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Malta airport – getting there and away

There are various options for travelling to and from MLA back to your home or hotel. This post looks at them and gives an indication of the value for money you get.

Frequent flyer points can only be earned on the car hire options (although you can pay for the taxi or maltatransfer.com with a KMiles-earning credit card, of course), but there are varying amounts of money you can spend for travel to MLA, depending on the level of convenience you want.

Parking at the airport

Only an option for Malta residents with a car, parking at MLA is reasonable value (and, of course, extremely convenient: parking is right next to the terminal and not much beats climbing in to your own car after getting off a flight, particularly if you have kids).

Parking rates are as follows:

Short term parking

First 10 minutes – free of charge

10 minutes up to 1 hour – €1.80

1 hour up to 2 hours – €2.80

2 hours up to 3 hours – €3.20

3 hours up to 4 hours – €3.70

4 hours up to 5 hours – €4.00

5 hours up to 12 hours – €5.00

You get 1 hour’s free parking with a €10 spend at most of the restaurants in MLA, so bear this in mind.

If you’re at MLA very short term and are desperate not to pay anything, you can validate your parking ticket within the free 10 minutes: you then get an additional 20 minutes grace time to leave the car park.

Note that if you park your car in the tempting-looking pick up/drop off spaces right next to the terminal, you should not leave your car unattended for any period of time. This area is militantly patrolled and you will almost certainly get a ticket.

Long term parking

12 -24 hours – €7.00

Additional day or part of day – €5.00

You can work out your exact parking charge in advance via MLA’s helpful parking charge calculator here.

Taxi

The taxi system at MLA is very well organised, and it’s almost impossible to be ripped off, however naïve a tourist you may be. As you leave the departures hall, there is a dedicated booth which pre-sells you your taxi “ticket”, and lines you up with a driver.

Prices are set out in full here. Example prices include Valletta at €15, Sliema/St Julians at €20, Buggiba at €25 and Cirkewwa (for the Gozo ferry) at €32.

Getting to the airport is a different proposition altogether, and you are somewhat in the hands of the taxi driver in question. As a rough guide, you should not expect to pay more than €20/€25 from the Sliema/St Julians area, but you may well be quoted substantially more. As such, I’d strongly recommend that for your journey back to the airport, you book a taxi in advance (there are plenty of options online), or your hotel should be able to help. If you need a recommendation, feel free to email us and we will provide you with the name of a reliable and good value taxi driver (we do not receive any commission).

Malta travel blog Don’t Turn Right also recommends e-cabs, “especially if you are traveling with large family or lots of luggage. Range of car sizes from four seater to mini-buses, they pick you up from home and will meet you at the airport, they have always been efficient, excellent call centre staff and drivers and prices are very reasonable”. (E-cabs also offers it’s own reward scheme that you can sign up to here: for every €120 spent, you receive a €10 voucher)

Bus

If you’re a Maltese local then clearly there are a number of bus choices for you, which you probably already know about. As such, this post focuses on the tourist areas served by Airport buses X1 – X4.

The bus is a very cheap choice, if extremely slow. Clearly it is traffic dependent, but it took me around an hour to get from the airport to Sliema on the one occasion I have used the bus. There is also the obvious disadvantage of not being dropped at your hotel, so you may have a little walk at the end, with heavy bags.

Key buses are as follows:

X1 – Airport, Marsa, University, Mater Dei hospital, Pembroke, Mellieha, Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal (for Gozo)

X2 – Airport, Paola, Marsa, Mater Dei hospital/University, St Julians, Sliema

X3 – Airport, Paola, Marsa, Birkirkara, Attard, Ta’ Qali, Rabat, Mosta, Bugibba.

X4 – Airport, Marsa,Blata L-Bajda, Bombi, Valletta

Useful bus route maps can be found via the “tourist brochure” download on this page.

As noted above, the major benefit of the bus is the price. Maltese ID card holders pay €1.30 for a 2 hour ticket, while everyone else pays €2.20. For an airport bus service, that’s an extremely low price.

All the above information can be found on www.arriva.com.mt

Maltatransfer.com

If you don’t want the hassle of the bus, but also don’t fancy paying full whack for a taxi, the maltatransfer.com minibus can potentially be a happy medium. You are likely to share a minibus with others, but will also be dropped off right at your hotel.

The obvious advantage of maltatransfer.com is that it largely works out cheaper than a taxi, particularly where there are only one or two of you, and is much faster and more convenient than the bus.

Maltapoints is currently liaising with Maltatransfer.com with a view to providing extra value for Maltapoints readers, and so we will do a separate post on the specifics of using Maltatransfer.com shortly. Despite the fact that our names sound similar, please be aware that Maltapoints is not in any way linked to Maltatransfer, and our write up of it will therefore be, as ever, factual and unbiased.

Free Limo service

Don’t forget that if you fly Emirates first or business class, you get a free limo transfer to and from the airport. (Thanks to Don’t Turn Right for pointing this one out.)

Hiring a car

There are a million and one ways of hiring a car from Malta airport, and I am not going to get bogged down in the detail here.

However, you will certainly get a better deal if you book in advance, rather than at the airport.

There are a plethora of points available for car hires, too. It’s just a case of picking which programme you want the points for:

Air Malta Flypass: earn 500 KMiles for every rental booking with Sixt, plus up to 10% off bookings for Flypass temporary/permanent members and up to 15% off bookings for Flypass Diamond members – just book via this link.

BalticMiles: earn 500 BalticMiles for every booking with Sixt (plus you will get up to 10% off), or 500 BalticMiles for every booking with Avis.

Emirates Skywards: earn 500 points on bookings with Avis, Sixt, Hertz, Budget, and “up to 1000” points with Europcar. Just book following the instructions on this page.

Hilton Hhonors: earn between 250 and 500 Hhonors points on bookings with Avis, Sixt, Alamo, National, Budget, Thrifty and Europcar.

Lufthansa Miles& More: earn 500 points for rentals with Europcar and Sixt. “Exclusive” offers may also be available – just choose Malta as your country and then book through the links on this page.

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles: earn 500 points on bookings with Avis, Sixt, Hertz, Budget, Europcar and National.

Starwood Preferred Guest: earn 50 points a day with Avis, and 250 points per booking with Sixt.

You should not let your desire for points override searching for a better deal online. However, if you can’t find a better deal than the one offered by the points partner (who sometimes also offer “exclusive” discounts, too), it’s well worth getting the points. Also if, for whatever reason, you do end up booking at the airport, you should make sure you get the points as well.

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