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Summer break countdown, Day 6

Jul 2, 20150 comments


It’s another hot day here in Heltersberg

Perfect time for some spelunking!

So today is cave day!

icecaveThe Schellenberg Ice Cave:

This Ice cave is the biggest and the only Ice cave within Germany open to the public. The cave can be reached by foot or cable car. The cable car is actually located in St. Leonhard on the Austria side of the mountain so be sure to bring your passport. Take the Untersberg cable car from St. Leonhard to the summit and then it’s just a one hr. hike down to the cave.

If you decide to hike, be aware that it’s approximately a three hour hike from the nearest parking area in Markschellenberg. The cave is located at 1,570m (5.150 ft.) elevation, so be sure to bring appropriate clothes, good sturdy walking shoes and warm clothes for the cave.

Once there, guided tours are available to explore the 500m deep cave. Leading through steps, tunnels, ramps and passages over ice you will eventually reach the Fuggerhalle. This grand opening is 55m lower than the actual cave entrance. This ice cave has typical morphology; the cave is going down continually from the entrance. This works just like cold trap, as cold air flows in during winter, since it is colder than the warmer air in the cave. In summer the heavier cold air is not able to leave the cave again, it is trapped. The water from the surrounding rocks is warmer; especially the melt water during snow melts in the spring; and when it enters the cave, with its cold air, it freezes. During the summer the temperature may rise above zero, and some of the ice may melt. But ice caves are so close at the zero degree border, that most of the ice lasts all year.

Because of the change between melting and freezing, the shape of the ice changes from year to year. Some parts of the ice have some kind of year rings, similar to trees. Some figures of ice close to the entrance vanish completely during summer, but similar sculptures reappear in the next winter. Every spring 800 to 1,200 hours of work are necessary to rebuild the paths on the changes ice surface.

from Pentecost till October daily 10:00- 16:00
on the hour

Touristinfo Marktschellenberg
Salzburger Straße 2
83487 Marktschellenberg
phone +49(0)8650/988830
fax +49(0)8650/988831
e-Mail: home,


Bären & Nebelhöhle caves

The Swabian Alb is a limestone reef eroded by water over millions of years. Underground a fascinating world of countless caves exists. The Bärenhöhle (“bear cave”) near Sonnenbühl-Erpfingen and the Nebelhöhle (“mist cave”) near Sonnenbühl-Erpfingen are illuminated caves well worth a visit for anyone.

Bärenhöhle (“bear cave”)Bear Cave

Bone finds indicate that the Bärenhöhle (also: Karlshöhle) was inhabited over 20,000 years ago. Rhinos, cave lions and, of course, also bears took shelter here. The cave was discovered some 50 years ago and opened for visitors. 271 meters of it are accessible.

Above the Bärenhöhle there is the large leisure park “Traumland” (dreamland). This most beautiful amusement park at the exit of the cave provides the right relaxation especially for children after the educational excursion into the world below.

The Bärenhöhle (and Traumland) can be reached via the signposted exit of the L 6767 Engstingen-Haid-Erpfingen.

Opening times (Bärenhöhle):
April to October daily 9am to 5:30pm.
March and November on Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays from 9am to 5pm.

Telephone +49 (0) 71 28 6 35 or 9 25 18

Opening times (Traumland):
April to early October daily 9:30am to 6pm,
till early November daily 9:30am to 5pm.


The magnificent Nebelhöhle is described as one of the most beautiful show caves in the Swabian Alb. This fascinating natural display of the subterranean world measures a magnificent 380 meters.

The first written reference to this cave dates back to the year 1486/87, but only in 1517 was the first part of the Nebelhöhle discovered within the borders of Genkingen, and the second, larger part of the cave was discovered in 1920. The cave was made famous by the interest and visit of the Elector Frederick I of Württemberg, which caused an increase in visitor numbers. Today’s “Nebelhöhle festival” also dates back to the famous visit on 4 August 1803.

The Nebelhöhle is a very large limestone cave with stalactites and stalagmites whose historic importance is given expression in the novel “Lichtenstein” by Wilhelm Hauff. The cave was used by the exiled Duke Ulrich of Württemberg as a hideout and shelter.

Thanks to modern lighting, the geological peculiarity of karst formation is made easily accessible. Grotesque stalactite and stalagmite shapes and mysterious chambers turn this special wonder of nature into an unforgettable experience.

You can reach the Nebelhöhle near Sonnenbühl-Genkingen via the L 230 exit Lichtenstein-Traifelberg – Sonnenbühl-Genkingen.

* of the Bad Urach Site