Eisriesenwelt Werfen: A Guide to the World’s Largest Ice Cave

I know the term “must visit” has been overused in the recent years but a visit to Eisriesenwelt in Werfen, Austria is truly a must. After all, it is the world’s largest ice cave!

Initially Ben and I weren’t too happy about the idea of taking out our winter gear in the middle of summer, but we completely forgot about all that once we took in the gorgeous landscape from the top of Hochkogel Mountain and took our first steps into the Ice Cave.

As we passed through the cave’s entrance door with the wind gusting at us, our canteen lights blew out and all we saw was darkness. It was official, our journey up 700 steps, half a mile worth of ice sculptures, and ice cold temperatures was about to begin.

Eisriesenwelt in Werfen

The ice sculptures, figures, and ice walls were mesmerizing. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It was completely dark in the cave except for the few hand held gas canteens, and magnesium lamps that turned the ice figures to life!

As the tour was coming to end and we began our descend to the outside world, Ben and I were seriously starting to feel the cold wrath of the cave. Our fingers and toes were frozen, and we were praying to reach the exit and feel the 80°F heat that awaited us outside.

Nonetheless, Eisriesenwelt was one of the “coolest” (pun intended :D) things we did in Austria thus far, and though we weren’t allowed to take pictures of this epic trip, those ice figures will be etched into our memories forever.

Eisriesenwelt Werfen - Ice Cave Werfen

Plan your Trip to the Eisriesenwelt

General Information

Distance from Salzburg: 25 mile (40km)
Best time to visit: Before 10am or after 2pm (it’s usually the busiest between 10am-2pm)
Best weather to visit: On a sunny day (hiking 40min in the rain might not be so ideal)
Recommended visit length: Minimum 3-4 hours
Guided tour: 70 minutes once inside the cave
Website: www.eisriesenwelt.at

How to Get to the Eisriesenwelt

By Car: Getting to Werfen is a fairly easy 40 minute drive. Just take the Tauern motorway (A10) south and take exit 34-Paß Lueg. Follow the Eisriesenwelt signs from here.

By Public Transportation: A train from Salzburg to Werfen Bahnhof (40-50 mins) leaves about every hour with no transfer needed. From Werfen Bahnhof you have two options, you can either wait for the local Eishöhle bound bus which leaves at 8:18, 10:18, 12:18, 2:18pm or you can walk 5 minutes to the Parkplatz Gries where buses to the visitors center leave about every 25 minutes. Roundtrip bus fare: Adults: € 7, Kids: € 5.

By Private Tour: If you don’t have a car and don’t want to deal with public transportation you can hire a private tour guide from Salzburg to explore the largest ice cave in the world. Click here to learn more about the tour.

Getting to the Ice Cave Entrance

After you leave the visitors center, you will walk 20 minutes to the cable car station, From here it’s a 3 minute cable car ride or a 90 minute hike to the cable car station on the top. Then hike another 20 minutes to the entrance of ice cave. Click here to see a more detailed map.

Total Time:
~40 minutes walk with the cable car
~130 minutes hike without the cable car

Admission Prices*

Cave Visit and Cable Car Ticket
Regular: € 24.00 | Children (5-14 yrs old): €14.00 | Youth (15-18 yrs old): €18.00

Cave visit Ticket (without cable car)
Regular: € 12.00 | Children (5-14 yrs old): € 7.00 | Youth (15-18 yrs old): € 9.00

*Family and Group rates are also available

Eisriesenwelt Hours

Eisriesenwelt is a seasonal attraction, it is open from the 1st of May to the 26th of October and CLOSED from November to April.

Open daily (rain or shine) from May – October
8am – 3pm (May, June, Sept., Oct.)
8am – 4pm (July, Aug.)

What to Bring

  • Warm clothes (coat, sweater, scarf and hat)
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Water

Things to Know

  • No photography or filming is allowed inside the cave (helps preserves the ice caves)
  • Even when the temperature outside is over 80°F, it is still freezing in the ice cave (0°C/32°F)
  • The last cable car up to the cave is at 4:20 (July, Aug.) or 3:20 (May, June, Sept., Oct.)
  • Last Cave tour is 4:45pm (July, Aug.) or 3:45pm (May, June, Sept., Oct.)
  • A trip to Eisriesenwelt requires a great deal of walking and climbing as there are 1400 steps inside the cave (ca. 700 steps up and 700 steps down). Though you do not need to be in amazing shape, you should posses a reasonable level of fitness.
  • Cave is not suitable for individuals with limited mobility.
  • Cave tour is ~1hr 15 mins, you can choose to either take the English or German tour.
  • You can either bring your own food or purchase food at one of the three restaurants located on the Eisriesenwelt grounds.

Nearby Attractions

  • Hohenwerfen Fortress
  • Golling Waterfalls
  • Liechtenstein Gorge (Liechtensteinklamm Waterfall)

If you are in Salzburg, don’t pass up the opportunity to see the world’s largest ice cave. It’s an experience you will never forget!

Have you visited the Eisriesenwelt in Werfen? Tell us about your visit!

All images are courtesy of Eisriesenwelt GmbH

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links help pay for this site and keep the content free for you to read. We will never recommend products we do not believe in.

The Author

Jazzy is a professional travel writer and the editor-in-chief at Road Affair. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Ben, since 2012.

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Comments

  1. I am planning to visit werfen in September but I read in the other reviews that it is really dark inside and it doesn’t look anywhere near to the picture on web site so I am in double mind whether to visit Dachstein or Werfen

    1. It is pretty dark inside but if they lit up the whole cave all the ice would melt. In our opinion it is worth a visit, especially if you have never been to an ice cave before.

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