Türkiye is a true paradise for caving enthusiasts. Discovering the country’s hidden caves is a thrilling adventure on its own. With its unique geography and more than 40,000 caves, Türkiye welcomes those who want to discover underground lakes, cisterns, stalactites, and stalagmites.
The Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism has opened 50 of the more than 40,000 of the nation's caves to visitors. Of these 50 caves, 31 are accessible to the general public while 12 require equipment and a guide for caving. Seven of these caves are only open to professionals.
Here are some of the prominent caves in Türkiye:
- Damlataş Cave, Alanya
Damlataş Cave, close to Alanya on the Mediterranean coast, was discovered by accident. Workers were laying dynamite for the construction of the Alanya Pier and chanced upon this beautiful stalactite cave. The cave is 30 meters in length and covers a total area of 200 sq m. The cave has become a noted natural healing destination. Damlataş Cave’s temperature remains a balmy 22°C year-round.
- İnsuyu Cave, Burdur
İnsuyu Cave, in the southern city of Burdur, hosts millions of stalactites and stalagmites as well as nine pools which you can discover in small boats. Water flows in small streams from the nine pools to other regions of the cave. The cave has a constant circulation of cool and clean air.
- Gilindire Cave, Mersin
The fossilized Gilindire Cave, whose entrance is situated on a slope 45 meters above the shore, has stalactites, stalagmites, and column formations as well as rare features such as cave pearls, a travertine, and showerhead stalactites. A shepherd accidentally discovered Gilindire Cave in 1999, and scientists now regard it a unique geological formation.
- Karain Cave, Antalya
Located in Antalya, Karain Cave is the largest cave to have been inhabited in Türkiye. The cave provides fascinating insight into the lives and structure of ancient settlements along the Western Mediterranean. With the remains of plants and animals, and as the site of the oldest known human remains in Anatolia, the cave is one of the most important Paleolithic centers for Anatolian and Near Eastern history.
- Çal Cave, Trabzon
The Çal Cave in Trabzon is considered the second-longest cave in the world. Its accessible area is approximately 8 km, while a small stream flows inside and there is a historical castle above it. The amount of water inside the cave varies seasonally.
- Ilgarini Cave, Kastamonu
The Ilgarini Cave, at 250 meters below sea level in the Black Sea region of Kastamonu, is the fourth-deepest cave in the world. To get to the cave itself, visitors must trek along a steep path for approximately 2 hours. As you descend into Ilgarini Cave, you’ll encounter a truly amazing example of a “living” cave with stalagmites and stalactites stretching from floor to ceiling, growing and changing as they age.
- Oylat Cave, Bursa
Three thousand years ago, the natural formation of the Oylat Cave was completed and today, it is a beloved destination for nature lovers. With a total length of 665 meters, it is considered to be Türkiye's second-largest cave, located in Bursa’s İnegöl district. You can reach this natural wonder whose height matches that of a 40-story building following a long and memorable trail.
List of Türkiye’s 50 visitable caves
Caves open to the general public (31 caves)
Ballıca Cave (Tokat), Buzluk Cave (Elazığ), Çal Cave (Trabzon), Cehennemağzı Cave (Zonguldak), Cennet Cehennem Caves (Mersin), Damlataş Cave (Antalya), Dilek Cave (Mersin), Dim Cave (Antalya), Dupnisa Cave (Kırklareli), Ashab-i Kehf Cave (Mersin), Fosforlu Cave (Antalya), Gökgöl Cave (Zonguldak), Gürcüoluk Cave (Bartın), İnaltı Cave (Sinop), İnsuyu Cave (Burdur), Kaklık Cave (Denizli), Karaca Cave (Gümüşhane), Karain Cave (Antalya), Keloğlan Cave (Denizli), Köşekbükü Cave (Mersin), Mencilis Cave (Karabük), Oylat Cave (Bursa), Tınaztepe Cave (Konya), Tuz Cave (Çankırı), Yalan Dünya Cave (Antalya), Yarımburgaz Cave (İstanbul), Yerküpe Cave (Muğla), Zeytintaşı Cave (Antalya), Zindan Cave (Isparta)
Caves that require equipment (12 caves): Ayvaini Cave (Bursa), Balatini Cave (Konya), Çayırköy Cave (Zonguldak), Gilindire Cave (Mersin), İkigöz Cave (İstanbul), Ilgarini Cave (Kastamonu), İncesu Cave (Karaman), Korukini Cave (Konya), Oylat Cave (Bursa), Suluin Cave (Konya), Yanasu Cave (Kırklareli), Yerköprü Cave (Antalya)
Caves open only to professionals (7 caves): Altınbeşik Cave (Antalya), Gürlevik Cave (Karaman), Kızılelma Cave (Zonguldak), Pınarbaşı Cave (Konya), Pinargözü Cave (Isparta), Sakaltutan Cave (Konya), Susuz Güvercinlik Cave (Konya)