There are not that many accessible caves in Costa Blanca but the few that are make for a great day out and offer a fascinating history of the area. The rugged coastline and some of the interior mountain regions boast a variety of caves although many of these are either underwater and require experience and scuba gear or only accessible to experienced cavers or potholers due to the dangers they pose. Caves in Costa Blanca include two main land based caves that are tourist attractions, and a further series of sea caves that are accessible via steep and somewhat precarious hiking trails where a head for heights is required.
Las Calaveras Caves
Located near the village of Benidoleig, these limestone caves are said to be one of the largest in the world and were formed approximately 135 million years ago. Testament to their age is evident in some of the paleontological remains that have been found such as vestiges of hyenas, rhinoceros and hippopotamus, certainly not species that are found in Spain today. The caves extend for over 400 metres and have safe walkways and lighting for visitors to explore their wonders.
There are some fine examples of stalagmites and stalactites, huge domes reaching over 50 metres high, a picturesque lake and wonderful rock formations where, depending on the individual's imagination, take on a variety of shapes and images such as the head of an elephant or the shape of the Spanish mainland. The nearby village of Benidoleig offers a choice of cafes, tapas bars and restaurants for visitors to enjoy refreshments and a meal or tapas.
Caves of Canelobre
A large candelabra shaped rock formation give this cave its name and is its most popular attraction. Subtle coloured lighting throughout the cave system give it a magical feel and the huge rock formations and delightful stalagmites and stalactites form all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes. At impromptu times throughout the year the main cathedral shaped cave plays host to live music performances, naturally enhanced by the perfect acoustics the cave produces, and visitors lucky enough to be visiting at the right time are in for a musical treat.
The caves can only be visited as part of a guided tour but don't close for siesta time which is great as this is the hottest part of the day and best time to enjoy the cool cave system. There is a pleasant picnic area boasting beautiful surrounding views where visitors can relax, and hourly, multi-lingual tours run throughout the day.
La Cova Tallada
This series of sea caves in Costa Blanca lie at the bottom of steep cliffs that require a decent level of fitness and a head for heights to reach. The two trails down to the caves take around an hour to walk and pose some tricky parts where a bit of rock scrambling is required but there are fixed chains on certain parts to assist hikers. With the return journey taking around two hours most visitors to the caves tend to spend the day and take along a packed lunch.
There are some great snorkelling opportunities in and around the caves so taking swimming and snorkelling gear is a good idea too. Another thing not to forget is a camera as the stark contrast between the dark interior of the caves and the bright blue of the sky silhouettes the cave's various arches in superb detail and act like picture frames for that perfect photo.
Cova dels Orgues
Located between Cumbre del Sol and Javea, at the base of the Cap de la Nau headland is the huge Cova dels Orgues that is only accessible by sea unless of course you are an experienced rock climber. The size of the cave makes it a favourite stopping place for boat, kayak and snorkelling tours where the boats can actually enter the cave mouth. The cave can be visited as part of an adventure excursion from the popular seaside resorts of Javea, Dénia and Calpe.
As with all caves in Costa Blanca that aren't major tourist attractions with guided tours, it is wise not to visit alone and to wear sturdy trainers or hiking boots as the rocks and trails can get very slippery, and in the case of sea caves, always be aware of the tide times.