12 of the World's Most Fascinating Underground Attractions To Explore 2024 (2024)

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Paris Catacombs, France Save this! Salina Turda, Turda, Romania Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wieliczka, Poland Underground City, Montreal, Canada Churchill War Rooms, London, England Umoona Opal Mine & Museum, Coober Pedy, Australia Cenote Ik Kil, Yucatán, Mexico Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan, Philippines Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, Zipaquirá, Columbia Dambulla Cave Temple, Dambulla, Sri Lanka Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno, U.S. World I’m a Travel Writer – These Are the 12 Top Places I’ve Been To (Part I) 12 Jungle Resorts So Exotic, You’ll Forget Wi-Fi Even Exists The 50 Best Beaches in the World, According to Experts The 20 Countries That Beat the USA in the Happiness Rankings 12 Least Walkable Cities in the World Where Walking Is More Challenging Than You Think 12 Beautiful Places Where You Can Live for Less Than $2,500 a Month 12 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations in the World To Live Like Royalty for Less City Trips 17 Best Places in Europe for Your Bucket List 12 Top Places in Spain for Digital Nomads for Tapas, Wi-Fi, and Sunshine 12 Least Walkable Cities in Europe That Challenge Your Step Count 12 Medieval Cities and Towns in Portugal So Beautiful, You’ll Think You’ve Stepped Into a Fairy Tale 12 Top Places in the US for Digital Nomads That Will Make You Pack Your Laptop 12 Beautiful Medieval Cities and Towns in Spain That Will Make You Want To Ditch the 21st Century 12 Beautiful Medieval Cities and Towns in Italy To Step Back in Time Follow Us Travel Planning Resources

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While plenty of tourist attractions exist on the earth’s surface, beneath it lies an array of unique architectural gems that will mesmerize you. From underground gardens to amusem*nt parks, there are many fascinating subterranean attractions that you can visit, enjoy breathtaking views, and create unforgettable memories.

There is always something alluring and mystical about these hidden gems, whether artificial or naturally occurring. Thankfully, you do not need to be a professional spelunker to explore these under-the-radar tourist destinations. If you are looking for some of the coolest subterranean attractions to visit during your vacation, this list covers you.

Paris Catacombs, France

12 of the World's Most Fascinating Underground Attractions To Explore 2024 (1)

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The Paris Catacombs is an underground ossuary that hosts over 6 million bodies. It is situated in the southern part of the city, mainly under the 5th, 6th, 14th, and 15th districts. The history of this underground site dates back to the late 18th century when it was built to solve the city’s crowded cemeteries.

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Since 1809, the general public has been allowed to visit the Paris Catacombs. Today, the site is not just an ossuary; it is more of a gallery or a museum that keeps fascinating anyone interested in the chilling histories of cities. In Paris, swing by this subterranean site to explore scenic views of street signs, artfully organized skulls and bones, fascinating artworks, and sculptures created several years ago.

Read also:Iconic Places

Salina Turda, Turda, Romania

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If you have visited many amusem*nt parks and would love a new perspective, you should try Salina Turda.

Nestled 400 feet below the ground and with over 2000 years of history, Salina Turda is arguably the largest salt mine museum in the world. Although this salt mine was operated by the Romans for hundreds of years, in 1932, it was repurposed and started serving as a bomb shelter and cheese storage site.

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Several decades later, it was converted into an amusem*nt park offering visitors excellent amenities, including mini-golf and basketball courts, an amphitheater, a carousel, a Ferris wheel, bowling lanes, and a spa. You could also explore the salt mining museum, which holds exhibits that are older than a century.

Read also:UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee

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You may have explored some of the world’s most iconic waterfalls, such as Niagara Falls, but have you ever been to an underground waterfall? If not, Ruby Falls is a great place to start.

Ruby Falls, situated in Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, is one of Tennessee’s best underground tourist attractions. At a height of 144 meters, this site is home to one of the deepest and tallest underground cascading waterfalls.

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Hire a tour guide to take you through the series of limestone caves, underground streams, and illuminated waterfalls; it will indeed be a trip whose scenery you will remember.

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Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wieliczka, Poland

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Wieliczka was a salt mining site during the Middle Ages. With over 700 years of operation, it is one of the oldest salt mines in the world. In 1978, this underground attraction became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1996, industrial salt production in the mine was terminated, transforming the site into a global tourist attraction.

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Its noteworthy highlights include the elaborate chambers, chapels, and sculptures, all carved from salt.

Read also:Must-Visit Cities in the World

Underground City, Montreal, Canada

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The Montreal Underground City is an entire civilization beneath the Earth’s surface. Stretching more than 32 kilometers and connecting to more than 120 external access points, it is the largest subterranean city complex in the world.

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While the entire Underground City is a destination to marvel at, some unmissable features include the Montreal Eaton Centre shopping mall and the Place des Arts cultural complex. It is also a great shopping destination, home to over 1600 businesses.

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Churchill War Rooms, London, England

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Built between 1938 and 1939, Churchill War Rooms was the underground nerve center that housed Winston Churchill and his government during World War II. This subterranean bunker is 12 meters below the ground and features 24000 square meters of blast-resistant rooms.

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In 1945, it was closed and later reopened to the public in 1984. Some unmissable highlights for history buffs include sugar cubes left behind by Wing Commander John Heagerty, The Map Room, where visitors can see the original maps and documents used by Churchill and his advisors during the war, Churchill’s underground bedroom and office, and the interactive exhibits exploring life in wartime Britain.

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Umoona Opal Mine & Museum, Coober Pedy, Australia

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The history of the Umoona Opal Mine & Museum dates back to 1916 when opal mining started in Coober Pedy. Due to extreme desert temperatures during summer, residents resorted to building their homes in the cooler underground. Today, a subterranean community calls these dugouts home as it shields them from the region’s 120-degree summer temperatures.

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Stop by the underground theater and watch “The Story Of The Opal” when visiting. For a more immersive experience, explore the different types and quality of opals mined here.

Read also: Spectacular Desert Landscapes

Cenote Ik Kil, Yucatán, Mexico

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Your trip to Mexico is not complete without visiting the Cenote Ik Kil. Situated 1.8 miles from Chichen Itza and about 48 meters deep, this archaeological site is known for its mystical allure and breathtaking beauty. Mayans performed ceremonies and rituals within the depths of this underground attraction to seek blessings from Chaac, the god of rain. At the moment, this is a major underground attraction in Mexico.

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This majestic subterranean attraction will give you striking views of green-hanging vines, lush rainforests, beautiful aquatic life, and much more. Come ready with your swimsuit; scaling up the 91-step limestone staircase and jumping into this site’s refreshing water is hands down the best way to experience the charm of this destination.

Read also: Breathtaking Natural Wonders

Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan, Philippines

12 of the World's Most Fascinating Underground Attractions To Explore 2024 (9)

The Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, and it is not difficult to see why. This park features an underground river meandering through a limestone cave system before emerging into a stunning lagoon surrounded by lush tropical rainforest.

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Take guided boat tours through the dark caverns and enjoy the scenery of the lagoon and the limestone cliffs. You may also be lucky to spot wildlife in the surrounding rainforest, including monkeys, bats, and exotic birds. The scenery is picture-perfect, the kind that leaves you wondering whether you should live entirely in the moment or whether to focus on capturing the stunning landscape for memories.

Read also: Must-Visit National Parks

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, Zipaquirá, Columbia

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Built between 1950 and 1954, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is an architectural masterpiece built within salt mining tunnels. In 1990, structural problems were identified within this site, leading to its untimely closure. A new site for this underground attraction was inaugurated in 1995, and construction started.

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The current Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is 180 meters below the ground, where 250000 tons of rock salt had to be extracted. A visit to this underground site offers scenic views of tunnels that feature beautiful works of art, excellent stations of the Cross, mirrors of water, and naves that show the life stages of Jesus, making it a perfect spot for tourists and Catholic pilgrims.

Read also: Cities with Stunning Ancient Architecture

Dambulla Cave Temple, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, this underground complex was constructed during the Anuradhapura (1st Century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa periods (1071 to 1250). Towering 160 feet over its surrounding plains, this cave is arguably the largest and most preserved subterranean attraction in Sri Lanka.

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This majestic underground marvel is home to five other caves, making the exploration opportunities even more thrilling. This historical site provides breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, 153 Lord Buddha statues, a cluster of temples, and artistic walls and ceilings, making it ideal for history buffs and art lovers.

Read also: Top Tropical Destinations

Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno, U.S.

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Forestiere Underground Gardens is a network of 65 rooms, passageways, and courtyards that extends across 10 acres and is 25 feet below the ground. It provides a subterranean escape from the soaring Central Valley summer temperatures.

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A one-hour guided walking tour through this magnificent underground attraction will treat you to breathtaking views of ancient Roman architectural features and unique fruit-producing trees, vines, and shrubs, some more than 90 years old. An underground microclimate will greet you and learn the history of Baldassare Forestiere, a Sicilian immigrant and citrus grower who owned this residence.

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