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Inside the 330ft volcanic cavern that's smothered in lush vegetation

by Valorie Palmerston (2020-10-22)


The land that time forgot? The Azores, actually.

These amazing images show the Algar do Carvão, an incredible 330ft-long volcanic vent in the Portuguese Atlantic archipelago that's smothered in lush vegetation - and that harbours an underground lake.

The intriguing cavern is located on Terceira, one of the largest islands in the Azores, and it can be explored on foot (lockdowns permitting) - thanks to a handy staircase.

The entrance of the Algar do Carvão, a volcanic cavern on Terceira, one of the largest islands in the Azores

The cave has had rave reviews on TripAdvisor. One traveller, Daniela, wrote: 'Visiting was extraordinary'

For the crater good: The Algar do Carvão is one of just a handful of volcanoes that tourists can descend into

The ancient lava tube is part of the immense Guilherme Moniz volcano, one of four that form Terceira.

The Algar do Carvão was blasted into existence during an eruption about 2,000 years ago and remained unexplored until 1893.

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Now, however, it's a popular tourist attraction, with visitors able to step into the extraordinary cave and marvel at its rich tapestry of moss, plants and unique stalactites.

If they look closely they might also spot some of the amazing little creatures that call the cave home, including spiders, centipedes and beetles.

The Algar do Carvão was blasted into existence during an eruption about 2,000 years ago and remained unexplored until 1893 

Visitors are able to step into the extraordinary cave and marvel at its rich tapestry of moss, plants and unique stalactites (lockdowns permitting)

Visitors descend deeper into the volcanic vent, on a journey seemingly to the centre of the earth

At the very bottom - 300ft down - they'll find a rainwater-fed lake, which swells to a depth of 15 metres (50ft) when it's particularly wet.

The Algar do Carvão is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Terceira and NEAREST RESTAURANT guided tours - conducted by the conservation organisation Os Montanheiros - are available.

Tourists who have visited have generally left rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

At the very bottom of the Algar do Carvão - 300ft down - there's a rainwater-fed lake, which swells to a depth of 15 metres (50ft) when it's particularly wet 

One traveller, Daniela, wrote: 'Visiting this cave was extraordinary, we felt like we were coming into the middle of the Earth.

'There was sheer beauty and fantasy. It was full of colours and unexpected experience.'

Another, Pernille, said: 'To me, it was a unique experience to be inside a volcano looking up to the sky through the crater.

'It was fascinating to see how the lava formed the cave on its way out. A small glimpse of how the Earth is made.'

While Ivan wrote: 'Wow, what an impressive place! Until you actually see it yourself it is very hard to imagine.

'There are a lot of stairs, so you must be in reasonable shape. Pictures do not do it justice. Do not miss.' 

Visit for more on the Azores and click here for more on Visit Portugal's Can't Skip Hope campaign - 'a message of hope for all during these scary times'.  

Traveller Pernille said on TripAdvisor: 'To me, it was a unique experience to be inside a volcano looking up to the sky through the crater. It was fascinating to see how the lava formed the cave on its way out. A small glimpse of how the Earth is made'