Going underground gives you a completely different outlook on the world. We’ve uncovered the world’s most intriguing underground sites, which range from ancient cisterns beneath modern cities to rock-hewn temples and salt mines used during World War II.
Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Since the 13th century, people have been extracting salt from this Polish UNESCO site. It has nine floors, however only 1% of the first three are accessible to the general public. Cold passageways lead to lit rooms with salt-carving sculptures and enormous underground churches. Both individual and group tours are available.
The world-renowned Colosseum in Rome has a lot to discover below ground. Visit the dungeons underneath where gladiators and beasts awaited their battle. A recreated trapdoor and wooden elevator that was used to bring fighters to arena level are also visible.
Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel, Iceland
You may enter a 100-foot-wide (30-meter) tunnel that was created by a volcanic explosion more than 5,000 years ago just outside of Reykjavk. In other locations, the roof has collapsed, allowing sunlight and snow to pour in. Other locations include striking lighting that brings forth the hues and geological forms.
Ajanta Caves, India
The first or second century through the fifth century paintings, carvings, and sculptures, which are regarded as masterpieces of Buddhist holy art, are hidden on a cliff face in Maharashtra. The 30 or so caverns, which were lost until a hunting team discovered an entry in 1819, comprise a network of halls with columns hewn from the rock.
Adventure Mine Sauna, Dalarna, Sweden
The Finnish have long been recognised for their tradition of the sauna, but this surprising new attraction brings the restorative activity to a strange setting. At the Adventure Mine in Dalarna, central Sweden, you may descend 262 feet (80 metres) into a deserted mine, take a dip in its pristine waters, and then work up a sweat in a traditional wooden sauna. Another option is to do a “Lady of the Mine sauna ritual,” which combines ingredients to stimulate the senses and release endorphins.
The southern Norwegian town of Kristiansand has an amazing underwater restaurant. Under, created by the renowned architects Snhetta, resembles a rock structure emerging from the water. Visitors enter a dining area that is 18 feet (5.5 metres) underwater and has floor to ceiling windows that overlook the aquatic depths.