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Sure, Greece and Italy are the iconic destinations for a luxurious summer vacation. But did you note the scorching temperatures there last August? Yikes! “Cool tourism” is a Thing, and we’re all in. We vote to escape the summer heat with a cool vacation in top underground destinations in the world, including caves, tunnels, catacombs and more. So, we’ve rounded up the best (and most mysterious) underground attractions to visit for vacation to escape the sweltering heat this Summer season.

where are the cool destinations for a luxury vacation to escape the summer heat? take the under.

This summer heat has us thinking…it’s time to go underground. And no, we don’t mean underground as in “secret” or “hidden” – though if there were an exclusive club with ice-cold air conditioning, we’d go there too – we mean actually underground. You know, beneath the earth’s surface.

After all, it’s a little colder there.

With the discomfort of the current heatwave, this seems like a great time to highlight some super-cool – both literally and figuratively – underground attractions, many of which would usually slide under the radar (no pun intended).

Escape the heat with a vacation in one of the top underground attractions in the world, including caves, tunnels, catacombs and more.

top 10 cool underground destinations for vacation to escape summer heat

1. catacombs of paris

We’ll start with an underground attraction that you may already know: the Catacombs of Paris. These catacombs are famous, and if you have the stomach for human remains, they’re one of the world’s most fascinating sights to behold– underground, or otherwise. The Catacombs of Paris are one of the world’s largest ossuaries, as well as one of few located underground. As you follow the tunnels beneath the city’s surface, you will pass the remains of more than six million human beings. If that doesn’t scare you, each tour is about an hour long, and you can book tickets online.

10 underground attractions to visit this Summer to escape the heat

10 underground attractions to visit this Summer to escape the heat.

2. patrick’s catacombs

We have some more catacombs for you, and these are right here in New York! The Basilica of St. Patrick’s in lower Manhattan is home to the only Catholic catacombs in the city, and they too are available for tours. Choose “Catacombs by Candlelight” for an exclusive look at this underground world, and for eighty-minutes of fascinating New York history.

3. crystal and fantasy caves

The Crystal and Fantasy Caves are not only a favorite underground attraction, but a favorite attraction in general. And you’ll be glad this list brought them to your attention. Located in Bermuda, these caves are a natural wonder: home to underground pools, spectacular rock formations, and sub-tropical gardens. The caves have been in the process of forming for many millions of years, and they offer splendor as little else can. You can purchase tickets to either cave, or combination tickets for $35.

Take a cool luxury vacation in underground destinations around the world, including caves, tunnels and catacombs.

Take a cool luxury vacation in underground destinations around the world, including caves, tunnels and catacombs.

4. port angeles underground

Port Angeles, Washington should already be a place of interest. After all, they are a beautiful coastal town that sits at the entranceway to Olympic National Park – which is one of the Pacific Northwest’s only national parks, and a spectacular destination in and of itself. What’s not to love? But in the interest of all things cold and dark, we’re here today to tell you about Port Angeles Underground. These underground tunnels – which contain within them an entire universe, including now-abandoned storefronts – were constructed in the early 1900’s, out of a fear of flooding. You can still enjoy their miraculous construction today, with a two-hour tour offered twice daily every Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available online.

5. réso

And while we’re on the subject of cities underneath cities, we have to talk about Réso. One of Montréal’s claims to fame, Réso is like nothing else on this list. It’s an underground world: a series of pedestrian networks that connect Montréal’s aboveground – including restaurants, apartments, metro stations, and major cultural institutions – and also offers things to do beneath the earth’s surface. You’ll find art galleries, shops, eateries and more, all of them far underground. And yes – it’s air conditioned. Sounds like the perfect summer destination to us.

6. the caverns

There’s nothing in the world quite like The Caverns. Located in Grundy County, Tennessee, The Caverns are an underground cave system comprised of 8000 feet of cave passages – and they are also a venue for some of the most unforgettable live music. Concerts at The Caverns can accommodate between 850 and 1,200 people, and they are truly a bucket list item. There are also daily cave tours available – including “adventure” cave tours that take guests even deeper into the tunnels. And since the interior of the cave is 59 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, it’s cool enough for you to need a sweater, even on a hot summer’s day.

7. forestiere underground gardens

Ordinarily, we might think of the words “underground” and “gardens” as oxymorons – but they’re not when it comes to this special spot in Fresno, California. Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere worked on these underground rooms, passages, and courtyards for more than forty years, intending for them to become a resort where people could escape the summer heat. Though the resort never opened, we’re still able to appreciate the results of his hard work – and especially the way they provide a respite from the sun.

8. kaymakli underground city

There are at least two hundred underground cities located beneath the surface of Cappadocia, Turkey, but Kaymakli is one of the few whose rocky tunnels are open to the public. Though the labyrinth is no longer lived in full-time, it’s still frequently used by villagers as a storeroom, and that makes it – and its history – all the more interesting to observe.

9. waitomo glowworm caves

You may have seen the word “cave” appear many times on this list, but what can we say? Caves are cool. Literally, and figuratively. And the Waitomo Glowworm Caves – located in New Zealand – may be the coolest of them all. These caves are home to a universe of dazzling glowworms, and they’re one of the world’s most stunning natural sights. When you sail through the Glowworm Grotto, you’ll feel as if you are looking up at the stars – when in fact, you’re far far, far beneath it. There are many different experiences available, including the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go black water rafting in this magical glow space. Trust us when we say, this is one underground attraction that’s worth building a trip around.

10. salina turda

In a list full of amazing attractions, Salina Turda might be the most amazing of them all. Located in Transylvania, Romania, Salina Turda is an enormous underground salt mine museum – and inexplicably, it’s also an amusement park.  Think of it like the world’s most elaborate activity bar, complete with a Ferris wheel, bowling, minigolf, boating, sports fields, and even an active amphitheater – and it just happens to be underground. You’ll find yourself wondering when you can move in for the season, and believe us, we wish we could too.

cool luxury underground vacation destinations to escape the summer heat

Yes, it is possible to escape the heat this summer with a vacation in one of the top underground attractions in the world, including caves, tunnels, catacombs and more. The underworld awaits, dear reader.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.