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Never discount a Sightseeing Bus Tour! Even though you may consider yourself a ‘traveller’ not a ‘tourist’, someone keen to immerse yourself in the culture of a new nation, these vehicles still have their place and provide an excellent and valuable service – especially on Malta!
OK, so you might have hired a car and be able to get anywhere on the island, or you might not have the money to do this and be relying on public transport. Either way, you can still use and get some real benefit from getting on a Sightseeing Bus. And here’s why!
Firstly, if you have a car at your disposal then you still need to be able to negotiate it around the island, find the various attractions and sights you’d like to see and more importantly, park somewhere near them.
Similarly, the public transport here is excellent but you need to work out not only which route numbers are appropriate but also where and what times they leave. You also need to figure out, of course, what time they return and whether they use the same stop.
Now compare both of the above with the Sightseeing Bus, which comes complete with an experienced driver, who knows precisely where he’s going and will take you straight there. There will be no navigation rows with the other half, awkward silences when you go wrong and more awkward silences when you arrive and there’s nowhere to park.
Your Sightseeing Bus only stops at major attractions and right outside them thus eliminating all parking stress and worries about finding the stop to get back. That’s because they operate circular routes so you always catch the bus where you got off. Their hop on/ hop off policy means you can do this as often as you like. They also run every half hour, so forget about timetables because you’re never going to be waiting too long.
The next great thing about these buses is that they are open top so you can sit on the upper deck and look at things as you tootle along. In a car you only look at the road if you’re driving or you look at the map if you’re trying to figure out why Mdina has suddenly vanished from all road signs. OK, so you might have a new windswept and interesting hairdo when you get off but it’s relatively cool up there and fun too!
If you do like to immerse yourself in the local culture, particularly, the food and drink of the alcoholic variety, then taking the bus is a brilliant option. It means you can properly immerse yourself, especially in the local drink and not have to worry about who drives or how you will get home when the Maltese road signs are all blurry!
Last but not least, the Sightseeing Bus comes with commentary, so is a great way of familiarising yourself with the island, its layout and some of the more significant history. You can stay on for the whole tour and become educated, or at least make a mental note of some of the sights and attractions you’d like to return to.
The buses cover the island on two routes – north and south. Each one takes approximately three hours but you can get on and off as many times as you like and they do stop for toilet and drink breaks.
The South (Red) tour takes in Valletta, The Three Cities, picturesque fishing village Marsaslokk, the Blue Grotto and the ancient temples of Hagar Qim among other sights.
The North (blue) tour takes you through the yacht marina of Ta' Xbiex, San Anton Palace and Gardens, the Ta Qali Craft Village, Aviation Museum, Mosta Dome and the Silent City of Mdina. The return journey takes you past some of Malta's most magnificent beaches plus the popular tourist centres, Bugibba and St Julian's.
Buses run every 30 minutes and tickets are valid all day. There are 44 stops along the way and you can arrange to be picked up from your hotel in some cases. A day ticket costs €15 for an adult and €9 for children.
Address: Supreme Travel, Kastellan Road, Zejtun ZTN 4400
Phone: +356 2169 4967
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