What is it about caves? The human urge to explore deep caverns within the world’s rocks seems to be a natural instinct. It might not be for everyone, but for many, it’s quite a fun experience, and there is plenty of knowledge to gain. All you need is an adventurous spirit and the right equipment to aid your exploration.
Termed ‘caving’, this recreational pastime is very popular here on the Costa del Sol. It basically means exploring wild cave systems, and if you know what you’re looking for, you can also indulge in a spot of ‘speleology’ (scientifically studying, surveying or mapping the cave environment).
Caving on the Costa del Sol
Caving can be a challenging experience, dependent on the cave you’re visiting… but that’s what makes it fun! Caves are dark and mysterious places; there can be tight nooks and crannies to squeeze through, and water pools to navigate. It’s often important to map your journey so as not to get lost within the rock – this mental challenge is half the appeal for cavers.
Along the sunshine coast (and all over Andalusia, in fact) you can find an abundance of natural caves, all with entirely different environments. There are famous ones open to the public, which are popular with travelers and novice cavers. There are also some hidden gems for more serious exploration, but these are mainly found in the mountains and back country.
Let’s take a look at some of the best caving opportunities around the Malaga province:
Cueva del Gato
Head down to Sierra de Ronda to explore Cueva del Gato, a cave that stretches across 4.5 kilometres. It crosses the Sierra de Grazalema and follows a river under the ground, forming massive caverns and underground lakes. You will need a permit to explore this one and you’ll have to go with a guide, as there are a few potential dangers you may be unable to navigate alone. This cave is worth visiting for its cool pool at the cave entrance; in it you can bathe under a waterfall… so don’t forget your swimming costume!
Cueva de la Pileta and Cueva de Los Organos
Another of Malaga’s exceptional caves is the Cueva de la Pileta, which is full of amazing cave paintings. There are also plenty of strange rock formations that are worth photographing. You can find this cave above Benaojan village, close to Ronda. You might also visit Cueva de Los Organos and La Araña, two caves with massive caverns and formations that won’t fail to impress you.
Cueva de Tesoro and Cueva de la Tinaja
Consider heading down to Rincon de la Victoria for a visit to Cueva de Tesoro, which has a 500m main gallery; there is also Sierra de las Nieves, which is home to Cueva de la Tinaja. This cave is nestled in an abundance of gorgeous orange groves and has exceptional rock formations.
Cueva de Nerja
Nerja is well worth a visit if you’re in the region. While there, you can explore Cueva de Nerja, situated around 3km from the town. This is a very popular caving site, with amazing formations that attract countless visitors from around the world every year. You can even attend a concert in the central chamber! If you’re looking for even more options, you can go to the Natural Park, Torcal.
Hop over to Gibraltar for more caving opportunities
If you’re taking your caving seriously, you should put Gibraltar on your list. It’s a stone’s throw (so to speak) from the Costa del Sol and has many charms of its own. Cavers love Gibraltar for the miles and miles of caves and underground tunnels.
Underneath Gibraltar Rock is the world’s largest man-made cave, created at the time of the Second World War. The cave was used as an outpost for the British Empire so there’s a lot of history to discover here.
You could also check out St Michael’s Cave, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list; like the Nerja Caves, you can listen to classical music concerts within the cavernous walls. It’s quite an experience!
Lastly, don’t forget to visit Gorham’s Cave on the eastern side of Gibraltar, which was where the first Neanderthal skeleton was discovered. Within these limestone cliffs there are three other caves; all are sites that contained evidence of Neanderthal life, thought to date back to 125,000 years or more.
When you’re lucky enough to live on the Costa del Sol, opportunities like this are open to you every day. If you need a helping hand finding your very own ‘cave’ here in Spain, get in touch with our team at Paradise Marbella. We’ll be happy to show you around some of the magnificent properties for sale on the Costa del Sol, whether you’re looking for a townhouse for sale in Marbella or a beachfront villa in Elviria.