Underground places you won’t quite believe are real

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Hidden cities. Salt mine shrines. Skull-encrusted catacombs. Glowworm cathedrals. Quell your wanderlust by scrolling through this gallery of the world’s most beautiful underground places. 

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1. Batu Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, these limestone caves house ornate Hindu temples. 

Image Credit: asab974 / istockphoto.

2. Cuevas del Drach

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Mallorca, Spain, the Dragon Caves are home to Lake Martel, one of the largest underground lakes in the world. 

Image Credit: Vladislav Zolotov / istockphoto.

3. Waipu Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The main event in New Zealand’s Waipu Caves is its galaxy of glowworms. 

Image Credit: MarcelStrelow / istockphoto.

4. Saint Kinga Chapel

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

A highlight of the historic salt mine in Wieliczka, Poland, the chapel features salt chandeliers, statues and an etching of  Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”

Image Credit: EunikaSopotnicka / istockphoto.

5. Grjotagja Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This small cave in Reykjahlíð, Iceland, was made famous when Jon Snow and Ygritte visited in Season 3 of “Game of Thrones.”

Image Credit: -jwjimaging / istockphoto.

6. Thurston Lava Tube

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Hawaii Volcano National Park, Big Island, the Thurston Lava Tube is a product of an eruption from the Kīlauea Volcano that took place around 550 years ago. 

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7. Catacombs of San Gennaro

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Travelers to Naples, Italy, can visit these underground paleo-Christian burial and worship sites. 

Image Credit: mathess / istockphoto.

8. Ik-Kil Cenote

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

One of Mexico’s most famous Cenotes, or sinkholes, Ik-Kil Is located near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. 

Image Credit: Alex_Blackbird / istockphoto.

9. Slap Kozjak

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

A 15-meter waterfall splashes down in this mossy, limestone cave near Kobarid, Slovenia.

Image Credit: Dr Juergen Bochynek / istockphoto.

10. Sung Sot Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located on Bon Hon Island in Halong bay, Vietnam, this expansive grotto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Image Credit: Dirk Daniel Mann / istockphoto.

11. Derinkuyu

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This massive underground city in Derinkuyu, Turkey, is believed to have been a refuge from invading forces. 

Image Credit: maroznc / istockphoto.

12. Sloup-Sosuvka Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This large cave complex in Moravian Karst, Czech Republic, features delicate stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Image Credit: Anna Rudnitskaya / istockphoto.

13. Carlsbad Caverns

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The U.S. National Park in New Mexico features more than 119 caves with walkable trails and the Devil’s Spring, Whale’s Mouth and Iceberg Rock formations. 

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14. Vardzia

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This cave monastery was built in the late 1100s to protect the medieval kingdom of Georgia from the Mongol Empire. 

Image Credit: Yaraslau Mikheyeu / istockphoto.

15. Piusa Sandstone Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

These man-made caves in Estonia are home to the biggest wintering colony of bats in Eastern Europe.

Image Credit: Aimur Kytt / istockphoto.

16. Phraya Nakhon Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Thailand, this cave has a small golden pavilion hidden within its recesses.   

Image Credit: banjongseal324 / istockphoto.

17. Tarakanov Fortress

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This abandoned fortress in Ukraine is on top of secret tunnels and is sometimes referred to as the “city of ghosts.” 

Image Credit: Yuriy_Kulik / istockphoto.

18. Karaca Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located near Gumushane, Turkey, this network of caves is known for its large dripstone formations. 

Image Credit: Mehmet Kalkan / istockphoto.

19. Catacombes de Paris

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The underground ossuaries in Paris, France, built in the 18th century, enshrine the remains of several million Parisians. 

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20. Predjama Castle

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Built into a mountainside in Predjama, Slovenia, the castle guards a network of secret tunnels — and a colony of bats. 

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21. Postojna Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Beneath Slovenia’s Predjama Castle lies the sweeping Postojna Cave. Tourists can take an underground train ride and meet the olms — rare aquatic salamanders nicknamed “baby dragons.”

Image Credit: Marina113 / istockphoto.

22. Luray Caverns Wishing Well

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This popular U.S. tourist spot in Luray, Virginia, has donated over $1 million in cavern “wishes” to charity over its years. 

Image Credit: Alexandre Tziripouloff / istockphoto.

23. Portuguese Cistern

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This vaulted cistern lies underneath the Portuguese city of Mazagan (El Jadida), Morocco.

Image Credit: 0shi / istockphoto.

24. Saadian Tombs

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Marrakesh, Morocco, these tombs serve as the final resting place to 200 members of the Saadian dynasty. 

Image Credit: todamo / istockphoto.

25. Trabuc Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This cave network in Mialet, France, is home to 100,000 small stalagmites that evoke an army of soldiers.

Image Credit: Philippe Paternolli / istockphoto.

26. Los Tres Ojos

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

These open-air, limestone caves are one of the most popular tourist destinations near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Image Credit: nantonov / istockphoto.

27. Lake Superior ice caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

In winter, the Apostle Island caves in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, transform into a “fairyland of needle-like icicles,” per the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Image Credit: awalby / istockphoto.

28. Vatnajökull National Park

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Iceland’s Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe, is known for its blue ice caves.  

Image Credit: Ericliu08 / istockphoto.

29. Stockholm subway art

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The subways of Stockholm, Sweden, are considered one long art museum, featuring unique structures and installations.

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30. Metro Avtovo Subway Station

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

A mainstay on roundups of the world’s most beautiful subway stations, Metro Avtovo in  Saint Petersburg, Russia, features ornate columns and marble walls. 

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31. Capitol South Metro Tunnel

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The Washington, D.C., subway station is less than five minutes from Pennsylvania Ave. and the U.S. Supreme Court. If you’re lucky, you may hear a local singer taking advantage of the echoing acoustics.

Image Credit: aikonphoto / istockphoto.

32. Cryptoportiques

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

These underground corridors in Arles, France, are of Roman origin and date back to 46 B.C.

Image Credit: trabantos / istockphoto.

33. The Oculus

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The transportation hub, which houses 12 New York City subway lines and the N.J World Trade Center PATH station, was designed as a memorial to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It also houses many high-end retail shops.

Image Credit: tarabird / istockphoto.

34. Almudena Cathedral Crypt

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

These column-lined corridors run under the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain.

Image Credit: Ed-Ni-Photo / istockphoto.

35. Quinta da Regaleira Initiation Wells

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This historical estate in Sintra, Portugal, connects to two Masonic “initiation” wells designed to symbolize death and rebirth.

Image Credit: bennymarty / istockphoto.

36. Grand Central Terminal

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The New York City transportation hub is also considered a cultural destination, full of shops, restaurants and event areas in its subterranean levels.

Image Credit: tarabird / istockphoto.

37. La Union Mines

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Murcia, Spain, these mines house a glowing orange lake. 

Image Credit: herraez / istockphoto.

38. Altinbesik Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This cave, located in Antalya, Turkey, is the world’s third largest underground water cavern.

Image Credit: asikkk / istockphoto.

39. Saint Anthony Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The underground monastery in Chernihiv, Ukraine, includes several churches and chapels. 

Image Credit: ingvar shapik / istockphoto.

40. Clear Water Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This 107-meter cave, located in Sarawak, Malaysia, houses a subterranean river that is partially navigable by boat.

Image Credit: yusnizam / istockphoto.

41. Salt Cathedral Zipaquira

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The church, located 600 feet underground, was built in an old salt mine in Zipaquirá, Colombia. It’s been called “the first wonder of Colombia” by the country’s Congress. 

Image Credit: andyjkramer / istockphoto.

42. Stopica Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The cave in Zlatibor, Serbia, features limestone layers, sinter pools and a 10-meter high underground waterfall.

Image Credit: Veronika Kovalenko / istockphoto.

43. São Vicente Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located in Madeira, Portugal, the caves were created by a volcanic eruption that took place 890,000 years ago. 

Image Credit: makaule / istockphoto.

44. Devetashka Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Near Lovech, Bulgaria, this gigantic cave, which features several natural skylights, served as home to many human populations, dating back to the late Paleolithic era.

Image Credit: lucianbolca / istockphoto.

45. Raufarholshellir

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

This large, colorful lava tunnel is about a half-hour drive from Reykjavík, Iceland.

Image Credit: RPBMedia / istockphoto.

46. Beihai Tunnel

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

During certain times of the year, it’s possible to spot “blue tears” in this sea tunnel located in Lienchiang County, Taiwan.

Image Credit: Jui-Chi Chan / istockphoto.

47. Melissani Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Located on Greece’s island of Kefalonia, the cave enshrines an underground lake discovered in 1951 by paleontologist Giannis Petrochilos.

Image Credit: fpwing / istockphoto.

48. Oylat Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

The cave, near Bursa, Turkey, is split into two sections, featuring pools, stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Image Credit: Turker Minaz / istockphoto.

49. Borra Caves

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

These large, limestone caves are located in India’s Anantagiri mountain range. 

Image Credit: Balaji Kundalam / istockphoto.

50. Nerja Cave

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

These Spanish caves tout the largest stalactite in the world. 

Image Credit: bbsferrari / istockphoto.

50 of the world’s most beautiful lakes

Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Looking for some more travel voyeurism? Check out our gallery of 50 of the world’s most beautiful lakes.  

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: kavram / istockphoto.

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Underground places you won't quite believe are real

Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski is a veteran personal finance journalist and content strategist, she has previously served as the Head of Content at Policygenius, Executive Editor of Credit.com and a columnist for Inc. Magazine. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, CNBC and more.

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