009 – Top things to do in Grutas da Moeda – PT – The Earth Cathedral

From the sunny twin cities: Porto (Oporto) and Gaia -> to the chilly (18 degrees Celcius) caves around Fatima.

Grutas da moeda card 2020

This is Grutas da Moeda (a limestone cave) and here is what you need to know: it was “found” quite recently in the ’70s by two hunters that happen to be at the right place at the right time.😂 Well even if they were here 100 yrs earlier or later… the cave would have still been here.

Since the discovery more and more of the limestone millennial formations are been  explored, studied and showcased to those who venture to Fatima region, in Portugal.


009.1 Entrance to Grutas da Moeda

To get to Grutas da Moeda (Moeda Caves) is not that easy, but oh it is so beautiful and breathtaking and totally worth it! 👍

First, you need to get to Fatima, and for that, you have plenty of options. From there you could either walk (but not on 30+ degrees sunny days), get a cab, drive yourself, borrow a bike or get a mini-bus. 

Screenshot 2019-05-26 at 20.11.55

Click on the map to get an interactive look. 


009.2 Detail of the limestone floor

Once at the entry, get a ticket, get some warm clothes (better if you had them already) and check out the museum while you wait to get in. The tour guide knows English, French, Spanish and of course Portuguese. Maybe they have also in other languages but in our group we had many different languages so he did his best, giving us time to take photos. 


009.3 The stairs into the new world

Both the limestone walls and the clear waters are beautifully lid and there are large rooms where normally the tour-guide stop to speak and present. He even has a laser-pointer to enhance his presentation (a good tip for those multi-international enterprises still making bad ppts and using the power of the pointing-finger from +20m away)


009.4 Deeper you go, more diverse “statues” emerge

While is not the first time I have visited a cave (public or wild), it sure is the easiest to admire, as if it was carefully carved in hundreds of thousands of years for us the tourists to admire. Hope the children of my children could say the same thing. 🕥 Time will tell. 


009.5 Time&Water shaping effortlessly the limestone 

You can get really up-close (without the fear of bats 🦇 ) and admire the dragon skin limestone. Right about now you will see that you wish you had a good phone or fast lenses to take pictures without too much shake or noise. (I used a Sigma Art lens and the images got pretty yellow so I had to work them a lot. But on Nikon’s D5400 fast 35mm lens the images had so much red in them that we could not use much… For this example, the Canon 8D paired with Sigma Art 18-35 delivered such great results and made editing a fair bit easier. But is a heavy combo to hold around the neck while venturing in a cave. No pictures had flash and all pictures are handheld )


009.6 The Earths Cathedral

Admiring the bigger chambers you get an idea of where do they got the idea for the Gothic Style on all those huge Cathedrals scattered around Europe. Pretty curious of how the House of God resembles more with a Tomb than an edifice of Life. I wish the new churches celebrate more life than stone and dead plants in a vase. 🏺   


009.7 A cave to see all formations

I am no geologist but I do get impressed when seeing flowstones (looking like shaped by waves), stalactites (pointing down from up), stalagmites (pointing up from down, resembling little roman praying statues), helictites (pointing all directions, much like my 3D animation software when he has an error), soda straws (young and thin) or impressive columns that are far more aged and join the millenniums of what fell with the millenniums of what had raised.


009.8 The dark silence

Right before exiting there is also a light show -> they make pitch dark, all around you, and you can hear (among other things) the water drops falling around the cave. Then there is a projection show that is also something great (but not as great as the silent, pitch dark moment). 


009.9 Selfie-time

Yep now get your camera out and make a photo of yourself or just hand it to the tour guide. Get home, print it and put it on a magnet -> no need to buy extra stuff. Or is it?


009.10 Souvenir shop

I am a sucker for fossils and artefacts and whatnot (mostly trains actually) so I had to enter in the souvenir shop.

But soon I found out something far more interesting. 

So join me in the next article to find out what!


Grutas da moeda sym


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