Werfen – Eisriesen Ice Cave – Austria

After descending from the Grossglockner we camped for the night at Lake Zell am See and awoke to clear blue skies.

10-14-11 Austria - Lake Zell am See to Werfen
Our Home at Lake Zell – Austria

After a look at the lake we drove to Werfen and spent the night in a parking area next to the Salzach river and below the towering Burg Hohenwerfen a castle built in 1075. 

We thought we recognised it and it turns out a part of the picnic scene from The Sound of Music was filmed on a hillside of the village of Werfen. The opening shots of the “Do-Re-Mi” sequence is with the Burg Hohenwerfen in the background. Werfen was also the location for some filming of Where Eagles Dare.

10-14-11 Austria - Lake Zell am See to Werfen-1
Our home at Werfen – Austria

Concealed within the Tennengebirge mountain range that towers above Werfen  is the Eisriesenwelt, a labyrinth of caves with a total length of over 40 km. The lower parts of the cave are cooled by the passage of cold winds that freeze the thaw water as it trickles in forming gigantic ice figures. The Eisriesen is the largest ice cave in the world but first you have to get to it!

10-15-11 Austria - Werfen - Eisriesen Ice Cave

The entrance to the cave is halfway up a very sheer mountainside. We caught the small bus from our overnight parking area up to the information centre to give both Steven and the Hymermobile a break from steep mountain roads. Just as well as the road was very steep and winding and at the top there was no room to park the Hymermobile.

File:Eisriesenwelt Werfen Austria 02.jpg
Ice Formations

Once you have you tickets there is a 20 min hike to the cable car wich takes you from 1084m to 1586m the another 20 min hike around the mountain face and up to the cave entrance.

Electric lighting has not been installed in this cave instead we were give a hand held davey lamp. The guide burned strips of magnesium wire to illuminate the cave, very unusual. Besides the light the guide also provided interesting scientific commentary. The first piece of information was that we would be climbing a kilometre into the cave up 700 steps!!!

There is no photography allowed in the cave so to see the ice formations click here.

There was a restaurant at the cable car station so we had a long lunch while taking in the view and finding the little white dot that was the hymermobile way down in the valley.

From Werfen we headed west and stopped for the night at a free Stellplatz at Liezen. and took a late evening walked 2k into to the town for some supplies however all the shops were closed.
It is difficult in this part of the world to find a supermarket open on a Sunday or late in the evening. Although, unlike France and Italy they do stay open over lunchtime in Austria.

Only oil lanterns and magnesium are used for light
 Burg Hohenwerfen from the carpark
 Burg Hohenwerfen from the cablecar
Our home in Werfen by the river behind the Burg Hohenwerfen. now way below us

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