Did you know, friends, that in Portugal, besides the ocean and ancient cities, there are mysterious caves that can be an escape in the heat of the day!
The Good Portugal team and I have been to them, and we want to tell you about them.
Meet one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal – GRUTAS DE MIRA DE AIRE caves.
The caves were discovered in 1947, and for the public, they were opened in 1974. The total length of the caves is 11.5 km, but the excursion route is only 600 meters. The deepest point of the caves is 230 meters, and visitors go down to a depth of 110 meters by 683 steps. Do not be intimidated; the descent is long and smooth, and you do not have time to get tired. And the especially nice ascent is made by an elevator. Before descending into the cave you will watch a 10-minute film in Portuguese with English subtitles about the formation of the shelter as a geological formation.
A group of about 30 people walks through the entire cave with a guide. In each room, the guide shares interesting and useful Portuguese and English information.
So, let’s go! First, we go down to the great hall, the largest room in the cave, in some places up to 30 meters high.
For a better understanding of the height there is an installation with the figure of a climber, who goes down into the depths. Also provided in the cave are the remains of animals that lived in the area many years ago. In order not to strain the imagination, we see a scene from their lives.
If we talk about today’s living creatures, it is provided by green mosses that live under the light of lamps. Other animals such as bats were not found. All the caves are lit with colored lanterns, which makes them mysterious and interesting.
The stalactites themselves are also unusual. Here they resemble spaghetti. They are hollow inside the mineral pipes. Who does not remember that stalactites are mineral outgrowths hanging from the cave’s ceiling, and stalagmites rise from the floor.
The temperature in the caves is always the same – 17 degrees, which allows them to arrange a wine cellar. Wine from this cellar, by the way, you can buy at the top in a souvenir store. The entrance to the basement, unfortunately, is closed.
A small underground river, Ria Negru – Black River, runs through one of the rooms. It passes into the last hall of the cave and forms a lake with illuminated fountains. All stated as many as 14 rushes! In fact, only 3 were working. Nevertheless the sight is unusual.
Before going up to the elevator, several beautiful multicolored minerals are on display, which you can touch with your hands. On closer examination, you can see their unusual color.
Now a bit of practical information: the caves are located 25 km from Batalha. Unfortunately, there is no information about how to get there by public transportation, because we got by car.
Working hours are from 9:30 to 17:30-19:30, depending on the season.
The entrance fee is 7.5 euros for adults from 12 years old, children from 5 to 12 years old are admitted for 4.5 euros, and toddlers are free.
There is a small museum with minerals under glass, a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and toilets on the territory. Going on a tour in closed shoes is desirable – inside, it is damp.
We hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did.