Travel & Tourism Guide to Huelva Costa de La Luz

The Underground caves at Aracena
Huelva Travel & Tours

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Aracena is the main town in the Sierra, Right in the middle of a nature reserve “Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche”. This is truly a Sierra holiday destination. Plenty of places to stay, plenty of things to do…

La Gruta de Las Maravillas, AracenaLa Gruta de Las Maravillas, Aracena
La Gruta de Las Maravillas, AracenaLa Gruta de Las Maravillas, Aracena
La Gruta de Las Maravillas, AracenaLa Gruta de Las Maravillas, Aracena
La Gruta de Las Maravillas, AracenaLa Gruta de Las Maravillas, Aracena
Images by Rafael Manzano - Francisco Hoyos

A fount of beauty that never runs dry, created with two ingredients as simple as water and stone, over a period of millennia. Only after seeing this "Grotto of Marvels (Gruta de las Maravillas)" with one's own eyes can one appreciate how it came to be thus named.

Discovered by a shepherd in 1886, the Gruta de las Maravillas was the first cave in Spain to be dedicated to tourism, having opened to the public in 1914.

Underground marvels

The total length of the Gruta de las Maravillas is over two kilometres, of which 1,200 metres is open to the public.
The tour starts in the Conch Chamber and leads you along the first level of galleries, where water is a feature, until you come to the Great Hall (the largest chamber in the Grotto). From there you go on to the Cathedral Chamber.
On this second level you can see a great number and variety of formations, as well as flooded gours. You drop down to the first level to view the Chickpea Chamber, the Bare Chamber and, once again, the lake, which continues all the way to the exit.

Amongst the fantastic formations you can see in the Gruta de las Maravillas are the following:
Stalactites and stalagmites: formations that hang from the ceiling or rise up out of the ground, respectively, made by the dripping of water containing calcite. When a stalactite and a stalagmite join up the resulting formation is known as a column.

Gours: "bathtubs", pits or pools which form in caves.
Flowstones: these are produced in a similar way to stalactites and stalagmites but on horizontal surfaces over which water flows. They are of different shapes and colours determined by the mineral content of the water.
Pisoliths: calcareous balls which are found in the pools of grottoes.
Excentrics: as their name indicates, these are star-shaped, hedgehog-shaped, explosion-shaped, etc., formations.

For a long time, all these spectacular formations have made the Gruta de las Maravillas a source of inspiration for all kinds of artists, and a visiting-place for royalty, for heads of State and Government, etc., as well as thousands of ordinary people.

All in all, the Gruta de las Maravillas is a must-see for all who visit the Sierra de Aracena.

Source: Aracena council with editorial additions

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