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“Unique Experience”

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Paola
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground prehistoric burial site, a complex made up of interconnecting rock-cut chambers set on three distinct levels. Earliest remains at the site date back to about 4000BC, and the complex was used over a span of many centuries, up to c. 2500 BC. The Hypogeum was first opened to the public in 1908. Due to its uniqueness, the site became very popular with visitors. Unfortunately, this had a negative impact on the delicate microclimate of the site. For this reason, a conservation project was conducted that also included the closure of the site for 10 years between 1990 and 2000. As a result of these studies, a new visiting system was established. Nowadays, only 10 visitors an hour are now allowed inside the Hypogeum for a maximum of 8 tours a day. This system is also complemented by an environmental control system which keeps temperature and humidity at required levels. Tickets for the Hypogeum should be purchased well in advance.
Reviewed 11 August 2014

Booked ahead, on-line (via the Heritage Malta website) because it is almost impossible to see the Hypogeum otherwise. There are only ten visitors allowed at each time slot, so no overcrowding. It was very atmospheric and even a bit spooky in places. The lighting is kept on a very subdued level to prevent the growth of algae, so you need to watch your step in places. A film tells the history of the site before the visit commences, however I feel that the lighting for that should have been better - but at least it prepares you for the low levels of light to come. As well as the guide who accompanies the group, everyone is given an audio guide, which automatically starts at each section entered - so no need to press any buttons. We were very pleased to have had the opportunity to see such a unique place, and were full of admiration for the people who had built and decorated the Hypogeum. As no photography is possible we would certainly recommend the Insight Heritage Guide Book available on site, as it gives a good selection of photographs as well as a full description of the site. Although it would not be practical to take on the tour, we felt it gave an even better appreciation and enhanced our memories, when we read it later.

1  Thank Valcairos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"audio guide"
in 109 reviews
"book well in advance"
in 38 reviews
"world heritage site"
in 24 reviews
"heritage malta"
in 35 reviews
"above ground"
in 18 reviews
"visitor numbers"
in 10 reviews
"underground site"
in 8 reviews
"unique site"
in 12 reviews
"months in advance"
in 33 reviews
"no photos allowed"
in 7 reviews
"thousand years"
in 16 reviews
"burial chamber"
in 8 reviews
"no photography"
in 11 reviews
"time slot"
in 7 reviews
"stone tools"
in 7 reviews
"wall paintings"
in 8 reviews
"stone age"
in 12 reviews
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Reviewed 8 August 2014

To me this is probably the most interesting place in Malta, as it shows an underground temple for burying the dead dated form 3000 BC. Very well preserved. They only take 10 people at a time, with tours every hour. You MUST book months in advance to be sure to get a ticket. However, in the summer they have 2 extra tours per day, and tickets to these can only be bought the day before from the national museum. If so, you will have to stand in queue from 5 pm, or like we did, pay someone 50 euro to get the tickets for you. A lot f money, but still worth it. The tour takes 50 minutes an is fully automatic with an audio guide.

1  Thank Tore S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2014

For starters- like everyone mentions, you need to book in advance. I can't imagine someone paying $30 Euros for a ticket and then just not showing up, so highly recommend you go online and prebook (I booked in April for my visit at the end of June). I paid $30 Euros for one regular adult ticket and $15 Euros for a student ticket. I am happy to say that I received no hassles with booking the student ticket.

The location itself was very easy to find. I had a hop on hop off bus ticket and the stop was less than a 5 mins walk away from the Hypogeum (we got off at the "Tarxien" stop which was about a 15 mins drive away from the cruise port in Valletta). There is also signage and the building is recognizable (I have attached a photo of the outside of the building). Once you get inside, you "check-in" and wait for your turn.

You are not allowed to bring cameras, purses etc and they ask you to lock it up with everyone else's- you don't have a choice so if you aren't comfortable with leaving your purse, then I suggest you think of something before you arrive.

You are given a hand held audio guide in the language of your choice. The female guide we had prior was great as well. She joins you for the tour underground once you have read the posters and watched the video. One thing that I thought was unnecessary were the poster boards- I would have preferred to just watch the movie instead of reading the boards. Anyway, after the movie, you are taken down underground. Like others mention, if you are not a fan of tight spaces, the dark or are sensitive to smells, you will most likely not feel comfortable here. Also- make sure you wear proper footwear- I wore flip-flops which is not recommend as it is damp down there and can be slippery.

The temple itself was unreal to see and the audio guide had a timed light show that made the story very interesting. An hour is a perfect amount of time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. That being said, I am a history buff- I took along my 58 year old mom and she did not enjoy it at all. To each their own I guess...

Is it pricy? Yes. But I thought it was totally worth it and would highly recommend.

3  Thank ilovedgreece
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

In exploring the Megalithic temple ruins, this is a must see as it is a similar structure underground for the dead. Its amazing to see such a piece of history so well preserved. Booking in advance is highly recommended but if you do not, you can always try the National Art Gallery in Valetta for tickets for the next day or so. They cost 5Euro more than the online price, but the one hour tour is very well done.

1  Thank H Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 July 2014

Very limited admission of 60 people/day (for preservation reasons), so get online reservations as soon as you can to insure a visit. Only by luck of someone not showing up or a cancellation will you get in as a "walk up". Seeing an ancient tomb that was dug 30 meters into rock using hand tools ~5,000 years ago really makes you consider life during that time.

Thank Heston L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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