Malta may be a small island, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to providing all your holiday requirements. There is masses of history, culture and beautiful scenery, all wrapped up in an easily navigable parcel that is perfect for hiring a car and driving around. With an area of just 316 km², you’ll be at your destination in no time.
Having been ruled by the Romans, Moors, Knights of St John, French and British at one time or another, it’s not surprising that Malta has influences from all of these cultures. Explore the capital city, Valletta, which was established by the Knights of St John in the 1500s, and Mdina, which served as the capital from antiquity right through to the medieval period.
Booking a hire car for your holiday couldn’t be simpler, with many of the big names offering services on the island. You can choose from around five companies that provide cars in central locations, but for many people, it is much easier to collect your car at the airport, avoiding the need for a transfer to your hotel.
There are ten hire car companies to choose from at Malta International Airport (MLA), with the majority of them rated 'good' by our customers. By using our booking tool you’ll be able to find the right vehicle for your needs at the best price before you travel.
If you have chosen a car hire company that can provide you with a vehicle in a city centre location, then be sure to check the details of it before setting off. Once you arrive at the firm’s office, staff will be able to help direct you to your hire car.
Picking up your hire car at the airport couldn’t be easier, as all of the desks are located within the terminal building. Simply look for the name of the car hire company you booked with and before you know it, you’ll be driving away to start your holiday.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Once you’ve got your vehicle, the whole of the island and even the surrounding islets are opened up to you. Many people decide to explore Valletta first, with its pretty streets, ornate churches and grand palaces all constructed out of a beautiful local stone. Others may wish to head to the coast and the likes of St Julien’s, which is very popular with holidaymakers.
For history lovers, you’ll want to get straight to Mdina or Rabat to immerse yourself in all things antiquated. Mdina is one of the best-preserved examples of a walled city in the whole of Europe, making it a must visit, not to mention the medieval and baroque architecture.
Some people may be surprised that driving in Malta is done on the left-hand side, but this is one of the things left behind by the British. Overtaking is therefore done on the right. If you do not see a road sign indicating otherwise, the speed limit is 80 k/h on the open road and 50 km/h in built-up areas.
You do not need an international driving license to hire a car in Malta, as national documents are accepted. It is imperative that you are 23-years-old, however, as local law states that although cars can be driven from 18, you must be older to hire a vehicle.
Any fines that are accrued while driving in Malta mean that a ticket is issued. As you can’t pay it on the spot, traffic policemen now record drivers’ passport numbers alongside the ticket to ensure it gets paid prior to leaving the island.
As you can imagine, it doesn’t take long to drive anywhere in Malta, so you can opt to head out in your car and stop off in various places throughout the day for a change of scenery. Breakfast in Valletta, lunch in Mdina - 20 minutes away via the Triq L-Imdina road - and dinner in Rabat - less than an hour away along the Triq Ghajn Qajjet – is perfectly possible.
If you wish to go further afield, then bear in mind that Malta is part of an archipelago and there are various islands and islets in the vicinity that you can explore. Among the most popular to visit are Gozo and Comino. Simply drive to Cirkewwa, which is 45 minutes along the Triq Il-Marfa road from Valletta.
On Gozo, you will find Neolithic temple ruins, pretty beaches and the lovely city of Victoria, which is the island’s capital. Comino is an absolute paradise for watersports lovers, with the opportunity to snorkel, dive or windsurf in its crystal clear waters.
Malta has some beautiful, fascinating and worthwhile attractions to visit, scattered across the island. Be sure to include some of the following in your itinerary.
Arriving at the church the Knights of Malta dedicated to St John the Baptist, you could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, it is very plain from the outside, but this only serves to emphasise the excesses of gold and marble that can be found in the interior.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is so important that only ten people an hour are allowed to visit. Be sure to book your tickets before arriving in Malta or try your luck a day in advance of your visit at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is a burial complex that was constructed between 3,600 BC and 2,500 BC.
Within the bastion walls of Valletta, tunnels were dug to hold slaves for the Order of St John but went on to perform a very important purpose during World War II. They became the secret headquarters of the British and Allied Mediterranean forces. It was from these tunnels that General Eisenhower commanded Operation Husky to invade Sicily in 1943.
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