Valletta Tunnels

Underground Valletta

Useful Information

Location: MUŻA (Malta National Community Art Museum), Auberge D'Italie, Merchants St, Valletta, VLT 1170.
(35.8964472, 14.5115096)
Open: MAR to DEC Mon, Wed, Sun 10, 11, 12, 13.
Fee: Adults EUR 15, Children (6-17) EUR 10, Seniors (60+) EUR 10, Students EUR 10.
Classification: SubterraneaCellar SubterraneaCasemate SubterraneaSewage System SubterraneaWorld War II Bunker SubterraneaWater Supply
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: Max=15, MinAge=6.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: MUŻA - The Malta National Community Art Museum, Auberge D'Italie, Merchants St, Valletta, VLT 1170, Tel: +356-23-954-500. E-mail:
Heritage Malta Head Office (Ex Royal Naval Hospital), 35, Dawret Fra Giovanni Bichi, Il-Kalkara, KKR 1280, Tel: +356, 22-954-300. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1565 underground tunnels built during the Great Siege of Malta.


Valletta Tunnels are located in the capital of Malta, after which they were named. The city was of great strategic importance and was a fortress in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The island was part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530. Then Holy Roman Emperor Charles V leased the archipelago to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John, today commonly named the Knights of Malta. The knights started to dig the tunnels to serve the sanitary needs of the new city they built on Sciberras Hill. It had cisterns and well,s which stored rain water. But the underground tunnels were first mentioned as part of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The Ottoman Empire attacked the island, the knights dug the tunnels for defence, while Ottoman troopsdug tunnels to avoid the fortifications. There even were subterranean fights when one side found the tunnels of the other side.

The tunnels of today go back to these early fortifications, but actually they are different tunnels of different origin, and the use changed during their history. Some parts are the remnants of a sewer system. After the Knights of Malta were dispelled by Napoleon in 1798, the tunnels remained in use. Actually, the tunnels were essential for his victory. The Maltese immediately cut off the aqueducts which supplied water to the city, but they were not able to prevent the French from using the millions of liters of water stored in the reservoirs and underground cisterns of the City. The tunnels were used for moving troops, storing grains, transporting fresh water and as sewer. And in World War II some parts were transformed into air raid shelters for the population of the city. 17,000 t of bombs were dropped over Malta, the tunnels were essential for the survival of the people.

Today the site is managed by Heritage Malta, and it was opened to the public lately.

The guided tours into the tunnels start at the MUŻA, the Malta National Community Art Museum. We are not sure why, because it is actually a 750 m walk to the entrance of the tunnels (the obvious reason why the 30 minutes are required), but as the museum does not sell tickets for the tour this makes no real sense. The entrance to