Water that pools in caves on a constant basis – often over thousands of years – makes more than just a dent in the rock. Often, particularly if the rock is made out of something porous like limestone, rivers and streams can quickly make inroads in the hard rock’s surface.
Stalactites, stalagmites and stone crystals, under sea, mountain or ice… these are some of nature’s most awesome formations. Underground rivers and waterfalls add incredible ambience that’s somehow romantic and numinous at the same time. Here are some of the most beautiful underground caves we could find, enjoy!
Smoo Caves, Scotland
These caves are unique in that they were formed by sea tides on the outside and by freshwater erosion on the inside. Also home to the largest sea cave in Britain (measuring 120 by 45 feet), Smoo, which means hole, creek or cleft in old Norse, also contain a beautiful waterfall that plummets 80 feet down into deep pool.
Blue Caves Zakynthos Island, Greece
Zakynthos is one of the largest Ionian Islands, second in popularity only to Corfu. The Blue Caves are off their west coast, accessible only by sea, around Cape Skinari. The beautiful Greek sunshine reflects through the water onto white stones on the bottom of these caves, creating blue reflections of lights on the rocks.
Cave of the Fairies, Switzerland
For those who like hiking and mountain climbing, Glacier Dents du Midi in Switzerland is one of the most prominent landmarks presiding over Lake Geneva. The waterfall that flows down from the glacier is thought to be the highest underground waterfall (240 feet) in a show cave, and there’s a local legend that those who put their hands in the fairy’s well will be granted a wish.
Gran Cenotes, Mexico
For visitors to places like Cancun and the Riveria Maya, these cenotes or natural sinkholes are common near Maya archaelogocial sites as the ancient civilisation considered them to be sacred. In many of them it’s possible to swim, snorkel, dive, explore the interiors where one of the most mysterious and yet fascinating civilisations in human history once worshipped.
Vatnajokull ice cave, Iceland
Not for the warm-blooded, this is the largest glacier mass in Europe, measuring approximately 5 033m². Recommended for serious climbers and photographers, the caves range from stable to not-so-stable, and explorers usually go in autumn to look for those that have the right light and conditions to make for very special viewing.