Located on the island's east coast, the Caves of Drach are one of Majorca's most fascinating natural spectacles. The name translates as ”Caves of the Dragon', but to date nobody's actually seen any dragons in the network of caves that form this natural wonder. The caves were first mentioned in the 14th century, but archaeological evidence suggests that early man knew about these wonderful underground spaces a long time before the medieval writers spoke about them. However, it wasn't until the late 19th century that they were finally explored properly by French geologist Edouard-Alfred Martel, who took his orders from the Archduke of Austria. The four main caves are known as the Black Cave, the White Cave, the Cave of the French, and the Cave of Louis Salvador, that Austrian Archduke who commissioned the first geological investigation. There are lots of smaller chambers, turning this underground marvel into a bit of a maze, so it's best to go in with a guided tour to avoid getting lost!
Limestone wondersThe Caves of Drach are breathtakingly beautiful, filled with stalagmites and stalactites. (The easy way to remember which is which is the old saying, ”Mites crawl up, tights fall down'!) Tours take you through more than a mile of amazing caverns, which eventually leads to the crystal-clear water of the Lago de Martel, one of the largest underground lakes in the world. And it's here that the magic really happens. The acoustics in the caves are astonishing, so one of the very special attractions at the cave is a floating orchestra. Dozens of musicians float on the lake in a flotilla of little boats, playing classical music and accompanied by a special light show. The effect is truly mesmerising, and something you won't see or hear anywhere else in the world.
Getting thereThe Caves of Drach are just a short walk from the pretty little town of Porto Christo, on the eastern side of Mallorca. Nearby is the lesser-known Cave of Hams, which is a wonderful little attraction in its own right, and often less crowded. Most hotels and tour operators run excursion trips to the caves, but if you've hired a car and want to get there at your own pace, then the nice surprise at this popular attraction is that the car park is free! Take the one-hour tour below ground level to see the huge stretch of well-preserved rock formations, and the 25-metre-high walls to the wondrous stalactites that shape the cave's ceiling. If you take one of the guided tours then there's the an option to take a short boat ride across the lagoon and get a closer look at how water has shaped this natural phenomenon over thousands of years. In the peak season, the tours do get very busy and can fill up quite quickly, so it's a good idea to book ahead if you're visiting in July and August. If you have mobility issues then bear in mind that there are several sets of stairs (some of which are quite steep) to get down into the main viewing platforms and the deeper caves. Wear comfortable shoes, and enjoy the natural wonders of the Caves of Drach, one of the more unusual days out in Mallorca.