The 5 most romantic caves in the world

The 5 most romantic caves in the world

Often a place for climbing, caving and exploring in the darkness, it turns out that caves can be romantic too, who knew?

Caves are misunderstood. Not all underground caverns are dark, dank and filled with slime or creepy crawlies. Some are bright and filled floor to ceiling with glimmering stalagmites and stalactites. In fact, as Emma Brisdion discovers, some can even be irresistibly romantic…

For an unforgettable swim…

Morakot Cave (Emerald Cave) on the island of Koh Mook, Thailand

Island-hopping around Thailand's paradise islands is a great choice for heat-seeking honeymooners. Koh Mook is one of a chain of small islands just off the coast of Trang Province, all of which are just a short boat ride and few hundred baht (£6) away.

To reach this cave, you'll need to take a short boat trip with a local sailor from Sapan Yao pier or Kuan Tung Ku pier around the north coast of Koh Mook, and be prepared to swim! Morakot Cave is only accessible from the sea and to get there, you have to swim under the cliffs through a darkened cavern (with a guide and a torch!) to find this hidden beach. The tunnel opens out to a lagoon and serene white sand beach, framed by lush green vegetation and high cliff walls, pointing up to the sky through an open roof.

Need to know before you go: When you're on the island, enjoy snorkelling and diving the surrounding coral, swimming with hawksbill turtles and a colourful array of reef fish. You can also experience a Thai massage and even try a scenic session of beach yoga.

Where to stay: Book a bamboo chalet at Koh Mook Charlie Beach Resort on the west side of Koh Mook island for a truly Thai-feeling stay, and take advantage of their close proximity to the caves. Doubles from £22p/n.

To visit in the dark…

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Ordinarily, most dream honeymoon plans don't involve spending time in an enclosed space with thousands of insects, but, just hear me out! There is one spectacular place you should consider breaking this particular rule for…

An unusual cave in New Zealand's Waitomo cave system, on the north island, will really light up your love life with its naturally occurring, huge population of glowworms. Despite being just the size of a mosquito each, thousands of the insects illuminate the roof of the cave they call home. Visitors can even have the unique experience of enjoying a peaceful boat trip through the grotto, with the ceiling above dotted with twinkling lights like the night sky.

Need to know before you go: Book 45 min boat tours in advance for around £27.

Where to stay: In a unique hobbit-house, a converted train carriage, on a boat or even in a plane cockpit at Woodlyn Park Motel, home to unique accommodation in Waitomo. Doubles from £91p/n.

For South American charm…

The Enchanted Caves, Brazil

The Chapada Diamantina National Park in Brazil plays host to the captivating Enchanted Caves, whose electric blue waters of the Blue Well and Enchanted Well are crystal clear and often open for a leisurely swim.

The quartzite cave network is riddled with waterfalls and adding to the colourful allure, the surrounding rivers often run bright red due to the high levels of tannin in the waters. Don't forget to keep your eyes peeled - as the name 'Chapada Diamantina' suggests, both gold and diamonds have been found nearby.

Need to know before you go: Lençóis was the original town built during the diamond boom in the early 19th century and continues to serve as a base-camp for explorers. Access from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, is available by bus, connecting through Salvador.

Where to stay: For colonial charm in a UNESCO world heritage listed city, stay in the Hotel Villa Bahia in Salvador. Doubles from £59p/n.

If the cold never bothered you anyway…

The Kverkfjöll Ice Caves, Iceland

The Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland is sat directly atop a geothermal vent from the volcano that forms the Kverkfjöll mountain range, and the Vatnajökull National Park. As I'm sure you can imagine, the rising hot water from the volcanic spring has gradually melted the ice, leading to the formation of the world-famous Kverkfjöll ice caves.

The steam creates beautiful marbled patterns on the icy walls, which are constantly moving and being reshaped because of melting ice and breaking glaciers. As a result, these are the shortest-living caves in the world and a visit may mean a special honeymoon into a cave that few others have seen, or will ever see again!

Need to know before you go: While in Iceland, a romantic dip in the thermal baths is also a must, daily dips are a staple part of the Icelandic way of life and the Blue Lagoon in Reykjanes just outside of Reykjavik is very popular. After May the roads will re-open for summer, so rent a 4x4 to travel to the ice caves.

Where to stay: Rent an apartment in the heart of Old Reykjavik with Rey Apartments for a great location in Iceland's capital city. Double apartments from £70p/n.

For thrill-seekers…

Cave of Swallows, Mexico

Embrace your loved one and your sense of adventure; freedive into the earth's crust through the world's deepest freedive pit, into the open air Cave of Swallows in Mexico. This cave is the second deepest in Mexico, 11th in the world, and is large enough to fit the entirety of New York City's Chrysler building inside it, with plenty of room to spare.

From the highest point of the cave's opening, the drop is 370m and has become a sensation with base jumpers. If the weather is right when you arrive, the thick vegetation around the mouth creates natural waterfalls that pour past you down the walls of the hole as you jump and parachute your way to the cave floor.

Need to know before you go: Arrive at dawn; even if you don't feel like jumping, the 'Cave of Swallows' lives up to it's name in a truly spectacular fashion. Thousands of birds fly upwards out of the cavern, swirling and spiralling en-mass every morning at sunrise.

Where to stay: One of the many individual rooms in the quirky Posada El Castillo guest house in Xilitla, nestled in northern Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains. Double room from £55p/n.

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Image: Corin Walker Bain

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