The town of Porto Cristo on the east coast of Mallorca boasts an underground treasure, the Caves of Drach, Cuevas del Drach, one of the largest cave systems in Europe.
The existence of the caves had been know since the Middle Ages but proper investigation by French geologist, Edouard Martel, in 1896 uncovered their full extent as well as a huge turquoise underground lake which now bears his name – Lake Martel – said to be one of the largest underground lakes in the world.
The sheer size and scale of the caves are awe-inspiring. Made up of three chambers, Cueva Negra (Black Cave), Cueva Blanca (White Cave) and Cueva Luis Salvador (Luis Salvador Cave), the latter named after the Archduke Ludwig Salvador of Austria who funded Édouard Martel´s investigations in 1896.
Opened to the public in 1935, the cave tour takes approximately one hour. As you wend your way around this cool underground cavern, enhanced by atmospheric lighting, you cannot fail to be impressed. The caves extend for some 2,400 metres and the caverns reach some 25 metres in height.
The culmination of the tour is the high point for me however. As you sit by the side of Lake Martel the sound of classical music drifts across the crystalline waters and soon lit-up orchestral boats come floating into view. The musicians play for your entertainment and visitors are then invited to board a fleet of small boats which take you across the lake to end your tour.
A tour of the caves is truly an exhilarating and other-worldly experience and one not to be missed !
The Caves of Drach are open all year round, offering four daily excursions during winter increasing to seven for the summer months.
After your visit to the caves make time to wander into the lovely Porto Cristo with its sheltered bay and fine sandy beach. Once an old fishing village, it is now a bustling harbour with bars and restaurants.
So pull up a chair, order a drink and watch the world go by. Perfect end to a perfect day out on Mallorca.