the Costs of Owning a Cavern for Your Loved One’s Ashes

Since the funeral legislation passed on December 19, 2008, which prohibits the keeping of a loved one’s ashes at home, the popularity of caverns as a resting place for the departed has soared. These cinerary monuments offer a serene and dignified setting to honor your loved one’s memory. But what’s the price tag associated with acquiring a cavern in a cemetery? In this article, we delve into the intricacies of this funeral accessory’s pricing.

Is the price based on the size? 

Much like columbaria, caverns are cinerary monuments designed for the classic interment of an urn. Typically, a cavern consists of a small vault, crafted from reinforced concrete, complete with a base and a concrete or granite slab. The granite slab or concrete slab serves as a protective barrier for the ashes, safeguarding them from the elements. It also provides a canvas for inscriptions and floral arrangements.

Caverns are often square, and their dimensions can vary, spanning from 50×50 cm to 90×90 cm. The larger the cavern, the higher the cost. For a spacious cavern, budget approximately between 400 and 600 euros. Smaller, more modest models, naturally, come with a lower price tag.

Material Matters

Besides size, the material of the slab significantly impacts the overall cost of the cavern. The choice of material for the slab plays a crucial role in protecting the ashes and maintaining the structure’s integrity.

Concrete slabs are generally less expensive than their granite counterparts, but they may lack the aesthetics and longevity offered by granite. Many funeral directors opt for granite due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. Granite slabs can range from 300 to 500 euros, depending on the chosen size and type of granite. Notably, caverns crafted from dark royal granite tend to be pricier compared to those made with other granite variants.

Concession Duration Matters

Cemetery regulations and costs also vary according to the duration of the concession you secure. Since the 2008 funeral legislation, cemeteries in municipalities with over 2,000 inhabitants have designated space for burials. Concession terms typically range from 15 to 30 years, depending on the municipality.

For a 15-year concession, budget approximately between 200 and 300 euros. For a more extended 30-year concession, anticipate costs ranging from 300 to 450 euros. These costs encompass both the lease of the space and the expenses related to the cavern, including its components. Choosing a cavern for interment is generally a more cost-effective option compared to traditional cinerary methods or columbaria, as the municipality oversees the management of these cinerary monuments throughout the concession duration.

Customization Choices Matter

In certain municipalities across the USA, the personalization of caverns is standard practice, and all caverns within the cemetery share identical decorations. In such cases, customization of the slab doesn’t lead to additional costs beyond the initial concession fee. However, you may need to cover the service fees of the funeral director responsible for the burial.

In contrast, other municipalities grant families the freedom to personalize the cavern as they see fit. Families can place flowers, a commemorative stele, chamfered tombstone monuments, and a Plexiglas funerary plaque on the cavern to reflect the wishes of the departed and their loved ones. Customizing a cavern in such municipalities might incur additional costs, ranging from 50 to 300 euros, depending on the extent of personalization.

Administrative Procedures Have Their Costs

The administrative procedures associated with acquiring a cavern for an urn can also influence the overall expenses. To streamline these processes, it’s advisable to engage a funeral director’s services, as they will handle the necessary paperwork. These steps typically involve submitting a request for a funeral concession to the municipality.

The cost of a work authorization varies from one municipality to another, usually falling within the range of 20 to 100 euros. Note that these administrative fees are distinct from the concession fees, which cover land preparation and cavern installation.

Installation and Funeral Costs

The installation of a cavern typically doesn’t significantly impact its purchase price. Most suppliers include installation costs within their quotes. Should you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can liaise directly with your local town hall to facilitate the acquisition of a cavern. However, if the burial time is limited or if you seek a hassle-free experience, it’s prudent to engage a funeral director to oversee the design procedures.

Professional funeral directors can expedite the process, often securing better prices for the purchase and installation of your cavern. Alternatively, you can explore the option of commissioning a cavern designer directly. The price in such cases depends on the professional’s experience, the cave’s size, and the chosen materials. Budgeting between 150 and 700 euros should suffice for a durable cavern tailored to your preferences.


While the costs associated with owning a cavern may seem intricate, it’s essential to understand the various factors that influence the overall price. The choice of size, material, customization, concession duration, and the level of involvement in the administrative process all play a role in determining the final cost of this cinerary monument. Whether you opt for a simple and cost-effective solution or a more personalized and elaborate design, the choice is ultimately a reflection of your love and respect for the departed.

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