The Valporquero Cave

This week is special for those who enjoy underground wonders, trips with children or landscapes that seem out of a fairy tale. Today it is the turn of the wonderful Valporquero cave.

This cave could have inspired Ursula Leguin, Tolkien, or any other great fantasy writer. This in the province of León, not far from the capital, and touring it is surprising.

Valporquero cave

The cave of Valporquero It is next to the Valporquero de Torío, in the province of León and 47 kilometers from the capital. It is said that it is the "youngest" cave in Castilla y León because it has barely a million years. That is to say, its formation dates back to the Pleistocene, when the icy waters of the Valporquero stream began to seep through the limestone, porous stone if any, giving shape to the chambers and rock formation that we see today.

We can't talk much about the discovery of this fantastic cave, its existence has only been known for three and a half centuries, but there is no written record of how it was or who discovered it. Geologists have described its formation, thanks to the waters of the stream, and so today we see a magnificent two level caves. The second was also formed by the insistence of the water to sneak between the rock, drilling a hole that ended up being a waterfall.

The entrance to the cave is at an altitude of 1300 meters, under the town that has baptized it. The level above is 1300 meters long And it is here that tourism can walk better because everything is very prepared, with paths, stairs with railings and lights. The level below is wider, with 3500 meters, still with groundwater but for that very reason It is only accessible to experts and cavers.

Cave it's cold and its average temperature is around 7 ° C So warm clothes cannot be missing, especially considering that the humidity is almost 100%.

Visit the Valporquero Cave

As we said, the top level is the one open to the general public, people who only need to go a little warm and with comfortable shoes. There are various tours possible, one short and one longer. The first is 1.6 kilometers to 2.5 km, round trip, one hour, over a frequently wet ground and with some unevenness saved by stairs and ramps.

Around here you will see stalagmites, stalactites, columns and flows in several galleries that are organized for the visit, which is always with a guide. Thus, there is the Gran Vía, the Stalactitic Cemetery, Hadas, the room of Small Wonders or the Great Rotada. All these names only respond to how beautiful these rooms are ... And of course, there are also Rocky formations reminiscent of the Virgin or a ghost or the Tower of Pisa itself.

The Great Rotunda, for example, has more than 100 cubic meters and a height of 20 meters. Here the noise of running water is super loud, they are those of the Valporquero stream. There is artificial light but it is dim and suggestive so shortly after starting the tour you will get used to certain shadows.

Yes, there are certain sectors of this first level that are closed because the road passes very close to rock formations and you do not want people to be tempted and touch too much or break something in their desire to take a "memory". We said that the first possible tour contains a visit to the seven rooms, but there is a second longest run which adds a little more to them by completing the Gran Vía room and adding the Maravillas room and the Solitary Column.

Now that's with respect to the top tier. In the lower level the story is another. It is not that it is absolutely closed to the public, it is only open to a more specialized public. It is a level to practice espeleobarranquismo and the circuit is called "Course of the waters". There is also a guide here but you have to like it and know something and ride with neoprene and harness. The guides are specialists who work in specialized agencies so everything is controlled.

So, summing up: there is a normal tour which includes a visit to five rooms. It lasts an hour and is every day. Tickets are obtained the same day of the visit. Another is the long haul It includes seven rooms and the tour lasts an hour and a half. It is every day and tickets can be bought in advance online or on the same day at the box office. A third circuit is the Unusual Valporquero which is for small groups.

This circuit includes the access gallery to the Water Course, the lower area of ​​Wonders, the upper part of the Little Wonders room, the lake and the end of the cave. The first part of the walk is without light, only with flashlights. It lasts two and a half hours, three hours and they are only taught on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays 9:20 am. Tickets are only sold online.

The Valporquero Cave has parking and the area also has a cafeteria and restaurant, both open at the same times as the cave. Inside you can also enjoy an audiovisual projection and an exhibition room. Also, if you go with children there is a playground small with benches to rest and a water fountain.

Obviously, the visit to this beautiful cave can be completed with a visit the town who has given it the name. It is a picturesque and typical mountain town with stone houses. And if you went by car, the best thing is to close the visit by going up to the viewpoint of La Atalaya, at 1.410 meters of altitude, from where the view of the region is wonderful.

Practical information to visit the Valporquero Cave

  • Available tours: Normal, Long and Unusual.
  • Opening 2020: from 1/3 to 3 = / 4: Thursday, Friday and weekends and holidays, every day. From 1/5 to 30/9 every day. From 1/10 to 8/12, Thursdays, Fridays, weekends, holidays and bridges.
  • Hours: March, April, October, November and December the box office is open from 10 am to 5 pm. May, June, July, August and September open until 6 pm.
  • The Unusual tour is only on Thursdays and weekends at 9:20 am, acquiring tickets only online.
  • The Long tour is in March, April, October, November and December at 12.30:3 pm and 45:11 pm on weekdays and 30:1 am, 15:3 pm and 45:12 pm on weekends and holidays. In May, June, July and September at 30:4 and 30:11 pm and 30:1 am 00:3, 4 and 30:11 pm on weekends and holidays. In August there are more hours: 30:1 am, 00:3, 4 and 30:XNUMX pm weekdays and the same as in the previous period on weekends and holidays.
  • Prices: Prices are advertised as provisional. The Long Route ticket per adult costs 8,50 euros and 6,50 for children and young people. The entrance of the normal route per adult is 6 euros and 4, 50 children and young people. The entrance to the Valporquero Insólito is 18 euros. There are cheaper rates on Wednesdays other than holidays.
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