Ultimate Guide to Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave (Austria) (Tours, Pricing, History)
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Ever wanted to explore a glacier? Eisriesenwelt, the largest ice cave in Europe, is waiting for you. But before you dive into the icy depths of this natural wonderland, it’s important that you know what to expect. So we’ve created an ultimate guide so that your visit will be as safe and enjoyable as possible!
We are talking about this cave today as Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave has the largest ice formations in Europe. When you visit, you’ll explore and experience this natural wonderland with a tour guide who will talk about geology, ecology, glaciology, and much more!
Ultimate Guide to Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave (Austria) (Tours, Pricing, History)
There are different tours to choose from that cater to visitors of all abilities. The duration is dependant on how long you want to spend exploring these frozen halls. And don’t worry if your language skills aren’t up there – our guides speak fluent English!
Rumor has it that it was first discovered by accident when two cows broke through a hole in the ice and followed their noses into this frozen cave!
History of Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave
Anton Posselt, a natural scientist, was the first person to discover the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave in 1879. However, it is believed he only went as far as two hundred meters from the entrance. Interestingly, the cave was already known to locals, but they never took the liberty of exploring as they had a theory that it was a gateway to hell.
After his brief exploration, Posselt released a copy of his findings in a mountaineering magazine, but it was not long before the publication went on to the back burner.
In 1912, one of the only speleologists of the time, Alexander von Mörk, was among those who had early cave expeditions. He remembered clearly when Posselt discovered the cave, and it wasn’t long after his mission that many more explorers started doing the same. However, Mörk died in World War I in 1914, and it is believed an urn with his ashes still lies in a niche in the cave.
They built a cabin for explorers in 1920 known as Forscherhütte, which led the first route up the mountain to be established. Soon after, the area started attracting many tourists, and the cave became a “world sensation.” It was not long after another cabin, the Dr. Oedl House was built, which initially made way for the Werfen and Tenneck pathways to be built.
The Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave is now owned and operated by the National Austrian Forest Commission but has leased it to the Salzburg Association of Cave Exploration. This has been going on since 1928, and the Forest Commission receives a percentage of all earnings coming in from cave activities.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Fun Facts
- The cave measures around 40 km and is formed from limestone with only around 1 km covered in ice.
- The cave’s temperature remains below freezing point all year round – yes, even in the summer!
- There is an area in the cave known as the Great Ice Embankment, where some unique formations are found.
- The cave entrance is roughly 124 meters above ground level, so you may want to take the trail or preferably a cable car for easier transport.
- It is the largest ice cave in the world.
- You may want to wear sturdy boots as there are areas in the cave that are extremely narrow and slippery.
- The cave was established in 1879.
- The cave features a lot of frozen waterfalls and amazing water droplet designs.
Download our FREE Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Guide (Unofficial)
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Wildlife
It might be unclear if lots of life live and exist in the cave as the temperatures tend to be below freezing point at all times. However, further beyond the icy regions of the cave, where human tours are not allowed, there could be life existing in these areas.
Caves do have a lot of wildlife existing in them, but more research is yet to be done to determine the types in the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Geological Formations
Like many caves around the world, formations occur in the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave, just that they are in different forms – icy!
Stalactites & Stalagmites – There are lots of stalactites and stalagmites in the cave, as well as lots of frozen waterfalls that have formed over time. The interesting thing about the whole cave is that the stalagmites can be slippery while they are bumpy.
Columns – Several columns are formed in the cave as the minerals flow with the water as they meet from the cave’s roof to the ground.
Waterfalls – The cave has many frozen waterfalls, and seeing the temperature in the cave is so low, it is not hard to understand the possibilities.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Tours
There is the option to tour the cave, but this has to be done with a guided tour, and it usually goes in groups of 20. This includes the cable car and touring of the accessible regions of the cave. The cave generally opens between May and October each year, and daily, there are numerous tour options…
* The daily tours begin when the first set of visitors arrive at the cave each morning, and it usually begins at the cave entrance. Tours run at least every hour and a half or as the groups show up for tours.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Prices and Discounts
The prices vary depending on the mood of visiting the cave and the age group that is visiting. Here is an average of the price range it may take to get an entrance into the cave…remember, these prices are in Euros as it is Europe.
Combined Rate (Cave Tour & Cable Car):
- Adults: €33.00
- Youth (15-18 yrs): €23.00
- Children (5-14yrs): €18.00
Cave Tour Without Cable Car (Footpath over alpine terrain):
- Adult: €16.00
- Youth (15-18 yrs): €11.00
- Children (5-14yrs): €9.00
Cave Car Without Cave Tour:
- Adult: €20.00
- Youth (15-18 yrs): €14.00
- Children (5-14yrs): €11.00
Discounted (Call for details):
- Adult: €11.00
- Youth (15-18 yrs): €8.00
- Children (5-14yrs): €6.00
Where to Stay Near Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave
You would not want to miss out on the fun of sticking around in the area after you visit the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave. There are many fun places you can stay that will enhance your overall experience as you will get the “home away from home” feeling. Here are a few places you can stay…
Berghotel Garni Burgblick (Adults Only)
Well, this hotel is best suited for those who prefer to stay without the kids on their vacation as they seek to bind and grow intimate. The hotel features some amazing amenities, and the staff is amazingly wonderful. It is located 2 km away from the cave and roughly 500 meters away from Hohenwerfen Castle. There is so much to see and explore from this amazing hotel.
Hotel Werfenerhof has located roughly 2.6 km from the Eisriesenwelt and has some of the most spacious rooms to complement your stay. They are fully equipped with free internet access and have a cool spa area, private parking, and an amazing restaurant. It is open to the entire family to create memories that you will love.
Weisses Rössl Werfen
This amazing hotel has some of the most intriguing features and amenities you will love and will leave you back for more. Weisses Rössl sits in the middle of Werfen, close to the bicycle trail. There is free WiFi access in every room with loads of space and private bathrooms. It is suitable for the entire family, and there is also an on-site pizzeria.
Places To Stay Nearby
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave Details
- Length: 42 Km
- Time recommended: 1hr and 15mins
- Trail Type: Loop
- Difficulty: Depends as the area has lots of ice
- Kid-Friendly: Yes, but it can be a little challenging.
- Dog-Friendly: Yes, but owners have to be mindful if it is okay for their pets
- Accessibility: Parking Lot
- Fee/Permit: Varies
- Hours: 8:30 am to 3 pm (May to October Only)
How to Get to Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave
Getting to Eisriesenwelt Cave is relatively easy and “right around the corner” from where you are. The cave is around 40km south of Salzburg, and you can reach the location by taking either the trunk road from Salzburg or the train service, which leaves you in Werfen. Other routes of entry, such as the Tauren motorway (A10) south and exit via the 34 Paß Lueg.
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