Near the town Valporquero.
45 km from León.
From León follow the Torío river to Felmín, then turn left 5 km to Valporquero.
06-MAR to APR Thu-Sun, Hol 10-17.
MAY to SEP daily 10-18.
OCT to 12-DEC Thu-Sun, Hol 10-17.
Valporquero Insolito: Thu, Sat, Sun 9:20.
Adults EUR 6, Children (6-14) EUR 4.50, Children (0-5) free.
Low season Wed Adults EUR 3.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 5.25, Children (6-14) EUR Long tour:
Adults EUR 8.50, Children (6-14) EUR 6.50, Children (0-5) free.
Low season Wed Adults EUR 5.
Adults EUR 18.
|Classification:||Karst cave River cave|
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||A=1,309 m asl, T=7 °C, H=99%, L=3,120 m.|
D=60 min, L=1,600 m.
Long tour: D=90 min, L=2,500 m.
Valporquero Insolito: D=3 h, L=3 km, MinAge=12, Only with online booking.
|Address:||Cueva de Valporquero, Diputacion Provincial de Leon, Plaza de Regla s/n, 24071 Leon, Tel: +34-987-576482. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1966||opened to the public.|
|2005||area declared the UNESCO Reserva de la Biosfera de los Argüellos.|
Cueva de Valporquero, named after the nearby town of Valporquero, is located in the Los Argüellos mountains. The cave entrance is the sink of the Valporquero stream, the water flows into the cave. This stream formed the cave during the last one million years. Its catchment area is north of the town Valporquero and it flows through the village and finally into the cave. The water reappears in nearby Torío river, which formed the gorge of Hoces de Vegacervera. This gorge is an important route into the mountains and the river is the drainage of this karst area.
The cave has seven chambers which are developed for the show cave, Pequeñas Maravillas (Small Wonders), Gran Rotonda (Great Roundabout), Hadas (Fairies), Cementerio Estalactítico (Stalactite Cemetery), Gran Vía (Great View), Columna Solitaria y Maravillas (Solitary Column and Wonders), and the Entrada al Curso de Aguas (Access to the Water Course). The tours differ in which chambers are visited. The Normal Tour includes the first five chambers, the Long Tour all seven. The Valporquero Insolito tour is the longest tour offered at the cave. It includes all seven chambers and some side passages which are not developed, in the Small Wonders chamber and at the Water Course. During the way in, the light is turned off, headlamps are provided. Nevertheless, this is a normal walking tour, not a cave trekking tour. On the way out the lights are on.
The tour starts with an artificial entrance tunnel which leads from the Visitor Center to the Boca de la Cueva (Mouth of the Cave), the impressive entrance portal. The Pequeñas Maravillas is a sort of side branch, from the main passage which contains the cave river. It has quite exceptional, coloured speleothems, which are obviously named with fancy names. The Gran Rotonda has 100,000 m³ and is the biggest chamber of the cave, the ceiling is 20 m high. From a small hole in the wall a river emerges and falls into the cave river. It is called Horse Tail, and that's exactly how it looks like. During the summer the river has low water, but in the rest of the year when the river rises it fills the chamber with a deafening roar. Then it forms a 15 m high waterfall and vanishes in the lower level of the cave. The rest of tour is without river. The Gran Vía is actually a sort of passage, the limestone was turned by tectonic forces and so the layers are vertical, the passage is 200 m long with vertical limestone layers on each side and up to 30 m high. It resembles a gorge, or a huge cleft. The Access to the Water Course, which is actually shaft leading down to the lower level with the cave river. This part of the cave is only accessible to cavers and requires abseiling and a lot of wading and swimming. The tour ends at the Solitary Column and Wonders, which is actually a huge pilar or stalagnate, and the wonders are some helictites.
The cave was developed as a show cave by the Excelentísima Diputación de León, and later also operated by them. It offers work for the inhabitants of the remote village.