Travelling with 3 dogs from UK to Malta

Hi, Please can anyone advise me? I want the best route to travel from the UK to Malta by driving. There will be my husband and myself and 3 dogs and we are going initially for 3 months and then hopefully to re-locate if we like being there. I would like the best option of getting there, taking into account, we have 3 small dogs with us. Has anyone travelled with pets to Malta before and if so, what route did you take?
I was thinking of Dover to Calais via the tunnel and then driving to somewhere in Italy and getting a ferry to Sicily and then to Malta. Is this the best route and can anyone advise which shipping lines. Has anyone actually done this journey?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Lesley, have a look around in this thread, you may find some answers/information there:

We have done the journey  a couple of times, once with our dog.
The route you suggested is what we did but be aware that the only ferry that currently operates from Italy leaves in the evening from Napoli to Catania ( along way down south).
Then its just a short drive to Pozzalo and you have all day to do it, so you and the dog can de-stress on the beach at Pozzalo (a great little town).

You do need to notify the Maltese authorities regarding the dogs, see my other reply to your post.


You will find the chain hotels in France will all take the dogs no problem, stick to the motorways always plenty of places to stop and exercise the dogs etc.
Italy is a bit different the agritourist farms are very good and will allow dogs best to phone ahead or book via this wbsite.....

This site lists the ferry companies and routes .....


Hi Terry

Hope you are well. We are leaving UK tomorrow to start on our journey to Malta and you have been a great help. You did give me a list of hotels in Italy which take dogs but I cant find the thread. As we don't know where we are going to be and at what time, is Italy quite easy to just stop on the motorway and find a hotel? We know France is ok and are planning to use a Formula 1 Hotel.

Just a bit concerned about Italy as we don't know the country.



The link is on this thread about the second post down. Hotels in Italy tend not to be on the motorways  but  on the road into town. Generally easy to find but not signposted when you are on the motorway! Sometimes you can see them but otherwise just leave the motorway and head towards the nearest town. Just incase you don,t know motorways in France are signposted in blue but in Italy they are signposted in Green!

Good luck, we are still meandering around in Italy with our dog, currently heading towards Rome.
We don,t always have internet access but if you get stuck email me and I will try to help!

We leave Naples for Sicily on the 30th and get back to Malta on the 3rd of Sept.


Thanks Terry and enjoy the rest of your road trip!

Good luck:))))))))))

Hi Lesley, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me about your journey on the ferry from Italy as we'll be doing this journey in Fenruary

Journey was fantastic and I would do it all again if I could. To summarise we left Chester at 3 PM and drove two cars down to Dover. My husband had two dogs in our Peugeot 409 and I had one little dog in my streetka. We caught the 11 PM ferry to Calais and that night we stayed in the Peugeot with the three dogs in a carpark at a service station as we didn't want to be checking into a hotel at 2 AM. Unbelievably we slept well and made an early start 7 AM and hit the road. We travelled down through France towards the Montj blanc tunnel to and stopped on average every two hours so the dogs could have a drink and stretch their legs. We stayed in a cheap but clean hotel which allowed dogs in France and stop quite early as it had been a long day. We then went out for dinner again with the three dogs and had a leisurely walk and an early night in bed. Next day  started to drive southwards same routine as the day before and found another hotel somewhere mid Italy can't remember exactly now but will look it up if you want. Next day arrived at regio de calibrio and took a 30 minute crossing to Sicily. Drove the length of Sicily which took about four hours and then spent a leisurely afternoon on the beach waiting for the ferry to Valletta, Malta which leaves at 9 PM every day. A great journey! Hope this helps. We were met in Valletta by the vet who checked the microchips and the paperwork and it was all very straightforward process! Good Luck

Make sure you have plans in scicilly in case the ferry doesn't run- many people I know who came in February has to make alternative plans due to a ferry not operating for a week

Thanks 5591km (I take it this was the length of your journey), our plan was to take the GNV from Genoa to Sicily but this is very long for the dogs. I just wondered if anyone has done this ferry trip with dogs ?
Thanks Rob, good tip.

We chose not to take the Genoa to Sicily ferry as the dogs could not stay with us on the ferry and I didn't like that idea so hence the long drive through Italy. (very scenic though)
The Sicily to Malta ferry has a shutdown, last 2 weeks in January normally for routine work on their ships so check that out too.

We travelled from  Civitavecchia to Sicily by ferry when we moved to Malta, with our dog and vowed we would not travel that route again.

Kennels were terrible, open mesh cages right next to the engine exhaust funnel and on the open deck.
You are allowed to visit during the day but not at night, our dog and bedding were soaking wet the next morning.
Dogs are not allowed in cabins and the food on-board was disgusting.

We now drive down to the toe of Italy and take the short crossing to Sicily (no need to book).

Also the Virtu ferries from Sicily to Malta does not run for at least three weeks in January, they take it out of service for a week for maintenance  but its rarely back in service in time plus it will not operate in high winds!

Make sure you have a backup plan if its delayed.

Don't forget to pre book your dogs entry into Malta as they are now threatening to fine those that do not!


Exactly all the reasons we drove through Italy! Well written Terry

Thanks Terry

Hello Lesley

Can I ask where you booked the ferries. Me my mum and our little dog are planning on doing this journey in a weeks time. Do you really have to get a vet to meet you in Malta?

Any help would be greatful as I can only find fairly dear ferries, am looking to go from Pozzalla and when I google feedback most don't pay that much.

Thank you in advance :) Jackie

The post you have referred to is from 2014, so you may not get a reply from them.

You can book through a uk or directly with grandi navi velochi. I highly recommend the GNV ferry from Genoa to Palermo. Your dog can stay in the cabin with you and there's  doggy deck for pees and poos. Really stress free. You relax instead of driving. I've done the journey a few times now so if you need to know anything else just ask. Good luck.

Lillilon :

Hello Lesley

Can I ask where you booked the ferries. Me my mum and our little dog are planning on doing this journey in a weeks time. Do you really have to get a vet to meet you in Malta?

Any help would be greatful as I can only find fairly dear ferries, am looking to go from Pozzalla and when I google feedback most don't pay that much.

Thank you in advance :) Jackie

As far as I am aware yes you do need to see a vet when you arrive here.

Hi Lillilon,
I am a friend of Lesley and she is no longer in Malta, returning to the UK a couple of months ago for a while.

I haven't done the journey myself by ferry but understand the last leg from Sicily to Malta can cost quite a bit (as there is no competition). When we flew our dog over (in 2014) we definitely needed to have a vet to see her at the cargo terminal - but it was all taken care of very quickly.

Funnily enough I did book the ferries BACK (from Malta) for 3 dogs for another UK expat friend who also went home to the UK in June last year. It was pretty straight forward but I don't remember the sites. As it was June they had to pay quite a lot as I recall.

Sounds like Bobby911 will be able to help.

Best wishes and Bon Voyage

PS I don't know what I do to all my friends with 3 dogs that sends them back to England!   :cool:

Yes you do need to pre notify the pets arrival, this link is working. … malta.aspx


We are driving to Malta from the UK mid December with our Labrador.

I believe we need to see a vet to give him worming tablets 24-120 hours before entering Malta.

If so can anyone recommend a vet in Italy?

Many thanks

Hi all,
Can anyone give me criteria for entering malta via ferry with 2 dogs 🐶🐶 they have their passports and rabies jabs
My vet advised me to get worming and tapeworm tablets the night before we travel from Ireland but is this not to soon prior to our estimated arrival in Malta ( we had decided to take approximately one week to travel)
Is it still a requirement to gets dogs checked by vet on arrival at ferry port
We would be very grateful for any advice

Yeah meeting the vet is required, they're very responsive, best to call and get the most current info direct from them.

We did the Salerno to Valletta ferry via Grimaldi with 2 dogs in November.  It stops at Catania for a few hours but you stay on the boat.  This route saves the long drive across sicily and is less expensive than GNV or Virtu.  Its more of a cargo ship with a few cabins than a cruise ship like the others.  You can book a dog friendly cabin and have the dog in your room for the trip.  You do need to have the vet papers showing the deworming  <120 hours prior to arrival and also need to pre notify.  We forgot to prenotify one year coming through the airport in Malta and got into trouble with the customs people - we were lucky not have been fined or worse not be allowed to bring the dog in.  Also for arrival in Valletta, there was a vet waiting for us at 1am.  He had the passenger manifest from the ship that showed our car and that we booked a pet cabin.  He was looking for our number plate and when he saw us, waved us to the side.  We had all the right paperwork and it was very easy and quick.  But the bottom line is that they are very strict and thorough and you have really no chance of getting in with a dog  unnoticed.

Thanks for all the info, a lot to look at. But we hav to get it right couldn’t cope with them being refused entry!

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