7 of the Most Beautiful Caves in the World

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at www.caves.org or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Spelunking in a cave usually brings images of darkness and mystery. If we delve into fantasy, we might even be reminded of ghoulish monsters or evil trolls a la Lord of the Rings. But this is not always the case! Look at the brilliant red rocks of Antelope Valley and the sparkling ice tunnels of Iceland’s glaciers. There are some incredibly vibrant and beautiful caves out there as well.

Venture to the underground grottos of Southeast Asia, rich with sacred monuments. You’ll see that these structures are among the most gorgeous, unspoiled geological formations in the world. The most stunning caverns are all the more tempting because of their relative inaccessibility.

Listed below are seven of the most beautiful caves in the world, in our opinion. By no means is this list complete, but we hope it will inspire the adventurer inside you to visit some (or all)!

1.  The Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy

Capri is known worldwide for its iconic Blue Grotto. A sea cave on the island’s shore attracts many tourists every year. The Cave’s entrance (a small hole through which only one rowboat at a time can pass) and a larger hole beneath the entrance both emit a dazzling blue glow, making this Cave one of a kind. The entrance glows bright white above the waterline within the Cave, while the larger underwater hole gives a blue light.

The Beautiful Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy, features a lovely boat ride through some underwater caves.

2.  Cave of the Crystals in Chihuahua, Mexico

Located above the Crystal Cave, the Cave of Swords was uncovered by miners in 1910. The temperature is lower, which may account for the reduced size of the crystals there (1–2 meters as opposed to 12 meters in the Cave of the Crystals).

However, the largest natural selenite crystals were discovered at the Cave of the Crystals in 2000. Twelve meters in length and four meters in diameter was the largest crystal unearthed.

The usual temperature ranges between 50 and 58 degrees Celsius, while the humidity ranges between 90 and 99%, making this location significantly more comfortable than the Cave of Swords.

This Cave remains under-explored because of the scorching heat. Even with safety equipment, scientists and researchers can only spend 30-45 minutes inside the Cave at a time.

So how did these marvelous crystals come to be? Gypsum-rich groundwater began pouring into the Cave of the Crystals cave. This might not seem like much on its own, but the magma pool beneath the Cave kept the groundwater at a constant 50 degrees Celsius for half a million years, allowing selenite crystals to grow to enormous sizes.

Learn more about the Cave of the Crystals here.

A man looks up at the plethora of crystals in the beautiful Naica Caves of Chihuahua, Mexico.
The Cave of Crystals

3.  Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave in Werfen, Austria

Note: This cave is temporarily closed as of December, 2022.

At 42 kilometers in length and attracting over 200,000 visitors annually, the natural limestone ice cave in Austria easily takes the cake as the world’s largest of its kind.

The first kilometer of the Cave, completely frozen and open to visitors, , but the rest is inaccessible due to the danger of falling ice. Limestone is all that fills the Cave apart from this one area. The ice in the Cave is so old that the oldest layer is a full thousand years old.

The glacial river Salzach carved the valley of Eisriesenwelt out of the mountain at a glacial pace. The Cave’s ice formations formed over time as melting snow flowed into the Cave and refroze.

Even though the Cave is accessible all year round, one part always remains cold due to frigid breezes. However, new structures are uncovered each year when water drips into the Cave and freezes.

An image of the large stalactites in the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave of Austria. These are some of the most beautiful ice caves in the world.

4.  Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan, Philippines

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and one of the Seven Wonders of Nature.

The river is home to a diverse array of animals that live in the water. If you travel a short distance from the closest town, you will eventually come across the entrance to the Cave.

In 2010, a team of ecologists and cave explorers found evidence of a second level above the underground river, where cascades of water cascaded down the cave walls.

Above the underground river is a 300-meter-tall cave dome where visitors may witness incredible rock formations, giant bats, a deep hole in the river, river channels, and yet another deep cave.

Several enormous chambers formed deep in the Cave. The Italian Chamber, one of the world’s largest cave rooms, stretches over 360 meters in length.

The cave river can be traversed by boat for up to 4 kilometers. Beyond that point, however, exploration is impossible due to a severe shortage of oxygen.

Learn more about the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River here.

5.  Fingal’s Cave in Staffa, Scotland

This incredible sea cave may be found on the Scottish island of Staffa, which has no permanent residents. Volcanic activity created the island’s unusual hexagonal basalt columns, of which Fingal’s Cave is the most spectacular example.

The cathedral-like ambiance results from the waves reverberating within its large size, irregular shape, and naturally arched roof. The Cave was given the moniker of “white stranger” from James Macpherson’s novel Fingal.

The massive cathedral-type formations outside the Fingal's Cave of Scotland.

6.  Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico

The limestone rock of the Guadalupe Mountains is home to an intricate cave system known as Carlsbad Caverns National Park. In 2011, a record-breaking 41 million people visited this Cave, making it one of the most well-known in the whole country.

Visitors can utilize the elevator or a long hike to reach the entrance of the Cave, and it’s open 365 days a year (except Christmas Day).

The Big Room is a vast limestone chamber within this cavern. It is the third-largest chamber room in North America and the seventh-largest globally, with dimensions of roughly 4,000 feet in length, 625 feet in width, and 255 feet in height (at its highest point).

When visiting Carlsbad Caverns, guests can participate in various activities. The Bat Flight Program is a favorite because visitors may watch the bats take off from the Cave at nightfall and return at sunrise the next day. Camping permits await at the park’s visitor center for those interested.

The bottomless pit and the Chocolate room are two of the recent discoveries in Carlsbad Caverns. Stones tossed into the pit made no noise; visitors assumed the pit had no bottom at first.

They eventually determined that the thick layer of soft mud might explain the anomaly at the bottom, which prevented stones from making any noise upon impact.

A man descends (or ascends) with a rope with a massive black pit behind him, inside Carlsbad Caverns.

7.  Waitomo Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, New Zealand

This Cave is not only my favorite but also a well-known landmark worldwide. Millions of glowworms, about the same size as common mosquitoes, decorate the Cave.

Specialized workers from a scientific advisory group keep a careful eye on them by remotely monitoring the Cave’s temperature, carbon dioxide levels (necessary to sustain the glowworms), and the number of visitors allowed each day using automated equipment.

The guided tours span three levels, starting with a boat trip along the underground river, lit entirely by these stunning glow worms. It’s just like gazing up at a sky dotted with sparkling stars.

Learn more about the Waitomo Glowworm Caves here.

An image showing the darkness lit by the beautiful aquamarine lights of the Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.


With how many caves you’ll find all around the globe, it’s hard to pick which ones to visit. Hopefully, this list makes the decision easier! Most tourists prefer to view the beaches and the above-water sights, but there are clearly several incredible below ground caves that are worth seeing in person.

If you enjoy the beautiful natural look of some of these caves, you’re going to love Mexico. Why, you might ask? Mexico is home to thousands (yes thousands) of natural sinkholes, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

We are sure you will not regret a trip to any of these beautiful caves. Be sure to take lots of photos and share some with us!

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