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Eisriesenwelt (Giant Ice World)
5450 Salzburg, Austria
NileGuide Expert tip:
Remember to wear good walking shoes and bring jackets or sweaters.
Stretching 42 km underground, the ice caves of Eisriesenwelt are the largest in Europe. The guide-led excursion into them won't take you this far, but you'll see some amazing – and beautiful – natural ice sculptures all the same. First explored in 1879, the caves' chambers are named for characters from Nordic mythology. The approximately 70-minute tour wends its way through a labyrinth of fantastic caverns populated by mysterious figures formed by frozen waterfalls. Open from May to mid-October, the best time to visit may be the spring months before the ice begins to soften. The journey to the caves from Salzburg brings you past Untersberg and through some spectacular Alpine scenery, past Werfenhohen with its dramatic hilltop fortress. On arrival at the site entrance, a cable car takes you from 1,084 meters to 1,586 meters, a breath-taking ride. Be prepared for a further ascent of 134 meters on foot. This is a great family outing for children older than five. Be prepared for freezing temperature inside the caves and wear study footwear. Photography in the caves is strictly forbidden.