The roundabout way from Spain to Malta

I am holidaying in Barcelona next month and need to get to Malta by the end of May for a yacht charter. I love sailing and ferries and was wondering what the best way would be to reach Malta, taking in sights on the way. I don't really want to fly to Malta.

- H. Olsen, Mosman.

There are no direct ferries between Barcelona and Malta. However, it is possible to go via one of several Italian ports. The itinerary that is going to work best is Barcelona to Livorno with a Grimaldi Lines ferry (www.grimaldi-ferries.com), departing on Thursdays at 11.59pm and arriving the following day at 7.30pm.

From Livorno, Grandi Navi Veloci (gnv.it) operates a ferry service to Valletta (pictured), the Maltese capital, departing on Saturdays at 10pm and arriving on Mondays at 7am. This will require an overnight stay on Friday in Livorno but other connections work even less well.

Depending on what sights you would like to include along the way, you might also consider going via Palermo in Sicily, or Civitavecchia, north-west of Rome, using the services of either Grimaldi or Grandi Navi Veloci ferries.

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