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Europe is grappling with record heatwaves this summer and the heat is set to continue for a while. The UK recently recorded its hottest day ever with a temperature of just over 40°C. Spain was even the first country to introduce a naming system for heatwaves, similar to hurricanes. The same heatwave that broke records in Britain was dubbed “Zoe” and brought temperatures in excess of 110°F (43°C) to Seville, Spain. Some speculate that heat waves will even begin to alter the typical European tourist season. When temperatures rise, the underground is one of the best places to escape the heat, where temperatures are consistently milder. We’ve compiled a list of six of the best underground European attractions for beating this summer’s heat.
Derinkuyu Underground City – Derinkuyu, Turkey
Imagine tearing down a wall in your house and discovering an entire underground city. In 1963, that is exactly what happened to a man in Nevşehir province. After finding a room behind the wall of his house, his curiosity drove him to continue digging, where he discovered many tunnels and rooms that formed the underground city of Derinkuyu.
The exact age of the tunnels is unknown, with various experts placing their origin between 1500 and 700 BC. Locate.
- Visitors today can enter the city for a fee of 60 Turkish Lira (about US$3.35) or opt for a guided tour for a higher price.
The Real Mary King’s Close – Edinburgh, Scotland
Among the bustling streets of the Royal Mile, some less crowded, much older streets await. The houses and streets have been there since the 17th centuryth Century and offers a unique insight into the past. As the city expanded, Edinburgh wanted to build a Royal Exchange and chose to build where Mary King’s Close sat.
Instead of demolishing all the existing buildings, they removed the top floors and used the lower ones as the foundations for the new Royal Exchange. Now visitors can tour these historic streets and buildings and enjoy costumed tour guides playing the roles of historic residents of the Close.
- Adult tickets are £19.50 ($23.50 USD) and child tickets are £12.95 ($15.60 USD).
The Basilica Cistern Museum – Istanbul, Turkey
One of the city’s most impressive historical sites, the Basilica Cistern is located opposite the beautiful Hagia Sophia Mosque. The impressive structure is 140 m (460 ft) long and 70 m (230 ft) wide. It has 336 pillars, each 9 m high, which can hold 100,000 tons of water.
- Admission to this historical wonder is 190 Turkish Lira (US$10.60) and the cistern is open to the public between 9am and 7pm daily.
Salt Mine Berchtesgaden – Berchtesgaden, Germany
After catching a train to enter the mine, venture 130 m (426 ft) below the surface and travel on a raft along the 100 m long and 40 m wide Mirror Lake. Dazzling lights reveal the cave’s salt crystals as you move across the water. Average temperatures in the mine are around 12 C° (45 F°), making it an ideal getaway from the summer heat.
- Adult tickets are €21 ($21.38 USD), child tickets are €10.90 ($11.10 USD).
Catacombs of Rome – Rome, Italy
Rome is home to over 60 catacombs stretching many kilometers underground. Five are currently available for viewing; The Catacombs of San Sebastiano, the Catacombs of San Callisto, the Catacombs of Priscilla, the Catacombs of Domitilla and the Catacombs of Sant’Agnese. The largest and most visited catacombs are the Catacombs of San Callisto, which stretches 12 miles.
- Visitors can only enter with a guide and is included in the price of admission (€10 / $10.18 USD).
The Paris Catacombs – Paris, France
France recently lifted all of its Covid restrictions, making it the perfect time to visit the Paris Catacombs. Visitors venture down a 130-step spiral staircase to begin their tour. During your time in the catacombs you will see intricately placed human bones, carvings and inscriptions. Cameras are allowed, but visitors are not allowed to touch anything.
- Adult tickets cost €29 (US$29.50) and include an audio guide. Child tickets cost €5 (US$5.09) and do not include an audio guide.
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