Cave visits and Speleology
Andalucía is a region with a surprising number and variety of natural caves. Some of these are well-known and open to the public, such as those situated in Nerja, La Pileta and Ardales, but there are many more than these hidden away in the rugged mountains and back country. All that is needed is a spirit of adventure - and some invaluable equipment - to explore them and discover a part of Andalucia's natural beauty that few people know exists.
Sierra de Ronda (Málaga)
- Cueva del Gato
This cave measures 4.5km in length and crosses the Sierra de Grazalema, following an underground river which forms huge caverns and underground lakes. Access is by permit and with guide only, as the interior can be dangerous in winter, but there's a cool pool for bathing under the waterfall at the mouth of the cave open to all.
- Cueva de la Pileta
Contains astounding cave paintings and bizarre formations, above the village of Benaojan near Ronda.
Rincon de la Victoria (Málaga)
- Cueva de Tesoro
On the coast with a main gallery of 500m.
Sierra de las Nieves (Málaga)
- Cueva de la Tinaja
Surrounded by beautiful orange groves, this cave is especially noted for the dramatic rock formations. About Sierra de las Nieves.
- Cueva de Los Organos and La Araña
These two caves are situated close by and have impressive, large caverns and rock formations.
El Torcal de Antequera (Málaga)
- There are many caves in the Natural Park. About Torcal.
- There is an extensive cave that can be visited as part of a pre-arranged tour. More About Ardales Cave.
PROVINCE OF CADIZ
- There are about 200 known cave is the province of Cadiz with prehistoric cave painting. An excelent website documenting these can be found here.
Sierra de Aracena (Huelva)
- Cueva de las Maravillas in the small town of Aracena. The different parts of the cave have particularly evocative names referring to their shapes and include the Hall of the Organs, the Hall of the Jewels, God's Glassworks and the Great Lake of the Emeralds.
- Cueva de Nerja
On the coast 3 km to the east of Nerja, these caves draw thousands of visitors a year for their dramatic formations and concerts in the vast central chamber.
Caves of Sorbas (Almeria)
- Caves of Sorbas
These magnificent caves, near the town of Sorbas, are located in a protected natural area of karst stone in Yesos de Sorbas. Here you have the unique opportunity to view these caves as they were formed, unlit and with no man-made passages.
LOS VELEZ (ALMERIA)
- Cueva de los Letreros
UNESCO World Heritage listed pre-historic caves and paintings.
- La Cueva del Gabar
UNESCO World Heritage listed pre-historic caves and paintings near Velez Blanco.
- Pulpí Geode
In December 1999 with the discovery of the largest mineral geode in Europe was discovered in the “Mina Rica” mine in Pulpi, Almeria. It is open to the public.
Cueva de los Murciélagos
The Cueva de los Murciélagos (Cave of Bats) is located 4km outside the interesting whitewashed village of Zuheros on the fringes of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park. Famous for its rock paintings and Neolithic remains, it is also worth a visit for its impressive limestone rock formations and the superb views from the road leading up to the cave.
- St Michael's Cave
Visited by many on the Rock Tour, this hosts occasional classical music concerts.
- Gorham's Cave
On the east side at sea level where the first skeleton of Neanderthal Man was uncovered, even if he was named after the second remains were found. Enscribed on the UNESCO world Herratige list in 2016. The steep limestone cliffs on the eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar contain four caves with archaeological and paleontological deposits that provide evidence of Neanderthal occupation over a span of more than 125,000 years. This exceptional testimony to the cultural traditions of the Neanderthals is seen notably in evidence of the hunting of birds and marine animals for food, the use of feathers for ornamentation and the presence of abstract rock engravings. Scientific research on these sites has already contributed substantially to debates about Neanderthal and human evolution.
Gibraltar has more miles of tunnels and caves underneath it than it has public roads on the surface, all of them named after British roads. The longest and, coincidentally, the straightest, is the Great North Road, capable of taking three-ton trucks. It is possible, although not easy, to visit some by prior arrangement with the military authorities. Also under the Rock is the largest man-made cave in the world, hacked out by Canadian engineers and troops during the Second World War. Gibraltar was Field Marshal Montgomery's headquarters prior to Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, and these caves hidden from normal view provide a fascinating insight into the historical importance.
POT - HOLING
- For the more adventurous, the third largest chasm in the world and the largest in Spain still remains to be explored: chasm GESM, in the Sierra de Tolox in the province of Málaga, is 1,090 metres deep, requires specialised equipment and a knowledge of diving.
One surprising side of Andalucía is that it has a high number and variety of caves. All that is needed is a spirit of adventure - and some vital equipment - to explore them and discover a part of Andalucía's natural beauty known only to a few.
Many caves in Andalucía are open to the public and easy to explore in a leisurely fashion without the benefit of any special equipment. Others are only for experts and should, in any event, be tackled with the help of a guide. Caving is, by definition, the least visible of adventure sports, so it is vitally important, if you are going to attempt this tremendously exciting pastime, to ensure that someone knows exactly where you are planning to start and the approximate route you intend to follow (if that is possible!).