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Bats in Piusa Sand Caves in Estonia

Explore underground sand corridors full of dormant bats

Bats in Piusa Sand Caves
Bats in Piusa Sand Caves
Bats in Piusa Sand Caves
Bats in Piusa Sand Caves

Piusa sand caves are located in south-eastern Estonia. They consist of a series of long pathways with ceilings up to 20 feet (6 m) high. The man-made caves were created in the 1920s when a mining operation was opened as a quarry for quartz sand, which was used to make glass. The cave system boasts beautiful vaulted ceilings, clean-cut corridors, and spacious galleries.

In 1979, the underground mines were closed. Since then, bats have started to spend winters in the caves. Their number has exceeded 3,000. Piusa Caves are considered to host the largest bat settlement in Eastern Europe. Many scientists come to Piusa to study these flying mammals.

In 2003, ​the caves were opened to the public. But tourists are only allowed to follow the marked paths so that they don't disturb the bats and don't get injured. If you visit the caves in the summer, it's unlikely that you see bats. So if you are interested in these animals, plan your visit for the winter, but keep in mind that during the low season the caves are only open on the weekends, from noon until 4 pm.

Practical info

When can bats be seen in Piusa Sand Caves in Estonia?

From mid-November to mid-March is the best time to visit Piusa Sand Caves in Estonia to see bats as they spend their winters in the underground mines. During summers, it is unlikely to spot them. Show more

What is the height of Piusa Sand Caves' ceilings?

The ceilings in Piusa Sand Caves can reach up to 6 meters (20 feet), with many of them being vaulted. The cave system is famous for its spacious galleries and clean-cut corridors, which offer a breathtaking view to visitors. Show more

How did Piusa Sand Caves come into existence?

Piusa Sand Caves are human-made, dating back to the 1920s when miners started quarrying quartz to make glass. In 1979, the underground mines were closed officially, and the bats settled into the cave during winters. In 2003, the caves were opened for public viewing, but tourists are allowed only on marked paths to avoid disturbing the bats or getting injured. Show more

Are tourists allowed to enter Piusa Sand Caves on weekdays in the winter season?

Piusa Sand Caves are mostly open on weekends during the winter season, from noon to 4 pm. However, visitors can enter the site on weekdays between 12-04 pm only when they have notified and received confirmation from park management authorities beforehand. Show more

What makes Piusa Sand Caves the largest bat settlement in Eastern Europe?

Piusa Sand Caves hold the title of the largest bat settlement in Eastern Europe because since the 1970s, the total number of bats who inhabit the cave during winter has surpassed 3,000. The site has become a crucial hub for scientific and environmental research and observation, drawing researchers and environmental enthusiasts from around the world. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin