One of the biggest and most famous attractions in Mallorca are the Drach Caves. Whenever a local asked what we were planning to see or do during our stay, they all told us we would regret not seeing their famous caves: and they were right! Beautiful, enormous, awe-inspiring…it would be easy to run out of adjectives for this natural phenomenon.
The Drach Caves are just outside of Porto Cristo, which is located to the east of the island of Mallorca (and is just a convenient five minute drive from Cala Mandia, which is where we were staying). We have visited caves before (in Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge), but the scale of these is simply something else: you feel like you’re walking for miles! The caves have a horizontal extension of about 1,200 metres and a maximum depth of 25 m. below ground level: at their centre you’ll find Lake Martel, which is significant because this is the largest underground lake in the world.
Unique to this cave network experience was the concert that was performed on the lake here: once we had been escorted in a very large group through the caves, when we arrived at the lake we were seated in a rudimentary tiered auditorium. The lights went out and you were plunged into pitch black darkness when, suddenly a row boat illuminated by string lights appeared on the lake. There were three of these boats, carrying musicians who played a classical music concert from the boats, right in the middle of the lake. It might not sound like much (and photos and recordings of the concert were sadly prohibited) but it was such a beautiful and moving thing to experience. From here we walked (or rather, huffed and puffed through our sweaty face masks!) back up to ground level where we rewarded ourselves with ice creams. In ‘normal’ times there is also an underground boat ride as part of the experience, but this wasn’t offered this summer due to social distancing rules.
The whole experience only lasted just over an hour, but it was still well-worth the visit, and definitely something you would regret not seeing and experiencing if you’re visiting Mallorca.
Now for the practical stuff: don’t waste your money booking a day trip to these caves, particularly if you’re staying nearby! You can buy your tickets directly from their website here for 15 euros for an adult and 8 euros for a child. We then took a taxi from our hotel in Cala Mandia to the caves, which only cost 6.50 euros. By contrast, I spoke to another family staying in our hotel who paid 60 euros per person to visit the caves on a ‘day trip’ (which is more per person than we spent for our family of four). They took the same cave tour as we did, and then spent longer than they would have liked in a pearl factory on their way home. Please- save your money!
The Drach Caves are then a 5-10 minute walk (depending on whether you have kids walking at a snail pace like we do!) into Porto Cristo, which is a traditional fishing village, and which still retains its original charm, whilst also having a tourism element to its economy. There’s a beautiful sandy beach here, port and a marina full of boats, as well as several great options for lunch over the water (and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten!) We ended up going into Porto Christo several times, and loved its laid back atmosphere and local flavour. Combining the two locations makes for a great day trip, and I would consider this one of my favourite days during our time in Mallorca.
For a child’s-eye point of view of the caves, Boy8 says “It was very great, I loved it. I don’t really like classical music but I thought the boats looked absolutely stunning. I think other kids would like it. The stalagmites and stalactites had all weird shapes and sizes, one of them looked like a cat! It was really fun, one of my favourite things at Mallorca.”