The Mira de Aire Caves are located in the center of Portugal, close to the village of Mira de Aire, in the Natural Park of Aire and Candeeiros Mountains, about 110 km from the capital city of the country, Lisbon.
To find the best way to reach the caves truck drivers take use of truck gps software.
The caves are integrated into a touristic complex that includes also an exhibit hall, an amusement water park, the “Aguagruta Water Park”, a restaurant, the “Garden of Smells”, the Windmill (a rarity that is still possible to see in Portugal) and the Sundial, with a diameter of 4 meters.
The Mira de Aire Caves that are the most known and famous of Portugal were discovered in 1947 and are open all days in the year, according to the following timetable:
– From October to March: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
– April and May: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.
– June and September: 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
– July and August: 9:30 am to 8:00 pm.
Along of a gallery system with about 11 km it is possible to admire several calcareous concretions that emanate from the ceilings and the floors of the caves, caused by the action of the water in the limestone – stalactites and stalagmites; in some areas of the caves these concretions are linked, forming beautiful columns, creating capricious effects.
The main caves of the complex are the “Gruta dos Moinhos Velhos” (“Old Mills Cave”), the “Gruta da Pena” and the “Gruta da Contenda” (“Strife Cave”).
The “Gruta dos Moinhos Velhos” is inhabited by several endemic trogobionts (the ground-beetle “Trechus lunai”), spiders and stygobiont crustaceous.
The most important zones of the caves are the “Púlpito” (“Pulpit”), the “Sala Grande” (“Big Room”), the “Galeria Grande” (“Big Gallery”), the “Fonte das Pérolas” (“Pearl Fountain”), the “Galerias do Polvo” (“Pulp Galleries), the “Órgão” (“Organ”), the “Rio Negro (“Black River”), the “Sifão das Areias” (“Sand Siphon”), the “Concha” (“Shell”), the “Labirinto” (“Labyrinth”) and the “Poço Final” (“End Well”).
At the exhibit hall is possible to see a large collection of rocks, minerals, gemstones and fossils, known as the “Natural Richness of the World”.
The water park is opened from June, 16 to September; the “Aguagruta Water Park” has a swimming pool, toboggans, the “Aqualândia” for children, water slides, a solarium and a bar-restaurant.
It is also be possible to rent a bungalow within the complex (“Casas da Gruta”); the bungalows are equipped with air conditioning, TV, Internet access, freezer, stove, oven and microwave.