restraint if travelling in the front seat. If travelling in the rear they may use an adult seatbelt if a child restraint is not available.
- Children under 3 must use an appropriate child restraint and children under 15 months must be rear facing.
15 | Taking a rental car to Gozo
Most rental companies allow the rental car to be taken on the ferry to Gozo. When travelling to Gozo, the return fare is usually collected on the Gozo to Malta leg of the journey.
Renting a car in Malta tip: rental cars are usually restricted to Malta and Gozo and are not allowed to be taken on a ferry to another country.
For more on Malta travel:
Check out our other Malta articles which include:
- our guide to the best things to do in Gozo
- all the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta and Gozo
- a lowdown of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Malta