Werfen has the biggest Ice Cave in the world, known as Eisriesenwelt, Its located over 1600m up the mountain and the cave is over 42km long! After reading about it, we decided we should check it out!
As the weather gets very warm in the afternoon, we decided to head up to the cave as early as possible, that way the boys would be ok left in the van and we parked in the shade. Getting the first bus up the mountain meant we would be back around lunch time, it also worked out great getting up early to avoid the busiest time for tourists.
After getting the bus up as far as it goes, you have 2 options, you can either do a 2 hour hike or take a few minute cable car. As we didn’t want to leave the boys for any longer than we had to, we opted for the cable car. we would definitely recommend doing the hike if you have time as it does look awesome and there would be fabulous views all the way, much better than the cramped, over priced cable car! when you step off the cable car, there is another 15 minute walk to the cave entrance with stunning views all the way as far as the eye can see.
the only way to see the cave is by doing a tour. the tour lasts about an hour and you are with a guide and a group of around 20 other people. We were quite happy to be the first group of the day going in as that meant there was no one else in the cave for a while before the next group starts their tour.
Overall, we had mixed feelings about the cave, we were really glad we did it as its a totally unique experience, there are 1400 steps to walk during your time in the cave, you go 1km into the cave before looping back the same way you enter. As you start to walk through the cave you are surrounded by darkness, the only lights are the small oil lamps they give you (one every forth person) the cave is absolutely immense, the sheer size of it is astonishing. The Ice formations are beautiful in places but we had expected there to be more ice… Saying that it was really good and the guide stops in various places to give a brief chat about the ice formations and general history of the cave whilst lighting magnesium strips so you can see a little better. The visibility over all isn’t great, understandable as you are in a cave with only the small lanterns, but this we felt was a little annoying as we really wanted to see the formations better.
As you reach the furthest point of the tour, there is a shallow icy lake and at this point we were told to blow out our lanterns to experience absolute darkness way inside this huge cave, a pretty crazy experience. The ice is 25m thick in some places and the walls of ice look quite surreal, we put our lantern up against the ice wall and it was amazing to see the layers inside the thick ice.
Its definitely worth doing, especially if you haven’t been inside an ice cave before, and if you have the time and the energy, skip the Sardines in a tin cable car and opt for the hike up!.