If you are traveling through the province of León, do not miss the opportunity to discover one of the most incredible natural environments in the area: the Valporquero cave. It is a spectacular grotto that is located next to the town of Valporquero de Torío, less than 50 kilometers from León capital.
At about 1,300 meters of altitude, the Leonese mountain has a huge mouth that is the entrance to a network of underground galleries through which a stream also runs. This stream is the one that for a million years has been making its way through the limestone rock of the mountain.
Nowadays, a route of just over a kilometer allows us to know the different rooms that have been formed. The passage of time has shaped stalactites, stalagmites or columns of incredible dimensions that fill the Valporquero cave with natural treasures.
The whimsical formations that we can observe are a spectacle for the senses. We tell you the wonders and reasons to visit this wonderful natural treasure.
1. The different routes of the Valporquero cave
Before entering the cave, it is important to organize the visit and be clear about the details of each route. The first thing is to enter well prepared. The indoor temperature is seven degrees, with a high percentage of humidity, regardless of the time of year. Therefore, it is advisable to go with warm clothing and comfortable shoes.
Once we have clear the requirements, we must know that there are different tourist routes to choose from. We detail what each one consists of:
- In a normal route, the first five rooms of the Valporquero cave are accessed, in an itinerary that lasts around an hour. The normal price of this tour is 6 euros
- On the long route, we will visit the seven existing rooms, walking through the galleries for an hour and a half, approximately. There are fixed schedules that you should consult and the usual rate is 8.50 euros.
- Unusual Valporquero is the most special route. It is done in small groups. You can access different parts of some of the rooms, in addition to discovering the gallery of the Water Course and the Lake of the Cave. It lasts about three hours, has a specific schedule and takes place on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The price is 18 euros.
2. The secrets of the different rooms
Valporquero is made up of a total of seven well-differentiated rooms and galleries. Nowadays, it is possible to enter all of them and contemplate the natural jewels that they contain.
- The mouth of the cave is the access door to the underground world that awaits us in the Valporquero cave. Its dimensions already advance us what is to come.
- Little Wonders is the first room. They baptized it with this name because of the peculiar silhouettes of its rock formations, such as the Tower of Pisa or the Virgin with the Child. Playing with the imagination, the figures will be presented before us.
- The Great Rotunda is the largest room. It has a 20 meter high vault and the sound of the water accompanies us as we walk through it.
- Las Hadas is the third room, it runs parallel to the course of the river and reaches a 15-meter waterfall through which the water falls in the rainy season.
- In the Stalactitic Cemetery you will find stalactites and stalagmites in abundant disordered groups, giving a certain gloomy and unique appearance.
- The Gran Vía runs through a narrow opening eight meters wide, but with a surprising height of more than 30 meters.
- The Solitary Column presents us with the column right in the center of the room, surrounded by rocky needles.
- Maravillas is the most special room of all. It is the one with the most formations, with countless varieties. Thousands of fantastic structures fill the place with color. It is the icing on the cake before starting the way back.
3. Canyoning in the Valporquero cave
Another way to get to know the cave is to dare to try this route. In this case, it goes down the river into the cavities. You will go through large galleries, natural slides, underground lakes, waterfalls and waterfalls.
It is not necessary to be an expert to cheer up with this activity, it is enough to be in good physical shape. It is a great opportunity to learn all the secrets of the Valporquero cave. Of course, you will be accompanied at all times by professionals who will give you the necessary security to live these moments intensely.
4. Know the natural environment
One more reason to come to the Valporquero cave is the area in which it is located, surrounded by the Cantabrian mountains, charming villages and green valleys. Of special value is the Argüellos Biosphere Reserve, with an important flora and fauna. Its formations have created caves, gorges and gorges worthy of admiration.
5. The proximity of the Valporquero cave to León
This treasure of nature is located just 45 kilometers from the beautiful city of León. Therefore, it is an excellent plan to carry out if you are spending a few days in the capital. An excursion to the Valporquero cave during the morning allows you to return after a good meal to León to continue visiting its monuments.
Its majestic Gothic cathedral and its beautiful stained glass windows are already reason enough to stay in León. Be sure to admire the Romanesque frescoes in the Basilica of San Isidoro. Also, be amazed by the Plateresque architecture of San Marcos.
You can also visit Casa Botines, the work of the modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. To regain strength, walk through the Barrio Húmedo in search of the countless gastronomic proposals in León or sit in the beautiful Plaza del Grano.