Where to stay in Malta without a car: 8 Best areas

Finding where to stay in Malta without a car can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Malta without a car (including a map), where I stayed in Malta, and the best hotels in Malta for visitors of all budgets.

Malta is a small but beautiful island nation in the Mediterranean, and while having a car can be convenient, it’s possible to enjoy your stay without one. 

Malta has a relatively well-developed public transportation system, making it convenient to explore the islands using various modes of transportation. Some ways to get around Malta without a car include bus, ferry, biking, walking, taxi and rideshare service.

Malta has an extensive bus network that covers most of the island. The main bus terminal is in Valletta, and you can use buses to reach various towns and tourist attractions. The buses are relatively affordable, and you can purchase tickets on board.

Ferries are a popular way to travel between the main islands of Malta, including Malta itself, Gozo, and Comino. The ferry service is reliable and offers beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Taxis are available throughout Malta, and you can easily find them at taxi stands or book them in advance. They are more expensive than buses but provide a convenient way to reach specific destinations quickly.

You can rent bicycles from various locations, especially in tourist areas, to explore the islands at your own pace. Malta has designated cycling lanes in some areas.

Malta’s compact size and picturesque streets make it a great destination for walking. You can explore historic towns like Valletta, Mdina, and Birgu on foot and enjoy the charm of the narrow streets and historic architecture.

In some areas, particularly around the Grand Harbour in Valletta, you can use water taxis to get from one side of the harbor to the other.

Malta offers hop-on-hop-off bus tours that cover major tourist attractions on the islands. These tours provide flexibility and information about the sites you visit.

Keep in mind that while Malta is small, public transportation can sometimes be crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Planning your trips and routes in advance can help you make the most of your stay without a car.

Where to stay in Malta without a car?

The best areas to stay in Malta without a car are Valletta, Sliema, St Julian’s, St Paul’s Bay, Three Cities, Mellieha, Mdina, and Marsaskala. 

Valletta, Sliema, and St. Julian’s offers the most extensive amenities & public transport options, while other areas offer unique experiences catering to different interests.

My recommendation is to base yourself in Valletta and then use a combination of walking, buses, and taxis to explore the area and take day trips to its nearby beaches.

Valletta is the most popular place to stay in Malta for tourists, especially for first-time visitors. It’s compact, walkable, and well-connected by public buses, including a central bus terminal. You’ll find a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and historic sites within easy reach.

During my trip to Malta without a car, I had a wonderful stay in Valletta at the 3-star Osborne Hotel, which has a super central location. I was able to explore most things on foot and by bus. You don’t need a car to stay here in Valletta.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Malta for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Malta without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Malta without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Malta, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget.

All hotels in Malta have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

8 Best areas to stay in Malta without a car:

1. Valletta

Valletta, without a doubt, is the most popular place to stay in Malta, especially for car-free travelers. Valletta is easily accessible by road and sea. Malta International Airport is located a short distance from the city, and there are regular ferry services to and from other parts of Malta

Valletta is situated on the northeast coast of the island of Malta. It is a historic city known for its strategic location and stunning harbor views.

Valletta was founded by the Knights of St. John in 1566, and it was named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, the Grand Master of the order at the time. The city has a rich history, with many historic buildings, fortifications, and landmarks dating back to its founding.

Valletta is famous for its Baroque architecture and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 due to its historical and architectural significance. The city is characterized by its narrow streets, limestone buildings, and numerous churches and cathedrals.

The city is surrounded by impressive fortifications, including bastions, walls, and moats. These fortifications were crucial in defending the city from various attacks throughout its history.

Valletta is home to numerous museums, palaces, and cultural attractions. Some of the notable sites include  the Grand Master’s Palace, National Museum of Archaeology, St. John’s Co-Cathedral, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens, and which offer panoramic views of the Grand Harbour.

Valletta serves as the administrative and political center of Malta. It is where the country’s government buildings, including the Parliament House, are located.

Valletta’s Grand Harbour is one of the most important natural harbors in the Mediterranean. It has played a significant role in Malta’s history as a strategic port for trade and defense.

Best places to stay in Malta in Valletta without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Phoenicia Malta, 5-star hotel located in the heart of Valletta, offering stunning views of The Grand Harbour, a short walk from the ferry terminal to Sliema and Barrakka Lift.
  • Mid-range ($$): Domus Zamittello, 4-star hotel centrally located in Valletta, offering views of the Republic Street and Freedom Square. Short walk from major attractions including the Upper Barrakka Gardens, Manoel Theatre, Casa Rocca Piccola, and National Museum of Archaeology.
  • Budget ($): Osborne Hotel, 3-star popular hotel that has paid airport shuttle service which is a bonus for those traveling without a car. Short walk from major sights such as the St. John’s Cavalier and St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Also close to bus stops and ferry port for Sliema.

2. Sliema

Sliema is a popular coastal town located on the northeastern coast of Malta, just across the harbor from Valletta. It’s well-connected by public transport, including ferries to Valletta and buses, making it a convenient base for exploring the island without a car.

Sliema boasts a picturesque coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. The waterfront promenade, known as the Sliema Promenade or Tower Road, offers stunning views of the sea and Valletta across the harbor. It’s a popular place for leisurely walks, jogging, and people-watching.

Sliema is known for its vibrant shopping scene. You’ll find a variety of shops, boutiques, and malls in the area, including The Point Shopping Mall and Tigne Point. Shoppers can explore both international and local brands.

The town offers a wide range of dining options, from traditional Maltese cuisine to international fare. There are numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars along the waterfront and throughout the town. 

Sliema also has a vibrant nightlife with several bars and clubs, making it a popular destination for evening entertainment.

While Sliema is primarily known for its coastal beauty and modern amenities, it is also home to some cultural attractions. The Stella Maris Parish Church, with its distinctive steeple, is a notable landmark in the area.

Due to its coastal location, Sliema is a hub for water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and water sports. You can also find boat tours and ferries that can take you to other parts of Malta, including Valletta.

Best places to stay in Malta in Sliema without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): AX The Palace, great 5-star hotel, with airport shuttle service, short distance from Sliema’s bus terminus and Valletta Port, easy access to the seafront promenade, cafes, shops, and restaurants.
  • Mid-range ($$): 1926 Le Soleil Hotel & Spa, 4-star hotel with a private beach, close to Qui-Si-Sana Beach and Fond Ghadir Beach, and around 10 mins walk to the bus station.
  • Budget ($): Azur Hotel by ST Hotels, very popular 3-star hotel in Sliema, easy access to various attractions including Balluta Bay Beach, Qui-Si-Sana Beach and Love Monument. Also close to the bus station for day trips by bus.

3. St Julians Bay

St. Julian’s is a  popular tourist destination known for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment options. It’s within walking distance of Sliema and also has good bus connections, making it a convenient base for exploring the island.

The St. Julian’s Bay area features a beautiful seaside promenade that is perfect for leisurely strolls and enjoying the views of the Mediterranean Sea.

St. Julian’s is famous for its vibrant nightlife scene. The Paceville district, located in St. Julian’s, is home to numerous bars, nightclubs, and restaurants that come alive after sunset. 

There is aso Spinola Bay, a small, charming bay is part of St. Julian’s and is known for its colorful fishing boats and waterfront dining options. It’s a great place to enjoy a meal with a sea view.

While St. Julian’s itself doesn’t have sandy beaches, it’s close to some of Malta’s best beaches. Nearby options include St. George’s Bay, which is a short walk away, and Balluta Bay, which has a rocky beach.

You can take a  leisurely stroll along the Portomaso Marina, an upscale marina, home to luxury yachts, waterfront apartments, and a range of restaurants and shops.  

The Casino Malta is located in St. Julian’s and offers gaming facilities, including slot machines and table games, as well as a bar and restaurant.

Best places to stay in Malta in St Julians Bay without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Regency Malta, popular 5-star hotel, conveniently located close to Balluta Bay Beach, St George’s Bay Beach, and Bay Street Shopping Complex. Great breakfast with lots of choices.
  • Mid-range ($$): be.HOTEL, super fabulous and popular hotel, situated within the Baystreet Tourist Complex, easy access to shops, restaurants and the nightlife area of Paceville for more Pubs, bars and clubs.
  • Budget ($): Antoniel Suites, 3-star accommodation, located in the Paceville district in St Julian’s short walk from Love Monument and Dragonara Casino.  

4. St Paul’s Bay

St. Paul’s Bay is a popular tourist destination with various accommodations and dining options. It’s a quieter alternative to Sliema and St. Julian’s, making it suitable for a more relaxed stay. Public transport links are available to explore nearby areas.

St. Paul’s Bay is surrounded by rugged coastline and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The crystal-clear waters make it a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

St. Paul’s Island, located just off the coast of St. Paul’s Bay, is said to be the place where the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked in AD 60. It is a site of historical and religious significance and can be reached by boat.

The seafront promenade in St. Paul’s Bay is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll. It’s lined with restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it a great spot to enjoy the view and try some local cuisine.

Bugibba is a neighboring town that is part of St. Paul’s Bay. It’s a popular tourist area with numerous hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options, including a casino.

In addition to the aforementioned St. Paul’s Island, the area is home to various historical sites and landmarks, including ancient watchtowers and remnants of Roman structures.

St. Paul’s Bay and Bugibba offer a vibrant nightlife scene with bars and clubs that cater to both locals and tourists. There are plenty of shops and markets where you can buy souvenirs and Maltese products.

The area is known for its seafood restaurants, with fresh catches from the Mediterranean. Maltese cuisine is a blend of Italian, Arabic, and British influences, so you can expect a diverse food experience.

Best places to stay in Malta in St Paul’s Bay without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Seaview Hotel – Adults Only 16 Plus, 4-star beachfront hotel with airport shuttle service, close to Bugibba Perched Beach and Plajja Tal’Bognor port, as well as shops, restaurants and clubs in Bugibba center. The hotel can arrange diving and horse riding excursions for you.
  • Mid-range ($$): ibis Styles ST Pauls Bay Malta , 3-star hotel, located close to Bugibba Perched Beach, Qawra Point Beach and Tax-Xama Bay Beach.
  • Budget ($): Pebbles Resort, this hotel has great breakfast and is close to Bugibba Square, Perched Beach and Malta National Aquarium. 

5. Three Cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua)

These historic towns offer a quieter and more traditional experience compared to the bustling tourist areas. They are well-connected to Valletta by ferry, making it easy to access the capital. Ideal for travelers seeking a quieter, more authentic atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Malta in Three Cities without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Cugo Gran Macina Malta , 5-star hotel that offers paid airport shuttle service, outdoor pool, and is located only 5 mins ferry ride from Valletta Waterfront
  • Mid-range ($$): Casa Maria Tereza, great location to explore Three Cities and Valletta.
  • Budget ($): Marina Studios, 3-star accommodation in an excellent location, offering bicycle and a car rental services.

6. Mellieha

Located in the northern part of the island, Mellieha offers beautiful beaches and natural attractions. While public transportation is available, it may take a bit longer to reach other parts of Malta from here. A great choice for those looking for a beach holiday and outdoor activities.

Mellieħa boasts some of the best beaches in Malta, including Mellieħa Bay (Għadira Bay), which is the largest sandy beach on the island. It is a popular destination for sunbathing and swimming.

The town is surrounded by natural beauty, with scenic cliffs, countryside, and the nearby Ghadira Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatching and nature enthusiasts.

You can visit the Mellieħa Parish Church, a beautiful baroque church that dominates the skyline, as well as the St. Agatha’s Tower (Red Tower), which was built by the Knights of St. John in the 17th century.

One of the unique attractions in Mellieħa is Popeye Village, a film set built for the 1980 musical film “Popeye,” starring Robin Williams. Today, it’s a tourist attraction featuring a small village with colorful wooden houses.

Best places to stay in Malta in Mellieha without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa, 4-star hotel located on the hillside village of Mellieha,  in the north of the island. Short distance to the nearby restaurants and supermarkets. Easy travel by bus from the bus station in front of the hotel.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel VIU57, 3-star hotel, located close to numerous attractions such as the Mellieha Bay Beach,  Santa Maria Estate Beach, and Ghadira Bay Beach. Close to a bus station.
  • Budget ($): Victoria by Petit Chic, great accommodation, in a quiet location, close to the town center and the beach. Close a bus stop for links to Valletta and airport.

7. Mdina

If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, consider staying in Mdina, Malta’s ancient fortified city. It’s a pedestrian-friendly area with historic charm and a few boutique hotels. Buses can take you to other parts of the island from nearby Rabat.

Mdina is one of Malta’s oldest cities, with a history dating back more than 4,000 years. It was the capital of Malta during the Roman period and remained the island’s political center until the medieval era.

Mdina earned the nickname “Silent City” because of its tranquil atmosphere. Due to its restricted access to vehicular traffic, the town is relatively quiet, making it a peaceful place to explore on foot.

Some notable landmarks in Mdina include St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Mdina Cathedral Museum, the Mdina Gate, and the Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum.

Mdina was historically home to many noble families, and you can still see the grand palaces and mansions that once belonged to them.

Mdina was used as a filming location for the first season of the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.” It stood in for the fictional city of King’s Landing.

Best places to stay in Malta in Mdina without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, 5-star hotel, located in the old capital of Malta, great location close to the city gate.
  • Budget ($):  Point de vue Guesthouse, great guest house, short walk from the town’s medieval walls, and the bus stops.
  • Budget ($): Maleth Inn, 3-star accommodation, airport shuttle, situated in Rabat, a few mins walk from Roman Villa and Mdina.

8. Marsaskala

Marsaskala is a seaside town in the south of Malta, roughly 5 km from the capital city, known for its fishing village charm. Public transportation connects Marsaskala to Valletta and other areas. It’s a good option for a quieter coastal experience.

The town boasts a lovely promenade along the waterfront, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll and take in the views of the Mediterranean Sea. There are also numerous restaurants and cafes where you can savor fresh seafood and local cuisine.

Over the years, Marsaskala has evolved from a small fishing village into a residential area with modern amenities, making it an attractive place to live for both locals and expatriates.

Best places to stay in Malta in Marsaskala without a car:


In conclusion, Valletta, Sliema, St Julians, St Paul’s Bay, Three Cities, Mellieha, Mdina, and Marsaskala are the best places to stay in Malta without a car. These are all popular tourist areas that offer easy access to amenities and attractions both on foot and by bus.

You can continue reading about Malta in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your trip to Malta. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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