Travel Articles

The best of the underworld

Since we spend pretty much our entire life above the ground we sometimes forget that there’s a whole new world right beneath our feet. Whether you visit the underground for a burial site, a mine, or underground caves, you always feel as if you’re in the plot for some Indiana Jones adventure. For some people living in large cities, going underground is just an everyday thing, somewhere to just get to and from work. Whether it was to satisfy much sense of adventure or something I used to get from A to B, these are my favourite experiences of the underworld.

LABYRINTH

WHERE IS IT?: Budapest, Hungary.

Underground caves in Budapest

WHY I LOVE HERE: This one was definitely to satisfy my sense of adventure. It’s located beneath Castle Hill and is home to where count Dracula was once imprisoned. Once you step down the dark and narrow footsteps you can already sense the excitement of what’s to come. The historic tunnels were originally built as a bomb shelter, but now you get to explore these maze-like paths and even spook yourself out when you arrive at the Dracula zone. Even the bravest will feel a little bit nervous when they’re blinded by the fog and struggling to keep ahold of their companion.

ST. PETERSBURG METRO

WHERE IS IT?: ST. Petersburg, Russia.

A metro station in St. Petersburg

WHY I LOVE HERE: This is nothing like the London Tube or New York Subway, this is astonishing! I do love using metros, every city I visit I will use theirs at least once, but this blew me away. Before I visited Russia people told me to use and experience the metros because they’re amazing. For some reason, I never took the time to research them before I visited, but I am quite glad I didn’t as I got one of the biggest surprises in my life when I seen paintings scattered across the walls, fancy chandeliers, and colourful marble floors! I wasn’t expecting anything more than a few benches down here…

CATACOMBS OF ST. CALLIXTUS

WHERE IS IT: Rome, Italy.

The catacombs in Rome, Italy

WHY I LOVE HERE: As you make your way along the narrow cobbled stone road to get out here you get the sense as if you’ve walked into a time portal and you might bump into Julius Caesar himself. The journey out here and wandering through the Appian Way National Park is enough to leave you amazed. While you’re down here you’ll learn about the remarkable history behind this ancient burial ground. You will also be ducking your head through ancient tunnels and squeezing through confined passageways with graves on either side of you.

WIELICZKA SALT MINES

WHERE IS IT: Wielicka, Krakow, Poland.

the saltmines in Krakow, Poland

WHY I LOVE HERE: From churches being carved out of the solid rock to its endless and mysterious corridors it all seems a bit surreal, especially once you learn that the Sodium Chloride was being produced from the area all the way back to Neolithic times! Exploring nearly 3.5 km of tunnels and reaching a depth of 135 meters below the surface really made me feel like I was a child again. While you’re down here you will learn about old mining tools and machines and the methods of salt extraction and transport used in the past.

BLUE GROTTO

WHERE IS IT: Qrendi, Malta.

A colourful boat in Malta

WHY I LOVE HERE: Another mini-adventure as you take a boat out to sea. This may not be the most thrill-seeking out of the lot but what this offers above anything else is sheer beauty! You can look at all the pictures in the world of this spot but it can’t compare to the experience of being there. Smelling the sea, feeling the ocean breeze on your face, and witnessing the awe-inspiring sea caverns should be on everyone’s bucket list. Not only can you take boat tours here, but you can also go for a swim or go snorkelling.

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