7 of the most amazing ice caves in the world

They are incredible to look at, but even better to explore – check out these icy caves.
By Alison Mann

There’s definitely something other-worldly about an ice cave – the icicles, the chill in the air and the feeling that everything is frozen in time.

There are ice caves all over the world, but here are a few you might not have heard of. It’s time to put on the woolly hat and get exploring.

More: Beat the heat in these incredible ice caves

The largest Alpine glacier

Aletschgletscher glacier talian cave explorer Alessio Romeo climbs the rope he had originally rigged several hours earlier back up the surface and the daylight.
Aletschgletscher glacier © Robbie Shone

Where: Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland
What: The biggest Alpine glacier
Must-visit rating: 7 – One for the professionals

This has a length of about 23km and covers more than 120 square kilometres. This photograph shows professional cavers exploring a glacier shaft that reached more 30m deep.

The largest man-made ice cave

The man made ice cave called Into the Glacier at Langjökull, Iceland
The man-made ice cave at Langjökull © Into The Glacier/Skarpi

Where: Langjökull, Iceland
What: A man-made ice cave
Must-visit rating: 8 – It’s not so adventurous but Iceland is pretty cool

This cave is located high on Europe’s second-largest glacier, Langjökull, and allows visitors to explore a glacier from the inside. There are winding tunnels carved out of sheer ice and chilly chambers to explore. It even has a chamber appropriate for weddings, if that’s your thing.

The highest Alpine show cave 

Climbers on large ice formations inside Eiskögel höhle near Werfenweng
The ice inside Eiskogelhöhle, Austria © Robbie Shone

Where: Eiskogelhöhle, Austria
What: A high show cave
Must-visit rating: 8 – Why not?

The biggest ice cave in the world is in Austria, the Eisreisenwelt. The Eiskogelhöhle is close by but a little less known. It is said to be the highest Alpine show cave. It sits at 2,100m above sea level and inside the Eiskogel mountain. There's a good walk up to the cave and can take up to 12 hours there and back.

The tunnel

Part of the Furka Pass tunnel in Switzerland
An icy tunnel in Switzerland © Federica Grassi/Getty Images

Where: Furka Pass, Switzerland
What: A mountain pass
Must-visit rating: 7 – Pretend you're in the movies

This icy tunnel is part of the Furka Pass, which has an elevation of 2,429m and connects parts of Switzerland. If you think it looks like something from the movies, you’re right. It was a location in James Bond film Goldfinger.

The heritage site

Dobšinská Ice Cave is situated in Slovakia
Dobšinská Ice Cave, Slovakia © fkienas/Getty Images

Where: Slovakia
What: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Must-visit rating: 6 – Nice ice, but there's a walkway

The Dobšinská Ice Cave may not be the biggest or the longest, but it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and has been since 2000. The majority of the cave is covered in ice, and that’s what makes it so important. It was also the first cave in Europe to be lit electronically.

The cave to climb

Booming Ice Chasm, Canada can be climbed by experienced climbers and cavers
A booming ice chasm in Canada © Sean Rooney

Where: Canada
What: A booming ice chasm
Must-visit rating: 10 – If you can ice-climb

This is one of the more dangerous caves to explore – crampons are a must, as is knowledge of ice climbing. There’s a vast ice sheet in the cave, but one slip could send climbers plummeting down to the bottom. There’s also a big echo in the cave, making communication quite difficult!

The cave to see icicles

The sea caves on Apostle island freeze in the winter and create caves filled with icicles
The Apostle Island ice caves © Philip Schwarz

Where: Lake Superior, Wisconsin, USA
What: A series of beautifully unique sights
Must-visit rating: 8 – Pretty spectacular

In the summer the Apostle Island ice caves are impressive sea caves, but in winter they turn in to incredible icy wonders. The beauty of the caves is that what varies with the seasons, and even each year. The lake freezes, allowing access to the caves and the needle-sharp icicles.

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