Malta Public Transport

Ghar Dalam

A prehistoric safari

There was an age when elephants, hippos, and deers roamed around the Maltese islands. To revisit this period, we need to go back some 130,000 years, a time when much of continental Europe was covered in ice and the significant drop in sea levels exposed land brides between Sicily and Malta, offering the ancient animals a convenient passage into warmer climate.

This extraordinary chapter of the islands’ history came to light with the discovery of the Għar Dalam cave in Birżebbuġa, Malta’s oldest prehistoric site.

The 145-meter cave was first documented in the mid-17th century and secrets about Malta’s Pleistocene past kept surfacing ever since. Generations of archaeologists, palaeologists, and explorers have scoured the cave’s innards to paint a clearer picture of the fascinating period that lasted until around 12,000 years ago.

Għar Dalam was a centre of focus for adventurers in search of Neanderthals settlements, and the question remains open right up to this point.

Entrance to the cave is through a museum built between the wars, itself a piece of history as one of only few surviving displays set up in the Victorian style to be found anywhere in Europe.

The mysterious Għar Dalam is open for visitors on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays between 10:00 and 16:30. The site is managed by Heritage Malta.

Getting there

The fittingly named bus stop Dalam is right outside the museum entrance and is served by three routes:

Route 80 leaves Valletta for Birżebbuġa every hour from 07:00 to 21:00

Route 82 leaves Valletta for Birżebuġa every 15 minutes from 05:05 to 22:45

Route 85 leaves Valletta for Marsaxlokk every hour from 05:30 to 19:30