The protagonist of the novel a wayward 58-year old Professor Otto Liedenbrock, who lives in Hamburg, has taught at the University of mineralogy and geology.
Action begins on May 24, 1863. In the recently acquired manuscript of the twelfth century, written in runes, the professor discovers encrypted message of Icelandic alchemist Arne Saknussemm, who lived in the XVI century. Professor believes Saknussemm, wants to share the scientific discovery and asks the narrator - his nephew Axel - to decipher the message.
Luckily Axel manages to decrypt the document. Arne Saknussemm reports that the traveler who climbs up on the crater of Snæfellsjökull volcano, can get into the center of the Earth. He undertook this journey himself. Professor Lindenbrok, like a real geologist, decides to go to the Center of the Earth, and Axel should accompany him.
Professor and nephew leave Hamburg. Staying in Denmark for the rest, they are moving to Iceland. In Reykjavik they invite a conductor named Hans Byelke. The three of them climb the volcano crater and find there a slope down.
They manage to penetrate into the depths of the Earth. When they reach a crossroad, then choose first the wrong route, the road is a dead end, and they turn back. Meanwhile, their supply of water is running out and it seems that the expedition was doomed to failure.
Hans leaves his companions and goes in search of water. He finds a source that flows through the wall of the cliff and leads his friends there. They punch a hole in the wall so that there derives a small creek. They called it "Hans brook."
During further lowering Axel loses his friends. They find each other just a few days thanks to the phenomenon of sound, similar to the phenomenon in the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Heroes come to the shore of an underground sea, which they cross on a raft. On the other side, they see huge mushrooms, which are identified as the giant champignons. In addition, there are more fungi and bizarre plants, as well as a small island with a geyser.
While traveling through the underground world, friends see the battle between the ichthyosaur and plesiosaur. Soon, a storm begins, during which the ball-shaped zipper gets into a raft. Storm nailed them to the other shore. There they discover the remains of prehistoric people.
There are the traces of Saknussemmsa and entrance to another cave. Grotto ends after a few meters. When travelers are trying to free the passage underground sea falls into the abyss, and a raft is pulled into the funnel. They are at first in water, then in the lava of the volcano Stromboli island near Sicily. They get out through the crater.