Photo by: Brad Coy

Like North America, most of Europe’s caving facilities are quite good and most complexes have been already explored in and out by speleogists. You’ll find some of the oldest and most detailed prehistoric cave paintings. Behind what was once the iron curtain there are dozens of huge cave complexes favored by spelunkers that are only mildly traversed. Along the Mediterranean coast glowing grottoes and sea caves are intertwined with mythology and have long enchanted poets.

  1. Gouffre Berger, France Under normal conditions Gouffre Berger is one of the favorite caves in the world for spelunkers for its easy accessibility, size, and beauty. Flooding is common and leads safety concerns and deaths every year.
  2. Hölloch Caverns, Switzerland Hölloch Caverns is the second largest cave system in the world and extends as much as 118 miles in length. There’s a basic touristy, light section, but guided tours and multi-day expeditions in the cave for advanced spelunkers are available as well.
  3. Dan yr Ogof, Wales This ten mile long cave system in south Wales is thought to go as far as 150 miles. It’s a major showcave and considered the greatest natural wonder in Britain, but also a favorite site for European cavers.
  4. Ease Gill, England The wide variety of caving routes and a stunning river passage, the main Drain, make this UK cave one of the top in all of Europe for spelunking. The longest system in the British Isles.
  5. Grotte de Paques, France A classic spelunking cave with corroded galleries that extends more than 16,400 feet long.
  6. Cuevas del Drach, Spain This caves in Majorca hold one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world, called Martel Lake.
  7. Postojnska Jama, Slovenia A 12.5 mile labyrinth of subterranean passages in western Slovenia is one the country’s best with a great display of stalagmites and stalactites.
  8. Pierre Saint Martin, France/Spain Pierre Saint Martin drops 4,400 feet and has one of the most fantastic karst systems in Europe. Located along the western Pyrenees.
  9. Eisriesenwelt, Austria At 26 miles long Eisriesenwelt is the largest ice cave in the world and less favored by expert spelunkers as it is a major tourist attraction that is visited by hundreds of thousands every year.
  10. Blue Grotto, Italy This glimmering blue sea cave is perhaps the most famous in all of Europe. Four miles long and almost two miles wide.

Click here for Top 10 Caving Vacations in North America