Underground Cities

Underground cities are some of the most unique places to visit around the world. They have existed for centuries all over the world and served many different purposes. Some were built as places of refuge from invaders, while others, like Underground Montreal in Canada, were built as refuge from harsh weather conditions. Others were built with more functional purposes in mind, such as a means to easily access different parts of the city or for mining purposes.

Regardless of the reason why underground cities exist, they are fascinating places to visit and provide a truly one-of-a-kind way to experience a city. Many cities have some form or another of underground life available for visitors to explore, often with guided tours, showing them a side of the city most travelers often miss.

Berlin, Germany

Perhaps one of the most significant underground cities in existence today, Berlin Underground (known as Berliner Unterwelten in German) is a living lesson in history. Thanks to a dedicated organization that maintains and operates tours of the tunnels, visitors to Berlin are able to explore a series of underground bunkers originally designed to provide residents a safe escape from World War II air raids and escape tunnels that helped people escape under the Berlin Wall.

Portland, Ore.

Portland has a fascinating underground history dating back to the early days of the city. A maze of tunnels under the city have a sordid history that earned them the nickname “The Shanghai Tunnels.” These tunnels were once home to homes and business, but were most famously known for underground bars and gambling dens that lured men to drink themselves unconscious, only to wake up ‘shanghai’d’ into slavery on a ship that had already set sail. Portland Walking Tours offers daily excursions into the sinister tunnels beneath the city.

Underground house patio vintage, Coober Pedy, Australia

© Inge Hogenbijl | Dreamstime.com

Coober Pedy, Australia

A fully functioning underground city, Coober Pedy is a mining town in the middle of South Australia. Famous for its opal mines, this desert town is a warren of underground homes and businesses dug out of necessity to escape the oppressive heat and the predatory wildlife that calls the area home. Visitors to this town can not only take tours of some of its mines and dwellings, but they can also stay in an underground hotel, such as the Lookout Cave Underground Motel so they can experience the reality of underground living.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rumor has it Amsterdam is planning a massive underground city project that will run underneath the city’s canals. Designed for shopping and parking in an effort to boost the economy and help alleviate the city’s parking problem, this subterranean development is sure to be a welcome addition to the underground cities of the world.