Getting from Sliema ⟺ Valletta ⟺ Three Cities by Ferry or Bus

Getting from Sliema ⟺ Valletta ⟺ Three Cities by Ferry or Bus

Transport Guide: Sliema ⟺ Valletta ⟺ Three Cities by Ferry or Bus

We went on a 2-week vacation in Malta, staying with my friends in Sliema. It is recommended to stay in Sliema as there is a beautiful beach here, Exiles Bay. We spent half our time in Sliema on this sandless beach when we are not visiting other attractions in Malta or Gozo. If you are thinking of where to stay in Malta, Sliema is a great district to consider.

How long is the Ferry and Bus from Sliema to Valletta and Vice Versa?

Although Sliema is a beautiful city, we also want to visit Valletta, the capital of Malta. One can go to Valletta from Sliema by ferry or bus. It is advisable to take a ferry because the travel time is approximately 5 to 10 minutes whereas a bus will take 30 minutes or more to your destination depending on the timing and the crowd.

Note that as Malta does not have a metro system, the buses are usually crammed with passengers. The crowd can get rowdy, screaming and throwing things at one another on a weekend night after a wild party session. We took a bus back on a Saturday night as there was no more ferry service. The bus ride experience from Valletta to Sliema was noisy and unpleasant.

You may be interested: 
» Malta Airport to City Centre Valletta, Sliema: Taxi Price and Bus Fares Guide
» 15 Best Restaurants in Malta and Gozo You Will Love

Sliema Ferry Terminal

We stayed near to Sliema Ferry Terminal and can reach there on foot. Buying tickets from Sliema Ferry Terminal to get to Valletta is truly a breeze. You can check the location from my Malta & Gozo Google Maps at the top of the sidebar.


Sliema ⟺ Valletta Ferry Schedule

The ferry schedule for the whole year is divided into Winter and Summer dates.

  • Winter: 1 Nov – 31 May
  • Summer: 1 Jun – 31 Oct

For both seasons, the ferry will run every 15 minutes from 7.00 am to 7.15 pm, commencing the service from Sliema.
Night ferry service continues only in summer from 7.30 pm to 12.45 am.
Hence, during winter, you will not get any more ferry services after 7 pm from Sliema and 7.15 pm from Valletta. Once you miss the last ferry schedule in summer, you have to take a night bus.

Sliema ⟺ Valletta Ferry Price

It is always cheaper to buy a round trip ticket instead of a single trip ticket during the day if you plan to take a ferry back to Sliema from Valletta before 7.30 pm. Once the ferry arrives at Valletta Ferry Terminal, walk up the slope for another 10 minutes to Valletta city centre.


  • Single Trip: €1.50
  • Round Trip: €2.80


  • Single Trip: €0.50
  • Return Trip: €0.90

During summer (check the date above), if you are unsure what time you will return to Sliema or vice versa, it is advisable to buy a single trip ticket before departure because the ferry price differs if you depart from 7.30 pm onwards.

  • Single Trip: €1.75
  • Round Trip: €3.30

If you like to go to Valletta frequently within 7 days, consider getting the Weekly Pass with unrestricted use for €10.00.

Sliema to 3 Cities – No Direct Ferry

If you are interested in visiting the Three Cities – Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea (Isla) and Bormla (Cospicua), which is another tourist attraction in Malta, there is no direct ferry to take you from Sliema to 3 Cities. You have to stop at Valletta first and then walk to another different ferry terminal at Upper Barraka Gardens to board another ferry.

Valletta Ferry Terminal

Two Valletta Ferry Terminals

Now, you should already be aware that there are two different ferry terminals in Valletta which operate their sea routes to Sliema and Three Cities. The walking distance is 30 minutes between the two locations as there is a big detour according to Google Maps (Show).

If you could cut through the streets and the roads, then it may take a shorter time to reach the Valletta Ferry Terminal at Upper Barraka Gardens. I had been to Birgu, which is the oldest of the Three Cities in our friend’s car. Therefore, I am not sure whether you have to follow Google Maps road directions on foot. You can refer again to my maps for the two Valletta ferry terminals.

Valletta ⟺ Three Cities Ferry Schedule

The ferry terminal in the Three Cities is in Cospicua (Bormla). Again, the same rule applies for both seasons like the above where Valletta ⟺ Three Cities ferry services do not operate at night during winter. The ferry frequency is every 15 minutes, and the journey takes 5 to 10 minutes between the two terminals.

  • Winter: 1 Nov – 31 May
  • Summer: 1 Jun – 31 Oct

Every day, the first ferry starts from Cospicua Ferry Terminal at 6.30 am, and 6.45 am from Valletta. The last ferry timing ends at 7.00 pm and 7.15 pm at Cospicua and Valletta respectively.

During summer, the night ferry service extends from 7.45 pm from Cospicua. The last ferry service from Cospicua and Valletta ends at 11.30 pm and 12 midnight.

Valletta ⟺ Three Cities Ferry Price

The Valletta to Three Cities ferry price is similar to that from Sliema to Valletta. The below fares are a recap.

# During the day before 7.45 pm:


  • Single Trip: €1.50
  • Round Trip: €2.80


  • Single Trip: €0.50
  • Return Trip: €0.90

# Night Ferry Services after 7.45 pm:

  • Single Trip: €1.75
  • Round Trip: €3.30

Weekly Pass: €10.00 (consecutive use for 7 days)

Source: Valletta Ferry Services

Sliema Valletta by Bus

If you prefer to take a bus from Sliema to Valletta or vice versa, you can take 13, 14, 16 and N13. You can use Google Maps to get the bus number from Point A to B or use some Malta transport apps to help you plan your travel destination.

Night Bus Service – N13

Bus number N13 is a night bus that brings you from Sliema to Valletta and vice versa. In case you miss the last ferry, you have another option to go back.

Il-Belt Valletta ➟ Il-Floriana ➟ Tal-Pieta ➟ L-Imsida ➟ Ta’Xbiex ➟ Il-Gzira ➟ Tas-Sliema ➟ St. Julian’s (San Giljan)

The first bus departing at both ends of the bus terminals from Valletta and St. Julian’s/San Giljan is at 11.10 pm.
The last bus departs from Valletta and St. Julian’s/San Giljan at 1.30 am from Sunday to Monday, and 2.10 am on Friday and Saturday night.

For all other night buses or bus routes in Malta, refer to the Malta Public Transport website.

Bus Fares in Malta

You can buy a single trip ticket inside all the buses in Malta. Pay the exact amount directly to the bus driver. A cash paper ticket will be issued. You can use it on other buses within 2 hours.

  • Winter Bus Fare: €1.50 (most time of the year)
  • Summer Bus Fare: €2.00 (mid-June to mid-October)
  • Night Ticket: €3.00 (all times)

There are also a few options for Malta transport cards for tourists to reduce the bus fares per trip called Explore Cards.

About Author

Hi, I'm MissSJ, your virtual travel guide here. Travelling, Google Maps and YOU are my interests. I enjoy amplifying my stories and tips with online maps to calculate the distance figuratively and navigate the direction so several points of interests are conglomerated in the same area as possible. With a virtual assistant, take my ride and join me!

Leave a reply