Malta is full of sights and surprises. 

And even though its capital of Valletta is truly a magnificent city; your visit to Malta will be much more satisfying if you grab the chance to see other interesting places. 

One of Malta’s must-see is the Three Cities. Yes! We are talking about three cities. It may seem a lot, but these cities are individually small, and thus, are oftentimes clustered together. 

Malta’s Three Cities are  Senglea (La Isla), Vittoriosa (Birgu) and Cospicua (Bormla)

Here is  the step-by-step guide on how to get from Malta’s capital Valletta to the Three Cities of Malta using the public ferry. 

Seeing the Three Cities in the Distance From Valletta

When in Valletta, all you have to do is to go to the Barrakka Gardens, and you will get amazing views of the Grand Harbor and the Three Cities in the distance.

The Grand Harbor is what separates Valletta from the The Three Cities.  

The view of the Grand Harbor and the Three Cities from Valletta  is definitely Instagram-worthy! But even without your phone, it’s just nice to bask in its beauty.

However, you do have the time, grab the opportunity to visit the Three Cities and walk around its charming streets.  You will not regret it! 

The great thing about visiting Malta is that it is small enough that important attractions and sites are not too far from each other.  You do not have to take a boat or airplane for several hours just to check out the Three Cities. 


Here is how  to get from Valletta to the Three Cities of Malta Using Public Transport. 

By Car

Before I discuss taking the public transport, I would like talk about renting a car to drive around Malta as this is also a viable option.  

It’s easy to drive around Malta as it is small and car rental is very cheap. But take note that Malta is also small, so parking can be a bit of a challenge in some places. 

It is definitely possibly to drive from Valletta to the Three Cities but you should already plan where to park to avoid the stress. 

Summer months are busy in Malta and the number of visitors grow considerably larger. Unless you are staying somewhere in the outskirts of the cities and would need the convenience of the car, it is probably smarter to look into other transport options. 

By Bus

From Valletta, it only takes 15 minutes to drive to the Three Cities .  Here are the steps:

  • Walk to Valletta’s Main Bus Station
  • Board Buses 1, 2, 3, 5 and 213 
  • Get off at one of the bus stops in Birgu. 
  • Explore the city.  You can do on foot!

After all, the first city of Vittoriosa is barely a 10-minute ferry ride away from Valletta. 

Getting to Valletta to the Three Cities Using the Public Ferry

Using the bus or driving a car are completely acceptable ways to get to the Three Cities, but it is NOT our most favorite way!

For us, using the public ferry is by far the best way to get to  the Three Cities from Valletta. Why?

  • It’s cheap.
  • It’s convenient 
  • And it’s the most exciting and scenic way 

How to Use the Public Ferry to the Three Cities, Malta

1.Wherever you are in Valletta, make your way the Upper Barrakka Lift. 

This lift connects Upper Barrakka Garden to the Lascaris Ditch. The lift can carry 21 passengers at a time, and is 58 meters high. 

2. Go down the lift and walk across the street to the Valletta Waterfront. The Take note:Going up the Barrakka lift costs 1 Euro. But if you’re going down the lift to take the ferry, the ticket cost includes the use of lift. 

3. Go to the dock and wait for the ferry to arrive. There may be a line up of passengers already. 

4. Pay your fare. The return ticket cost is €2.80 per person. 

5. Enjoy the ride and the view. The ride takes  only 7 minutes, but it’s enough to get a lot of sweeping shots of Valletta and the Three Cities.

6. Arrive at the dock of Cospicua (Bormla) . 

Malta’s Three Cities Ferry and Water Taxis

The ferry runs continuously throughout the day from 6:45 am to 7:15 pm (winter). In the busier summer, it runs till midnight. 

Aside from the ferry, water taxis to the Three Cities from Valletta (and vice versa) is also available. 

Taking the traditional water taxi has some charm to it. And it is a good option if you are visiting in the winter,  since ferry ends operation at 7:15 pm. 

We visited Malta in the winter and decided to see the festivities in Valletta during New Year’s Eve. Because we were staying in Vittoriosa/Birgu, we took the water taxi to head back. 

Fireworks erupted while we were on the waters of Grand Harbor. It was one of my most unforgettable moment in Malta. 

Exploring the Three Cities of Malta 

It is possible to see all the Three Cities on foot.  Cospicua has things to see but overall, Vittoriosa (Birgu) is the most fascinating. 

Locals still call Vittoriosa by its old name- Birgu. It is one of the oldest towns in Malta, and has been in existence even before the coming of the Knights of St. John.

Aside from being very photogenic, another reason to visit this neighborhood is his rich history that is still very much evident in its architecture. Vittoriosa has very local authentic feel to it. It is a living breathing town full of locals who clearly love living there .

If you would like to spend a night or two in the Three Cities, Vittoriosa is the best place to do this. 

So there it is, your step-by-step guide on how to take the public ferry from Valletta to the Three Cities. If you find this article helpful, share it to help other travelers visiting Malta.

Don’t stop chasing places and traveling to the fullest!