Sep 22, 2017
Our never-ending quest to investigate Earth’s uncharted territories is one of the reasons for the increasing popularity of cave exploration as a pastime. The following list will get you started on exploring the world’s greatest caves.
Grotto Azzurra, Italy
Grotto Azzurra or Blue Grotto is one of Capri island’s greatest attractions. It’s a sapphire-hued sea cave only accessible during low tide as the cave’s entrance is a mere metre high and two metres wide. Though not as long or as deep as many of the other caves listed here, its sheer beauty would make it worth the trip. Tours of the Blue Grotto are provided by local operators, two of which, Motoscafisti di Capri and Laser Capri, offer round-trip boat excursions from €15 (US$18). It can get a bit crowded, especially during the summer peak season. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, visit during off-peak seasons.
Škocjan Cave, Slovenia
This impressive Slovenian cave system was inscribed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Containing evidence of human inhabitation as far back as 10,000 years, the Škocjan Caves are a must-see attraction for anyone travelling through Slovenia. Some of the caves’ highlights include one of the world’s largest known underground canyons; the Big Collapse Doline (or sinkhole) and the Little Collapse Doline, where the entrance to the caves can be found; the Rimstone Pools and even some underground waterfalls.
Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand
Famous for being home to a species of glowworm endemic to New Zealand, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves of North Island offer visitors a jaw-dropping encounter with one of Mother Nature’s true wonders – the shimmering bioluminescence of these special insects.
A number of cave tours are available, with the Waitomo Glowworm Cave Tour (NZ$50 or US$36) taking spelunkers through the renowned Glowworm Grotto. In addition to touring the vast cave systems at Waitomo, several other adventure activities are on offer, including rock climbing, blackwater rafting and abseiling.