Best Underground Wonders
If you feel you’ve had your fill of redwood forests, California coastlines, and Swedish mountaintops, the earth’s underground is your answer.
Yes, you read that right. While not nearly as accessible as some of the ‘above ground’ wonders of the world, there are plenty of places beneath the surface of our planet that can be equally (if not more) spectacular — and far less traveled.
The earth’s crust is riddled with an array of intriguing otherworldly wonders. We’ve got to give credit where it’s due, and in this case – it belongs to Mother Nature.
She never fails to impress when it comes to curating breathtaking masterpieces, so let’s go unearth some of the deepest darkest wonders the world has to offer.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Full of unique beauty and active continuously since the Middle Ages – the historic Wieliczka Salt Mine is visited by tourists every day, showing the most amazing works of art sculpted throughout the many centuries of laborious miners’ work.
The underground Wieliczka Salt Mine boasts kilometres of walkways and ramps, magnificent chambers, lakes and breathtaking salt statues. Modern technology can also be come across along the route to educate those eager to learn more about the Mine.
The smell of salt wafting through the air, therapeutic microclimate, impressive chambers, wooden structures and perfection to the tiniest detail – the charms of the Tourist Route attract and enrapture over one million visitors travelling every year from different parts of the world.
Many people are taken aback by how huge the Mine is. It is hard to imagine – the Tourist Route involves almost 800 steps to climb and over 2 kilometres of meandering corridors. The tour lasts 2 hours, although this part of the Mine makes up for only 1% of the entire underground world!
How to get there? It is located only 10 km from the beautiful old city of Krakow. Get there by bus, train or car, taking E40 route.
Salt Mines in Yekaterinburg, Russia
A psychedelic walls of layers of carnallite are found underneath the industrial city. The vivid spectacle of colorful minerals is found 200 m (650 ft) under the surface.
However it is not open to visit, unless with a permit from the government.
How to get there? Get to Yekaterinburg’s international airport from various European cities or Dubai, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Tashkent
Bounce Below, Wales, UK
Located in the Llechwedd caverns, the facility provides the most exciting bounce experience ever! The three giant trampolines are found in a 176-year old disused mining cavern.
The world’s first subterranean playground is lit by the colorful lights, making it even more compelling.
How to get there? Bounce Below is found in Antur Stiniog, Gwynedd. Get there by train from various British cities.
Derinkuyu Underground City, Cappadocia, Turkey
Carved into soft volcanic rock in the 8th–7th centuries B.C. by the Phrygians, the city used to serve as a shelter from invasions.
The city is 60 meters deep and is interconnected by the tunnels. It could house over 20,000 people! Today most of it is open for the tourists.
How to get there? The tours take off from Goreme – a town in Cappadocia.
The deep natural sinkholes are very often found in Mexico. Some, like in Chichén Itzá and Valladolid, are especially beautiful and popular among the tourists.
Sacred Cenotes used to be visited by the pilgrims, who would sacrifice objects and sometimes even humans.
This former magma chamber was only recently discovered in 2000, and houses some of the largest natural crystals ever recorded. To give you an idea, the main chamber has pale white crystals rising nearly 36 feet high.
While a majority of the cave system remains unexplored because of the intense heat that still radiates off the magma beneath the cavern, travelers can visit these spectacular crystals with prior approval.
Even if you see only part of it all, the Cave of Crystals is well worth the extra effort needed to get down there.
How to get there? Choose your favorite destination and get there by bus or a guided tour from various cities in Mexico
Booming Ice Chasm, Canadian Rockies, Canada
A dangerous cave traps cold air that enters it, but doesn’t leave, resulting in several meters of thick clear smooth ice. It also has an amazing acoustics. However, only professionals should climb these ice caves, though, because the slightest mistake would send them sliding into the wall.
How to get there? Situated on the Alberta/British Columbia border, which is a 90 minutes drive from Calgary.
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, USA
Found in the Guadalupe Mountains, caverns feature huge limestone chambers. Limestone and stalactites are found all over the caves. In the spotlight they reflect various colors and transfer visitors to the different, magic world for a while.
How to get there? It is located 40 km (25 mi) from Carlsbad. Get there by car via US Highways 62 and 180 or bus.
Stockholm Metro Station, Stockholm, Sweden
Unofficially known as the „world’s longest art gallery“, the metro station has some exciting paintings. The colorful rugged surface of the walls and ceiling gives a surreal impression of a space on fire. The initial idea to bring art to public by using the public space worked out really well.
How to get there? Easy access from anywhere in Stockholm.
Batu Caves, Gombak, Malaysia
The popular limestone hill has many caves and is a sacred spot, visited by the locals as well as tourists. The temple complex is spread all over the hill.
The underground caverns feature stunning limestone formations and rare animal species.
How to get there? The site is only 13 km (8 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur. The train route to the caves is said to be beautiful.
The Waitomo Caves, King Country, New Zealand
The Waitomo Caves system is over 2 million years old. There are spectacular limestone caves, but the Glowworm Caves are the most stunning: Arachnocampa luminosa, the size of a mosquito and found only in New Zealand and Australia, radiate in a dark and create the unique sight.
World renown, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand are exactly what you think them to be: a long water-eroded cave system filled with naturally glowing worms.
Thousands of these bioluminescent creatures guide travelers on boats through a starry underground wonderland to the legendary Glowworm Grotto.
The caves are cut by the Waitomo River which runs deep underground and adds to the name.
Located on New Zealand’s North Island, the caves are easy to find with it’s spectacular wood crafted visitors center, and there are frequent guided boat tours that you can embark on.
If you decide to travel to this natural marvel, prepare to be stunned by the living lights.
How to get there? The caves are 2 hours from Auckland, 1 hour from Hamilton and 2 hours from Rotorua.