Caves in the Dordogne - Lot

If you are interested in history, culture or geology, visit one of the many caves in the Dordogne – Lot region during your holiday in France. For both adults and children exploring these natural treasures is a very exciting experience

The longest and deepest caves

A cave is an underground space formed by nature. A cave often has several different areas or rooms on different levels which are all connected by corridors. Wells ensure you can go up or down to another level. Caves can be gigantic. The longest cave in the world is in the USA and its galleries have a total length of 643km. The deepest cave is located in Georgia, which has a difference in altitude of around 2200m. More than 60% of the caves that are deeper than 1000m are located in Europe.

Stalagmites and stalactites

There are different types of caves: sandstone caves, volcanic caves and limestone caves. The limestone caves are the most common and are also known as the most beautiful. This type of cave is created due to the weathering of limestone which results in a chemical reaction between certain substances that are in the water and which then drips down the stones. The substances in these water droplets create rock formations which resemble icicles. The hanging icicles are called stalactites and the icicles which stand upright are called stalagmites. This is how large columns or curtains are created in caves. The color of these icicles varies due to the different metals that are in them.

Features of caves

  • Sandstone
  • Limestone
  • Volcanic
  • Stalactites
  • Stalagmites

Preparing when visiting a cave

It is important to be well-prepared when visiting a cave. It is also important to check that no one in the group has claustrophobia. During hot summer days caves remain pleasantly cool. A difference is temperature of 20 degrees is normal so be sure to bring a jacket or sweater. In some caves you will need to cross an underground lake via boat. Eventhough the water is often shallow, people with a fear of water may still experience this as unpleasant. Also check how far you will need to walk and whether you need to climb many stairs. Some caves have a train, but it is still wise to ensure everyone can climb these stairs and walk!

Grotte or gouffre

In some cases the name "grotte" is used and in other cases you’ll see the name "gouffre". The difference is that a grotte is an opening in a rock wall where you enter horizontally. A gouffre is a large hole in the ground which can have a width of up to 40 meters and can be up to 30 meters deep. This means you’ll need to go down first and when you get to a certain level you will be able to walk horizontally through corridors.

Prehistoric caves

The caves are around thousands of years old and used to be used to live in or to hide in during times of war or disaster. Some caves also have a religious significance. Traces of these former cavemen can be found in many places. In many caves, inscriptions and wall drawings have  been found depicting scenes of daily life or in relation to religion.

Various caves in the Dordogne - Lot region

Below you’ll find a selection of the caves in the Dordogne - Lot that you can visit. For opening hours and other information, you can check the website dedicated to that certain cave.

Gouffre de Padirac

Grotte de Lascaux

Gouffre de Proumeyssac

Cave de Rouffignac

Grotte de Villars

Grotte de Roffy

Grotte de Domme

Grotte du Grand Roc

Grotte de Tourtoirac

Grotte des Combarelles

Grotte de Lacave

Grotte du Pech-Merle

Grotte de Cougnac

Grotte des Carbonnieres

Grotte de Presque


📅 Check availability in the Dordogne - Lot ✔️