© istock/ Bombaert
© istock/ Bombaert

A journey to the center of earth: Domain of the Caves of Han

3 minutes to read

There is nothing compared with that mighty place of beauty and grandeur. It is hard even to describe the feeling of being in a place as old as our planet Earth. I tend to visit the Caves of Han every year, but I will never get tired of going back there to sense the magic of timelessness. I imagine myself being part of an expedition, like the one in Jules Verne’s masterpiece, because a day spent in the Caves of Han is truly a journey to the center of the world.

Domain of the Caves of Han, Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium
Domain of the Caves of Han, Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium
Rue Joseph Lamotte, 5580 Rochefort, Belgium

Warm up with a safari

©Alexander Ivanchev
©Alexander Ivanchev

Han–sur–Lesse is a beautiful Walloon village situated in southeastern Belgium, in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes. There is a lot to see there, but I would suggest that you start your trip with getting acquainted with the local flora and fauna in the Wildlife Park.  

There are two ways to explore the park – by safari bus or on foot, but in either case, the experience is unforgettable.

©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown
©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown

In the midst of the unspoiled nature, spanning an area of 250 hectares, you will discover over 650 animals living in their natural environment. The Wild Park is home to the famous European Big 5: the bison, the lynx, the wolf, the brown bear, and the wolverine.

©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown
©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown

If you are thirsty for more adventure, you can also book a treehouse for the night inside the nature park. Imagine the feeling of being awakened in the morning by a chorus of birds or even better, by the howling of a litter of hungry wolves, calling for their mommy.    

©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown
©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown

Do not enter the cave on an empty stomach

Everybody gets hungry after a long walk in the wilderness. Le Pavillon restaurant, with its large picturesque terrace on the banks of the river Lesse, is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal before entering the cave. The menu tempts with local dishes, and with a cold beer in hand, you will enjoy a wonderful view, while getting ready to explore. But before you get going, make sure you are appropriately dressed – the temperatures in the cave are roughly about 10 C throughout the year.

©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown
©Domaine des Grottes de Han/unknown
Le Pavillon, Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium
Le Pavillon, Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium
Rue des Marronniers 1, 5580 Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium

Straight ahead to the center of the Earth

©iStock/Bombaer
©iStock/Bombaer

This cave is so beautiful that it is hard to believe that it actually exists. The Cave of Han is the very first Belgian UNESCO Global Geopark. In its heart, you could closely observe the river Lesse as it does its never-ending job of developing and embellishing this underground world.

©Alexander Ivanchev
©Alexander Ivanchev

This divine underground cathedral - as the locals like to call the cave awarded with 3 Green Michelin Stars and experienced by over 30 million visitors- will impress you with its three exquisite naturally formed galleries, full of stalactites, stalagmites, and draperies.

La Salle des Draperies

The Draperies Chamber was discovered in 1814. Inaccessible for thirty years, this underground gem was reopened to the public. At the end of the 1970s, La Salle des Draperies was flooded and required a lot of maintenance. Today, it is still in perfect condition, waiting for its visitors.

La Salle du Dôme

©Alexander Ivanchev
©Alexander Ivanchev

The Hall of the Dome is the largest and the coldest gallery in the complex. It is 150 meters across, and its ceiling reaches 127 meters.

La Salle d’Armes

©Alexander Ivanchev
©Alexander Ivanchev

The Weapons Room offers a grandiose sound and light show, called Origin, created by Luc Petit. The show, as the name suggest, tells the evocative story of the universe and the planet Earth, travelling through centuries to the present day. Origin will leave you speechless and dreamy for a long time.

Exiting the Cave of Han, you will find it difficult to get back to reality. After this journey to the center of the Earth in Domain of the Caves of Han, everyone comes out overjoyed and inspired.

©Alexander Ivanchev
©Alexander Ivanchev

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The author

Desislava Krsteva

Desislava Krsteva

Hi there, my name is Desi. I am an actress, a traveller, and a storyteller. I have always been passionate about discovering new cultures and charming places all over the globe. On itinari, I will make you discover some of the beautiful places in Belgium.

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