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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Malta > Valletta

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Getting around Valletta

Public transport

Malta Public Transport (tel: +356 2122 2000; www.publictransport.com.mt) runs bus services throughout Malta and Gozo. You can pick up a map and timetable of all routes at the main terminus outside City Gate Valletta.

Regular services connect all parts of Malta, though the majority use Valletta as the island hub. The only late buses are those which operate out of the nightlife enclave of St Julian's/Paceville. You can pay the driver in cash, but it's cheaper to use a reloadable tallinja card. Seven-day and 12-journey cards are available.

There is no bus service in the city. A way of getting about is the fleet of battery powered, chauffeur-driven golf-buggy-style cars (called electric mini cabs).

Conventional taxis (see below) and horse-drawn karozzin (carriages) are expensive, so always haggle on the price.

Valletta Ferry Services (tel: +356 2346 3862) operates water taxis from Valletta to Three Cities and Sliema. You can also take a traditional Maltese dghajsa to tour the Grand Harbour. The city centre of Valletta sits on a hill, the quickest way to get from the city centre to the Grand Harbour and waterfront is to take the Upper Barrakka lift which connects the Upper Barrakka Gardens and the harbour. The journey takes around 25 seconds and it costs €1 to go up (but free to come down). There are two lifts, take the one facing the harbour to enjoy spectacular views.

Taxis

Taxis are useful to travel outside the city centre. There are set fares to get to the airport but for other destinations, it is vital to check the fare before you set off. Hi Cabs (tel: +356 2137 2137) and Malta Taxi (tel: +356 2099 0808) are reputable companies, or ask your hotel reception to order one from their preferred list.

Driving

Within the walls of Valletta, roads and streets are steep and narrow and there is very little parking space. It's best to avoid driving in the city.

Car hire

Car hire on Malta is cheap but parking is often very difficult, particularly around Valletta. Recommended car hire agencies include Avis (tel: +356 2124 6640; www.avis.com.mt) and Budget (tel: +356 2123 3668; www.budget.com.mt).

Bicycle hire

Bicycle hire is not recommended in Valletta as the roads are steep.

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Featured Hotels

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Castille Hotel

Originally built as a home for the influential De Robertis family at the turn of the 16th century, Captain Giacomo De Robertis, a Bolognese, then passed the building on to the Testaferrata family and later to the Marquis Cassar Desain. The building is now a hotel with a sitting room, reading lounges on all floors and a coffee shop which formerly housed the stables. There are also two restaurants, serving local and global cuisine.

Maison La Vallette

This eccentrically-designed self catering luxury town house is situated in the old part of Valletta and dates back to the Knights of Malta. The house offers a large, air-conditioned bedroom with ensuite facilities, living room and separate kitchen. The decor is a mix of Maltese-style baroque and bespoke designer furniture. This is not your standard accommodation but it's memorable and suitably romantic.

Marco Polo Hostel

Bright, colourful and hipster-cool, this hostel in the heart of St Julian also offers bike hire, free Wi-Fi, and the views from its roof top terraces are glorious.

Hilton Malta

A huge palm-filled atrium, a grand piano in the lounge, a platoon of flunkies, a choice of five excellent restaurants, three bars and 410 bedrooms with every comfort known to man - Brad Pitt liked it so much he offered to buy it, just so that he could extend the bar hours. Located in the prestigious Portomaso waterfront in buzzing st Julian's, this is the place to stay if you want to be close to the heart of the action.

La Falconeria

This 4-star hotel is delightful. The rooms are modern and clean and the service is excellent. The onsite restaurant L’Artiglio serves up superb seasonal dishes. Triq Ir-Repubblika (Republic Street) is just a short walk away and so are attractions like the National Museum of Archaeology.

Hotel Juliani

Hotel Juliani is Malta's first boutique hotel, featuring lots of designer style and an excellent restaurant on the premises. The former seafront townhouse offers 44 rooms offering contemporary Med decor. It's also conveniently located for the nightlife and restaurants of St Julian's, on pretty (albeit very busy) Spinola Bay.