Mountains have always been a major magnet for me. The higher their peaks are, the better. When I was choosing among the popular visitor attractions in Austria, Eisriesenwelt ice cave was an easy choice, because the place has it all – huge walls of rock, great views, fresh mountain air and, by far, the largest ice cave in the world! Together with Grossglockner High Alpine Road this is a perfect example of how stunningly beautiful the nature of Austria really is!
To make it short – the cave truly is stunning! However, there is just so much more than the cave itself! You get to hike a beautiful trail, experience the brand new lift and of course walk hell of a lot of steps on your way up!
Getting to Eisriesenwelt ice cave
Arriving in visitor center was fairly easy but with an edge of surprise. So far, we have only been driving on Austrian highways. Once we got off the highway, a narrow road with fairly steep climb was ahead of us. As I wasn’t prepared for driving such roads yet, my car almost died on the way up. My own fault, of course, as I was still in D gear. Luckily, I fixed the problem by switching to L gear and from there on we had no problem whatsoever.
As I mentioned, the road is fairly narrow, so you need to watch out for other cars coming in your directions. You will soon realize how quickly you are ascending as the views will be breathtaking!
Admission tickets and parking
Once you have parked your car, you will head to visitor center to get your admission tickets. Eisriesenwelt ice cave is a family enterprise. Combined ticket for the lift and the cave costs 24€ per adult. Alternatively, you can avoid the lift by hiking to the cave. It’s a long hike!
You can also find a souvenir shop, bathrooms and cafeteria at the visitor center.
Hiking to the cave
Once you have the tickets, the only way is up. Follow the trail outside the visitor center. It will take you approx. 30 minutes to reach the lift, which will take you another 500m higher (and save you a lot of energy!). Once you arrive, there is another 30 minutes hike to the entrance of the cave.
This is where I found the views to be particularly beautiful. If you are lucky with the weather, you might have a chance to see the valley beneath these magnificent mountains. We made many stops to take photos.
Inside the cave
You are only allowed to visit the cave with a local guide. No need to book them in advance, once you reach the entrance of the cave, a guide will wait for you and other visitors and once the 20-30 people group has gathered, the tour will start. Tours are offered in English and German.
To enter the cave, a huge door needs to be opened. During summer, this door is held closed to prevent warm air from entering the cave. As it is an ice cave, inside temperature is at freezing temperature (0 Celsius). So a jacket is a must!
The guides joke that in order to keep you warm, they have prepared 1400 steps (700 up and same amount downwards). Don’t worry, it is not that hard even for unfit person. The pace is quite slow and they make many stops to talk about the cave.
The cave itself is stunningly beautiful. As it is completely dark inside, the guide will hand every 4th person a gas lamp. Magnesium sticks are used to light up huge ice sculptures created by mother nature. Unlike all other ice on our planet that is melting due to climate change, this cave is actually growing!
I loved the dedication of the guides and people who work to promote and preserve the cave. I highly recommend visiting this place, because it is truly unique experience and will fit very nicely with your Austria holiday. It is easy to visit the cave from Salzburg on a day trip (or, as we did, on the way from Cesky Krumlov to Grossglockner high alpine road).
Eisriesenwelt official website
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