Carretera de Maro (between Nerja and Maro) Tel: 95 252 95 20 Open daily: 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 18:30 The caves were accidentally discovered by a group of youngsters in 1959 and opened to the public the following year. The caves were inhabited some 30,000 years ago and many artifacts are on display. There are cave paintings, giant stalactites and stalagmites (the largest is 32 metres high and 18 metres in diameter! ) and, because of the exceptional acoustics in the huge chambers, concerts are regularly held here. The Festival of Music and Dance takes place in July... more info


Rincón de la Victoria Tel: 95 240 61 62 Located in Rincón de la Victoria, these are the only visitable marine caves in the whole of Europe. Legend has it that a treasure is hidden here, hence the name. It is also believed to be the prehistoric sanctuary of the goddess Noctiluca.


Sierra de Ronda. This cave, some 4.5km long, is the underground terminus of the Rio Guadares and derives its name from the fact that the entrance is supposed to resemble the head of a cat. It has huge caverns and underground lakes. Although of archaeological importance, most of the remains have been removed during numerous excavations. This cave is only recommended for experienced potholers as it can be very dangerous, especially in winter, and special permits and a guide are required. You can easily walk to the entrance of the cave, but you should venture no further!


Benoaján. Just to the south of Benoaján, on the road to Cortes de la Frontera, is the famous Cueva de la Pileta where you can take a guided tour and see the prehistoric cave paintings. The caves were discovered by accident, as so many are, in 1905. A local farmer, José Bullón Lobato, noticed that bats in the area all seemed to disappear at sunrise and bat droppings being a good fertiliser, he set off to find their hiding place. It was then that he found an opening which led to a number of large chambers, some of which contained markings on the walls. Looking around, he also found a number of items of pottery and, at the time, believed the find to date back to Moorish times. It wasn't until 1911 that the true value of the caves was discovered when a retired British Colonel, Willoughby Werner, paid a visit and determined that they actually dated back to prehistoric times. Further studies were made by Henri Breuil and Hugo Obermaier and the paintings were surveyed in detail. Excavations also discovered various items of pottery and animal bones buried beneath the floor of the cave. The area is limestone and the cave system was originally an underground river and the sides have been worn smooth by the water. The cave paintings date from two separate periods. The oldest were drawn by Cro-Magnon man during the upper Paleolithic period some 25,000 years ago. There are numerous paintings of hunters with their bows and arrows as well as drawings of animals and fish.


Zuheros Tel: 957 694 545 for booking (recommended to avoid disappointment). The Cueva de los Murciélagos (Cave of Bats) is about 4km from Zuheros, Córdoba province, on the edge of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, and is famous for rock paintings and Neolithic remains. It is one of sixty caves in the area and is the most important from an archaeological point of view. The caves extend for 2 kilometres, but only about 450 metres can be visited. The first mention of the caves was in 1868, although they weren't actually explored until 1938. Neolithic remains found in the caves suggest human occupation over 35,000 years ago. There is also evidence to suggest that the Romans used the caves. The caves are also home to two types of bat and contain one of the most important colonies in Andalucía. There are guided tours of the caves which last for about an hour. Opening times Monday-Friday: 10:00-14:30 and 17:00-19:00 On Saturdays, Sundays and Festive Days there are tours at 11:00, 12:30, 14:00, 17:00 and 18:30 from April 1st to September 30th and at 11:00, 12:30, 14:00, 16:00 and 17:30 from October 1st to March 31st.


Benalup (Cádiz) Tel: 956 809 049 The caves feature primitive cave paintings and were declared Artistic Architectural Monuments in 1924. Opening times are Tuesdays 15:00 - 17:30, Wednesday to Saturday 10:30 - 14:00 and 15:00 - 18:30, Sundays 10:30 - 15:00 and they are closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.


Sierra de Aracena (Huelva) These caves are the largest in Spain, set on three levels with a total of 2.2 kilometres of galleries, 1.2km of which are open to the public. They were discovered in 1911 and when they opened in 1914, they were the first 'tourist' caves in Europe. Colourful caves with loads of stalagmites and stalactites.


Paraje Barranco del Infierno Sorbas (Almería) Tel: 950 364 704 The caves are located in a protected natural area near the town of Sorbas and this is your chance to see caves in their natural state, no lighting and no man-made walkways! There are four routes to the caves: BASIC - 1.5 hours, easy. COMBINATION - 4 hours, medium. TECHNICAL - 5 hours, difficult. EDUCATIONAL - 4 hours, easy. It is advisable to book your route in advance. Opening times are 10:00 - 22:00 in high season and 10:00 - 13:00 & 15:00 - 18:00 in low season.