Despite my love of travelling and exploring new places, I have to admit caves are not really my thing, I would always much rather be out in the open than underground. Lucky for me, my most common travel partner – my boyfriend – absolutely loves caves, and when we were in Austria on our recent road trip around Europe, he was desperate to visit the famous Eisriesenwelt ice caves and because I suffer terribly from the fear of missing out, I went too…
Let me start by saying that these caves are pretty high up… we drove up an incredibly steep, winding road to the car park, walked uphill for about ten minutes, then took a cable car, then walked a further fifteen minutes to the cave entrance. I will say however, that the views of the Alps from outside the cave are worth the trip up alone, they are absolutely magnificent. Whenever I see amazing scenery I always compare it to New Zealand (if you have been you will know why) and these views were definitely up there with the views I saw in New Zealand.
We waited for about ten minutes at the cave entrance for our tour to begin. Then all of a sudden the door to the cave opened and the previous group came out looking pretty relieved to be back in the 30 degree heat. A word of warning, if you are waiting for your tour and the door to the cave opens you are likely to be blasted with a really strong, icy wind. It was a this point that I started to panic because I was only wearing a fleece and leggings, not the ski jacket that I thought I needed at that moment. If you end up in the same position as me, don’t panic, because once you are actually inside the cave there is no wind at all, so even though the temperature is freezing (it is an ice cave after all) it isn’t unbearable.
Once inside you will be taken on a tour around the first kilometre of the cave, up 700 steps and down 700 steps. It is completely pitched black inside with no artificial lighting (although you are given lanterns), this is a good thing because it allows your guide to light up the humongous ice sculptures, which once lit-up so you can actually see them, are pretty spectacular.
The whole trip took about three hours from parking the car to driving away at the end, with the actual tour in the cave lasting just over an hour. I admitted at the beginning of this post that I am not a fan of caves, but this cave is so spectacular and different to I would normally expect from a cave that I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you find yourself in the area… even if just for the views outside.
I hope you enjoyed reading, to find out more about what I got up to in Austria you may want to read my Wandering in St. Wolfgang post, or alternatively follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more updates of my travels.