Caves, these natural holes under the surface of the earth, are rocks generally dug and formed by water. These generally natural excavations – most of the time – are often in the rock itself or even in the side of a mountain. If you’ve ever been able to visit one in person, you know how impressive it is to be inside. If you weren’t so lucky, let yourself be carried away by these breathtaking photos!
Cave of Melissani
Melissani Cave is located on the Greek island of Kefalonia. There are two cavities in the cave: the first is open at the top and therefore very sunny, while the other is dark and covered with moss, stalagmites and algae.
Benagil Cave is on the southern coast of the Algarve, Portugal. Since the sea currents around the cave are sometimes strong, many people visit the cave using a paddle board or even a boat, rather than swimming.
Cave of Saeva Dupka
This cave is located in northern Bulgaria. It is named after two brothers, Seyu and Sae, who are said to have hid in the cave during the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. The cave is known for its excellent acoustic conditions and sometimes concerts are held there.
Reed Flute Cave
The Reed Flute Cave was named after the green reeds that grow outside of it that people use to make flutes. This spectacular cave is located in Guilin, China. Colored lights illuminate the stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations in the cave to delight tourists.
The Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia are one of the most breathtaking sites you can visit in the region. It is one of the oldest caves in the world and is filled with underground rivers and crystalline limestone formations.
Langjokull Glacier Cave
This huge cave, which looks nothing more or less than a huge wave, was formed by a hot spring under the glacier or by meltwater from the surface. The ice climber in the photograph is about 24 meters deep.
The Blue Grotto or Blue Grotto is located on the island of Capri in Italy. Even though the blue of the water in this photo looks fake, it hasn’t been retouched. The water inside the cave is crystal blue with silver highlights.
The caves of Arta
We see here the entrance to one of the cavities of the Arta caves in Majorca. Huge stalactites descend from the ceiling, creating magnificent cathedral-like structures. Guided tours with special effects are organized there.
Phraya Nakhon Cave
Phraya Nakhon Cave is located inside Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province in Thailand. In the morning, sunlight fills the cave illuminating the small pavilion at the far end. The Khuha Kharuehat Pavilion was built in 1890 for the visit of King Chulalongkorn.
Caves of Diros
The Diros Caves in Greece were discovered in 1958. The cave is covered in stalagmites and stalactites, some of which are over 488 meters high!
This huge cave in Bulgaria was once inhabited by thousands of humans. Now uninhabited, around 30,000 bats have made it their home. One of the unique features of Devetashka Cave is that seven holes at the top allow sunlight to pass through and illuminate the space below.
Grotte de Stopić
Stopića Cave is located on the left bank of the Prištavica River in Serbia. The main attraction of the cave is the underground waterfall which is almost 10 meters high.
Grotte du Woolshed
This large cave was carved into a granite cliff by wave erosion. Located in South Australia, people can visit this cave on Talia Beach as well as the nearby blowhole and a large crater.
Grotte d’Algar do Carvão
This cave is an old volcano crater located in the middle of the island of Terceira in Portugal. This image shows the entrance to the cave: a real heavily wooded jungle.
Temimina Cave is a small cave located inside the Alto Ribeira Tourist State Park in São Paulo, Brazil. The park is justly known for its numerous caves.
Grotte de Postojna
In this photo you can see the cave behind this ancient castle. Predjama Castle in Slovenia was built into the side of a mountain and is the largest cave castle in the world. Beneath the castle is a massive four-story cave as well as a network of secret tunnels.
The Cango Caves are the largest cave system in Africa. Located in Oudtshoorn, South Africa, the caves were discovered in 1780 by a local farmer.
The Hollow Cave
This cave in Spain has a large entrance facing east. This image also shows the opening of the cave. Due to wind erosion, the rock faces inside have formed hexagonal shapes.
The Waitomo Caves in New Zealand are also famously known as the ‘Glow Worm Cave’. Thousands of glowworms line the walls of the cave creating an unforgettable luminescent light for those who visit.
Besides the beaches, the Crystal Caves are one of Bermuda’s finest natural attractions. The cave was formed during the Ice Age and boasts a clear blue water lake fed by the ocean.
The Batu Caves in Malaysia consist of three large cavities – and a number of smaller ones – on a limestone hill. The centuries-old temple inside the cave serves as an important religious landmark for Hindus.
Fingal’s Cave in Scotland is 22 meters high and 82 meters deep. The unique feature of the cave is the hexagonal basalt columns that make up its walls. The columns form a walkway, allowing visitors to enter and explore the cave.
Son Doong Cave
Located inside Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam, Son Doong Cave is the largest cave in the world. The name translates to “mountain river cave”. The cave is believed to have been created by the erosion of limestone under the mountain by river water two to five million years ago.
Cave of the Greens
This cave, located on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, was formed after the eruption of a volcano. During the 16th and 17th centuries it was used as a hiding place by locals to protect themselves from pirate attacks.
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is the longest known cave system with over 400 miles of caves. The park has twenty miles of underground cave trail and 53,000 acres of forest to explore.
Photos: GETTY IMAGES