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Strangest Caves in the World

by Ossiana M. Tepfenhart 5 years ago in activities
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Spelunking venues aren't all created equal. For a truly surreal experience, you need to check out the strangest caves in the world.

Ever since I was young, I had an obsession with caves — more specifically, the idea of an amazing underworld with entire ecosystems of their own. There's something just so amazing about the idea of living totally underground, without seeing the sun, you know?

Part of my love of caves comes from an obscure retro computer game called Exile. The other part of it comes from the fact that they represent everything that is hidden away from the world. They are, in their own right, another world underneath our own.

So much of our globe's caves are totally unexplored, and that means that there are entire worlds that the majority of humanity has yet to discover. Though all caves are cool, some are definitely more unusual than others.

If you ever wanted to step into a part of the world that looks like something out of a sci-fi film, then this list of the strangest caves in the world will inspire you to book trips to the most remote parts of the world.

Eisriesenwelt Cave — Salzburg, Austria

One of the strangest caves in the world, without a doubt, would have to be the Eisriesenwelt Cave. This cave, located on the outskirts of Austria, is currently the world's largest ice cave — and it currently spans over 30 miles in length.

All the cave's tunnels are interconnected, making the entire cavern seem like an underground palace of ice. Considering its unique build, it's easy to see why its name translates into "the World of Ice Giants."

As an added bonus, officials decided to add magnesium lamps to the cave, so visitors get a more dramatic ambiance from the glittering ice above them.

Grotto Azzurra — Capri, Italy

"Grotto Azzurra" translates into the "Blue Grotto," and much like the cave prior to this entry, it definitely earned its name. There are many sea caves that line Italy's territories, but the Blue Grotto is the only one that got its name for the bright blue glow of the water.

The reason why the water seems to glow bright blue is because of the small slivers of sunlight that "leak" into the cave. So, the water's not radioactive or anything — but it's still one of the strangest caves in the world due to its unnatural-looking scenery.

Orda Cave — Perm Krai, Russia

One of the things you'll learn is that many of the strangest caves in the world have an underwater theme to them. Orda Cave, which is located in Russia, definitely proves this rule. This massive cave system is the longest underwater gypsum cave in the world.

But, it's not only one of the longest underwater caves in the world, either. Orda Cave's waters are some of the purest we've ever seen. The water in this cave system is so clear, divers can see up to 150 feet ahead of them with ease.

However, this isn't a cave you want to wander too far in. The water temperature is bitterly cold, and the gypsum that makes the cave can easily break off, crushing unlucky divers to death.

Waitomo Caves — Waitomo, New Zealand

Most caves you can explore will be pitch dark without assistance, but not the Waitomo Caves. This small group of caves in a remote town in New Zealand are the only homes a specific species of glowworm has. These glowworms light up the caves with a beautiful blue-green hue, giving the entire cave network an otherworldly vibe.

With tiny glowworms providing a natural light setup, explorers in these caves get to check out natural underground waterfalls and beautiful rock formations.

But, the glowworms alone aren't reason enough to call this one of the strangest caves in the world. One of the cave's chambers, the Cathedral Chamber, is known for having perfect acoustics — and has even been put to the test by having opera singers perform arias inside there, too.

The Subterranean River — Palawan, Philippines

In many of the best sci-fi films that feature caves, there's a theme of "a world within a world." Believe it or not, there are places on this Earth that actually bring that classic sci-fi theme to life. One of the most famous is The Subterranean River, also known as the St. Paul Subterranean River.

This is one of the strangest caves in the world because it literally looks like a world within a cave. There are breathtaking limestone formations, plant life, and a full-length river that opens up into the sea. It's considered to be one of the most beautiful cave rivers in the world, and yes, it is possible to travel the full length of the river as long as you get a permit.

It's one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature — and that alone makes it worth seeing.

The Cuevas de Marmol — General Carerra Lake, Chile

If you've ever wondered what the Grand Canyon or the Painted Desert would look like underground, then you need to visit the Cuevas de Marmol — or, the Marble Cathedral. This psychedelic-looking cave came from millennia of waves crashing into the natural calcium carbonate.

Now, visitors who check out this underground masterpiece get to see beautiful swirls of marble and crystal-clear waters right beneath. By visuals alone, this is one of the strangest caves in the world — and one of the most recognizable due to its unique "stripey" appearance.

Phraya Nakhon Cave — Sam Roi Yot, Thailand

The Phraya Nakhon Cave definitely earned its rank among the strangest caves in the world, primarily because it looks like something you'd expect to see in a martial arts fantasy movie. This massive cave was so large, the ceiling ended up falling in certain places.

With natural light poking in, plant life began to take root inside of the cave. The cave's interior looks like a jungle surrounded by towers of stone, and because of its majestic appearance, Thai officials built a pagoda in the center of the cave's largest open air chamber.

The pagoda, which was built in the 19th century, was created as a celebration for a King Rama V's visit. It now acts as a centerpiece for one of the most breathtaking caves the world has ever seen, and one of the most fascinating sites around Thailand's most unusual park.

Vatnajökull Glacier Cave — Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland

Iceland is home to one of the strangest caves in the world — at least, when it comes to its interior appearance. Vatnajökull Glacier Cave is currently found in the largest ice cap in Europe, and that alone makes it a remarkable sight to see.

However, even among glacial caves, Vatnajökull Glacier Cave stands apart. Why? Because the time, pressure, and temperature involved in the glacier's creation causes the ice to reflect brilliant blue-green streams throughout the cave.

For visitors, this means that the cave is lit with an unearthly glow and mesmerizing colors year-round.

Cave of Crystals — Naica Mine, Mexico

If you ever played King's Quest V, then you might remember the beautiful crystal cavern that the yeti lived in. Amazingly, there's a real-life cave that is almost an identical match to that fantasy cave, and it's located in a mine in Mexico.

The Cave of Crystals was only discovered in 2000, and though it's relatively new, it's already climbed to the ranks of one of the strangest caves in the world. Only here will you find crystals as large as 50 feet in length — and all of them are snowy white.

That being said, Cave of Crystals is incredibly dangerous with temperatures easily causing heat strokes in those who are brave enough to explore.


About the author

Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!

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