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Stalactite caves — magical worlds beneath the surface

Ansgar Koreng (CC BY 3.0 (DE))

Stalactite caves — magical worlds beneath the surface

Hiking Collection by komoot

When in doubt, we usually vote to go outdoors. But there are a handful of places that make us think otherwise, such as these caves, for example. Once entered, you will be confronted with dimensions of time and beauty that you never knew existed. Spread all over Central Europe, they are the perfect getaway for a family adventure—an escape into a new world that'll make the eyes of adults and children alike sparkle like the crystals all around—no matter what the weather is like outside.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • © OSM

    The Devil's Cave looks a bit like a treasury with its lavish stalactite jewelery. As with the discovery of a treasure Hans Brand must have felt when he broke through the nine-meter-thick end wall of the outer cave in 1922 and entered the cave behind it as the first human. Today you can discover about 800 meters of the illuminated tunnels during a guided tour.

    Entry:
    Adults 5 euros
    Children 3 euros

    Opening hours:
    March to November 9am to 5pm
    in the winter on Sundays 9 to 15 o'clock
    Details on tours and Christmas hours on the website

    pottenstein.de

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    Katerloch

    Hiking Highlight

    "Fantasiehalle", "Seeparadies" and "Zauberreich" are the underground halls here, with their unimaginable stalactite wealth, as if from an oversized screenplay. Austria's most trophic-rich show cave can be explored on a path of approx. 1km on serpentines, massive iron stairs and 400 steps with a difference in height of 135m.

    An imposing cave portal leads to the inward-descending entrance hall with mighty mossy and overgrown by algae sinter columns. In the 120m long and up to 85m wide "Fantasy Hall" is a veritable jungle of about 4,000 drip stone structures. From here you can reach the "Magic Kingdom" and the "Seeparadies". At the lowest point alabaster white stalagmites and sintering islands emerge from the turquoise-green shimmering water surface, framed by splendid bank walls.

    opening hours
    from April to November by prior appointment (+43 664 48 53 420)

    entry
    20 € p.P., for groups of 9 people or more
    Lead time approx. 2 hours

    katerloch.at

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    Tip by Stephanie

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    Saalfelder Feengrotten

    Hiking Highlight

    It's as unreal and magical as in a fairy tale down here. In the “fairytale dome”, the most beautiful of the cavities, one should be able to recognize the fairy with imagination who gave the cave its name. The Saalfeld fairy grottoes are in the Guinness Book of Records as the "most colorful exhibition grottoes in the world". Here you can spend a whole day in the visitor mine, the adventure exhibition Grottoneum and the adventure forest Feenweltchen without it getting boring.

    You can find all information at feengrotten.de.

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    Grottes de Vallorbe

    Hiking Highlight

    It feels a bit like being on another planet, or Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. Those who visit the caves will find crystals, brightly colored water and a tunnel labyrinth with many showcases and minerals.

    entry
    Adults 15 CHF
    Children 7 CHF

    opening hours
    1st to 18th of March: 1.30pm - 4pm
    March 19 to June 1: 9.30 am - 4.30 pm (last departure)
    June to August: 9.30am - 5.30pm
    2 to 30 November: 1.30pm - 4pm

    grottesdevallorbe.ch/deutsch.html

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    St. Beatus-Höhlen

    Hiking Highlight

    What looks like a magical grotto is actually an extensive cave system, of which around 14 kilometers have been explored today. On a kilometer of illuminated path, you can comfortably visit the cave and be amazed. The tour leads through huge stalactite formations, wide halls and gorges.

    According to legend, a fire-breathing dragon lived here in the Middle Ages. Saint Beatus met him with the cross and called on the Holy Trinity, whereupon the dragon rushed with a roar into Lake Thun and drowned. As a result, St. Beatus is said to have lived here in the cave until his death. At the entrance to the cave, the grave of St. Beatus and a replica of his cell can be viewed today. Part of the Camino de Santiago runs below the caves.

    All information is available at beatushoehlen.swiss/de.

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    Eisriesenwelt

    Hiking Highlight

    Unique, huge and always magical - this is the largest ice cave on earth! The giant ice world stretches over the first kilometer of a more than 40 kilometer-long cave labyrinth, which was created about 100 million years ago. A chimney effect in the cave causes an exchange of cold and warm air, with the result that the ice grows in spring and melts again in summer. Overall, the ice grows a little every year.

    The giant ice world is in an exposed position in the high mountains - visitors should feel fit enough for the ascent to the lower cable car station, from the mountain station to the cave entrance and for the 1400 steps of the approximately 70-minute guided tour.

    opening hours
    1st of May. to 26.Oct. daily from 8am to 3pm, in July and August until 4pm

    entry
    Adults 24 €
    Children 14 €

    eisriesenwelt.at

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    A fantastic complex of passageways, galleries and halls, a stunning variety of karst phenomena and easy access make the Postojna Caves so popular. The first documented visit to the cave system was already in 1213. In the 16th century, there was the first highlight of the visitor. How beautiful is the notion that these stalactites have been spellbound hundreds of years ago - and still do, despite all the modern distractions that are out there.

    opening hours
    Guided tours all year around 10, 12, and 15 o'clock
    In the summer months every hour between 9 and 17 o'clock

    entry
    Adults: € 23.90
    Pupils, students (16-25 years): 19,10 €
    Children 6 to 15 years: 14,30 €
    Children up to 5 years: 1 €

    postojnska-jama.eu/de

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    Schillathöhle

    Hiking Highlight

    Rock paintings, sparkling crystals and shining stones - in Germany's most northerly stalactite cave, the mystical atmosphere can be felt as soon as you enter the tunnel: Passing detailed reproductions of the earliest rock paintings, you go to the “fairytale forest”, the most beautiful part of the cave. You can also learn how the earth was formed, why there was the Ice Age, where there were once seas and why the dinosaurs disappeared. The highlight is the 3D slide show with pictures from the neighboring, strictly protected Riesenberg cave. And if you like, you can then enjoy regional products in the LandFrauen-Café.

    opening hours
    Sat / Sun / public holidays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    additionally from April to October: Wed 2pm - 6pm
    During the holiday periods (NRW): Tue to Fri 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

    entry
    Adults € 8
    reduced € 4

    schillathoehle.de

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    Tip by Stephanie

  • © OSM

    Atta-Höhle

    Hiking Highlight

    An undreamt-of magical world opens up here underground. Thanks to the beautiful lighting, you can't stop being amazed, while the background is constantly dripping. It is not without reason that the Attendorner stalactite cave is the most frequently visited cave in Germany. After the access tunnel, which is only 80 meters long, you are right in the middle of the colorful world of stalactites, stalagmites and stalagmates, in the middle of the largest connected cave system in Germany.

    Opening hours:
    Almost all year round, from 11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., detailed information on the website

    Entry:
    Adults 8.50 euros
    Children 5 euros

    atta-hoehle.de

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    Tip by Stephanie

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Stalactite caves — magical worlds beneath the surface

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