The Eisriesenwelt (“World of the Ice Giants”) is a natural limestone ice cave close to Werfen, Austria, about 40 km south of Salzburg. The cave is inside the Hochkogel mountain of the Alps. It is the largest ice cave in the world, extending more than 42 km from which about 1 km is suitable for visit of tourist.
The entrance of the cave located on the hillside. Serpentine drove up till parking, have to reach the ticket office and entrance by short walk. At the entrance two options available: with or without cable car… Walking path takes approximately 2 hours demanding climb (700 meter altitude difference), and have to pay only half than for a comfortable cable car. Required 3 minutes only while it reach the upper station. Additional 10-20 minutes walk till the entrance of the cave, pending from the way choosen: a tunnel or a panorama walkway.
Guided tours starts in english/german speaking groups. Had a large amount of visitors today, approximately 40 people formed a group included young children. In the very first moments became clear that most of the group members doesn’t speak in english…They didn’t understand, boring, became louder and louder and uninterested. Although the complete trip is only takes one hour.
It is ice-cave, so the temperature always below zero, requires warm clothes. At the entrance we met with a group of Saudi-Arabians, women dressed fully covering bourkas, while men in t-shirt and slippers… I didn’t know the result, but I’m sure it wasn’t appropriate for the trip.
In the cave isn’t artificial lighting, they provides carbide lamps and the guide used burning magnesium ribbons to illuminate the ice formations. Sadly realized that photography is not permitted inside (anyhow… there are staircases along the cave, doe to crowd no stabile position for tripods, darkness requires very long exposition time, so I’m sure that technically nearly impossible to make correct images if other visitors are there). Few years ago photography wasn’t forbidden, and I did few badly exposed and out of focused images. You should be satisfied that much…
The cave is “living”, the thickness of the ice is changing parallel as the water, humidity and the air temperature changing. Fortunately I have a chance to compare to my previous trip’s images. The ice is growing, thicker than was before, but this process “destroys” certain formations, also. The Elephant, which was clearly recognizable in 2007, nowadays requires imagination.
Important to know also that Eisriesenwelt is open from May 1 to October 26 every year, only.