On a calm day, a ferry trip to Gozo is an absolute delight. Grab a coffee and pastizzi at the café, and get out onto the deck for panoramic views of the Mediterranean as you sail past Comino and the indistinct coastline of Gozo gradually comes into focus. Every now and then, you might spot dolphins and there are often seabirds skimming the waves, such as Scopoli’s Shearwaters, which nest in the cliffs of Ta Cenc. Treat the trip like a 25-minute mini-break from the hectic pace of life.
The Malta-Gozo ferry is operated solely by Gozo Channel and runs 24 hours a day (weather permitting) with ferries leaving every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the time of day.
The ferry leaves from Cirkewwa in the north of Malta to Mgarr in Gozo. This car and passenger ferry is the only link between Malta and Gozo and so at peak times, queues can be a minimum of one hour long. Cars are loaded on a first come, first served basis, so leave yourself plenty of time if you have a pressing appointment or about to catch a flight (you are more likely to make it if you are a foot passenger only).
If you are going by car, you will drive onto the ferry and then leave your vehicle and go above deck. Foot passengers board separately from the terminal building. Tickets are sold from the booth as you drive through, on the Gozo side. Foot passengers can buy tickets at the ferry terminal. They cost €15.70 for a car and standard driver. Passenger standard fare is €4.65. Concession fares are available for senior citizens and Gozo residents.
The ferry has a little shop and café serving drinks and food and the ferry ports also have food, facilities and WiFi (both at the terminal and also on board the ships, although the connection is not always as strong). The crossing is usually reasonably calm and so quick that most people don’t need sea-sickness pills but if you’re very prone to feeling queasy, you might want to consider taking something in advance.
Comino is perhaps the most gorgeous of all the wild spaces in Malta. Car-free (apart from a handful of vehicles for the local farmer and hotel), it’s a hikers’ paradise. Tourists flock here in the summer and the Blue Lagoon gets horribly busy, but as soon as you move away from that area, you’ll find yourself virtually alone. If you want to see the Blue Lagoon at its best, stay on the island overnight – most of the tourists are gone by late afternoon. There's an official campsite close to Santa Marija Bay.
Ferries to Comino leave from Cirkewwa in Malta and Mgarr in Gozo from spring to autumn, weather permitting. Both cost around €10 round trip - contact them for times and availability as you may need to book your space at peak seasons, especially if you're carrying lots of luggage. You can also catch the hotel boat for a fee, even if you are not staying at the hotel. However keep in mind that this boat will drop you at the other end of the island, close to Santa Marija Bay rather thank the Blue Lagoon area where most boat trips end. Day trips are available with Captain Morgan Cruises (+356 2346 3333), amongst others.
The ferry from Sliema takes 5 minutes to Valletta and 10 minutes to the Three Cities. An adult single costs €1.50 and a return is €2.80. It leaves from the end of St. Mark’s Street. You can also hire your own water taxi. This has become a very efficient way of getting to the capital or vice-versa, while avoiding traffic and parking problems.
Virtu Ferries operate the Sicily route with a large, enclosed catamaran. It takes cars and foot passengers and the journey takes around 1.5hrs to Pozzallo and 3hrs to Catania. Tickets prices cost about €77 for a passenger; a car costs an additional €61 for a Sunday return. Look out for special offers as you can often get a deal if you book in advance. One-day excursions are also available.
The ferry leaves from the Virtu Passenger Terminal, Xatt l-Ghassara tal-Gheneb, Marsa and goes to Catania or Pozzallo in 90 minutes. From there, Sicily, Italy and the rest of Europe are accessible by car. If you are taking a car, you will drive onto the ferry and then leave your vehicle to go into the lounges. The journey can occasionally be rough so if you’re prone to sea sickness, take a pill first – you won’t be able to get on deck for any fresh air and smoking is not permitted on-board. Pets are also allowed to travel.
If you're going to drive over to Malta, you might want to read more about driving in Malta.
Free yourself from the traffic by catching the ferry to Valletta and enjoy stunning views into the bargain. Find the ferry schedule here. An adult single ticket costs €1.50 and a weekly pass is €10. There are also 3, 6 and 12 month passes.
The ferry leaves from the Sliema Strand (opposite the main café / shops zone). It goes to the Marsamxett terminal in Valletta.
There’s another ferry that leaves from Cospicua in The Three Cities to the Lascaris ferry landing in Valletta.