11 impressive caves in Spain, underground treasures to be discovered

There are many treasures hidden in the depths of Spain. Throughout history, caves have fascinated humankind with their mysticism and atmospheres charged with symbolism and magic. Some people are unaware that Spain has one of the best tourist cave networks in Europe. This is due to the fact that a large part of the network of these underground treasures is well adapted for your visit and enjoyment.

Stalactites, stalagmites, impossible formations, cave paintings and natural beauty are just some of the surprises that these caves hold. Each one of them is unique and has particularities that differentiate it from the rest. It is for this reason that these natural wonders deserve to be included on your travel list if you happen to pass near them, and there are many of them in almost all of Spain!

Pulpí Geode, Almería

Geoda de Pulpí

Pulpí Geode. | Facebook La Geoda de Pulpí

The geode of Pulpí, also known as the geode of Pilar de Jaravía, is located in the Sierra del Aguilón. It belongs to the district of Pilar de Jaravía, specifically in the municipality of Pulpí, Almería. It is a giant geode covered with large crystals of selenite; a transparent variety of gypsum. This cabe was discovered in 1999 by the Grupo Mineralogista de Madrid. It is the second largest in the world and the largest in Europe. An essential visit in Almería to witness a geological wonder.

Drach Caves, Mallorca

Drach Caves

Drach Caves and their sky-blue colours. | shuitterstock

The Drach Caves are the most famous and most visited caves on the island of Mallorca. They are a group of four large caves of karstic origin located in the municipality of Manacor, in the east of the island. Although they were already known in ancient times, it was not until the end of the 19th century that they were explored and mapped. In addition to its magnificent beaches, Mallorca has spectacular caves with geological formations millions of years old. Among them are the underground freshwater and saltwater lakes.

El Águila Caves, Ávila

Formations of El Águila Caves

Formations of El Águila Caves. | cuevasdelaguila.com

El Águila caves are a gem of the geological heritage of the province of Ávila. They cover a route of 1,000 metres, almost all of which is passable and in an excellent state of conservation. It is a large route in which the capricious geological formations take centre stage. One of the most spectacular areas of the cave is the central vault, which covers nearly 10,000 m2.

Nerja Cave, Málaga

Huge stalactites in the Nerja Cave

Huge stalactites in the Nerja Cave. | shutterstock

The Nerja Cave may be one of the most impressive on this list as this natural wonder was inhabited 40,000 years ago. In contrast to the famous prehistoric caves of the Cantabrian Sea, this cave also has 24,000-year-old cave paintings. Thanks to all its formations of columns, stalactites and stalagmites, it is one of the most complete and striking sites in Andalusia.

Ojo Guareña, Burgos

Mural paintings in the church of San Bernabé

Mural paintings in the church of San Bernabé. |lasmerindades.com

Ojo Guareña, located in the beautiful northern region of the province of Burgos, is a complex of galleries and caves. They are crowned at the entrance to the site by the hermitage of San Bernabé. The latter was built in the 18th century and the mural paintings inside are spectacular. The rest of the caves occupy a surface area of 18 km in which different chambers and chasms follow one after the other in a fascinating route with variations of up to 6 storeys in height. 

Canelobre de Busot Caves, Alicante

Canelobre Caves

Canelobre Caves. | Ayuntamiento de Busot

The Canelobre caves are undoubtedly one of the greatest natural attractions in the province of Alicante. Inside the cave complex there is a space of more than 80,000 m2 which can be accessed through a 45-metre tunnel. Throughout the tour, jellyfish, stalactites and stalagmites accompany visitors as perpetual watchers of the depths. A perfect getaway if you visit this marvellous province.

Los Verdes Cave, Lanzarote

Los Verdes Cave

Los Verdes Cave. | shutterstock

There are few places in the world where you can enjoy a concert underground. In the Los Verdes cave on Lanzarote, the acoustics are simply spectacular. The sound effects due to the porosity of the lava, the careful lighting and the unique experience make this place magical. A space that unites art and nature that will leave no one indifferent.

Ortigosa Caves, La Rioja

Ortigosa Caves

Ortigosa Caves. | Courtesy of the Ayuntamiento de ORTIGOSA and www.espeleofoto.com

Located in the heart of the Encinedo mountain, the caves of Ortigosa were formed in a very special place, a limestone massif that emerged in the Jurassic period. This complex includes the caves of La Paz and La Viña. Both can be visited by the public and are of considerable length: 236 and 114 metres respectively. Together with their dimensions and lighting, the whiteness of the geological formations of these caves are their greatest signs of identity.

Valporquero Cave, León

River inside the cave of Valporquero

River inside the cave of Valporquero. | Photo: Emilio del Prado

Not far from the city of León, the cave of Valporquero is located in the natural area of Hoces de Vegacervera, in the north of the province. It has a 1,300-metre-long route adapted for visitors, along which you can see the seven rooms that make up the complex. Originating millions of years ago, this amazing geological complex has been astonishing the public since 1996.

Gruta de las Maravillas, Huelva

One of the lagoons of the Gruta de las Maravillas

One of the lagoons of the Gruta de las Maravillas. | Shutterstock

In the Andalusian province of Huelva there is an incredible cave under a castle-church located on the hill of Aracena. And it is not surprising that it is called “of wonders”, as in this cave the water creates small lakes of crystalline waters. The colours of the rocks and geological formations emerge in shades of blue like those of the sky itself. A very well adapted space that still retains its mystical aura.

Altamira Cave, Cantabria

Bison in the cave of Altamira

Bison in the cave of Altamira. | shutterstock

In any self-respecting list of underground wonders, the cave of Altamira is a must. World famous for its cave paintings, this natural cave in Cantabria was discovered by Modesto Cubillas in 1868. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been called the “Sistine Chapel of the Palaeolithic”.

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