Eishohlenstrasse 30, 5450 Werfen, Austria

The largest ice caves in the world lie just 30 miles south of Salzburg in the Eisriesenwelt at Werfen. Only a portion of the more than 20 miles of caves are open to the public on a 75-minute guided tour, but what’s available to visit is impressive. Magnificent ice formations, frozen waterfalls, and a smooth, rinklike ice palace can be found in this underground world. Visitors will also see Hymir’s Castle, an enormous ice sculpture named for the ice giant of the Edda (the oldest Germanic-mythology saga), and witness layers of time, much like rings on a tree, encased in the glacier (which is actually not a glacier but a massive chunk of accumulated ice).

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Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves

Considering Austria’s size, the country harbors an immense number of natural wonders. One of them is the largest ice cave in the world, the Eisriesenwelt. Upon entering this magnificent structure you will notice two things: first, it might not be as cold as you expected and second, everything about this place is magical. The sleek tunnels formed by the ice shimmer in iridescent blues and greens and flow into towering sculptures that look like shadowy giants in the distance. It is hard to believe that this strange wonderland was formed by nature. Your breath solidifies and briefly clouds your eyes before you arrive at the frozen waterfall, which forms a glowing curtain of icicles. Don’t miss a tour of this beauty, which is not too far from Salzburg.

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