Caves of Mallorca
Much of Mallorca's rock is limestone and sandstone, ideal for the formation of caves. There are literally hundreds of them on the island, either below ground or underwater, but many have not yet been properly explored, and there must be many more still waiting to be found. Several cave complexes are open to the public and, while the caves themselves are stunning, some of the above ground advertising is horrendous!
Naturally, many of these places have been used by smugglers and pirates in years gone by, as well as havens for local people hiding from invaders and raiders. It's said that Jules Verne was inspired by Mallorca's caves to write the novel "Journey to the Centre of the Earth".
Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves)
Probably the most famous caves in Mallorca and certainly the most visited, the Drach cave system near Porto Cristo on the east coast is absolutely astonishing for its size and beauty. As well as the rock formations, the caves contain several beautiful lakes, including one of the largest underground lakes in the world.
Cuevas dels Hams (Fish Hook Caves)
Very close to the Drach caves near Porto Cristo, the Hams caves get their name from the intricate shape of some of the limestone formations which seem to be formed by interaction with web-weaving spiders..
Underwater caves in Mallorca
There's a vast network of submerged caves around Mallorca's coast, many of which were formed above water but became flooded when the Mediterranean water level rose about 80 000 years ago (was this the Great Flood?). Many dive companies in Mallorca offer trips into these caves for divers of different capabilities.
Cuevas de Campanet
Less well known than the famous east coast caves, the Campanet Caves don't attract throngs of visitors, so a tour of these caves is likely to be a little less hectic! Extensive system with several large chambers and noted for its particularly white and slender stalagmites and stalactites.
Cuevas de Artá
With areas called Paradise (Paradisio), Purgatory (Purgaturio), and Hell (Inferno), a visit to the Artá Caves in north east Mallorca is surely not to be missed! Some absolutely stunning formations here, including a 22 metre high stalagmite known as "Queen of the columns".
Smaller than many other cave systems in Mallorca but nevertheless interesting. Guided visits to the Génova Caves near Palma take the visitor some 36 metres underground. Discovered in 1906, the caves were first prepared for visitors by Natacha Rambova, the widow of screen legend Rudolph Valentino.
Ses Fonts Ufanes
Not strictly a cave although its sources are certainly underground, the amazing spectacle of Ses Fonts Ufanes can only be seen after a period of heavy rain, which doesn't happen too happen in Mallorca! Six or seven times a year is typical.
The stone for the La Seu Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca came largely from the Portals Vells headland. Interestingly, a small church has been carved out of one of the caves, apparently by grateful shipwrecked sailors.