Dobsinska Ice Cave: Explore this hidden underground ice paradise while visiting Slovakia
1,491 m long and 112 m deep, the Dobšinská Ice Cave, located in the south-western part of Slovak Paradise National Park, is the most extensive ice cave in Europe.
The cave was discovered on 15 June 1870 by the royal mining engineer Eugen Ruffinyi, accompanied by G. Lang and Andrej Mega, though the entrance was known from time immemorial by shepherds and hunters as Studená diera (Cold Hole).
The age of the cave is estimated at approximately 250,000 years.
The cave was opened to the public one year after its discovery. In 1887, it was the first electrically lit cave in Europe. Since 2000 it has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list as a part of the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst site.
As compared with known high-mountain ice caves Eisriesenwelt and Dachstein-Rieseneishöhle in Austrian Alps or with the Romanian Sca(ris,oara Cave in Bihor Mts., which has the glaciated part at elevations of 1,100 to 1,120 m n. m., the monumental glaciation of the Dobšinská Ice Cave persist for thousands of years at elevations only 920 to 950 m.
Dobšinská Ice Cave consists of different parts, where you can find lots of stunning corridors, domes, and halls.
The total ice volume was estimated at 125,000 cubic metres, which makes it one of the most important ice caves in the world. The cave has several magnificent parts – Great and Small Halls, Ruffiny’s Corridor and Collapsed Dome. The parts without ice have names Dripstone and White Hall, Dry Dome, Dripstone Cellar and Hell.
The ice filling has a volume of 110.132 m3 and occurs in the form of ground ice, waterfalls, ice stalagmites and columns. The thickness of the ice filling in the Great Hall is as much as 26.5 metres!
One of the interesting facts on the cave is that up to the 1946 a skating for public was permitted all year round. The well known Czechoslovak figure skater Karol Divín and a company of military speed skaters trained here in the 1950s. And a concert was held in the Great Hall in 1890 to the tribute of Karl Ludwig von Habsburg.
It is possible to enter the cave and move inside only with a guide and along the visitors‘ path or otherwise marked show path.
You can visit Dobšinská Ice Cave from mid-May to the end of September, every day (except Mondays), every hour until 16:00. The cave is closed in October until mid-May.
Duration of the visit is half an hour and 515 m. The visitors descend only several tens meters underground and find themselves in an ice kingdom so make sure to wear warm clothes. Average annual temperature of air in the glaciated Great Hall reaches –0,4 to –1,0 °C (in February –2,7 to –3,9 °C, in August around +0,2 °C).
Regular ticket price for an adult is 7€.
Children from 6 to 15 years; disabled over 15 years with valid certificate
Permission to take pictures costs extra 10€. ■