Salt Cathedral

Church in Zipaquirá

Image by Jacqui de Klerk Lonely Planet

Zipaquirá's stunning Catedral de Sal is one of the country's most unique attractions, carved by meticulously removing 250,000 tons of salt and flipping the resulting space into a gorgeous underground Roman Catholic church, cinematically lit and packing a whole lot of ecclesiastical wow throughout its cavernous chapels and naves. Admission includes Parque de la Sal attractions like a light show, 3D film, brine museum and other imminently skippable distractions.

All visitors must join regularly departing groups on hour-long tours – you can leave them once you're inside if you want. The walk leads past 14 stages of Jesus' fateful day, with hollowed-out crosses symbolizing nakedness or death; the illuminated cupola; and, finally, the stunning nave. The tradition of mixing religion with salt has logical roots: work in the mines was dangerous so altars were made. The 75m-long mine can accommodate 8400 people and holds services on (very busy) Sundays, though lacking a bishop, it has no official status as a cathedral in Catholicism.