Looking for a challenge? Here’s why you need to visit Grotta Gigante, a beautifully expansive cave near Trieste, Italy.
Also known as Riesengrotte or as Grotta di Brisciachi, Grotta Gigante sits 20 minutes north of Trieste. And it’s not called Gigante for the sake of it – it’s widely considered one of the largest show caves in the world. Which, we think, makes it well worth the explore.
Add Grotta Gigante to your European bucket list ASAP.
Stalagmites, Stalactites, and Stats
The cave was first explored in 1840, though it wasn’t opened to the public until 1908. And even then, electricity wasn’t installed until 1957 (more on the area’s electricity, later). The site also boasts a visitors centre and museum above ground, which you’ll have time to explore before your guide takes you down into the depths of the cave.
Prepare to see some of the most impressive stalagmites and stalactites you’ve ever witnessed (elongated mineral deposits, FYI – or those rather freaky-looking cave spikes). Funnily enough, the largest stalagmite is 12 metres in length and is named Ruggiero after one of the cave’s first explorers.
The underground chamber is the most impressive part of the cave. It stands at a whopping 98 metres high, 76 metres wide, and 167 metres long.
500 steps lead down – and, sadly, back up – to the cave. So don your comfiest shoes and get ready for a caving adventure. Oh, and wrap up warm if you’re visiting in summer – Grotta Gigante is kept at a solid temperature of 11°C all year round.
Practical Tips for Visiting Grotta Gigante, Trieste
Grotta Gigante Tickets
We’ll warn you, booking tickets can be a little bit of a faff – you’ll need to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, date, time, and the number of participants. Then you can make a reservation for a guided tour, which lasts one hour.
It’s also possible to book a 4-hour adventure, but we recommend opting for the one-hour guided tour of the cave (€15). It allows you to explore in great detail and learn more about Grotta Gigante’s history.
Or, to make things really simple, book yourself onto a tour of the giant cave AND the nearby Duino Castle which sits on a clifftop, dramatically overlooking the Gulf of Trieste. No need to sort transport out – or schlepp through a remote Italian village in the blazing heat, for that matter.
How to Get to Grotta Gigante
Grotta Gigante really is located in a tiny town. When we visited there was actually a power cut, which meant that the (already minimal) number of options for a coffee was totally diminished. Bring a bottle of water with you to keep in your bag. Especially important if you’re visiting during the hot Italian summer.
Alright – but how do you get there? It’s a fair question. From Trieste, the easiest way to get there is to take the bus from Piazza Oberdan. Look for the row of buses to the right of the green building and you’ll know you’re in the right spot.
From here, it’s a short bus ride to Grotta Gigante, followed by a 15-minute walk through a Pinocchio-esque village.
Top tip: Download the Trieste Trasporti app and you can buy tickets through that. Simply hop on the bus and validate.