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World of the Ice Giants – Eisriesenwelt

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You have to admit just the name Ice Giants develops respect and maybe even fear. However, in this case it is not about ice monster from the Disney’s film Frozen, but about the biggest ice cave in the world called Eisriesenwelt or translated in English “World of the Ice Giants”. This natural limestone and ice cave system is located only 40 kilometres south of Salzburg in small town Werfen. It is 42 kilometres long, almost the same distance to Salzburg. Its reputation of ice cave owes to the fact that the first kilometre the only available for visit for tourist is ice covered, however the rest of the cave is formed of limestone. The mountain the cave is located in is the part of the biggest karst plateau in the Salzburger Alps. Special weather condition stop snow inside of cave from melting, chilly wind in summer from inside the cave and cold winter winds which blow into the cave.

The cave stayed hidden from the public for a long time, until the end of 19th century it was known only to locals who didn’t want to explore it regarding it as the entrance to hell. Soon after its discovery in 1879 it was forgotten until the end of the World War I. Today cave is opened for public and is one of the major tourist spot in the area. You can visit it from May till October. The temperatures inside are below zero and warm cloths is needed. Inside of the cave you dive in the ice age. You can visit Alexander von Mörk Cathedral. Alexander von Mörk, a speleologist who led few expeditions, rediscovered and popularized the cave. He was killed in World War I and his ashes are kept in an urn in one of the largest rooms in the cave. Another interesting room is Ice Palace, located at the end of the area opened for visitors, a kilometre into the cave and 400 metres underground. Visitors get gas lamps.


Since a cable car was built in 1955 to reach the entrance located high in the mountains at 1640 meters above sea level you need 3 minutes. However, in order to reach the entrance portal from the top station of the cable car visitors have to climb up 700 steps, so the entire cave tour requires a certain level of physical fitness. To reach the cable car use either public bus or car, don’t try to walk or take a bike, unless you are really fit.

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The author

Ogi Savic

Ogi Savic

I am Ogi. A journalist and economist, I live in Vienna and I am passionate about skiing, traveling, good food and drinks. I write about all these aspects (and more) of beautiful Austria.

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