Eisriesenwelt Werfen – gigantic ice cave

Cave system and ice palace on a length of 42 kilometers

The Eisriesenwelt Werfen is the largest ice cave on earth. The unique natural spectacle is in the Tennengebirge near Werfen. The mighty ice formations and the naturalness invite you to marvel.

Eine Besuchergruppe in der Eisschauhöhle bei Werfen im Salzburger Land.
Eisriesenwelt Werfen © Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Eisriesenwelt

The emergence of the ice cave

The cave system has a length of more than 42 kilometers. The cave is a listed building. Around one kilometer is accessible to visitors. The giant ice cave looks back on a history of several thousand years. The first crevasses and fissures in the limestone cliffs were already created in the course of the mountain elevations about 100 million years ago. Cavities were formed over a period of several thousand years due to chemical dissolution processes and water erosion.

The Eisriesenwelt is a dynamic ice cave. The cave passages and fissures form a connection from lower to higher openings. These allow a draft. The fascinating ice sculptures are created when, in spring, meltwater enters the undercooled cave interior through rock cracks and freezes. Because of its location in the high mountains and the lack of interest in caving, the cave was unknown until the end of the 19th century.

It was not until 1879 that the Salzburg naturalist Anton von Posselt-Czorich discovered the world of the ice giants by going into the cave by about 200 meters.

Guided tours through the world of ice

The entrance to the cave is 20 meters wide and 18 meters high. The ice giant world impresses with its enormous dimensions and the ice palaces. These are bathed in beautiful light by the miner’s lamps. Visiting the Eisriesenwelt is only possible with experienced guides.

A tour lasts 75 minutes and you learn about the history of the cave and many interesting scientific facts. The Eisriesenwelt is open from May to October and is a very special experience, especially in the warm summer months.The starting point of the experience is the visitor center in the valley. From here there are two ways to get to the entrance of the cave.

Either you hike up or you use the steepest cable car in Austria. In nice, warm weather, the visit is particularly attractive due to the change from warm to cold and from light to dark. The panoramic view from the entrance of the cave over the Salzach Valley is also impressive.

360-degree panoramic view of the mountain world in front of the ice cave:

Preparing to visit the giant ice world

In the ice cave, which can be reached by car from Salzburg in about 45 minutes, it is usually below 0 ° C. Sturdy shoes and warm clothing are recommended. Good physical condition is also required.

Inside the cave, 134 vertical meters have to be overcome via several stairs. The pit lamps that visitors receive at the cave entrance provide light.

The parents take responsibility for the children. The cave is often overwhelming for children up to three to four years old. Dogs are welcome, but due to the many stairs, it is not recommended. Photography and filming are prohibited in the cave.

Arrival and location of the ice cave

Address: Eishöhlenstrasse 30, 5450 Werfen
Public accessibility: by train to Werfen train station, then to the Eisriesenwelt with the regular bus to the Eisriesenwelt car park / visitor center.

More information about the ice cave

Hotel Salzburg inner City

Hotel Altstadt Salzburg – a unique historical atmosphere

Nikolaihof – the oldest winery in Austria