As the grandeur of Europe grew in cities across the continent, generations of workers toiled underground to power the unstoppable pace of development. From the gold that decorated the Middle Ages, to the wine used to toast revolutions, and the coal that fuelled the modern era, the world as we know it would never have been possible without the tough and dangerous labour taking place deep below the surface. Away from sight and often out of mind, these tunnels, caverns, mines and cellars have been hiding amazing stories about the lives of the people who helped build Europe.
Now open to the public, these incredible World Heritage sites often surprise with an eerie industrial beauty or the opportunity for an adventurous exploration. Whether it’s a downhill ride in an old mining train, a cathedral carved from salt or wine barrels inside volcanic rock, they offer you the chance to venture deep underground – and deep into history – to experience the life and culture in the dark depths of Europe.