Cuevas del Drach (Caves of the Dragon) is one of the popular tourist spots on east coast of Mallorca.
You can go there with an organized tour (we saw several buses with tourists) or drive with your own car on your way to/from other attractions on that side of the island but I think the best thing to do is to start with the caves.
The entrance fee is 12euros and at the ticket office you can see when is the next time slot available for you. We waited for the next guided tour to start for about 20’ and then a guide took us down to the caves. Have in mind that there several steps.
The guide that walks slowly into the caves for about 800 meters and explains some things on several stops so we could check the fascinating formations of stalactites and stalagmites (they go together) that are spread through out different bigger or smaller caves.
Geologic Edward Alfred Martel explored the caves in 1896 officially but there were people that tried or just get lost inside the caves from 1878.
At the end of the tour we reached a much bigger cave that houses the largest underground lake in the world (Lago de Martel)! People stand on the constructed benches of the amphitheatre and then the lights go down…
The guide explains again some things about the cave and then you listen to some classical music while three gondolas(!) are coming from the shadows while they are litted! After a while you realize that the music is coming from people on the gondolas that play in front of you while they float for 15’. The show is touristic of course but if the people around are quite you will love it, soft lighting makes the experience even more atmospheric. They say that the play the same classical music the last 50 years.
After the small show you can take a small ride with the boat on lake Martel or just walk outside through the last cave as we did because the queue was too long.
The whole tour took us about 50’.
Although some years before you could take pictures inside (without flash) now it’s strictly forbidden.
The caves are open daily 10.45-12.00 and 14.00-15.30 (Nov-Mar);
10.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00 (Apr-Oct)
Fantastic experience you should not miss while visiting in Mallorca.
After it, or before leaving the caves, there is a short concert with musicians playing classical music on the lake inside the caves themselves.
After the concert, you can take a short ride on a boat to cross the lake.
Note: No pics allowed inside.
The limestone caverns known as the Coves de Campanet, just north of the village of the same name, are 6km away from Sa Pabla; 34 km from Palma,16 km from Alcudia – you will see the sign on the Palma – Alcudia road. The route there passes small chapel of Saint Miquel, which has a fine statue of the Virgin on its altar.
The coves contain the longest stalactite in the world (3m). The cave was discovered in 1945, whilst workers were digging a well, and opened to public in 1948. The cave consists of several chambers which extend to just over 300 m. Even in the high season a traveler meets here only few 'cave visitors', and so one can visit the cave spaces in almost already family atmosphere. The guidance begin, if a sufficiently large number of visitors gathered. Visitor can spend the waiting period pleasantly on the terrace of the restaurant belonging to the system and enjoy the view over the picturesque landscape.
A short artificial tunnel leads to the Sala de Palmera (Palm tree Chamber). To the North - West a long passage leads to the Sala del Llac (Lake Chamber) which is graced by a crystal clear lake, no playing musicians on the boats here. A circular route around this chamber leads back to the Sala de Palmerra. Traveling NE one enters the final room, the Sala Romantica (Romantic Chamber). This is the largest chamber in the cave (50 m long, 10 m high). The chamber is noted for the massive stalagmite columns. Four meters long Spaghetti Stalagmite, which has at times a diameter of 4mm, is particularly impressive.
Actually the caves of Campanet are away from Porte Cristo and close to Port Alcudia (15km) but I put the page here to keep the company with the other cave’s pages (the Dragon Caves etc.). Town Sa Pobla is 9km from Alcudia directly after the Largo Grande. The town lies at the center of the plain known as ‘the land of a thousand windmills’. The attractive main square has several old buildings, a town hall and the church consecrated to Sant Antoni Abat, the patron saint of pets. Since 16th C, on January 17 each year, the town pets are led in a procession through the streets and the ritually blessed outside the church to protect them from disease (I wonder if it works).
The town of Artá’s origins dates back to the Bronze Age. Today this historic town lies beneath the battlements of its fortress. The Museu Regiopnal d’ Artá (on the Placa d’Espania) contains archeological finds. Beyond the church of Transfiguracio del Senyor, a flight of steps flanked by cypress trees and stone crosses leads to the fortress and the Sanctuaria de Sant Salvador d’ Artá. The fortress was built in the 13th C on the remains of an earlier Moorish structure, and its courtyard, with its benches, palm trees and fountains is a tranquil retreat.
The pilgrimage church contains some impressive painting.
The entrance to the caves is stunning, with a majestic stairway leading up to the yawning hole. If you only have time to visit one set of caves on the east coast, this is the one to see. Now that they are a sanitized tourist attraction, it is hard to imagine how French speleologist Edouard Martel felt when he first stepped into these caves, dark, mysterious and terrifying, in 1876. In fact they had been known for centuries - Jaume I found 2,000 Arabs hiding here with their cattle during the Christian conquest and they were later used by hermits, pirates and smugglers - but it was Martel who first studied and chronicled these grottoes, 46m above the sea at Cap Vermell, at the instigation of Archduke Ludwig Salvator. Another early visitor was Jules Verne, (the caves are said to have inspired his Journey to the Center of the Earth, published in 1864), Victor Hugo, and Alexander Dumas.
The guided tour comes with special effects and the various chambers are given Dantesque names - Hell, Purgatory, Paradise. You enter an impressive vestibule and immediately see walls blackened by the torches used to light the caves for early tourists in the 1800s. The descent into Hell is swiftly followed by a illuminated display. Stalactites point down from the moldy roof like daggers, somehow defying gravity. One of the chambers is as large as the nave of Palma Cathedral, and the Queen of Pillars, a stalagmite 22m tall, could almost be a Gothic column. It is growing upwards at the rate of 2cm every 100 years, in another 5,000 years or so it will be joined to the ceiling. In the Hall of Flags stalactites up to 50 long hang in the shape of partly unfurled flags. You emerge from the caves to a view of the sea, framed by the cavern entrance.
Disabled visitors and others with limited mobility will find the staircases in here particularly difficult. All visitors should be sensibly shod, as the floor can be slippery.
The Cuevas dels Hams (Caves of the Fish Hooks) get their name from the similarity of stalactites hanging in some caves to hams, a Mallorcan word for fish hooks. Though the caves are not as extensive as the nearby Coves Del Drac, their underground formations, which were discovered on March 2nd 1905 by Pedro Caldentey, are an impressive natural sight, made easily accessible by guided tour. Highlights include the “Lake of Venice” and rock formations that resemble everything from saints to a herd of elephants (depends on your/ your guide’s fantasy).
Discoverer’s son Lorenzo put tremendous effort here wiring the caves and creating splendid electric lightning.
The Cuevas del Drac (the Dragon Caves) have been known since antiquity and were first mentioned in1338; first explored in 1896 by a French speleologist Edouard Martel, and now attract thousands of visitors every year.
The entrance to the caves is down a flight of steps followed by a walk along a narrow but well lit underground passages and platforms. During high season you can wait in line for ages (even if you are in a guided tour).
The labyrinth of tunnels and caves is estimated to run for about 2km in total. Crowds of visitors pass through a fairyland of radiant pools and stalactites and stalagmites dramatically illuminated by concealed lights in varying colors. The tour culminates in the vast Lago Martel (largest underground lake in Europe – 177m long and up to 30 m wide) and a cavernous auditorium that can hold over a thousand spectators (it was full during our visit in May). The darkness falls and a procession appears with musicians gliding across the water in boats. It is a highlight of the tour: three illuminated boats row over this fantastic lake amid breathtaking scenery, carrying local musicians who play classical music (Chopin, Offenbach) for their underground audience (every 20 min. until 16:30). Our show was slightly disturbed by a women in the auditorium – she could not stop talking to her significant one in spite of SHHH from the people around her. I still wonder, what was so important in her message that she did not want to listen to the beautiful music (the woman spoke Spanish which I don’t understand).
At the end of the tour, most of visitors leave on the foot, but there is also option of a brief and disappointing boat ride across the part of the lake.
Guided tours to the cave run daily 10 – 17:30, 9 €. There is a restaurant near the entrance and very clean toilets. There is ample, well organized parking.
Dragon Cave is certainly a masterpiece of the Mother Nature. It spreads over 2000 meters underground.