Six incredible caves that will transport you to another world
02 de April 2024

Have you heard that Spain's caves are full of mysteries? Cave paintings declared a World Heritage Site, geological formations billions of years old, immense rooms with precious minerals attached to their walls, a veritable spectacle of colour for visitors, concerts staged inside their enveloping sphere... The list of reasons to pay a visit these incredible refuges is endless. And if your next holiday is forecast to be rainy, you're in luck. When it rains it is the best time to visit caves. Thanks to the action of the water, amazing waterfalls several metres high are formed inside the caves, which combine perfectly with the special effects and lighting that you will find there. An idyllic scene that will delight photography enthusiasts. To enjoy this unique experience, there is a nearby Parador waiting for you, with comforts second to none to make you feel at home, and, of course, with the finest wining and dining to seduce your palate.

The world's largest column is in the Nerja Cave


Did you know that the cave paintings found in the Malaga cave of Nerja are among the oldest in Spain? 20,000 years ago, the first humans began to decorate the walls here with depictions of wildlife. On 12 January 1959, five innocent youngsters opened the way to a veritable geological treasure: who would have imagined that in their simple hobby of catching bats they would discover a place which, since 2006, has the honour of being an Asset of Cultural Interest? Since its opening to the public, it has never ceased to amaze us. As well as sturdy stalactites and mysterious paths leading to its endless galleries, amulets from the Al-Andalus period with inscriptions from the Koran have also been found here. Why not visit it? You will boast of having walked next to the largest stalactite in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, with an astonishing height of 33 metres.

You have everything you need to embark on this adventure. Just 10 minutes away, the Parador de Nerja will welcome you with open arms. From the balcony of your room you can listen to the soothing sound of the waves and the birds singing in the garden. And, why not, its proximity to the coast will allow you to discover the essence of the Mediterranean. Whether you are exploring underground wonders or enjoying your time "down to earth", unforgettable moments are guaranteed.



An underground "coral reef"?


From the ever-popular Nerja Cave we travel to the Pozalagua Cave, a unique site in the Biscayan valley of Carranza. Why is this environment so unique? Geologists have declared it the first place in the world with eccentric stalactites. Unlike conventional stalactites, this type of stalactite grows irregularly, giving rise to a wide range of shapes. Once you enter the interior, you will feel as if you were walking on a coral reef. In addition, in the surrounding area, four chasms more than 40 metres deep will also leave you speechless. Before leaving the cave, don't forget to stop off at the Old Dolomite Factory. This is where the valuable ore from the quarry was transported. It is one of the few places where the mechanisms that transported the material from the cave to the factory are still preserved.


A place that has been declared a Best Spot by the Repsol Guide deserves accommodation that is up to the challenge. That can be none other than the Parador de Limpias. Less than half an hour away, you will find this Cantabrian paradise next to the river Asón. The tranquillity of the landscape, the warm, comfortable rooms, its extensive, well-tended gardens... Here there are plenty of reasons to rest and recharge your batteries for your geological excursion. And don't forget to treat yourself to a good meal. If you like stews, our restaurant's mountain stew will delight your taste buds.



A fantastic boat trip through the World Heritage Site


In La Vall D'Uixó, in the Valencian province of Castellón, the Caves of San José await you. Exceptional. Fascinating. Indescribable. Here "reality surpasses fiction". An excellent tour that begins by boat, along the longest navigable underground river in Europe. The spectacle of lights, the peaceful murmur of the trickling water, the mix of colours between the turquoise and emerald of the river and the ochre of the rocks, will immerse you in a magical environment. Moreover, the cave paintings found there have been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Then, on foot, in the Medusa room, you will find a parade of stalactites that will take your breath away. This sublime place is also used as a stage for acoustic concerts: can you imagine how pleasant it must be to listen to music under the enveloping effect of the cave?

The Parador de El Saler, a short distance from the cave, is also a unique refuge, surrounded by the lush vegetation of the Albufera Park. In fact, you can't leave here without taking a walk through Natursenda. This is a route through its golf course to visit the natural wealth that abounds there. And if you feel like taking a dip at the beach, you're in luck. From the Parador there is a walkway that leads you to the sea. No worries and no need to take the car to welcome the good weather.



A 145-million-year-old geological museum


Continuing through the Region of Valencia, we come to the Alicante municipality of Busot. There, 145 million years old, we find the Canelobre Cave. The action of water on the limestone rock has created surprising, eroded landscapes. Inside, the 70-metre-high vaults crown an impressive 80,000 m² of space. In this immense underground museum, you will come across authentic geological displays such as microgours, small pedestals formed on sloping walls, volcanic organs or formations, stalactites, stalagmites and other phenomena. All of them trace the path to "El Canelobre", the oldest stalactite at 100,000 years old, and "La Sagrada Familia", a rock formation 25 metres high.

Without leaving Alicante, the Parador de Jávea awaits you. It is the ideal spot on the Costa Blanca to take you not only on the route to the cave, but also to other stops of interest, for example, to the historical beauties of the castle of Denia, the medieval quarter of Benissa or the curious steep streets of Moreira. And what's more, you'll be looked after like a king, so you won't lose the desire to plan city breaks.  Fancy a good Valencian paella? In the Parador's restaurant you will have the opportunity to taste the best local dishes.



A jewel of Huelva in Aracena: La Gruta de las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders)


So wonderful that it was the setting for films such as 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth', 'Tarzan in King Solomon's Mines' and 'Titans'. All its spaces are captivating. In the la Concha room, the shimmering brilliance of the minerals is a real spectacle to behold. The enchantment continues in the Los Brillantes room. In this cave, when it rains, incredible waterfalls are formed, creating beautiful images. So, in this corner you will find a dazzling aquifer that dominates a postcard picture of 50-metre-high vaults. Are you ready with your camera? The Esmeralda room (Emerald), full of greenish hues, is a good place to take snapshots. The last stop is the Los Garbanzos room (Chickpea). Here you will have time to laugh at the curious human shapes that the crystallisation of the water has left over the centuries.

Its location on the border with Extremadura makes the Parador de Zafra the best accommodation for the experience. Here you will also feel enthralled by millennia  of history. It was originally an Arab fortress which, over time, passed into the hands of the Dukes of Feria. Artistic details such as the coffered ceilings, chests, ironwork and handrails evoke its immense historical past. The architectural value of the Parador is such that it has been declared a Site of National Interest.



A cave that comes to life when it rains


The cave of Valporquero, one of the most important caves on the Iberian Peninsula, is 50 kilometres from León. Everything that can be seen in its seven rooms is worth appreciating. When it rains, a great 15-metre waterfall emerges in the Hadas room (Fairy), dominating the scene. The Stalactite Cemetery room is also a veritable spectacle of stalactites and stalagmites that seem to merge to form the pathway to the cave’s jewel in the crown: the Maravillas room (Wonders). There you will find multiple geological formations that have appeared over the centuries, with different shapes and peculiarities. The amusing play of colours, mainly ochre and stony white, captivates visitors year after year.

The Parador de León is the icing on the cake of your getaway. It is also an art museum which, if you are a lover of culture, you will enjoy from every side. The interior decoration is a journey through the history of art. The three floors of the Parador display contemporary art pieces by artists such as José Caballero, Eduardo Chillida and Fernando Zóbel. These exhibits are displayed alongside the regal Mudejar coffered ceilings of the Chapter House and the exceptional 16th century choir stalls. The unparalleled views of the Bernesga River are another of its countless charms that you shouldn’t miss.