ADVENTURE/ Underground Attractions: Caves and Abysses

They may be dark and damp yet they are a perfect tourist attraction – caves, grottos, abysses lure thousands of tourists every year. Explore the Ice Age caves in France, one of Ireland’s oldest caves or the lost tunnel in Laos.


France's Ice Age Art Caves

Gregory Dolgos

There is no country in the world that competes with France when it comes to caring for its pre-historic cave art sites and presenting them for public viewing. Most of these jewels of Europe's Paleolithic Era have slept peacefully and well preserved behind rock falls that sealed them for thousands of years. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries archaeology became a science and cave hunting became a recreational pastime continuing to this day. Seeing images in books or on DVDs offers no clu...

Kong Lor Cave: Laos’ Lost Tunnel

Denise Chen

Located a half-day drive south of Vientiane in Khammouanne Province, Kong Lor Cave is an amazing 7.5 km-long limestone tunnel formed by the Hinboun River, which flows through the cave year-round. You can take a boat ride right through the main cavern, which is up to 90 meters wide and 100 meters high. The Hinboun River fills the entire width of Kong Lor passage except for a large white sandy beach located about halfway through the cave. Villagers also have names for rock features seen along t...

Grotta Gigante: The World’s Largest Tourist Cave

Joe McClain

It might seem as if no matter where you go in Italy, you’re likely to see something old. But to see some of the stuff that’s really been around awhile, you need to go underground. There it’s possible to see natural formations of rock that have been growing for several hundred thousand years or so. One of the best places to do so is within an easy drive of Aviano Air Base or Vicenza. Grotta Gigante (“giant cave”) is just north of Trieste, near the Italian border w...

Aillwee Cave: One of the Oldest in Ireland

Joe McClain

Have you seen a waterfall in a cave? Aillwee Cave is one of the many thousands of ancient caves beneath the karst-landscape of the Burren in northwest Country Clare, Ireland. The cave is Ireland's premier show cave and is the most famous. Visitors are guided on a 35 minute stroll through caverns, over bridged chasms, beneath weird rock formations and alongside a thunderous waterfall. The name Aillwee is derived from the Irish Aill Bhuí which means yellow cliff. The complex consists of over a ki...