Discover the spectacular Belda Cave, a true natural treasure located in the municipality of Cuevas de San Marcos, in the province of Málaga.
The Belda Cave: A Hidden Gem in the Sierra del Camorro
This cave, with an extension of 350 meters and a north-south orientation, is a testimony to the majesty of geology, archaeology, and biology hidden underground. Here, you will immerse yourself in a fascinating subterranean world adorned with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
A Journey into the Depths of Belda Cave
Your journey begins at an oval-shaped entrance, a marvel in itself, measuring 6 by 12 meters and featuring a series of steps carved into the rock. As you proceed, a narrow corridor leads you to the first chamber, where mysteries abound. Here, along with pottery, traces of human presence have been found, possibly linked to burial rituals.
This cave is adorned with high domes and houses three easily accessible interior lakes, colossal stone columns with a diameter of over one meter, and charming hidden corners. It is also one of Europe’s most important bat shelters.
Belda Cave houses an impressive collection of archaeological treasures. Among them are thick-walled globular bowls, often decorated with spatulated surfaces and occasionally burnished. Nipple-shaped handles, rounded handles, and corded decoration add a special touch. A fragment with imprinted decoration, displaying zigzag series with traces of red ochre paint, adds a unique historical appeal.
A First-Class Archaeological Site; Witness to the Past
Belda Cave is a first-class archaeological site that attests to human presence from the Middle Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Flint tools, spear tips, and varied stone utensils have been discovered here, revealing the use of fire, the manufacture of lithic tools, and leather manipulation.
A Sanctuary for Wildlife
Located in the Sierra del Camorro, in the municipality of Cuevas de San Marcos, Belda Cave has remarkable geological, archaeological, and biological significance. Beyond its geological wonders and archaeological treasures, the cave houses a rich ecosystem.
The cave has become a sanctuary for bats, protected as one of the most important in Europe, hosting a variety of species, including Miniopterus schreibersii, Myotis blythii, Myotis myotis, Rhinolophus euryale, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Rhinolophus hipposideros, Rhinolophus mehelyi, Myotis daubentonii, Myotis escalerai, and Myotis emarginatus. Its status as a bat refuge has led to its designation as a Special Conservation Area.
In addition to bats, the cave is home to an abundant variety of other creatures, including arachnids, crustaceans, myriapods, and beetles.
Protecting and Preserving the Legacy of Belda Cave
Belda Cave, a geological masterpiece, is made up of gray limestone and dolomite dating back to the Lower Jurassic period, approximately between 205 and 180 million years ago. Its unique geology, with an oval-shaped entrance and a network of chambers adorned with various speleothems, makes it a precious natural heritage.
Given the fragility of the bat colony inside, access to Belda Cave is restricted from March 1 to September 30, with the aim of protecting and preserving the resident fauna. It is crucial to safeguard this fragile ecosystem, and these measures seek to mitigate human impact, including vandalism.
A Legendary Tale
Belda Cave is more than an amazing place; it is a cultural icon. According to local legend, this cave was the hiding place for treasures of an ancient Roman city, protected by a mysterious figure dressed in black. Later, brave Christian warriors, facing a fearsome dragon, sought the help of a humble friar. With his faith and a cross, the friar defeated the devil, symbolizing the liberation of the people from this evil presence.
This exciting story remains alive in the Fiesta de San Marcos—come discover it for yourself!
How to Get to Belda Cave in Cuevas de San Marcos?
To get to Belda Cave in Cuevas de San Marcos, follow these directions from the center of Cuevas de San Marcos:
- Leave Cuevas de San Marcos: Start from the city center of Cuevas de San Marcos.
- Take the MA-5403: Head southeast on the MA-5403.
- Continue on MA-5403: Stay on this road for approximately 5 kilometers.
- Turn left: You will see signs directing you to Belda Cave.
- Turn left in the indicated direction.
- Continue to the parking area: Follow this road until you reach the parking area of Belda Cave.
You can also follow the directions on Google Maps, click here.
Once you arrive at the parking area, you will find signs and/or additional information to guide you to the cave entrance and get more details on visiting hours and available tours, if any. Enjoy your visit to Belda Cave in Cuevas de San Marcos!