The Eisriesenwelt is a natural wonder of superlatives that attracts nature and adventure enthusiasts from around the world every year. Here, you will learn why the ice cave is closed during the winter months, how temperature fluctuations affect the cave interior, and what we do to make it accessible to visitors again after its "winter sleep".
In winter, the ice giant world is practically deserted
Even though one might think that a visit to the ice cave is particularly appealing in winter, the Eisriesenwelt is closed to visitors from late October. This is due to the challenging high alpine location and the risk of avalanches, which make access unsafe.
- Visiting period: End of April to end of October
- Closed during the winter months
All changes in the ice cave are observed and documented.
The cave is constantly changing due to temperature variations. The first kilometer of the ice cave can be explored, as it is covered by a permanent layer of ice. Due to the chimney effect, which carries cold air masses into the cave for up to a kilometer, the ice grows during winter – unfortunately, this includes the pathways you use.
Once the temperatures outside the cave rise above freezing point in spring, meltwater flows through cracks and crevices into the interior of the cave and freezes there again. The rock stores the cold, ensuring that temperatures within the cave system rarely exceed freezing point even in summer – so it's necessary to dress warmly regardless of the season.
Despite the minimal warming of the cave interior in summer, about five to ten centimeters of the floor ice layer melt. It regrows in the following winter and even becomes slightly thicker with each passing year.
Already two months before the Eisriesenwelt opens its doors to visitors again, there is a lot of activity. As soon as less snowfall is expected in March, the cave and especially the cave entrance and access path are cleared of snow.
After the peak of snowmelt has passed, our team gets to work and clears the visitor paths and stairs of the ice that has formed there in winter and spring due to seeping water. Starting too early would carry the risk of a large amount of meltwater creating a new, thick layer of ice on the pathways.
From the first day, our visitor center (located 5 km from Werfen) is also open, and you can reach the entrance using the cable car. At the visitor center (YGGDRASIL Bistro) and the cable car mountain station (Dr. Oedl Haus), you will have the opportunity to take a break – food and drinks are provided!
As soon as the paths have been cleared of ice, you can safely use them again. For over 100 years, nature enthusiasts have been able to explore the Eisriesenwelt. And this year, just like every year, the cave will be awakened from its winter sleep and will attract visitors right on time for April 29th.
We are excited to welcome you and are currently working hard to offer you the best possible experience in our natural wonder!
You can pre-book your tickets anytime, even during the winter break, through our Eisriesenhöhle Ticket Shop. The advantage is that you can choose the date and time freely, and there are still tickets available even for peak times.
Book your adventure trip to the Eisriesenwelt now!