These amazing caves aren’t part of some fairy-tale or horror movie – they can be found in some of the world’s most remote places in Europe. Some of these caves form when water seeps down through cracks in limestone rock. The limestone rock dissolves into the water bit by bit, forming cracks and openings.
Over millions of years, these openings, and the limestone left behind by dripping water, can form the amazing caves you see here. Other caves were formed over millions of years by being gradually worn away by lake or sea water.
If you’re thinking of rushing off to visit one of these caves, hold your horses. Although some of the caves are open for public, the majority of them are only open to extreme adventurers who have to get their passes in advance.
Ice Cave – Mutnovsky Volcano
Believe it or not, this amazing, otherworldly Ice Cave is actually real and is situated in Russia, near the Mutnovsky volcano. The half-mile long cave was formed by a stream that flows through glacial fields at the bottom of the volcano.
The passage is usually too small to enter, but light snowfall and an unusually hot summer created these massive caverns with a nearly transparent roof, reminiscent of a stained-glass cathedral.
Crystal Cave – Vatnajvkull
Created by the unparalleled forces of the Vatnajvkull ice cap, the Crystal Cave emerged as a result of its glacier meeting the Icelandic coastline. The cave’s ice dates back centuries, and its weight has pressed out all remnant air, so the resultant formation’s texture and colors are both brilliant and otherworldly.
Access is via a 22-foot entrance at the water’s edge, though height clearance tapers down to only about 4 feet at the far end, about 150 feet in.
Algarve – Portugal
The Algarve region in Portugal, where this cave is located, is prone to various seaside formations because of the rock face’s relative solubility in water. This specific cave near Lagos is accessible only by water.
Located near the coastal city of Lagos, this series of cliffs, pillars and tunnels were formed over thousands of year battering by the seas in the region. There are spectacular Ponta da Piedade viewing spots at the top of the cliffs, but the best way to view them is by boats that are stationed at the marina in Lagos.
They cruise along the coast, where you can see the amazing caves and rock formations up close and personal. Some caves even have their own private beaches.
Grotta Palazzese – Italy
The traditional Italian town of Polignano a Mare in southern Italy, sits atop a 20-meter high limestone cliff carved by the Adriatic Sea. The largest of these caves is the Grotta Palazzese, overlooking the crystalline waters of the sea.
Since 1700’s this cave has been the picturesque site for one-of-its-kind restaurant that in those times served the wealthy local nobility and today this Grotta Palazzese restaurant offers a world class cuisine.
The cave interiors get lighted up by the natural aquamarine reflection of the sea, making it one of the most enchanting hideaways for a romantic tête-à-tête. The Summer Cave restaurant of Grotta Palazzese remains open from May to October. It serves two kinds of menu – the tasting menu and an à la carte menu.
A five-star luxury hotel also snuggles in this limestone cliff.
Dragon Caves of Mallorca
Already discovered during the Middle Ages, Cuevas del Drach, also known as the Dragon Caves of Mallorca. This cave were first explored by MF Will in 1880. However, it was EA Martel in 1886, who came up with the astonishing discovery of a lake inside these caves, now known as Lake Martel.
It counts as one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world and is a major tourist attraction of Mallorca. The work for modification of the caves was undertaken from 1922 to 1935. Today, it has a new entrance, paths and stairs. You will get completely bowled over by its creatively designed lighting that illuminates the incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations. Their reflections on the surface of the lake bestow a surrealistic ambiance to the caves.
Out here, you not only get to explore the caves, but also ride a boat and attend classical music concerts. The subterranean scenario reminds one of the book ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ by Jules Verne .
Kurubera-Voronja – Georgia
Welcome to the deepest cave in the world, the Kurubera-Voronja. The cave is located on the European border in the Arabika Massif on the edge of the Black Sea in Georgia.
It plunges to a staggering depth of 2,197 meters, making it the only known cave on the Earth that crosses the 2-kilometer mark. Is it any wonder that this deepest cave is called the ‘Everest of caves’? The explored depth of this ‘Everest of caves’ stands at 1,710 meters.
Exploring it is akin to scaling the Mount Everest, since it requires all the mountaineering gear and is certainly not for amateurs.