It’s possible to reach Malta by ferry, but the number of ferries to Malta is limited, and they all travel between Malta and ports in Italy.
Ferries Between Sicily and Malta
The fastest of the ferries between Sicily (just under Italy) and Malta are the high-speed catamarans run by ‘Virtu Ferries’ which ferry passengers to Malta from the ports of Catania (Northern Sicily) and Pozzallo (Southern Sicily).
Catania Sicily to Valletta with Virtu Ferries
This trip starts in the town of Catania in Northern Sicily, a town which is actually quite popular as a day-break for many Maltese who go there for shopping or just a bit of a change. Set with Mount Etna as a backdrop it’s a good town to spend the day in, which might be necessary as the Virtu Ferries service can leave very early in the morning sometimes, so staying in Catania the night before might be the best idea as Italian trains aren’t always on time, and missing a ferry which only leaves twice a week isn’t a fun idea. It’s easy to find accommodation and it’s not too expensive at all for a night. There are lots of cafes and restaurants in central Catania and the train station is about 15 minutes walk from the centre. The port itself is fairly easy to find and about a 10 minute walk from the town centre, but it’s best to find it first so you can get there in plenty of time. Passengers are required to present their ticket to the little Virtu Ferries office which is located in the port itself at least an hour before the ferry leaves.
The catamaran (a high-speed ferry) takes about 5 hours to reach Valletta in Malta and it’s a nice crossing with in-ferry films shown on big screens and refreshments and duty-free shopping available. For about 15 euros extra you can upgrade to ‘club-class’ and sit upstairs which is actually quite a nice move if you like less people and a bit more room. You can smoke outside during the crossing if you’re upstairs, and you can use the outside smoking deck if you’re downstairs only on the newer larger catamaran, so check before.
Pozzallo Sicily to Valletta with Virtu Ferries
Pozzallo is a much much smaller place than Catania, so sightseeing isn’t really on the cards. You’ll need to get a taxi to the port as it’s a bit of a walk otherwise especially if you’re carrying luggage. Local taxi drivers know the route well though so it’s not very expensive and only takes a few minutes. The port itself is more a freight port than a passenger port so bring supplies with you (water, a snack etc). The catamaran takes about 3 hours to reach Valletta. Sometimes, even if you book for Catania, the ferry will stop at Pozzallo (much further South) and then coaches will drive passengers the rest of the way to Catania.
The ferries also travel the other way, leaving Malta for the same ports in Sicily.
For more information about travel times and fares, check the Virtu Ferries website at: http://www.virtuferries.com /
Ferries Between Italy And Malta
Grandi Navi Veloci – Italian Ferry Company
Route: Livorno (North Italy) – via Palermo (sicily) to Valletta Malta
From Livorno in the North of Italy, ‘Grandi Navi Veloci’ offers a ferry service to Malta with a stopover in Palermo (in Sicily). This ferry service only happens once each week, currently leaving Livorno on a Saturday night (check current times on their site). The entire trip takes 34 ½ hours so the price will involve a sleeping cabin on the ferry. The same trip can be done in reverse, leaving Valletta bound for Palermo and then Livorno.
Contact Details for Grandi Navi Veloce:
Tel: (+39) 010 209 4591
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Grimaldi Lines – Maltese/Italian Ferry Company
Route: Civitavecchia (Mid- Italy, close to Rome) to Valletta Malta
‘Grimaldi Lines’ offer a ferry service between Civitavecchia and Malta, but you’ll need to check the current timetables on their site and get in touch with them as details are hard to come by.
Route: Salerno (Italy) Via Tunisia to Valletta Malta
The same company ‘Grimaldi Lines’ offers a ferry service from the port of Salerno in Italy to Valletta (sometimes via Tunisia). Again, you’ll need to get in touch with Grimaldi Lines to see which of these services is available and find details of prices and timetables.
Grimaldi Lines contact Details:
Telephone : (+39) 081 496 444
Fax: (+39) 081 551 7716
Their website address is: http://www.grimaldi-lines.com/en
Grimaldi Lines are represented in Malta by:
Sullivan Maritime Limited,
VGT Terminal - Malta.
Tel/Fax: (+356) 218 093 90
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Arriving in Valletta by Ferry
Pinto Wharf Valletta
Valletta, Malta’s capital City is actually a small place by capital city standards. The main passenger ferry port for those arriving in Malta is in Valletta’s Grand Harbour, known as 'Pinto Wharf' and the only thing you really need to watch out for is that there will be many private taxi drivers waiting to try and charge you too much for a ride to wherever you’re going. Either try to get the telephone number for a reputable taxi company before arriving or arrange a lift with someone beforehand if you can. Maltese private taxis aren’t on meters and many of them will charge as much as they think they can get away with, so telephoning a company like ‘Wembley Garage’ in St Julians would be a safer bet to get a fair price.
Depending on the time of day and how heavy your luggage is, you can travel on foot from Pinto Wharf (where Virtu ferries land) to central Valletta and catch a bus, but obviously this depends entirely on whether you feel up to the task or not. The walk from the Wharf to the main Valletta bus terminus would be hard work if you have heavy bags (uphill) even though it would only take about 20 minutes.
The other port you may arrive at (especially if travelling with Grimaldi Ferries) is the Wharf at Corradino which is on the other side of the Grand Harbour (Marsamxett Harbour). From there, you’ll definitely need either a lift or a taxi as there’s little to no public transport close to the wharf in that area.
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