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

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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    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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    Saalfelder Feengrotten

    Hiking Highlight

    As unreal and magical as in a fairy tale it is down here. In the "Fairytale Dome", the most beautiful of the hollows, one should be able to recognize with imagination the fairy, which gave the cave its name. The Saalfeld fairy grottoes are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "most colorful sightseeing areas in the world". Here you can spend a whole day in the visitor mine, the exhibition Grottoneum and the adventure forest fairies, without getting bored.

    opening hours
    May - October: 9.30am to 5pm
    November - April: 10.30 to 15.30
    every 20 to 30 minutes guided tours take place every day

    entry
    Adults 10.90 €
    Children 6,90 €

    feengrotten.de

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    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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    St. Beatus-Höhlen

    Hiking Highlight

    What looks like a magical little grotto is in reality a widely ramified cave system, of which about 14 kilometers are explored today. On a kilometer-lit path you can easily visit the cave and marvel. The tour leads through huge stalactite formations, wide halls and canyons.

    Legend has it that a fire-breathing dragon lived here in the Middle Ages. The Blessed Beatus approached him with the cross and called the Holy Trinity, whereupon the dragon rushed into Thunersee with a roar and drowned. Then the holy Beatus is said to have lived here in the cave until his death. At the entrance to the cave today you can visit the tomb of Saint Beatus and a replica of his cell.

    Below the caves is part of the Way of St. James.

    Opening hours:
    open daily from March 19th to October 30th (9.30am to 5pm)
    guided tours every 30 to 45 minutes, duration: 75 minutes

    Entry:
    Adults 18 CHF
    Children 10 CHF

    beatushoehlen.swiss/de

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    Eisriesenwelt Werfen

    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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    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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    Schillathoehle

    Hiking Highlight

    Rock paintings, sparkling crystals and glowing stones - in Germany's northernmost stalactite cave you can feel the mystical atmosphere as soon as you enter the tunnel. You will also learn how the earth was formed, why there was the ice age, where the oceans used to be 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 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
    in the holiday season (NRW): Tue to Fri 2pm - 6pm

    entry
    Adults € 8
    reduced 4 €

    schillathoehle.de

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    Atta-Höhle

    Hiking Highlight

    An unimaginable magical world unfolds here under the earth. Thanks to the beautiful lighting, you will not be able to get out of your amazement while dripping quietly in the background. Not without reason the Attendorn stalactite cave is the most visited cave in Germany. After the only 80 meters long access tunnel you are right in the middle of the colorful world of stalactites, stalagmites and stalagmites, in the middle of the largest connected cave system in Germany.

    Opening hours:
    almost all year round, from about 11 o'clock to about 15.30
    detailed information on the website

    Entry:
    Adults 8.50 €
    Children 5.00 €

    atta-hoehle.de

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