When travelling, many people opt not to bring their own vehicle or even to rent one at their destination. Instead, they prefer to relax by taking public transport and leaving their conveyance up to someone else. That makes sense, of course; if you want to chill out, there’s no better way to do so than to leave the potentially crazy state of the roads up to a dedicated driver.
However, if you want a greater sense of control over your trip and you want more of a say in exactly where you’re going, then driving your own vehicle makes sense. Whether you’re renting or bringing your own car, here’s our guide to driving in Malta!
Make sure you’ve got the right insurance
If you’re bringing your own car, it’s important to ensure that you have the right insurance to drive in Malta. The UK government website contains helpful guidelines and tips regarding third-party cover, which you’ll need if you want to drive in the country. You will not, however, require a green card; as of August 2021, you don’t need your own green card for driving in Malta, which is good news. All you need is a full driving licence, your insurance, and the registration documentation for your car.
Drive on the left side
Maltese drivers drive on the left-hand side of the road as opposed to the right-hand side. This won’t necessarily come as a shock if you’re used to driving in the UK or any other country where they drive on the left, such as South Africa or Japan, then you’ll be fine, but if you’re used to driving on the right, then there will be an adjustment period. It might be best to travel using public transport if you’re not accustomed to driving on the left, as it can be something of a shock for the first time.
Carry the necessary equipment
Per the RAC, there are certain items you’re going to need if you’re thinking about driving in Malta, especially if your car is equipped to drive on the right. At the very least, you will need headlamp converters so that your headlights don’t dazzle motorists who are driving against you. It’s also necessary to carry a warning triangle just in case your vehicle breaks down. The RAC also recommends that you bring other useful items like a first-aid kit, a reflective jacket, and a fire extinguisher, all of which could save lives in the event of an accident.
Consider renting a car
There are lots of great car rental services in Malta, so you may not even need to bring your own vehicle. It’s worth considering renting a car if you’re going to be doing a lot of driving and you’d rather not raise your own vehicle’s mileage. Of course, rental cars come with their own downsides; you’ll be paying to rent the car, usually on a daily basis, and the longer you leave it to book your rental, the more you’ll likely end up paying. Make sure to book rentals ahead of time if you want the best rates.
Don’t use your phone
In Malta, using your mobile phone in the car is completely prohibited. According to Saga, that includes the use of hands-free mobile phones, so it’s best just to leave your phone in your pocket or on the passenger seat while you’re driving in Malta. If you really must answer it, then make sure to pull over before you begin operating the device, because you don’t want to incur fees or get in trouble with the Maltese authorities when you’re just there to have some fun.
Take care when driving around locals
As is the case with many countries, local Maltese drivers generally tend to be fairly cavalier when it comes to the rules of their roads. If you’ve driven on UK roads, you’ll know that it’s the same there, and, indeed, anywhere; local drivers feel that they’ve mastered the roads and don’t need to rigidly follow the rules. You should stick to them as best you can, of course, but don’t be surprised if you get cut off at a red light by a local driver who’s got somewhere to be.
Build a detailed itinerary
Malta is a fairly small country, and it’s actually possible to see a huge amount of this picturesque nation in a single day if you’ve got a car. As such, make sure to make yourself a detailed itinerary so that you don’t get overwhelmed by distractions. You’re going to be severely tempted to look at everything you drive past, and if this is your style of holidaying, great; some of the best experiences can be had simply by driving off the beaten path, so to speak. If you’re more meticulous, though, create an itinerary first so that you can make the most of driving in Malta.
Don’t be afraid to ask for directions
As Malta Uncovered says, street sign coverage in Malta is usually decent, but there are some areas where you may struggle to know exactly where you are. Don’t be afraid to stop and ask some locals for directions, or to consult Google Maps (pull the car over first!) to better plan your journey. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t simply stop or slow down in the middle of the road, as this could inconvenience other drivers and get you in trouble with the Maltese authorities.