3 must-see caves

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There are some astounding caves around the world that you really must see.

Caves are generally quite dark places, so it does make them difficult to see. But bear with us and squint through the gloom, as there are some astounding caves around the world that you really must see.

The featured image of the Cave of Crystals is courtesy of  www.laventa.it.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand. Glowworm strings. Photo by www.waitomo.com
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand. Photo: www.waitomo.com
Boat tour of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
Boat tour of Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Photo: www.waitomo.com

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Glowworms used to be our only way of illuminating caves for millennia until we finally got round to inventing energy-saving lightbulbs.

The best place to see nature’s LEDs is Waitomo, where tours culminate in a pitch-black boat ride with nothing but thousands of the little blighters guiding the way.

The Cave of Crystals, Mexico
The Cave of Crystals, Mexico. Photo courtesy of www.laventa.it

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

A cave full of massive selenite crystals can be found attached to the Naica Mine in Chihuahua, giving people the opportunity to walk around a place that makes them feel like the villain in a James Bond film.

Be prepared to get a geology degree though – the 50C temperatures inside mean tourists rarely get a look in.

The Warszawa Chamber at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The Warszawa Chamber at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo by markhealey
Small chapel at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Small chapel at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo by Anosmia
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wieliczka, near Krakow, Poland
Wieliczka Chapel, the largest chapel in Wieliczka, has engravings of moments in Jesus’s life on its walls. Photo by byungkyupark
A grotto at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
A grotto at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo by Anosmia
The green lake at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The green lake at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo by mararie
Chapel Sacristry at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Chapel Sacristry at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo by nedrichards
A carving - Jesus at the temple - at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
A carving – Jesus at the temple – at Wieliczka Salt Mine. Photo by nedrichards
Janowice Chamber at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Janowice Chamber at Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland. Photo by alexeyklyukin

Wieliczka Salt Mines, Poland

Ok fine, it’s a mine – but a mine is really just a man-made cave so this remarkable spot near Krakow definitely counts.

Thousands of kilometres of tunnels and chambers have been excavated in Wieliczka over the centuries, with miners spending so much time down there that they carved out quarters, chapels, lakes and even a full cathedral hundreds of metres under the ground.

It’s probably also one of the few places in the world where tour guides encourage visitors to lick the walls.

Author: Adam Zulawski (245 posts)

I'm a freelance writer and Polish-to-English translator. I blog about travel for Cheapflights and run TranslatingMarek.com. Download my free e-book about Poland's capital after it was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis: 'In the Shadow of the Mechanised Apocalypse: Warsaw 1946'