Last Updated on May 18, 2023
There are three main ways to get from St Julian’s to Valletta (and I’ll share all the options in this post) but the most scenic and interesting way is to walk! Well not walk the whole way…walk from St Julian’s to Sliema and then take the ferry across the water to Valletta for the last little stretch. Alternatively you can get the bus or go by car/taxi/bolt. I share everything you need to know in this how to get from St Julian’s to Valletta in Malta step by step guide!
Disclosure: My trip to Malta was gifted by Jet2Holidays, however opinions are my own.
St Julians to Valletta
Walk + Ferry | Bus | Car/Bolt
1. St Julians to Valletta Walk + Ferry
🚶🏻♀️Approximately 4km walk (2.4 miles)
🕚Journey Time: 1hr plus ferry journey
💰One Way Ferry: Adult €1.50
From St Julian’s, head to Spinola Bay, the little harbour area right on the waterfront. This area itself is a lovely area to relax by the water. There are lots of bars, restaurants and cafes here. The Sliema Promenade starts at the LOVE sign. This is a fun sculpture when at exactly the right time, the shadow spells love on the ground.
Spinola Bay often had several Luzzu’s, the traditional Maltese fishing boats that Marsaxlokk fishing village is known for, in the harbour.
The promenade is 6km in total but for the walk from St Julian’s to Valletta, we did approximately 4km of the route. Google maps says it takes around 42 minutes to walk, however we stopped for some photos and short rests, so it took us just over 1 hour. There are plenty of benches with one literally every couple of metres! The promenade also doubles up as a fitness trail and it has distance markers in both directions.
As you follow the promenade around the bay, you’ll pass The Crafty Cat Pub on the right hand side. This is a great little Alice in Wonderland themed bar which serves craft beers and really good food.
After Spinola Bay is Balluta Bay. It has an open air swimming pool (Neptunes WPSC) and Balluta Bay Beach. The beach isn’t the nicest that I’ve seen, but it is an option (St George’s Bay Beach in St Julian’s was more popular!).
If you wanted a shorter route to the Sliema ferry terminal, this is where you’d follow Triq Manwel Dimech street through Sliema. It’s around 1.5km shorter and takes approximately 30 minutes, rather than it being closer to an hour by following the longer route along the promenade.
Continuing on along the Sliema Promenade is Exiles Bay. Exiles Bay Beach is actually a little nicer, even though it is smaller than Balluta Bay Beach. The path splits into three here. You can continue along the main promenade, option two is to head down to the boardwalk trail closer to the water, that has some access points for those wanting to swim, or the third is to cut through Gnien Indipendenza.
Gnien Indipendenza park and garden is great for those that love cats. Make sure to check out the ‘Cat Statue by Matthew Pandolfinno’. It actually sits on top of the public toilet block. These toilets are free and are open year round (some of the toilets in St Julian’s cost 1 euro).
In the park is a really cute little area where people have made or left cat houses for the stray cats, along with bags of cat food to feed them. Here you’ll also find a food kiosk and a couple of children’s playgrounds.
Continuing along the promenade, it passes the Torri ta’ San Giljan, this is a 17th century watch tower. It was the 5th of 13, stretching along this section of coast. When an enemy was approaching, they would pass an alert from tower to tower using smoke and fire from the roof.
You’ll also pass the Sliema outdoor gym and a couple of sculpture monuments, including ‘Lest We Forget’ which is a memorial for all the people that died during the pandemic.
The promenade becomes wider at this point, with lots of restaurants and kiosks with plenty of choices for food and drink. Sliema Beach sits at the corner, but this is a rocky ‘beach’ rather than a typical sand beach.
From here the promenade continues on past the beach. However, if you continue walking in a straight line towards the buildings, there is a road directly in front of you, between the buildings. This is Tower Road, as it branches off, continue to the left along Triq Bisazza, it looks similar to a pedestrian street.
Around half way down there is a sculpture of 3 Maltese artists sitting and having a tea party. There is a spare seat at the table for people to pose within the sculpture for a photo.
Sliema to Valletta Ferry
Triq Bisazza leads almost directly to the pier where the Sliema to Valletta Ferry departs (slightly to the right hand side). It has a red gazebo with a timetable and fare board, different from the others that offer various Malta boat trips. The ferry is ran by Valletta Ferry Services.
The Sliema to Valletta ferry runs every 30 minutes (on the :15 and :45 correct at the time of writing) and takes just over 5 minutes to reach Valletta. A single adult fare costs 1.50 euro. The ferry has an upper outside deck, as well as indoor seating. I was one of the last to board, so could only get a seat inside.
During the summer, the schedule has a ‘night service’. The first ferry of the day is also later on a Sunday and bank holiday. So keep this in mind, especially if you are planning to go to Valletta for the evening, there may not be an option to take the ferry back to Sliema!
Once the ferry reaches Valletta, it’s a short walk up a hill to reach the main part of the city. It enters via a side street rather than through the main City Gate which Valletta Bus Station is next to.
In my opinion, this is the best way to get from St Julian’s to Valletta!
*If you still wanted to take the Sliema to Valletta ferry to see the city from the water, bus route 13, 13a, 14 and 16 stop at ‘Ferries 4’ bus stop in Sliema. It is then a 2 minute walk to the Sliema ferry terminal – See below, this is the same bus that goes all the way from St Julian’s to Valletta.*
2. St Julian’s to Valletta Bus
🕚Journey Time: 20-40 minutes
🚌Bus route: TD13, 13 (13a), 14, 16
💰One Way Bus Fare: €2-€3
Another way to get from St Julian’s to Valletta is by the public bus network (Malta Public Transport). There are several different bus stops in St Julian’s, I often used either Spinola Bay or Ross (which was closer to the Hilton Malta).
TD13 is the fastest bus, taking around 20 minutes to get from St Julian’s to Valletta. (The Tallinja Direct routes cost €3). Bus route 13, (13a), 14 and 16 also go to Valletta Bus Station but take around 40 minutes. They mostly follow the same route around Sliema Promenade before heading back in land to reach the Valletta bus station at the City Gate.
Single tickets can be purchased on board from the driver for 2 euros (correct at the time of writing). A great thing about taking the bus in Malta is that you can buy a ticket on one bus and it’s valid for 2 hours. If you need to transfer buses, just show the ticket to the next driver and they’ll let you board without needing to pay again.
If you plan on using the buses more frequently, top up travel cards are available. However these need to be purchased from a ticket counter or a machine.
I walked from St Julian’s to Valletta, using the Sliema ferry in one direction, and then got the bus back from Valletta to St Julian’s. This saved having to redo the same walk in reverse! (Return tickets for the ferry are 2.80). The buses can get quite crowded at times though!
3. St Julian’s to Valletta by Car/Bolt
🕚Journey Time: 20 minutes
If you were wanting the quickest way from St Julian’s to Valletta, this would be via car, taxi or Bolt. Bolt is similar to Uber and you’ll see them EVERYWHERE, especially in the St Julian’s/Sliema/Valletta area. It works through an app so it’s quite convenient. (If you don’t have data roaming, Airalo is a great company that have eSims for loads of countries).
The traffic around Valletta can be quite manic, so there’s a chance you may get stuck in slow moving traffic. But at least it’s direct, rather than constantly stopping at different bus stops along the route. This is obviously also the most expensive way to get from St Julian’s to Valletta.
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