Car hire in Malta is relatively cheap, with plenty of rental agencies around that offer low prices all year round. Car hire agencies in Malta offer a wide range of cars to suit every budget. The customer service provided is generally of good quality, making car hire in Malta a relatively trouble-free process. With Malta’s relatively low fuel prices (Unleaded costs around €1.10 per liter – April 2010), going around Malta with a hired car doesn’t have to break the bank.
Car hire in Malta is an easy process. You can book your car online and have the choice to have it delivered to the address of your accommodation or to pick it up on arrival at the airport. Your car hire agent will usually inspect the vehicle together with you to check for any pre-existing damage and will ask for your credit card details and settle your bill (usually upon arrival). Most Malta car hire agencies will require a small deposit at the time of booking, however, this is not always applicable. If you intend to visit Malta during the high season, book your car hire well in advance to avoid disappointment (and higher rates).
If you decide to hire a car for on your Malta holidays, there are a couple of important items that you should remember to take with you:
- If you’ve booked your car hire online, take a copy of your reservation with you, along with a proof of deposit payment (where applicable)
- A valid driving license
- A credit card (of which VISA and MasterCard are the most widely accepted)
- Passport or EU ID card
Although you’ll probably be eager to start your holiday, it pays to read the car hire agency’s terms and conditions, and any insurance policy booked. Ensure that you do actually get a copy of the car hire agency’s terms and conditions and insurance cover, and that the car hire representative checks the car for damage in your presence and makes note of any pre-existing damage correctly.
Hiring a car in Malta offers you the flexibility to plan your outings the way you want, rather than according to the available bus routes. Public transport in Malta is cheap, but you get what you pay for: Mostly old vehicles, which are slow, not very well maintained and not very comfortable. Time tables are reasonable, but the current routes through Malta and Gozo make it difficult to plan visiting multiple places of interest within a short span of time. Considering that the short distances between attractions and the large number of places of interest around in Malta, it’s a shame having to waste time going around by bus and makes it well worth hiring a car on your Malta holiday.
Tips for car hire in Malta
Things to keep in mind when hiring a car in Malta:
- Make sure that your car hire rental agency provides you with their terms and conditions and checks the state of the car together with you when the car is delivered
- Malta is one of the few left hand drive countries in the world (which the Maltese inherited from the British). Pretty important to make note of before you drive off!
- Maltese summers are hot and relatively humid. You will not regret skipping the ultra-budget car category and going for a car with air conditioning
- Staying in Sliema, St. Julian’s or St. Paul’s Bay? Note that parking is very limited in these areas, particularly during the summer months
- Know your destination and route before driving off. Hesitating over which turn to take can be dangerous and will definitely trigger road rage. Check out the map of Malta for routes and directions.
Information on road law enforcement in Malta
- There are a number of speed cameras around the island, with speed limits set at 60 or 70 km/h (37 or 43 mph)
- The police patrol mostly urban areas and don’t get involved much with law enforcement on the road. They do occasionally put up road blocks to carry out spot checks for drink driving and illegal substances
- Traffic wardens are tasked with ensuring compliance with local road laws and regulations. They are easily recognisable by their green uniforms and authoritative gaze. Funny detail: They used to wear brown uniforms, until they gained the nickname “cockroaches”, or wirdien in Maltese (note the resemblance to “warden”)
- Parking areas near public beaches and places of interest are often overseen by a parking assistant. These guys are usually licensed by the Malta Transport Authority (ADT) and will ask you for a tip. Note that there is no obligation to pay a fee for parking. The general practise is to tip something small like 50 cents, but it is completely up to your discretion to do so (or not)
- The Highway Code of Malta is available here. It’s based mostly on the British Highway Code.