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Fiery red rocks contrast next to an emerald green lake surrounded by greenery. Cava di Bauxite has a sad beginning, but an accident turned it into a natural wonder near Otranto. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Cava di Bauxite.

It’s not a secret that Puglia has an abundance of diverse landscapes that are bursting with natural beauty. From the world-renown Torre Sant’Andrea to the red rock formations at Cava di Bauxite near Otranto, Puglia is home to an impressive range of attractions that are easy to explore and all within a short distance from one another. While driving the Apulian coast on the Adriatic Sea from Otranto to Lecce, we stopped by some of natures most beautiful wonders. The first was Cava di Bauxite near Otranto.

How to get to Cava di Bauxite near Otranto?

The Bauxite Cave is just a 6-minute drive from the coastal Apulian town of Otranto. My recommendation would be to drive there and park in the dedicated parking lot. Remember to pack some cash because parking will cost you a few euros.

Alternatively, it’s a 20-minute walk from the town of Otranto. I don’t recommend walking because you end up on some pretty busy car roads, but it’s an option.

Once there it’s a short 4 minute walk, or 350 meters, before you reach Cava di Bauxite.

What to Wear At the Bauxite Cave of Otranto?

While it is only a 4-minute walk from the parking lot, I’d recommend you wear sneakers. I was in flip flops and wished I had sneakers for a couple of reasons. One: It’s all dirt roads and rocks. Some of the paths are marked, but they are a bit steep and uneven. I didn’t feel exactly stable in my flipflops. Secondly: The red rocks let out a ton of color, so my feet were covered in red dust and dirt. Needless to say, don’t come wearing white sneakers, unless you want to leave with red sneakers.

What is the Bauxite Cave of Otranto?

Cava di Bauxite has a sad, yet interesting story. It is an old quarry that was used to extract minerals used for iron and aluminum back in the 1940s. In 1976, all work was halted on the quarry due to the high costs and because water from a nearby aquifer had made it’s way into the quarry causing a small lake to appear. The minerals from the quarry is what gives the rocks it’s fiery red, orange, and peach color, but it’s also what makes the water in the small lake such a stunning and contrasting emerald green color. As you look up at the big rocks, it feels like you’re in Arizona’s Red Rock Canyon for just one second. But then you hear the echoes of Italian in the distance and remind yourself you’re actually in Puglia.

It doesn’t take long to circumnavigate the perimeter of the Lake of Bauxite, but I would give yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour to take it all in. It’s a unique natural wonder that is rarely found. And while you may be tempted to go for a swim, remember, the water is definitely not safe to swim in!

>> Next: 7 Things To Do In Lecce, Italy: A Lesser Known Travel Guide

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