The world is known for many wonders – most especially in the field of geology. From high mountain ranges, to underwater volcanoes, to wide expanse of deserts and tropical rain forests, it is undeniable that the world has a lot to offer when it comes to natural beauty. Apart from these natural wonders, caves are also very popular among locals and tourists alike. These caves represent not only the beauty of nature at its finest but also history and unique flora and fauna. Spelunking, or caving in layman’s terms, is one of the most lucrative tourist draws for many countries all over the world – with the beauty of staring at natural formations of stalactites and stalagmites attracting people from all walks of life to come and explore.
This list dishes to you the top 10 most famous caves around the world. So, how many of these caves were you able to visit already?
List of Most Popular Caves In The World
10. Painted Cave – California, United States of America
Painted Cave is a prehistoric sandstone cave located in Santa Barbara County, California, United States of America. The cave is situated in the Santa Ynez Mountains and is known for its unique rock art, which is believed to have been created by the Chumash people.
The cave is approximately 120 feet long and 60 feet wide, with a ceiling that reaches up to 60 feet high in some areas. The walls of the cave are covered in paintings, drawings, and geometric designs that are thought to have been created between 200 and 1000 AD. The artwork depicts various animals, humans, and spiritual symbols that are thought to represent the Chumash people’s beliefs and daily life.
The cave was first discovered by Europeans in the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that the rock art was first documented and studied. Today, the cave is a protected site and is managed by the United States Forest Service. While visitors are not allowed inside the cave, there are viewing platforms nearby that provide a glimpse of the stunning artwork.
9. Fingal’s Cave – Scotland, United Kingdom
Fingal’s Cave is a sea cave located on the uninhabited island of Staffa, which is part of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland, United Kingdom. The cave is famous for its natural acoustics and striking geological features.
The cave was formed entirely from hexagonally-jointed basalt columns, which were created by volcanic activity over 60 million years ago. The columns have a distinctive pattern that gives the cave a unique look. The entrance to the cave is around 70 feet high and 40 feet wide, and once inside, visitors can explore a large chamber that extends over 200 feet deep.
Fingal’s Cave has been a popular tourist attraction for centuries, with many famous visitors including Queen Victoria and composer Felix Mendelssohn, who was inspired to write his famous Hebrides Overture after visiting the cave. Today, visitors can take a boat tour to the island of Staffa to explore the cave and experience its incredible acoustics, which are caused by the echoes of the waves crashing against the walls.
8. Caverns of Sonora – Texas, United States of America
This cave is one of the most majestic that one can ever find and visit in the United States and the people of Texas are very proud of it. The crystalline formations are just simply fantastic to look at as your imagination conjures different images when one looks at the formations. Sadly, past visitors have vandalized the cave.
7. Cave of Swallows – Mexico
The Cave of Swallows is formed by the accumulation of limestone and other geological events which took many, many years. It is also used for BASE camping and even bungee jumping, as the cave is said to be as large and as tall as a skyscraper. It also has the largest cave shaft in the world.
6. Waitomo Glow Worm Caves – New Zealand
They say that a trip in these caves is just pure bliss and a truly unforgettable experience. The cave is home to the luminescent worm caves that attract their prey by being luminescent. A point of caution for the visitor is that the cave can smell a little off at time because of the gooey that these worms secrete.
5. Antelope Canyon – Arizona, United States of America
This beautiful cave is located in Navajo, Arizona and was formed from the erosion of sandstone. This cave is appreciated for the smooth surface and the colorful formations inside. It is divided between the Upper Canyon, where the smooth walls are located, and the Lower Canyon, where colorful arches may be seen and admired.
4. Marble Caves – Chile and Argentina
These caves are located in Patagonia – a territory that borders Chile and Argentina. The caves are just majestic in its multitude of colors and surfaces. Very few people can claim that there are other caves in South America that are as beautiful as these.
3. Caves of Algarve – Portugal
The small country of Portugal is largely open to the sea. This is why the Caves of Algarve also stand by the beach and offers a wide array of colors from brown sand, to blue waters, to yellow orange hues coming from direct sunlight. It is a top romantic draw when one visits the Portuguese countryside.
2. Ice Cave – Russia
This cave is located near Mutnovsky Volcano and is admired for the sheer complexity of rock formations inside as they take on various shapes, hues, and luminescence. It is a perfect place for pictures!
1. Son Doong Cave – Vietnam
Son Doong Cave is a massive cave located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam. It is considered to be one of the largest caves in the world and was only discovered in 2009 by a local man named Ho Khanh.
The cave is approximately 5.5 miles long, and its largest chamber is over 650 feet high and 490 feet wide. The cave is filled with stunning rock formations, including stalactites and stalagmites, and has its own unique ecosystem, with several species of animals and plants that are found nowhere else on Earth.
Due to its remote location and the difficulty of accessing it, only a limited number of visitors are allowed to enter Son Doong Cave each year. Visitors must join a guided tour that includes several days of trekking through the jungle and camping inside the cave. However, for those who are able to make the journey, the experience of exploring one of the world’s largest and most spectacular caves is truly unforgettable.