The Caves of Han-sur-Lesse are one of the finest and most visited tourist attractions in Belgium. The special four km tour on a hundred year old tram through the caves takes you through some of the most enthralling experiences. The vast grottos lying underneath make for an amazing sight, with frozen drops of icy water spread all over.
Situated in the remarkable location of the ancient Lesse valley on the fringes of the village of Han-sur-Lesse in Belgium and stretching over an area of 250 hectares, the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse help you discover the most important species of surviving European animals or the ones which once inhabited this place in the past.
Caves of Han-sur-Lesse – History
Initially inhabited by people from the Stone Age who came over for refuge, the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse were discovered by four young men in the year 1804. Over the next few years as subsequent explorations were going on, the bigger caverns along with their stalagmites as well as stalactites were found. From the year 1856 the caves have been made open to the common people.
Having resulted from an underground erosion of a limestone hill by the river Lesse, the grottos are one of the most opted tourist spots in the country of Belgium. The river forcefully makes way through the underneath of the hill for a distance of more than one kilometer.
Caves of Han-sur-Lesse
The cave system, with as much as have been discovered till date, comprises a string of complex caverns with a total distance span of 10km, barely 3km of which are reachable, some just from 1962. The dirt created by the smoke and soot emitted from torches, on the ceiling in the most ancient caves is clearly noticeable but they are exceptionally remarkable on account of the skillful illumination The Salle des Scarabées, the Salle des Renards, the Salle du Vigneron, the Grotte du Précipice, Le Trophée, Le Styx, the Salle des Mystérieuses and the Salle des Draperies are particularly remarkable are all with outstanding stalactite formations.
The first chamber, i.e., the Scarab Chamber in the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse has the first mineral formations known as “concretions”, which include stalagmites, stalactites, columns and draperies. To the left at the entry to this chamber, is the Belgo-Roman gallery of archaelogical excavations. Next comes the Vigneron Chamber; then the Chamber of Cataclysms, which has cave-ins that took place thousands of years ago; next is the Minaret Chamber, with the tallest minaret of 6 meters; the Mysterious Chamber full of mysterious shapes and colors; then comes the river Styx; the Trophy chamber, with enormous stalactites; then the Arms Chamber; followed by the largest of chambers with fallen rocks strewn all across and on which massive stalagmites have formed. It is a customary to fire a canon before finally making an exit from the caves.
Grottes de Han Highlights
Museum of the Underground World
There are some attractions around the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse that can interest any inquisitive traveler. While you make an exit from the caverns you can visit the Musée du Monde Souterrain (Museum of the Underground World) where you can learn about the origin and formation of the caverns and displays the different archaeological exhibits from the various past expeditions spanning over the Stone Age to the Merovingian period.
The stroll back to the Han-sur-Lesse village from the caves takes you through the area with a playground as well as an eatery and also a farm. The audio-visual show called “Spéléothème” shown here offers fantastic knowledge about the world of the Grottos of Han.
How to reach Caves of Han-sur-Lesse
The only proper access to the caves is by train which plies through the beautiful countryside of Ardennes and leaves from the ticket and information office overlooking the local church. Board the Brussels-Luxembourg line, and get down at Jemelle Station to reach Caves of Han-sur-Lesse with a B-Excursions ticket.
If you traveling by car then take E411 motorway, exit 23, then go by the signs for “Han-sur-Lesse”. The village is located at 5 km from the exit.
Open every day except on 6, 13, 20, and 27.
On the weekdays:
Grotto 10.00-16.00, every hour
Safari 10.30- 16.30, every hour
Grotto 10.00-12.00 & 13.00-16.30, every ½ an hour
Safari 10.00-12.30 & 13.30- 16.30 every ½ an hour